Consciousness and Mind

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Oxford University Press, 2005 - Philosophy - 378 pages
Consciousness and Mind presents David Rosenthal's influential work on the nature of consciousness. Central to that work is Rosenthal's higher-order-thought theory of consciousness, according to which a sensation, thought, or other mental state is conscious if one has a higher-order thought(HOT) that one is in that state. The first four essays develop various aspects of that theory. The next three essays present Rosenthal's homomorphism theory of mental qualities and qualitative consciousness, and show how that theory fits with and helps sustain the HOT theory. A crucial feature ofhomomorphism theory is that it individuates and taxonomizes mental qualities independently of the way we're conscious of them, and indeed independently of our being conscious of them at all. So the theory accommodates the qualitative character not only of conscious sensations and perceptions, butalso of those which fall outside our stream of consciousness. Rosenthal argues that, because this account of mental qualities makes no appeal to consciousness, it enables us to dispel such traditional quandaries as the alleged conceivability of undetectable quality inversion, and to disarm variousapparent obstacles to explaining qualitative consciousness and understanding its nature.Six further essays build on the HOT theory to explain various important features of consciousness, among them the complex connections that hold in humans between consciousness and speech, the self-interpretative aspect of consciousness, and the compelling sense we have that consciousness is unified.Two of the essays, one an extended treatment of homomorphism theory, appear here for the first time. There is also a substantive introduction, which draws out the connections between the essays and highlights their implications.

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Contents

Introduction
1
Two Concepts of Consciousness
31
Thinking that One Thinks
55
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

David Rosenthal is affiliated with the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

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