How to solve the problem of phenomenal unity: finding alternatives to the single state conception

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (5):811-836 (2017)
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The problem of phenomenal unity consists in providing a phenomenological characterization of the difference between phenomenally unified and disunified conscious experiences. Potential solutions to PPU are faced with an important challenge. I show that this challenge can be conceived as a phenomenological dual to what is known as Bradley’s regress. This perspective facilitates progress on PPU by finding duals to possible solutions to Bradley’s regress and makes it intelligible why many characterize phenomenal unity in terms of the existence of a single global conscious state. I call this latter view the “single state conception”. SSC is superficially attractive, because it seems to provide a solution to the phenomenological dual to Bradley’s regress, but should still be rejected, because it does not solve PPU; instead, it creates more problems; these problems can be avoided by alternative conceptions of phenomenal unity.



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Author's Profile

Wanja Wiese
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

References found in this work

Consciousness Explained.Daniel C. Dennett - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (4):905-910.
Consciousness Explained.William G. Lycan - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (3):424.
The Unity of Consciousness.Tim Bayne - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.

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