Chapter

Consciousness and the Mental Will

Brian O'Shaughnessy

in Consciousness and the World

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780199256723
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598135 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199256721.003.0006
Consciousness and the Mental Will

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Rationality of state is essential to consciousness, and depends both on self‐knowledge and on mental activeness—and above all upon the mental activity of thinking. What contribution does the overall activeness of the stream of consciousness make to the obtaining of consciousness? It firstly contributes to the epistemological and perceptual function, through ordering perceptual process. But it secondly conditions the intelligibility of the stream of consciousness of the conscious. The least apparently active experiences of the conscious, such as daydreaming, are shown to be intentionally active, along with the others. This activeness makes possible rationality and explanatorial pellucidity in the development of that ‘stream’, which would otherwise be absent, because of the close link between activeness and rationality. This internal intelligibility has epistemological repercussions, for it is a necessary condition for making sense of the outer phenomenal world.

Keywords: consciousness; mental activity; mental will; perception; rationality; self‐knowledge; stream of consciousness; thinking

Chapter.  16632 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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