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Consciousness [Paperback]

Christopher S. Hill
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 30, 2009 0521125219 978-0521125215 1
This book presents a novel and comprehensive theory of consciousness. The initial chapter distinguishes six main forms of consciousness and sketches an account of each one. Later chapters focus on phenomenal consciousness, consciousness of, and introspective consciousness. In discussing phenomenal consciousness, Hill develops the representational theory of mind in new directions, arguing that all awareness involves representations, even awareness of qualitative states like pain. He then uses this view to undercut dualistic accounts of qualitative states. Other topics include visual awareness, visual appearances, emotional qualia, and meta-cognitive processing. This important work will interest a wide readership of students and scholars in philosophy of mind and cognitive science.

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Consciousness + The Conscious Brain: How Attention Engenders Experience (Philosophy of Mind) + The Character of Consciousness (Philosophy of Mind)
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Editorial Reviews


"Christopher Hill's Consciousness is the most compelling development and defense of representationalist physicalism about consciousness that I know. It takes the representational approach to a new level. There is a wealth of material here, with every important topic and issue covered judiciously and in detail. Hill's engagement with the current debates in the field illuminates his own views and make them stand out with great clarity. His book has forced me to rethink my own views about consciousness; another reading might convert me into a representationalist myself - something I would never have thought possible. This excellent book cannot be ignored by anyone with a serious interest in consciousness, physicalism, and the mind-body problem."
--Jaegwon Kim, Brown University

"This is a terrific philosophical state-of-the-art account of consciousness that develops a new improved version of the representative theory of mind and advances the discussion of consciousness to a new level."
--Gilbert Harman, Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University

"Hill defends a representational account of consciousness and qualia, but his centerpiece is a notion of 'experiential awareness' that has not previously been explored. His chapter on pain is the best defense I have seen of the proprioceptive theory, and the chapter on emotional qualia is important and highly original. There is also an unprecedented defense of the view that all introspective awareness takes the form of belief."
--William G. Lycan, Professor of Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"In this lucidly wrought volume, Christopher Hill makes the case for a unified representational theory of awareness. It is a magisterial work of great ambition and scope. Hill systematically applies the theory to the varieties of consciousness, showing how it can account for visual experience, qualia, pain, emotions, propositional attitudes, and introspection. On each topic, Hill sets up the pins and one by one knocks them down, until the representational account stands alone, seemingly inevitable. His marshalling of the theory to eviscerate well-known arguments for dualism is particularly devastating. Hill makes effective use of empirical results from vision science and neuroscience to buttress his case. The writing is extremely clear and compact, making it an excellent entry point for readers from cognitive science, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and vision science into the philosophical issues - which they ignore at their peril."
--William H. Warren, Professor of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences, Brown University

"This impressive book is filled with philosophical wisdom. It elevates the discussion of consciousness to a new level of clarity and precision, while providing a surer footing to the view that consciousness is representational in nature. The book will contribute to setting the agenda for future research."
--Brian McLaughlin, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University

Consciousness is imbued with enthusiasm for its eponymous subject, tempered by respect for the problems it discusses. In the course of defending his own heterodox brand of a representational theory of consciousness, Hill covers an impressive list of topics, including bodily sensations, emotions, spatial perception, self-knowledge, andthe explanatory gap. Packed with intricate arguments and exciting claims, this provocative and important book will be of great interest to students and specialists alike.
--Alex Byrne, Professor of Philosophy, MIT

"Christopher Hill's Consciousness is a lively tour through a wide range of central topics in the philosophy of mind, sprinkled generously with insights about the nature of pain, perception, the emotions, hedonic properties, introspection, and phenomenal concepts. It all adds up to a unified theory of the qualitative, framed by the author's renegade refusal to rely on the idea that forms of consciousness can be characterized by talking about what they are like. Philosophers interested in conscious mental life and in our distinctively first-personal ways of knowing about it are bound to find much in this book that they will want to chew over and digest."
--Susanna C. Siegel, Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University

"....well-written and thoroughly researched study.... provides an excellent context that may be employed in inter-disciplinary discussions on consciousness, mainly due to the clarity and coherence of the nomenclature presented in the book... Hills book is a valuable contribution to the field and it deserves careful study. The text should be seen as calling the attention of graduate students and researchers within consciousness studies, not only in analytic philosophy but also in phenomenology, psychology, and cognition science."
--Kyriakos Theodoridis, PhD, Malmo University, Metapsychology

"....Overall, Consciousness is instructive in where it goes right.... Hill's masterful exposition of the positions and problems of the major camps of philosophy of mind is really quite extraordinary.... informative and notable for its breadth, depth and seriousness."
--Ellen Fridland, Philosophical Inquiry

Book Description

This book provides interrelated accounts of six main forms of consciousness - agent consciousness, propositional consciousness (consciousness that), introspective consciousness, relational consciousness (consciousness of), experiential consciousness, and phenomenal consciousness. This important book will interest a wide readership of students and scholars in philosophy of mind and cognitive science.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (November 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521125219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521125215
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,401,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book January 14, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a nice little book on consciousness from a philosophical prespective. Not to be thought of as an intreoduction to consicousness studies. Actually, it is quite entrenched in a philosophical debate, that of the representational nature of consciousness.

Hill is a representationalist. Thing is, he does not offer very powerful arguments FOR representationalism. This, I think, is a problem for t¡his agenda. I believe in some way or other consciousness must be representational, but it is not to be just taken as a given. In fact, the debate is quite complex. Hill seems to just say that cognitive science has been working under a representational assumption, but that is no argument.

Hill is also a content externalist: qualia are viewpoint-dependent properties of external objects. This indeed in a nuturalistic account of phenomenal consicousness, but it is not without problems. I believe the brain in a vat argument is quite difficult for externalists, and Hill does not discuss it at lenght, or even explicitly. If brains in vats have qualia, these are not viewpoint related properties (ans sayng they are as-if properties, like dreams or hallucinations, does not quite cut it).

His style is fluid, and his arguments are well constructed, but there is not much progress aside from Hill explaining how his views differ from other representationalists, like Dretske, Tye or others. The book should be read by anyone interested in the topic, but you must have some background on the topic (or philosophy). I believe most of his ideas are plausible and probably in the right track, but I do not see how this book can convince the philosophical world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book June 20, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book very carefully last summer. It's a model of clarity and intellectual integrity, and contains a wealth of challenging arguments and interesting new ideas that deserve to be discussed in detail. Unless you're a professional philosopher or advanced student of philosophy, however, you probably won't appreciate what it has to offer. Clarity and broad accessibility are not the same thing.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hill on Consciousness October 31, 2011
Hill extends the representational theory of mind into new areas, and is able to use it to raise new problems for dualistic
theories of qualia and consciousness. In addition, the book contains illuminating accounts of pain, emotions, perceptual
experience, and introspection. Bravo!
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this about consciousness or language? January 10, 2011
By rodrigo
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Too many books by professional philosophers on the subject of consciousness seem to me to just be arguing about language. I just don't get it. I gave the book 3 stars instead of 2 because I must just not be understanding something correctly. I much prefer consciousness books by neuroscientists.
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