Phenomenal Unity: Mereology

Tim Bayne

in The Unity of Consciousness

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199215386
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191594786 | DOI:
Phenomenal Unity: Mereology

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This chapter develops and defends a mereologically‐based account of phenomenal unity, according to which experiences are phenomenally unified with each other when they are parts of a single experience. An initial objection to the mereological account derives from Tye's conception of experiences, according to which the only experiences that occur are entire streams of consciousness. As an alternative to Tye's account, this chapter proposes an account of the individuation of experiences that is consistent with the mereological analysis of phenomemal unity—the tripartite account. The chapter then examines and responds to a number of further objections to the mereological analysis of phenomenal unity: that it is committed to an explanatory regress, that it is at odds with the transparency of consciousness, and that it entails a building block conception of the structure of consciousness. The final section of this chapter addresses the question of whether it is possible for consciousness to be partially unified. A negative answer to this question is tentatively defended.

Keywords: phenomenal unity; co‐consciousness; partial unity; experiences; tripartite account; phenomenal transparency; Tye

Chapter.  12739 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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