Each of us, right now, is having a unique conscious experience.
Nothing is more basic to our lives as thinking beings and nothing,
it seems, is better known to us. But the ever-expanding reach of
natural science suggests that everything in our world is ultimately
physical. The challenge of fitting consciousness into our modern
scientific worldview, of taking the subjective ?feel?
of conscious experience and showing that it is just neural activity
in the brain, is among the most intriguing explanatory problems of
In this book, Josh Weisberg presents the range of contemporary
responses to the philosophical problem of consciousness. The basic
philosophical tools of the trade are introduced, including thought
experiments featuring Mary the color-deprived super scientist and
fearsome philosophical ?zombies?. The book then
systematically considers the space of philosophical theories of
consciousness. Dualist and other ?non-reductive?
accounts of consciousness hold that we must expand our basic
physical ontology to include the intrinsic features of
consciousness. Functionalist and identity theories, by contrast,
hold that with the right philosophical stage-setting, we can fit
consciousness into the standard scientific picture. And
?mysterians? hold that any solution to the problem is
beyond such small-minded creatures as us.
Throughout the book, the complexity of current debates on
consciousness is handled in a clear and concise way, providing the
reader with a fine introductory guide to the rich philosophical
terrain. The work makes an excellent entry point to one of the most
exciting areas of study in philosophy and science today.