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Abstract: Everyone agrees that consciousness is a very special phenomenon, unique in several ways, but there is scant agreement on just how special it is, and whether or not an explanation of it can be accommodated within normal science. John Searle's view, defended with passion in this book, is highly idiosyncratic: what is special about consciousness is its "subjective ontology," but normal science can accommodate subjective ontology alongside (not within) its otherwise objective ontology. Once we clear away some widespread confusions about what science requires, and dismiss the misbegotten field of cognitive science that has been engendered by those confusions, the subjective ontology of the mind, he claims, will lose its aura of unacceptable mystery
Abstract: (I) John Searle's conception of consciousness in the 'Mind the Gap' issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies remains short on content, no advance on either materialism or traditional dualism. Still, it is sufficiently contentful to be self-contradictory. And so his Biological Subjectivity on Two Levels, like materialism and dualism, needs replacing by a radically different conception of consciousness -- such as Consciousness as Existence. (II) From his idea that we can discover 'gaps', seeming absences of causal circumstances, in our experience of deciding and acting, Searle is led to the positing of a self and to mysterious causing. (III) In fact philosophers of determinism and freedom over three centuries have concerned themselves with what are now termed 'gaps'. Searle's advance is a useful terminological one. Compatibilist philosophers of freedom, contrary to what is said, have not missed any point at all. A successor to both Compatibilism and Incompatibilism is needed. (IV) Searle's previous account of deciding and acting in Biological Subjectivity on Two Levels does indeed fail because of its epiphenomenalism. (V) The culmination of his paper, his preferred hypothesis now about deciding and acting, is that down-up causation is true of it but not left-right causation. Quantum Theory as often interpreted doesn't work down-up but does work left-right. The hypothesis is entirely in the tradition of the Incompatibilist and Libertarian philosophers of determinism and freedom, whom Searle has joined, but is factually incredible
Abstract: I have argued in a number of writings that the philosophical part (though not the neurobiological part) of the traditional mind-body problem has a fairly simple and obvious solution: All of our mental phenomena are caused by lower level neuronal processes in the brain and are themselves realized in the brain as higher level, or system, features. The form of causation is