Reflexive Monism

Velmans, Prof Max (2008) Reflexive Monism. [Journal (Paginated)]

Full text available as:

PDF (A definitive introduction to Reflexive Monism) - Published Version


Reflexive monism is, in essence, an ancient view of how consciousness relates to the material world that has, in recent decades, been resurrected in modern form. In this paper I discuss how some of its basic features differ from both dualism and variants of physicalist and functionalist reductionism, focusing on those aspects of the theory that challenge deeply rooted presuppositions in current Western thought. I pay particular attention to the ontological status and seeming “out-thereness” of the phenomenal world and to how the “phenomenal world” relates to the “physical world”, the “world itself”, and processing in the brain. In order to place the theory within the context of current thought and debate, I address questions that have been raised about reflexive monism in recent commentaries and also evaluate competing accounts of the same issues offered by “transparency theory” and by “biological naturalism”. I argue that, of the competing views on offer, reflexive monism most closely follows the contours of ordinary experience, the findings of science, and common sense.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:Consciousness, reflexive, monism, dualism, reductionism, physicalism, functionalism, transparency, biological naturalism, phenomenal world, physical world, world itself, universe itself, brain, perceptual projection, phenomenal space, measured space, physical space, space perception, information, virtual reality, hologram, phenomenological internalism, phenomenological externalism, first person, third person, complementary
Subjects:Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy > Philosophy of Science
Philosophy > Epistemology
Philosophy > Metaphysics
Psychology > Perceptual Cognitive Psychology
ID Code:6103
Deposited By: Velmans, Professor Max,
Deposited On:27 Jun 2008 01:40
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:57

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.

Baars, B.J. (1988) A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Baars , B.J. (2007) The global workspace theory of consciousness. In M. Velmans and S. Schneider (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Oxford: Blackwell, pp 236-246

Berkeley, G. (1972[1710]) The Principles of Human Knowledge, Edited and introduced by G.J. Warnock, London and Glasgow: William Collins Sons & Co.

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

Boghossian, P. and Velleman, J.D. (1989) Color as a secondary quality. Mind 98, 81-103.

Chalmers, D (1996) The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chalmers, D. (2007) Naturalistic dualism. In M. Velmans and S. Schneider (eds) The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Oxford: Blackwell, pp 359-368.

Clifford, W.C.K. (1901[1878]) On the nature of Things-in-themselves. In L. Stephen and F. Pollock (eds.) Lectures and Essays by the late William Kingdom Clifford, London: Macmillan & Co.

Dehaene, S. and Naccache, L. (2001) Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness: Basic evidence and a workspace framework. Cognition, 79, 1-37.

Dooremalen, H. (2003) Evolution’s Shorthand. A Presentational Theory of the Phenomenal Mind. Doctoral Thesis, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Goodale, M. (2007) Duplex vision: separate cortical pathways for conscious perception and the control of action. In M. Velmans and S. Schneider (eds) The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Oxford: Blackwell, pp 616-627.

Gray, J. (2004) Consciousness: Creeping Up On The Hard Problem. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hoche, H.U. (2007) Reflexive monism versus complementarism: An analysis and criticism of the conceptual groundwork of Max Velmans’s reflexive model of consciousness. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (in press).

Honderich, T. (2006) Radical externalism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (7-8), 3-13.

Hershenson, M. (1998) Visual Space Perception. Cambridge: Mass.: MIT Press

Husserl, E. 1931. Ideas. General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology. Translated [from Husserl 1913] by W. R. Boyce Gibson. New York: Collier Books.

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

James, W. (1890) The Principles of Psychology, New York: Henry Holt.

Kant, I. (1978[1781]) Paralogisms of pure reason. In Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, translated by N.K. Smith, London: The Macmillan Press.

Köhler, W. (1966) A task for philosophers. In P.K. Feyerabend and G. Maxwell (eds.) Mind, Matter and Method: Essays in philosophy of science in honour of Herbert Feigl, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Laws, P. (1972) On the problem of distance hearing and the localization of auditory events inside the head. Dissertation, Technische Hochschule, Aachen.

Lehar, S. (2003) Gestalt isomorphism and the primacy of subjective conscious experience: A gestalt bubble model. Behavioral & Brain Sciences 26(4), 375-444.

Lehar, S. (2006) The Dimensions of Visual Experience: A Quantitative Analysis. Presented at the Tucson 2006 conference Toward a Science of Consciousness.

Lewes, C.H. (1970[1877]) The physical basis of mind. In G.N.A. Vesey (ed.) Body and Mind: readings in philosophy, London: George Allen & Unwin.

Mach, E. (1897[1885]) Contributions to the Analysis of Sensations, translated. by C. M. Williams, Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Co.

McFadden, J. (2002) Synchronous firing and its influence on the brain’s electromagnetic field. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 9 (4), 23-50.

Milner, A.D, Goodale, M.A. (1995) The Visual Brain in Action. New York: Oxford University Press.

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

Pockett, S. (2002) Difficulties with the electromagnetic field theory of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 9(4), 51-56.

Pribram, K.H. (1971) Languages of the brain: experimental paradoxes and principles in neuropsychology. New York: Brandon House.

Pribram, K.H. (1974) How is it that sensing so much can do so little? In F.O.Schmitt and F.G.Worden (eds.) The Neurosciences Third Study Program, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.

Pribram, K.H. (1979) Behaviorism, phenomenology and holism in psychology: A scientific analysis. Journal of Social and Biological Structures 2:65-72.

Pribram, K. (2004) Consciousness reassessed. Mind and Matter, 2(1), 7-35.

Prince, M. (1970[1885]) The nature of mind and human automatism. In G.N.A. Vesey (ed.) Body and Mind: readings in philosophy, London: George Allen & Unwin.

Reed, B. (1987) The Field of Transformations, Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International, Ltd.

Revonsuo, A. (1995) Consciousness, dreams, and virtual realities. Philosophical Psychology, 8(1): 35-58.

Revonsuo, A. (2006) Inner Presence: Consciousness as a Biological Phenomenon. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT press

Robertson, L. (2004) Space, Objects, Minds, and Brains. New York and Hove: Psychology Press.

Russell, B. (1948) Human knowledge: its scope and its limits, London: Allen & Unwin.

Searle, J. (2007) Biological naturalism. In M. Velmans and S. Schneider (eds) The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Oxford: Blackwell, pp 325-334.

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

Sheldrake, R. (2005) The sense of being stared at. Part 2: Its implications for theories of vision. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 12 (6), 32-49.

Shepard, R. N. and Hut, P (1997) Turning the ‘hard problem’ upside down and sideways. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3(4): 313-329.

Sherrington, C.S. (1942) Man on His Nature, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sperry, R.W. (1969) A modified concept of consciousness. Psychological Review 76(6): 532-536.

Sperry, R.W. (1970) An objective approach to subjective experience. Psychological Review 77(6): 585-590.

Stapp, H. (2007a) Quantum mechanical theories of consciousness. In M. Velmans and S. Schneider (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Malden, MA: Blackwell, pp 300-312.

Stapp, H. (2007b) Quantum approaches to consciousness. In P. D. Zelago, M. Moscovitch and E. Thompson (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pages 881-908.

Stapp, H. (2007c) Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer. New York: Springer.

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

Tye, M. (2007) Philosophical problems of consciousness. In M. Velmans and S. Schneider (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Oxford: Blackwell, pp 23-35.

Van de Laar, T. (2003) The concept of projection in theories of phenomenal consciousness.

Van de Laar, T. (2007) Explicit Science: Methodology implying assumptions behind scientific research into consciousness and conscious intentional action. PhD dissertation. Radbout University, Nijmegen.

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. (1990) Consciousness, brain, and the physical world. Philosophical Psychology 3, 77-99.

Velmans, M. (1991a) Is human information processing conscious? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14(4), 651-669.

Velmans, M.(1991b) Consciousness from a first-person perspective. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14(4), 702-726.

Velmans, M. (1993a) Consciousness, causality and complementarity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 16(2), 404-416.

Velmans, M. (1993b) A Reflexive Science of consciousness. In Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness. CIBA Foundation Symposium 174. Wiley, Chichester, pp 81-99.

Velmans, M. (1996) Consciousness and the “causal paradox.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 19(3), 537-542.

Velmans, M. (1998a) Goodbye to reductionism. In S. Hameroff, A. Kaszniak and A. Scott (eds.) Towards a Science of Consciousness II: The Second Tucson Discussions and Debates. MIT Press, pp 45-52.

Velmans, M. (1998b) Physical, psychological and virtual realities. In J. Wood (ed.) The Virtual Embodied. London: Routledge.

Velmans, M. (1999) Intersubjective Science. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6(2/3), 299-306.

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

Velmans, M. (2002a) How could conscious experiences affect brains? Journal of Consciousness Studies, 9(11), 3-29.

Velmans, M. (2002) Making sense of causal interactions between consciousness and brain. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 9(11), 69-95.

Velmans, M. (2003a) How Could Conscious Experiences Affect Brains? Exeter: Imprint Academic.

Velmans, M (2003b) Is the brain in the world, or the world in the brain? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 26(4): 427-429.

Velmans, M. (2007a) Where experiences are: dualist, physicalist, enactive and reflexive accounts of phenomenal consciousness. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (in press).

Velmans, M. (2007b) Heterophenomenology versus critical phenomenology. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 6, 221-230.

Velmans, M. (2007c) An epistemology for the study of consciousness. In M. Velmans and S. Schneider (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Oxford: Blackwell, pp 711-725.

Velmans, M. (2008) Psychophysical nature. In H. Atmanspacher and H. Primas (eds.) Wolfgang Pauli’s Philosophical Ideas and Contemporary Science. Springer (in press)

Voerman, S (2003) We are better off without reflexive monism.

Whitehead, A.N. (1932) Science and the Modern World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wright, W. (2003) Projectivist representationalism and color. Philosophical Psychology, 16, 515-29.

Zeki, S. (2007) A theory of micro-consciousness. In M. Velmans and S. Schneider (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Oxford: Blackwell, pp 580-588.


Repository Staff Only: item control page