Book

The Unity of Consciousness

Tim Bayne

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199215386
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191594786 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215386.001.0001
The Unity of Consciousness

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One of the features of consciousness that has been largely overlooked in recent treatments of the topic is its unity. What is the unity of consciousness? To what degree might consciousness be unified? And what implications might the unity of consciousness have for our conception of consciousness and the self? Drawing on philosophy, psychology and neuroscience, this book presents answers to these questions. The first part of the book develops a conception of the unity of consciousness according to which a subject has a unified conscious if and only if it has a single conscious state that subsumes each and every one of its conscious states. This conception of the unity of consciousness gives rise to the unity thesis—the claim that consciousness in human beings is necessarily unified. The second part of the volume examines the plausibility of the unity thesis. The book develops a model for evaluating the unity thesis and then goes on to apply this model to a wide range of syndromes—such as anosognosia, the hidden observer in hypnosis, and the split‐brain syndrome—in which the unity of consciousness is often said to breakdown. In each case the evidence in favour of disunity models is found wanting. The final third of the volume examines points of contact between the unity of consciousness on the one hand and theories of theories of consciousness, the sense of embodiment, and accounts of the self on the other.

Keywords: phenomenal unity; co‐consciousness; consciousness; unity of consciousness; the unity thesis; the self; hypnosis; split‐brain syndrome; anosognosia; schizophrenia; Dissociative Identity Disorder; binding

Book.  360 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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Table of Contents

The Phenomenal Field in The Unity of Consciousness

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Phenomenal Unity: Mereology in The Unity of Consciousness

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Phenomenal Unity: Closure in The Unity of Consciousness

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Motivating the Unity Thesis in The Unity of Consciousness

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How to Evaluate the Unity Thesis in The Unity of Consciousness

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Fragments of Consciousness? in The Unity of Consciousness

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Hypnosis in The Unity of Consciousness

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The Split-Brain Syndrome in The Unity of Consciousness

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The Quilt of Consciousness in The Unity of Consciousness

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