Unity of Consciousness

Paul Raymont and Andrew Brook

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780199262618
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Unity of Consciousness


When one focuses on words on a monitor and, say, feels a twinge of pain, one is not conscious of the words and, separately, of the pain. One is conscious of the words and the pain together, as aspects of a single experience. At least since Kant, this phenomenon has been called the unity of consciousness. A variety of approaches to characterizing unified consciousness have been tried by different theorists. Some start from the idea that a unified conscious experience is a composite of other experiences. Others assert or assume that, while a unified conscious experience will have a complex object or content, it has no experiential parts. This article returns to this disagreement. The first two ways of characterizing the unity of consciousness that are examined here are within the experiential-parts approach.

Keywords: unity of consciousness; conscious experience; experiential-parts approach; co-consciousness; joint consciousness

Article.  5942 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind

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