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Consciousness and Experience (MIT Press) Hardcover – September 4, 1996
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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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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.Read more ›
Lycan's points are clear and direct. One always knows _exactly_ what issue is being addressed, which is no small accomplishment in this field.