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In recent years, the problem of consciousness has developed into one of the most important and hotly contested areas in the philosophy of mind. Many philosophers regard consciousness as an entirely physical phenomenon, yet it seems to elude scientific explanation. On the other hand, viewing consciousness as a nonphysical phenomenon brings up even larger issues. If consciousness is not physical, how can it be explained? Concise, up-to-date, and engaging, A Dialogue on Consciousness explores these issues in depth. It features two main characters, Tollens and Ponens--unemployed graduate students who secretly live in a university library--who bring the debate alive. Tollens and Ponens examine the most significant theories and arguments in the field, quoting key passages from both classic and contemporary texts. Their discussion encompasses an expansive and diverse range of ideas, from those that originated in the Enlightenment up to today's most current perspectives. The dialogue concludes with a consideration of the pros and cons of modern physicalist views and nonphysicalist alternatives. An extensive annotated list of suggested readings directs readers to the most relevant and helpful primary sources. An accessible and entertaining introduction to this complex issue, Dialogue on Consciousness ideal for courses in philosophy of mind and consciousness. It also serves as an excellent supplement to introductory philosophy courses.
Torin Alter is Professor of Philosophy at The University of Alabama. Robert J. Howell is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Southern Methodist University.
Table of Contents
|Monday Night||p. 1|
|Late Night in the Library|
|The Subjectivity of Experience|
|The Soul and the Mind|
|Descartes' Conceivability Argument|
|Lois Lane, Clark Kent, and Superman|
|Arnauld's Objection to Descartes' Argument|
|Hume's Elusive Self|
|Souls and the Problem of Mental-Physical Causation|
|Tuesday Night||p. 16|
|Computers and Cognition|
|Consciousness versus Cognition|
|What Is It Like to Be a Bat?|
|The Need for a New Framework|
|Mary and the Knowledge Argument against Physicalism|
|Zombies and the Conceivability Argument against Physicalism|
|Wednesday Night||p. 36|
|The Structure of the Anti-Physicalist Arguments: The Epistemic Step and the Metaphysical Step|
|Questioning the Epistemic Step|
|Afterimages and Mary's Shortcuts to Phenomenal Knowledge|
|The Importance of Deduction|
|Hooking Up to the Physical|
|The Objectivity Condition on the Physical|
|Deduction and Translation|
|The Ability Hypothesis|
|The Connection between Abilities and Information|
|Representationalism and the Transparency of Experience|
|Thursday Night||p. 56|
|Questioning the Metaphysical Step|
|Superheroes and the Many Disguises of Physical Facts|
|Disguise Depends on Ignorance|
|The Cognitive Isolation of Phenomenal Concepts|
|Martian Mary and the Phenomenal Concept Strategy|
|Do Phenomenal Concepts Require Experience?|
|The Dilemma for the Phenomenal Concept Strategy|
|Descartes Returns, with Zombies|
|Friday Night||p. 71|
|Clarifying Property Dualism|
|Why Souls Are No Help|
|The Causal Inefficacy of Nonphysical Qualia|
|Assessing the Costs of Epiphenomenalism|
|The Paradox of Phenomenal Judgment|
|The Attractions of Monism|
|Phenomenal Properties as the Ground of Physical Dispositions|
|The Combination Problem|
|The Problem of Mental-Physical Causation Redux|
|The Significance of Ignorance|
|Defining the Physical|
|Necessitation without Deduction|
|The Sun Rises|
|Reading Suggestions||p. 108|
|Sources of Quotations||p. 112|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|