Unity of Consciousness: In Defense of a Leibnizian View.

In Christopher Hill David Bennett (ed.), Sensory Integration and the Unity of Consciousness. MIT Press (forthcoming)


It is common to hold that our conscious experiences at a single moment are often unified. But when consciousness is unified, what are the fundamental facts in virtue of which it is unified? On some accounts of the unity of consciousness, the most fundamental fact that grounds unity is a form of singularity or oneness. These accounts are similar to Newtonian views of space according to which the most fundamental fact that grounds relations of co-spatiality between various points (or regions) of a space is the fact that these points (or regions) are parts of the same single space. In this paper, I sketch and defend an alternative account of unity of consciousness. Very roughly, the view holds that experiences are unified when they are connected in the right way. In this respect, the view is analogous to Leibnizian views of space according to which the oneness of space emerges from certain conditions over spatial relations. The Leibnizian alternative has significant implications for our understanding of the metaphysics of conscious experience, the cognitive architecture of the mind and our assessment of the conditions under which unity of consciousness breaks.

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Farid Masrour
University of Wisconsin, Madison

References found in this work

Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.
Guide to Ground.Kit Fine - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37--80.
Consciousness in Action.Susan L. Hurley - 1998 - Harvard University Press.
The Unity of Consciousness.Tim Bayne - 2010 - Oxford University Press UK.

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Citations of this work

Unity, Mereology and Connectivity.Farid Masrour - 2014 - Analysis 74 (3):509-520.
Replies to Commentators.T. Bayne - 2014 - Analysis 74 (3):520-529.

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