Consciousness Reconsidered / Edition 1

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Overview

Consciousness is neither miraculous nor ultimately mysterious. In this broad,entertaining, and persuasive account Owen Flanagan argues that we are on the way to understanding consciousness and its place in the natural order. No aspect of consciousness escapes Flanagan's probe. Qualia, self-consciousness, autobiographical memory, perceptions, sensations, the stream of consciousness, disorders such as blindsight, various kinds of amnesia, and multiple personality all find a place in a constructive theory that brings into reflective equilibrium insights from a wide array of disciplines to reveal the deep, rich, and complex hidden structure of consciousness.

Flanagan roams freely through a variety of scientific and philosophical domains, showing how it is possible to understand human consciousness in a way that gives its subjective, phenomenal aspects their full due while at the same time taking into account the neural bases of subjectivity. The result is a powerful synthetic theory of consciousness, a"constructive naturalism," according to which subjective consciousness is real, plays an important causal role, and resides in the brain.

Flanagan draws the reader into a world of exciting current debates among such philosophers as Thomas Nagel, Daniel Dennett, Paul Churchland,Patricia Churchland, and Colin McGinn, and he makes this world accessible. He masterfully weaves the latest insights from theory and research in cognitive neuroscience, neural darwinism, connectionist brain architecture, and PET scanners to reveal clear links between events that "seem a certain way"and underlying neural activity. William James's famous phenomenological analysis of consciousness and neurologically impaired characters from the writings of Oliver Sacks and A.R. Luria join the narrative, providing valuable insights into important current controversies on the relation of consciousness to self.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Philosophy professors Searle and Flanagan throw light on recent debates over the meaning of human consciousness and its relation to the natural world. (Mar.)
Valerie Gray Hardcastle & Peter E. Pruim
Flanagan has dealt a serious blow to those in the non-naturalist or neo-mysterian camp who would argue that a theory of consciousness is either a pointless pursuit or in principle impossible to give. Consciousness Reconsidered should serve well as a prolegomena toward a future naturalist theory of consciousness.
Psyche
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262560771
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 12/10/1993
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Owen Flanagan is James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy at Duke University. He is the author of Consciousness Reconsidered and The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in aMaterial World, both published by the MIT Press, and other books.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 Subjectivity and the Natural Order 1
Ch. 2 Quining Consciousness 21
Ch. 3 Consciousness and the Brain 35
Ch. 4 Qualia 61
Ch. 5 The Missing Shade of You 87
Ch. 6 The Mystery of Consciousness 109
Ch. 7 Conscious Inessentialism and the Epiphenomenalist Suspicion 129
Ch. 8 The Stream of Consciousness 153
Ch. 9 The Illusion of the Mind's "I" 177
Ch. 10 Consciousness and the Self 193
Ch. 11 A Unified Theory of Consciousness? 213
References 223
Index 229
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