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Abstract: This commentary is a plea to re-read after five years one, as it seems, almost forgotten book which has nevertheless clearly influenced the development of empirical approaches to consciousness. The book provides an illuminating look at the early period to the modern revival of consciousness research. Its subtitle 'Psychological and Philosophical Essays' describes the book's range precisely. Early attempts to disect the mystery of consciousness and many themes that are still preoccupying modern consciousness research are covered. While some areas of research have been progressed, theoretical views have not changed dramatically, and this book still seems a good guide to embark on a mysterious journey when exploring consciousness
Abstract: The most important scientific discovery of the present era will come when someone -- or some group -- discovers the answer to the following question: How exactly do neurobiological processes in the brain cause consciousness? This is the most important question facing us in the biological sciences, yet it is frequently evaded, and frequently misunderstood when not evaded. In order to clear the way for an understanding of this problem. I am going to begin to answer four questions: 1. What is consciousness? 2. What is the relation of consciousness to the brain? 3. What are some of the features that an empirical theory of consciousness should try to explain? 4. What are some common mistakes to avoid?
Abstract: Beginning with physical reactions as simple and mechanical as rust, From Dust to Descartes goes step by evolutionary step to explore how the most remarkable and personal aspects of consciousness have arisen, how our awareness of the world of ourselves differs from that of other species, and whether machines could ever become self-aware.
Part I addresses a newborn’s innate abilities. Part II shows how with these and experience, we can form expectations about the world. Parts III concentrates on the essential role that others play in the formation of self-awareness. Part IV then explores what follows from this explanation of human consciousness, touching on topics such as free will, personality, intelligence, and color perception which are often associated with self-awareness and the philosophy of mind.
Abstract: 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