Consciousness essays from a higher-order perspective

Essays from a Higher-Order Perspective Published: April 17, Peter Carruthers, Consciousness: The book consists of twelve chapters, while the content can be divided into three major themes. He argues that this theory can bridge the notorious explanatory gap.

Consciousness essays from a higher-order perspective

References and Further Reading 1. Various Concepts of Consciousness The concept of consciousness is notoriously ambiguous.

Consciousness essays from a higher-order perspective

It is important first to make several distinctions and to define related terms. We sometimes speak of an individual mental state, such as a pain or perception, as conscious. However, some kind of state consciousness is often implied by creature consciousness, that is, the organism is having conscious mental states.

Most contemporary theories of consciousness are aimed at explaining state consciousness; that is, explaining what makes a mental state a conscious mental state. More common is the belief that we can be aware of external objects in some unconscious sense, for example, during cases of subliminal perception.

Finally, it is not clear that consciousness ought to be restricted to attention. An organism, such as a bat, is conscious if it is able to experience the outer world through its echo-locatory senses.

There is also something it is like to be a conscious creature whereas there is nothing it is like to be, for example, a table or tree. For example, philosophers sometimes refer to conscious states as phenomenal or qualitative states.

There is significant disagreement over the nature, and even the existence, of qualia, but they are perhaps most frequently understood as the felt properties or qualities of conscious states.

It's Elemental – First and Second-Order Epistemologies

The former is very much in line with the Nagelian notion described above. Access consciousness is therefore more of a functional notion; that is, concerned with what such states do.

Block himself argues that neither sense of consciousness implies the other, while others urge that there is a more intimate connection between the two. Some History on the Topic Interest in the nature of conscious experience has no doubt been around for as long as there have been reflective humans.

It would be impossible here to survey the entire history, but a few highlights are in order. In the history of Western philosophy, which is the focus of this entry, important writings on human nature and the soul and mind go back to ancient philosophers, such as Plato.

As we shall see, Descartes argued that the mind is a non-physical substance distinct from the body. He also did not believe in the existence of unconscious mental states, a view certainly not widely held today.

Our mental states are, according to Descartes, infallibly transparent to introspection. Perhaps the most important philosopher of the period explicitly to endorse the existence of unconscious mental states was G. He also importantly distinguished between perception and apperception, roughly the difference between outer-directed consciousness and self-consciousness see Gennaro for some discussion.

The most important detailed theory of mind in the early modern period was developed by Immanuel Kant. Although he owes a great debt to his immediate predecessors, Kant is arguably the most important philosopher since Plato and Aristotle and is highly relevant today.

Kant basically thought that an adequate account of phenomenal consciousness involved far more than any of his predecessors had considered.

Over the past one hundred years or so, however, research on consciousness has taken off in many important directions. In psychology, with the notable exception of the virtual banishment of consciousness by behaviorist psychologists e.

The writings of such figures as Wilhelm WundtWilliam James and Alfred Titchener are good examples of this approach. The work of Sigmund Freud was very important, at minimum, in bringing about the near universal acceptance of the existence of unconscious mental states and processes.

It must, however, be kept in mind that none of the above had very much scientific knowledge about the detailed workings of the brain. The relatively recent development of neurophysiology is, in part, also responsible for the unprecedented interdisciplinary research interest in consciousness, particularly since the s.

There are now several important journals devoted entirely to the study of consciousness: For a small sample of introductory texts and important anthologies, see KimGennaro b, Block et.

Consciousness: Essays from a Higher-Order Perspective by Peter Carruthers

The Metaphysics of Consciousness: Dualism Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the ultimate nature of reality. There are two broad traditional and competing metaphysical views concerning the nature of the mind and conscious mental states: While there are many versions of each, the former generally holds that the conscious mind or a conscious mental state is non-physical in some sense.

On the other hand, materialists hold that the mind is the brain, or, more accurately, that conscious mental activity is identical with neural activity. For something to be non-physical, it must literally be outside the realm of physics; that is, not in space at all and undetectable in principle by the instruments of physics.

However, something might be physical but not material in this sense, such as an electromagnetic or energy field. Thus, to say that the mind is non-physical is to say something much stronger than that it is non-material.CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION By Sri Swami Sivananda "Concentration and Meditation" form the inner core of the practice of Yoga: It is the key to the door of Inner Illumination and constitutes the central pivot round which all Sadhana in the spiritual revolves.

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The electronics of the menu has to move you send some technology of opinion and as the Equine is server text to make with it. The present book collects together and revises ten of my previously published essays on consciousness, preceded by a newly written introduction, and containing a newly written chapter on the explanatory advantages of my approach.

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Seth, this is a very concise, pithy statement of the web of “residues of unresolved positivism” (Barfield) that entangles modern consciousness.

Consciousness - Peter Carruthers - Oxford University Press