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Degrees of Consciousness

Noûs 57 (3):553-575 (2023)

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  1. Can lists of requirements help consciousness navigate its epistemological quandaries?Chris Percy - manuscript
    Frustration has been growing with mainstay epistemological methods of logical deduction and experimental falsification for assessing theories of consciousness. This paper explores one among several alternatives being proposed: the listed requirements epistemology. A literature search identifies five papers that explicitly list requirements for assessing consciousness theories. These five lists are analysed as a promising starting point, but as yet insufficiently comprehensive to do the method justice. The longest list has 11 items, but 19 unique items are identified across the five (...)
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  • What is Consciousness?Amy Kind & Daniel Stoljar - 2023 - New York: Routledge.
    What is consciousness and why is it so philosophically and scientifically puzzling? For many years philosophers approached this question assuming a standard physicalist framework on which consciousness can be explained by contemporary physics, biology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. This book is a debate between two philosophers who are united in their rejection of this kind of "standard" physicalism - but who differ sharply in what lesson to draw from this. Amy Kind defends dualism 2.0, a thoroughly modern version of dualism (...)
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  • The Light & the Room.Andrew Y. Lee - manuscript
    To be conscious—according to a common metaphor—is for the “lights to be on inside.” Is this a good metaphor? I argue that the metaphor elicits useful intuitions while staying neutral on controversial philosophical questions. But I also argue that there are two ways of interpreting the metaphor. Is consciousness the inner light itself? Or is consciousness the illuminated room? Call the first sense subjectivity (where ‘consciousness’ =def what makes an entity feel some way at all), and the second sense phenomenal (...)
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  • Structuralism in the Science of Consciousness: Editorial Introduction.Andrew Y. Lee & Sascha Benjamin Fink - manuscript
    In recent years, the science and the philosophy of consciousness has seen growing interest in structural questions about consciousness. This is the Editorial Introduction for a special volume for Philosophy and the Mind Sciences on “Structuralism in Consciousness Studies.”.
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  • A Philosophy for the Science of Animal Consciousness.Walter Veit - 2023 - New York: Routledge.
    This book attempts to advance Donald Griffin's vision of the "final, crowning chapter of the Darwinian revolution" by developing a philosophy for the science of animal consciousness. It advocates a Darwinian bottom-up approach that treats consciousness as a complex, evolved, and multidimensional phenomenon in nature rather than a mysterious all-or-nothing property immune to the tools of science and restricted to a single species. -/- The so-called emergence of a science of consciousness in the 1990s has at best been a science (...)
  • Kinds and classification in consciousness science.Cecily Whiteley - 2022 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    Understanding the biological basis of consciousness is one of the central challenges for modern science. Is a mature scientific explanation really possible, and if so, how should consciousness science be organized so as to achieve this? This thesis is a collection of four papers which approach these questions via an account of the natural categories or ‘kinds’, drawn from philosophy of science, to which paradigmatic mental phenomena like consciousness belong. The central claims defended in the thesis are twofold. Firstly, that (...)
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  • Kan maskiner få generell intelligens? En kritisk drøfting av Landgrebe og Smiths bok Why Machines Will Never Rule the World.Atle Ottesen Søvik - 2023 - Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 58 (2-3):141-152.
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  • Mental Strength: A Theory of Experience Intensity.Jorge Morales - 2023 - Philosophical Perspectives 37 (1):1-21.
    Our pains can be more or less intense, our mental imagery can be more or less vivid, our perceptual experiences can be more or less striking. These degrees of intensity of conscious experiences are all manifestations of a phenomenal property I call mental strength. In this article, I argue that mental strength is a domain-general phenomenal magnitude; in other words, it is a phenomenal quantity shared by all conscious experiences that explains their degree of felt intensity. Mental strength has been (...)
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  • Multidimensional Adjectives.Justin D’Ambrosio & Brian Hedden - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Multidimensional adjectives are ubiquitous in natural language. An adjective F is multidimensional just in case whether F applies to an object or pair of objects depends on how those objects stand with respect to multiple underlying dimensions of F-ness. Developing a semantics for multidimensional adjectives requires us to address the problem of dimensional aggregation: how do the application conditions of an adjective F in its positive and comparative forms depend on its underlying dimensions? Here we develop a semantics for multidimensional (...)
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  • Dignity Beyond the Human: A Deontic Account of the Moral Status of Animals.Matthew Wray Perry - 2023 - Dissertation, The University of Manchester
    Dignity is traditionally thought to apply to almost all and almost only humans. However, I argue that an account of a distinctly human dignity cannot achieve a coherent and non-arbitrary justification; either it must exclude some humans or include some nonhumans. This conclusion is not as worrying as might be first thought. Rather than attempting to vindicate human dignity, dignity should extend beyond the human, to include a range of nonhuman animals. Not only can we develop a widely inclusive account (...)
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  • What is a Mathematical Structure of Conscious Experience?Kleiner Johannes & Ludwig Tim - manuscript
    In consciousness science, several promising approaches have been developed for how to represent conscious experience in terms of mathematical spaces and structures. What is missing, however, is an explicit definition of what a 'mathematical structure of conscious experience' is. Here, we propose such a definition. This definition provides a link between the abstract formal entities of mathematics and the concreta of conscious experience; it complements recent approaches that study quality spaces, qualia spaces or phenomenal spaces; it provides a general method (...)
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  • When do parts form wholes? Integrated information as the restriction on mereological composition.Kelvin J. McQueen & Naotsugu Tsuchiya - forthcoming - Neuroscience of Consciousness.
    Under what conditions are material objects, such as particles, parts of a whole object? This is the composition question and is a longstanding open question in philosophy. Existing attempts to specify a non-trivial restriction on composition tend to be vague and face serious counterexamples. Consequently, two extreme answers have become mainstream: composition (the forming of a whole by its parts) happens under no or all conditions. In this paper, we provide a self-contained introduction to the integrated information theory of consciousness (...)
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  • Health, Agency, and the Evolution of Consciousness.Walter Veit - 2022 - Dissertation, The University of Sydney
    This goal of this thesis in the philosophy of nature is to move us closer towards a true biological science of consciousness in which the evolutionary origin, function, and phylogenetic diversity of consciousness are moved from the field’s periphery of investigations to its very centre. Rather than applying theories of consciousness built top-down on the human case to other animals, I argue that we require an evolutionary bottomup approach that begins with the very origins of subjective experience in order to (...)
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