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Consciousness and Experience (MIT Press) Hardcover – September 4, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

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"The mind has no special properties that are not exhausted by its representational properties, along with or in combination with the functional organization of its components. It would follow that once representation itself is (eventually) understood, then not only consciousness in our present sense but subjectivity, qualia, `what it's like,' and every other aspect of the mental will be explicable in terms of representation together with the underlying functionally organized neurophysiology.... I do not think there will be any `problem of consciousness' left." William Lycan

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This sequel to Lycan's Conciousness (1987) continues the elaboration of his general functionalist theory of conciousness, answers critics of his earlier work, and expands the range of discussion to deal with the many new issues and arguments that have arisen in the intervening years, an extraordinarily fertile period for the philosophical investigation of conciousness. Lycan not only uses the numerous arguments against materialism, and functionalist theories of mind in particular, to gain a more detailed positive view of the structure of the mind; he also targets the set of really hard problems at the center of the theory of consciousness: subjectivity, qualia, and the felt aspect of experience. The key to his own enlarged and fairly argued position, which he calls the "hegemony of representation", is that there is no more to mind or conciousness than can be accounted for in terms of intentionality, functional organization, and, in particular, second-order representation of one's own mental states.
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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: A Bradford Book; First Printing edition (September 4, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262121972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262121972
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Carlos Camara on October 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really regret having taken so long to get to read this book. It is surely one of the great contributons to the consicousness debate, although it may not have been as influential as Lycans previous book, Consicousness. There are some aspects of this book that really separate it from many others, but there are things that are to be expected in any philosophy book on consicousness as well.

One of the things in the first group of things I mentioned, is Lycans ability to clarify just exactly what is the problem. He manages to define 8 diferent concepts of consicousness, and over 14 problems concerning these concepts, in just the first chapter. This is no easy task on its own, but it is also a very important one. Although by realizing all these concepts and problems may be players in the study of consicousness, one realizes that many authors have been talking about different things all along, it also makes things easy for the reader, because one is certain of what exactly Lycan will be talking about. This is not to say that his discussions concern just one or another of these concepts. He actually goes trhough quite a number of them.

Now Lycans position is clear. He is a representationalist, and his thesis, wich he defends along the whole book, is that all consicous states are exhausted by their representational properties plus the functional organization of the system. The view itself is not completely new. Many others are representationalists (notably Dretske and Tye). But the fine points, the details, are different. And it is because of these differences that one can see the strenghts of Lycans position.

Lycan then, in this book, aims to explain his ideas on consicousness and qualia. These are not equivalent, Lycan argues.
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Format: Hardcover
In the introduction to this book, Lycan isolates no fewer than eight uses of the term 'conscious' and fifteen candidates for what one might mean by 'the problem of consciousness'.
Lycan's points are clear and direct. One always knows _exactly_ what issue is being addressed, which is no small accomplishment in this field.
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