Ten Problems of Consciousness: A Representational Theory of the Phenomenal Mind / Edition 1

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Can neurophysiology ever reveal to us what it is like to smell a skunk or to experience pain? In what does the feeling of happiness consist? How is it that changes in the white and gray matter composing our brains generate subjective sensations and feelings? These are several of the questions that Michael Tye addresses, while formulating a new and enlightening theory about the phenomenal "what it feels like" aspect of consciousness. The test of any such theory, according to Tye, lies in how well it handles ten critical problems of consciousness.

Tye argues that all experiences and all feelings represent things, and that their phenomenal aspects are to be understood in terms of what they represent. He develops this representational approach to consciousness in detail with great ingenuity and originality. In the book's first part Tye lays out the domain, the ten problems and an associated paradox, along with all the theories currently available and the difficulties they face. In part two, he develops his intentionalist approach to consciousness. Special summaries are provided in boxes and the ten problems are illustrated with cartoons.

A Bradford Book

Representation and Mind series

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Editorial Reviews

Tye (philosophy, Temple U.) first sets out ten critical problems that are useful to test theories of phenomenal consciousness. He then assesses current theories and presents an intentionalist approach to consciousness, arguing that all experiences and feelings represent things and their phenomenal aspects are to be understood in terms of what they represent. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
D.M. Armstrong
He is not offering a general theory of consciousness but only of what he calls "phenomenal consciousness"....[As for Tye's] research programme...[it has much] strength at the level of programme. There is much more in the book than that, much useful discussion of relative detail, and, of course, detailed discussion of the ten problems. I strongly recommend it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262700641
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 1/22/1997
  • Series: Representation and Mind series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 266
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Tye is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Ten Problems of Consciousness (1995),Consciousness, Color, and Content (2000), and Consciousness and Persons (2003), all published by the MIT Press.

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Table of Contents

1 The Ten Problems 3
1.1 Phenomenal Consciousness Introduced 3
1.2 The Problem of Ownership 10
1.3 The Problem of Perspectival Subjectivity 12
1.4 The Problem of Mechanism 15
1.5 The Problem of Phenomenal Causation 18
1.6 The Problem of Super Blindsight 19
1.7 The Problem of Duplicates 21
1.8 The Problem of the Inverted Spectrum 26
1.9 The Problem of Transparency 30
1.10 The Problem of Felt Location and Phenomenal Vocabulary 31
1.11 The Problem of the Alien Limb 33
2 Why the Problems Run So Deep 37
2.1 Must the Physical Be Objective? 38
2.2 Perspectival Subjectivity and the Explanatory Gap 43
2.3 Physicalism and Phenomenal Causation 50
2.4 On the Denial of Perspectival Subjectivity 53
2.5 The Paradox of Phenomenal Consciousness 56
2.6 The Available Strategies 62
2.7 The Way Ahead 66
3 Can Anyone Else Feel My Pains? 71
3.1 The Repudiation of Phenomenal Objects 72
3.2 Publicizing the Phenomenal: Split Brains 78
3.3 Phenomenal Objects as Events 84
3.4 A Closer Look at Events 87
4 The Intentionality of Feelings and Experiences 93
4.1 Intentional States and Intentional Content 94
4.2 How Perceptual Sensations Represent 100
4.3 Afterimages 105
4.4 The Problem of Ownership Revisited 109
4.5 Pains 111
4.6 Other Bodily Sensations 116
4.7 The Format of Sensory Representations 120
4.8 Background Feelings 123
4.9 Emotions 125
4.10 Moods 128
5 What What It's Like Is Really Like 133
5.1 Why Be an Intentionalist? 134
5.2 Phenomenal Content: The PANIC Theory 137
5.3 Colors and Other "Secondary Qualities" 144
5.4 Can Duplicate Brains Differ Phenomenally? 150
5.5 Some Putative Counterexamples 155
6 The Tale of Mary and Mechanism: A Theory of Perspectival Subjectivity 161
6.1 The Real Nature of the Phenomenal 162
6.2 Perspectival Subjectivity and the Paradox 165
6.3 Mary's Room 171
6.4 Some of Mary's Philosophical Relatives 174
6.5 The Explanatory Gap 178
7 Can You Really Imagine What You Think You Can? 183
7.1 The Status of the PANIC Theory 184
7.2 Imaginability and Perception: A Parallel 185
7.3 Troublesome Possibilities? 188
7.4 Zombie Replicas and Other Duplicates 194
7.5 Inverted Experiences 201
7.6 Inverted Earth 206
Appendix: Blindsight 209
A.1 Three Sorts of Visual Agnosia 209
A.2 An Empirical Proposal 215
Notes 219
References 231
Name Index 241
Subject Index 245
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