Velmans, Max (2001) A NATURAL ACCOUNT OF PHENOMENAL CONSCIOUSNESS. [Journal (Paginated)] (In Press)

Full text available as:

[img] HTML


Physicalists commonly argue that conscious experiences are nothing more than states of the brain, and that conscious qualia are observer-independent, physical properties of the external world. Although this assumes the 'mantle of science,' it routinely ignores the findings of science, for example in sensory physiology, perception, psychophysics, neuropsychology and comparative psychology. Consequently, although physicalism aims to naturalise consciousness, it gives an unnatural account of it. It is possible, however, to develop a natural, nonreductive, reflexive model of how consciousness relates to the brain and the physical world. This paper introduces such a model and how it construes the nature of conscious experience. Within this model the physical world as perceived (the phenomenal world) is viewed as part of conscious experience not apart from it. While in everyday life we treat this phenomenal world as if it is the "physical world", it is really just one biologically useful representation of what the world is like that may differ in many respects from the world described by physics. How the world as perceived relates to the world as described by physics can be investigated by normal science (e.g. through the study of sensory physiology, psychophysics and so on). This model of consciousness appears to be consistent with both third-person evidence of how the brain works and with first-person evidence of what it is like to have a given experience. According to the reflexive model, conscious experiences are really how they seem.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:consciousness, natural, physicalism, qualia, reductionism, reflexive, first-person, third-person, complementary, dualism, perceptual projection, Tye, Block, Armstrong, internalism, externalism
Subjects:Philosophy > Philosophy of Science
ID Code:1813
Deposited By: Velmans, Professor Max,
Deposited On:04 Oct 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

Armstrong, D.M. 1968. A Materialist Theory of Mind, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Block, N. 1995. On a confusion about a function of consciousness, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 18(2): 227-272.

Block, N. 1997. Biology versus computation in the study of consciousness, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20(1): 159-166.

Brugger, P. 1994. Heautoscopy, epilepsy, and suicide, Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 57: 838-839.

Chalmers, D. 1995. Facing up to the problem of consciousness, Journal of Consciousness Studies 2(3): 200-219.

Crick, F. 1994. The Astonishing Hypothesis: The scientific search for the soul, London: Simon & Schuster.

Dennett, D.C. 1991. Consciousness Explained, London: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press.

Dennett, D.C. and Kinsbourne, M. 1992. Time and the observer: The where and when of consciousness in the brain, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15:183-200.

James, W. 1970[1904] Does 'consciousness' exist? Reprinted in: G.N.A. Vesey (ed.) Body and mind: Readings in philosophy, London: Allen & Unwin.

Penfield, W. and Rassmussen, T.B. 1950. The Cerebral Cortex of Man, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Pribram, K.H. 1971. Languages of the Brain: Experimental paradoxes and principles in neuropsychology, Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice-Hall, 2nd ed. Monterey: Brooks/Cole.

Rock, I. 1997. Indirect Perception, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Searle, J. 1992. The Rediscovery of the Mind, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Tye, M. 1995. Ten Problems of Consciousness: A Representational Theory of the Phenomenal Mind, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

van der Heijden, A.H.C., Hudson, P.T.W. and Kurvink, A.G. 1997. On widening the explanatory gap, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20(1): 157-158.

Velmans, M. 2000. Understanding Consciousness. London: Routledge/Psychology Press.

Velmans, M. 1998. Goodbye to reductionism, In: S.Hameroff, A.Kaszniak and A.Scott (eds) Towards a Science of Consciousness II: The Second Tucson Discussions and Debates, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Velmans, M. 1993. A reflexive science of consciousness, In: Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness, Ciba Foundation Symposium No.174, Chichester: Wiley.

Velmans, M. 1991. Is human information processing conscious? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14(4): 651-726.

Velmans, M. 1990. Consciousness, brain, and the physical world, Philosophical Psychology 3: 77-99.

Zajonc, A. 1993. Catching the Light: An Entwined History of Light and Mind, London: Bantam Press.


Repository Staff Only: item control page