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On the alleged impossibility of understanding consciousness

Garvey, James Mackenzie; (2000) On the alleged impossibility of understanding consciousness. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Central to contemporary philosophy of mind are two questions: what is consciousness, and how is consciousness related to the world? This thesis is concerned with sceptical responses to such questions, responses that take a number of forms. Some claim that empirical data undermine the concept of consciousness, such that it makes sense to say that 'consciousness' will go the way of phlogiston, signatures and spirits. Others argue that consciousness is beyond our ken; our cognitive faculties, in other words, are not up to the job of understanding consciousness. Still others maintain that consciousness is simply not amenable to the kind of understanding we seek. This thesis is an attempt to clarify these positions, and others like them, and determine whether or not there really are good reasons for thinking that consciousness cannot be understood. In the end, I hope to show that none of the arguments offered by those sceptical about the prospects for understanding consciousness are convincing.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: On the alleged impossibility of understanding consciousness
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Philosophy, religion and theology; Consciousness
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10105579
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