Chapter

Consciousness

Thomas Nagel

in Mind and Cosmos

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199919758
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980369 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199919758.003.0003
Consciousness

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This chapter discusses the concept of consciousness, which is the most evident barrier to a comprehensive naturalism that relies only on resources of physical science. It reveals that the existence of consciousness appears to imply that the universe's physical description is only a part of the truth. It studies conceptual behaviorism, a strategy that can be used to place the mental into the physical world picture. It then considers the failure of reductionism in the philosophy of mind, which has implications that extend far beyond the mind-body problem, and the basic intelligibility of the universe. This chapter also suggests several additions to a standard evolutionary explanation, describes the difference between emergent answers and reductive answers to the constitutive question, and emphasizes the irreducibility of conscious experience to the physical.

Keywords: consciousness; comprehensive naturalism; conceptual behaviorism; reductionism; philosophy of mind; intelligibility; evolutionary explanation; constitutive question; irreducibility; conscious experience

Chapter.  11277 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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