PROF. TED HONDERICH PHILOSOPHY WEBSITE
There's a fair amount on this website on three large philosophical subjects. (i) Consciousness and mind, and a theory of them called Actualism. (ii) Determinism or what is better called explanationism -- and the two different ideas of freedom that are free will and voluntariness. (iii) Right and wrong, more particularly the Principle of Humanity, for me and conceivably for you a rational because more explicit successor to the Golden Rule.
Also quite a lot on such other smaller and mixed subjects as philosophy itself -- what is it? -- and on what kinds of being physical there are, and what time itself comes to at bottom -- the temporal properties past, present and future, or the temporal relations earlier-than, simultaneous-with, and later-than? Also the subject of causal connection itself and other lawfulnesses, necessities or dependencies, wherever they come up, including the philosophy of mind. And the subjects of war, terrorism and the conceivability or inconceivability of what can be called terrorism for humanity. Also consequentialism in ethics as against good intentions. And the end justifying the means. What else could?
Also the smaller and mixed subjects that are the whole political traditions of conservatism, liberalism, and democratic socialism. And the subjects of what deserving something for something comes to, and our institution of punishment's other and only justification. And the fall and rise of a book in Germany, and Zionism and Neo-Zionism in Palestine. Also personal identity, Bertrand Russell's Theory of Descriptions, and Mary Warnock on the natural. Also me on mass civil disobedience, moral luck as discovered by Bernard Williams, religion, philosophical autobiography, whether the brain is before the mind or after.
All those various subjects and more as dealt with by some working philosophers, myself and others, in journal articles, speeches in university debates, popular talks to culture-festival audiences in Hay-on-Wye, and philosophy lectures including three by Jurgen Habermas, Alastair MacIntyre and Bernard Williams. Also introductions by me to annual lectures by distinguished philosophers of our times to the Royal Institute of Philosophy. And a television programme about too many politicians, 'The Real Friends of Terror', made from a book of moral philosophy.
Plus a contribution to BBC radio programme not saved by me from its reputation and name -- The Moral Maze. Also reviews of books by such reviewers as the two politicians the democratic socialist Michael Foot and the conservative threatener-of-doom Enoch Powell. Also interviews, and passing thoughts on an academic row started by a book review and made news by the New York Times. And thoughts on such as Trump and Blair -- those creatures of whom you may ask if they are a judgement not only on themselves but also -- more importantly? -- on the societies that selected them. And last and least among other things on the website, that lowest form of literate life, a letter to an editor -- on philosophy not being dead even if a noted scientist has half-dared to think it is.
But we start with what mainly comes from a recording of a lecture given in several places.
HONDERICH ON CHOMSKY ON HONDERICH -- ABOUT MIND, MORE PARTICULARLY CONSCIOUSNESS
1. EXTRICATING CONSCIOUSNESS FROM UNCONSCIOUSNESS
2. REPRESENTATION, ABOUTNESS, MEANINGS, FACTS OF LINGUISTICS ETC -- EVERYWHERE WITH RESPECT TO MIND?
3. ACTUALISM -- THE WHOLE PHYSICAL WORLD AND THE OBJECTIVE PHYSICAL WORLD
4. ACTUALISM -- THE SUBJECTIVE PHYSICAL WORLDS -- AND ABOUTNESSES
5. THE PREVIOUS THEORIES OF CONSCIOUSNESS -- AND ACTUALISM
6. CONSCIOUSNESS AND UNCONSCIOUSNESS -- MORE ON THE DIFFERENCE
7. ACTUALISM FURTHER ELABORATED
8. METAPHYSICS, SELVES AS ORDINARY PERSONS, NATURALISM
9. UNCONSCIOUS MENTALITY YET AGAIN
10. INEXTRICABILITY -- THE CONCLUSION ONE LAST TIME
11. FAREWELL REMARKS
1. EXTRICATING CONSCIOUSNESS FROM UNCONSCIOUSNESS
In a previous start to this website, like this one also taken from my notes for talks and lectures, it was reported or intimated by me that Noam Chomsky denies that any theory of consciousness is possible. That he denies this, seemingly, because of what he takes to be the entanglement and the like, the rich and complex relations, of consciousness -- conscious mentality -- to unconscious mentality. The latter sometimes spoken of as including unconscious beliefs and desires but I guess evidently including much more having to do with consciousness in perception, not to mention other sources of or enablings of or contributions to consciousness.
I reported that Noam at least seems to deny the possibility of any theory whatever of consciousness for this reason of relations in his piece 'Mentality Beyond Consciousness' in the volume on my stuff edited by Professor Gregg Caruso --
I came to that understanding of Noam's position for a start by way of his various sentences to the effect that we just cannot extricate conscious mentality from unconscious mentality -- which maybe is to say we cannot free conscious mentality from the constraint or difficulty of unconscious mentality? We cannot untangle consciousness from what maybe can still be called the unconscious in a general sense -- despite other uses and abuses of and careerism and profiting by way of that worn term? And despite somewhere in the past my own piece of careless expression allowing the quite mistaken understanding by a reader that I took unconscious mentality to be just the subject of what is called just dispositional belief.
If consciousness can't be extricated, I said in the previous start to this website, how can we have any theory, analysis or explanation of the nature of consciousness by itself? Of course asking and answering the question depends on what such a theory, analysis or explanation is taken to be. Well, I said for a hesitant start that a successful theory of something has to be of what can be and is somehow distinguished from something else, somehow extricated or untangled -- presumably from everything else, whatever its other relations to them.
Unconsciousness has to do with representation in a lesser or anyway different and clear sense, partly in being within the scientifically lawful explanation of representation in consciousness. Partly however, it somehow includes representation in being itself somehow representative.
I had and have a clarification of but no confident clarification of this latter fact. One temptation is to say the mere thing that unconscious representation consists in something like just ordinary words existing on paper, say these you are reading, as distinct from any understanding of them by you, which words on paper we can certainly hope to distinguish from conscious representations. Unconscious representations and unconsciousness are different from conscious representation in being like words themselves on paper -- not in themselves actual.
The same remarks apply, of course, to computers. Certainly they compute. Certainly they represent. Conscious they're not. Not yet? Who cares? Anyway, nothing to the present point.
So, in my view, in my chosen sense of extrication at the moment, however it stands to Noam's, consciousness can be in one way or sense extricated from and in another smaller sense can't be extricated from unconsciousness.
But Noam has let me know in an email about my previous start on this website that he just didn't ever suggest and he doesn't hold the view that there just can't be any theory of consciousness -- any theory at all. He says that he hasn't and doesn't take it to follow from the truth that consciousness and unconscious mentality can't be extricated etc.
OK, I accept that this is
The big question for me now, maybe one in which your are or can be interested, must of course be another one. It is naturally enough the question of whether his connecting or relating of consciousness and unconsciousness in his paper on my theory of consciousness somehow seeks to refute exactly what he was writing about, just my theory of consciousness -- called Actualism. That, I now think or maybe accept, is what he was doing or trying to do or anyway what was the main objective in what he was doing.
Interested I am. It's not every day your theory of something is subjected to a doubt or moreso by the great leader of a discipline -- in this case the science of linguistics -- and a leader of the still larger subject of right and wrong with respect to our Western societies and by implication other societies. There are reflections of his on terrorism, by the way, unconnected with consciousness, further down this website.
Nor is Noam alone, of course, in another general attitude to mind and consciousness -- that they are very difficult indeed. There are certain people different but something like him. The books on mind and consciousness on my shelves have their own doubts about consciousness. David Chalmers has been known for identifying suggestively 'the hard problem' of consciousness as well as for his attempt to solve it in The Conscious Mind. Susan Blackmore, an outstanding psychologist on her subject, reports without much relief in Consciousness: An Introduction' -- that 'At the start of the 21st Century we still cannot define consciousness, but at least we are allowed to talk about it.'
There are also doubts about consciousness expressed in contributions in a book Philosophers of Our Times, annual lectures to The Royal Institute of Philosophy -- at least questioning if not pessimistic contributions from the very accredited figures Thomas Nagel, Peter Strawson, Mary Warnock, Christine Korsgaard, Tyler Burge, Jerry Fodor, and Ned Block. If you look at books in the long bibliography at the end of this piece, you will find still more uncertainty -- at least uncertainty.
But to get going on safely here and now with Noam, or anyway to start out safely -- or to save you trouble -- the inquiry and defence with respect to extricating consciousness from unconsciousness just can't be short and simple -- here are 14 quotings of his own words.
(i) 'I would like to explore the possibility that the conscious and unconscious states interact so closely in explanation of overt behavior and internal thought that the elements of consciousness cannot be extricated without seriously misrepresenting mental life. Among unconscious states, I think we must include those that are inaccessible to consciousness, which also are interwoven inextricably in our mental acts.' p.33
Presumably the mental acts he mentions in the quotation are conscious mental acts -- say ordinary choosings and decidings. And what is not to be able to extricate anything? Not to be able to do it? That is a big question, isn't it?
Well, at a first shot, probably aimed by your dictionary, not to be able to extricate something is not to be able to free it from a constraint or difficulty, distinguish it from a related thing, save it from entanglements or perplexities with respect to a related thing. Not much help. What more explicit thing does inextricability come to?
Well, we can make a first agreement about what we are considering easily. It can't be that it's claimed that there isn't any extrication in the relevant sense just if two things are cause and effect. Or between causal circumstance (what used to be called a sufficient condition) and effect. Or if the two things are non-causally but nonetheless connected in some other way somehow lawfully, in terms of a definable necessity, connected what you might call determinably, or the like. In that sense of being inextricable, just about everything that exists is inextricable. Nothing special at all about consciousness and unconsciousness.
Does this particular inextricableness of two things entail that no general difference can be made between them? Of course not.
Is the lawful connection itself a matter of a problem to be worked on? Of course. Start with the truth that unconscious mentality can exist -- facts of a brain -- without right then being related to conscious mentality. Can we find out more about unconsciousness by starting with consciousness? Can we find out more about consciousness by starting with unconsciousness? Of course. So what?
Could we leave out lawful connection and just relate consciousness and unconsciousness just in terms of aboutness, meaning and so on? Of course not. Not if we are in the business of explaining what it is to be conscious.
(ii) Noam affirms there
are 'secrets of nature'. p.35 We still come
up against what a previous century gave that name to. We still come up against
them with unconscious mentality and maybe or presumably conscious mentality. We
still do come up against them with unconscious mentality and maybe conscious
mentality. OK, depending on what secrets of nature are, what do they come to?
And whether in in that sense they are there with consciousness and
(iii) '...a review by William Braun of a new production of Alban Berg's opera Lulu opens as follows: "Just about everyone who has ever taught a class or given a lecture has had the experience: you are speaking about a subject you know fairly well, and you hear yourself saying something that must have been in the back of your mind for some time, but which you have never consciously thought about". ... I suspect...that the experience is far more general, a constant in daily life buried below fragments that emerge as inner speech; and that what is 'in the back of the mind' is commonly beyond access to consciousness'. p.38, pp. 44-5
Yes, back of your mind is a good figurative start on something -- unconscious mentality -- and figurative starts aren't to be disdained. My Actualism theory starts with a lot of them. But a start isn't more than a start. It's what it is then shown to come to literally is what counts. That is the work, the real work.
(iv) '...we find a constant interplay between conscious awareness and unconscious principles of both types: accessible or inaccessible in principle....' p.41 OK, but what does this result in? No Actualism theory of consciousness? But I now give up these early questions and comments of mine with respect to Noam's quoted thoughts.
(v) 'Traditionally, language is described as sound with meaning, or as audible thought. The latter rendition is closer to accurate. What seems still more accurate is that language is thought, which is occasionally audible, or externalized in some other modality (sign language is remarkably similar in design, acquisition, and use, and even neural representation).' p.42
(vi) 'Returning then to the question of language and thought, ...paradigm cases of thinking...illustrate the intimate interplay of processes that are unconscious and, in crucial cases, there is intimate interplay of processes that are unconscious and, in crucial cases, inaccessible to consciousness'. p.43
(vii) 'Guiding principles' of unconscious mentality although inaccessible to conscious thought are 'interweaving inextricably with what reaches consciousness'. p.43
(viii) With respect to the initiation of voluntary motion, our initiation of it, 'we are beginning to understand the puppet and the strings but have no ideas about the puppeteer.' p.44
(ix) '...inaccessible unconscious processes intermingle with what reaches consciousness'. p.44
(x) There is 'hearing yourself say something that must have been in the back of your mind for some time, but which you have never consciously thought about'. p.44
(xi) '... when you are sitting down to write an article, and don't know where to begin, all of a sudden paragraphs start pouring out fully formed, from the back of your mind. What has been happening in the back of your mind? It seems that thoughts were forming, being considered, shaped and elaborated, rejected as on the wrong track, and finally being turned into an articulated form, all without awareness, and with intimate intermingling of processes that are inaccessible to consciousness.' p.45
(xii) 'Quite commonly, we search for the right words and phrases, recognizing that what we are saying to ourselves is not quite what we mean. These efforts seek to attain what we mean, but fail, which indicates that there is something that we mean, but it is inaccessible to consciousness, and we can at most try in various ways to approximate it.' p.45
(xiii) 'These efforts seek to attain what we mean, but fail, which indicates that there is something that we mean, but it is inaccessible to consciousness, and we can at most try in various way to approximate it.' p.45
(xiv) 'To summarize briefly, I have been trying to suggest that the study of certain aspects of consciousness can be carried forward by placing it in a richer setting, taking into account the intimate interactions between what reaches awareness and internal process of mental computation that are unconscious, often inaccessible to consciousness, and very likely a core feature of fundamental human nature. p.45
2. REPRESENTATION, ABOUTNESS, MEANINGS, FACTS OF LINGUISTICS ETC -- EVERYWHERE WITH RESPECT TO MIND?
There's something else large in Noam's piece, already touched on here, a second large matter other than causation or other lawful connection itself. There's this other matter of consciousness and unconsciousness for us to think about as well. He does at least imply it. More than imply it.
This second matter, quite distinct from inextricability and the back of the mind, is that there can be no decent theory of consciousness that isn't all of it somehow in terms of what in philosophy and some science is referred to so variously: as representation, aboutness, meaning, semantics and syntactics, reference, standing-for, symbols, language, inner speech, images-of, content somehow similarly understood, maybe mental paint, and what used to be called intentionality for an historical but not good enough reason -- intentionality somehow understood just in an old, special and secondary sense of that word where it is close enough to representation or aboutness.
Which subject of representation, aboutness etc, according to me, however much room there is for more thinking about it, is something you don't have to get mesmerized by or uniquely or even very unusually puzzled about -- if you remember the rest of what is in philosophy. Representation, aboutness etc -- all the free talk -- are at bottom, the very bottom, a plain-enough fact.
A plain-enough fact you can make more than a good beginning on, and try to continue on from, by remembering just exactly your or anyway the naming of a child and the ongoing result thereafter. Or by remembering putting a word from a dictionary on something, maybe on a newish feeling you are having. A new gratification or new insecurity? We all know about, if we stop to think, all those establishings of and persistings with the more than useful connections of representation or aboutness or... in our lives.
But, to come to the point, a thing we have to think about is that Noam doesn't only have aboutness or representations or the like in his story with the two sides of consciousness that are the cognitive and the affective sides -- by which I mean (a) the somehow taking-as-ordinarily-true side or related to that side, and (b) the wanting, feeling, hoping etc side. He also is like quite a lot of other people in having aboutness or representions or aboutnesses and the like in his story with the third side of consciousness. The perceptual side -- being conscious within the fact or process of perceiving something, say a room right now.
Yes, with consciousness, for him and for other all-out abouters, there's aboutness in all consciousness. In Noam's case, there's what he calls or imples the presence of language and inner speech everywhere. He's not alone. Sometimes it seems we're surrounded by these convinced or maybe even automatic all-out or all-in abouters in philosophy and science where consciousness or mind is the subject. This isn't brand new, of course. It is what was named lingualism in a book of mine.
Can I contemplate that Noam's connection of words and the like with perceptual consciousness itself is a special case of succumbing to a seduction by what one knows best? Generalizing from it? Somehow generalizing from one's own special discipline? In his case, generalizing from exactly the science of linguistics? Could be. Am I and almost all my fellow workers lucky as philosophers in being only in philosophy? Lucky, that is, in concentrating more than any science on the logic of ordinary intelligence: concentrating more on the four things that are clarity, consistency, completeness, generalness.
Yes, my conception of philosophy, a pretty safe and this-worldly one, is that it is a pursuit of ordinary truth, factuality in that sense, as science is, but distinguished from science by being the greater concentration on that logic of ordinary intelligence and by concern only with general truth. The conception in my use of it, by the way, has never for a mad moment assigned a greater superiority to philosophy over science -- or to science over philosophy. Nor has it ever crossed my mind that philosophy has the or anyway a fundamental recommendation of science, which is its great usefulnesses in addition to its concentration on fact. Still, acclaim the worth of philosophy I do.
Can I also defend the particular claim of philosophy against science with respect to general truth? To getting to or towards general truth? Certainly. The claim of philosophy is in a way smaller, in a way larger. The persistence of philosophy over centuries against ignorance, convention, religion, scientism, and what-not has not been owed to anything less.
My own theory or analysis or understanding of the nature of consciousness, also defended and a bit taken forward elsewhere on this website, is a theory which with its several antecedents has taken up a lot of my life. Still worth laying out and affirming? I hope and say so. Right now, in the next sections of this introduction, a necessary little summary of the thing.
Actualism, so to name again my theory or analysis, in fact more a work in progress rather than something finished, goes along with almost all science and a lot of philosophy in taking all that exists, which is to say every particular thing and property and event that there is in space and time, as in a certain defined sense physical. Name this totality exactly just the physical world. Or better, to distinguish it from other things you'll also be hearing about, name it the whole physical world.
3. THE WHOLE PHYSICAL WORLD AND THE OBJECTIVE PHYSICAL WORLD
This whole physical world, by the way, to stray right off exactly the present subject of consciousness for a minute, does not contain certain bits in the Quantum Theory in physics. Bits on which some remaining proponents of the kind of freedom that is free will or our mysterious origination of choices and decisions or our own creativity -- quite mistakenly or at least very chancely rely to save us from determinism or explanationism -- save us by saying truly but absolutely irrelevantly that those funny bits aren't effects, not things determined by causal circumstances, things explained in that fundamental sense, correlates in that sense. Our choices and decisions are that way. But forget all that about real events or states as against other items.
Whatever else can usefully be said about the whole physical world in my sense, which of course is rather a lot -- whole chapters of books -- the main thing for us is that it consists of two species, parts or divisions. One of them then dividing into two or three subspecies. In fact the whole physical world itself is further defined for present purposes as what has the two species, parts or divisions, and the subspecies. You understand a great deal more of what the whole physical world is in this way, by coming to know what it contains.
The first defined species, part or division of the whole physical world is the objective physical world, sometimes also known as something like the scientific physical world or the material world. Maybe sometimes spoken of not very usefully as the natural world.
I sure do not begin to suppose, with Noam, by the way, in another of his large propositions, that there just is no adequate understanding of the objective physical world. None at all. Essentially for his reason of the recent and present state of science -- its departure from that earlier century, mainly the 17th Century, of those simple physical particles etc. Not being an exemplar of philosophical sanity myself, I feel free to take Noam's position here as not being just an overlooking of a lot but daft.
In my view, we certainly don't depend only on science for a good start on saying what the objective physical world. Even if the very first characteristic of the objective physical world is that it's whatever is included in the inventory of science, included in what science takes to exist. We certainly don't have to depend only on science, though, partly for a start because we're not all of us only doing science.
There's what we're up to right now, which is philosophy. You'll find a fuller definition or indeed analysis of philosophy somewhere else on this website. In short, it is a concentration greater than that of science on the logic of ordinary intelligence -- those four things mentioned already above -- clarity, consistency and validity, completeness, generalness. A lesser concentration on facts, at least what are more often dignified by being given of the name of being facts.
Anyway, I bravely suppose against Noam that I can and that I do give such an adequate understanding of the objective physical world. It has, according to me, 16 properties.
These have to do first, yes,
with the inventory of science -- what science allows to exist -- and scientific
method with respect to physicality, and all of space and time, particular
lawful connections, categorial lawful connections, macroworld and microworld,
points of view, primary and secondary properties or a lack, separateness from
consciousness, public or private, common or privileged access, truth and logic,
scientific method with respect to objectivity, a question about subjectivity,
hesitations about consciousness.
Nor do I go along with other such defeatisms than Chomsky's about saying what the objective physical world is. Say the defeatism implied quite a while ago in the paper by the admirable philosophers Tim Crane and Hugh Mellor, 'There Is No Question of Physicalism'. It was so titled also out of the conviction, for different reasons, that no adequate conception of the physical was available, certainly none to be got by reliance on science.
And hence, by the way, just incidentally, thinking of Chomsky, Crane and Mellor, since according to me there absolutely definitely is a decent definition of the objective physical world, I do not suppose with them, for example, that there is in effect no adequate or even possible solution to what has been known forever as the mind-body problem. That is essentially the particular problem of the relationhip of consciousness to brain -- the relationship of consciousness to that particular case of objective physicality in your head.
Nor indeed, I also succumb
to the temptation of remarking in passing, do I suppose that in place of mind
or consciousness and brain, it is better to talk with Noam in other ways, say of
David Marr's three levels -- hardware, computational level, algorithmic
level. Anyway, that sounds like what I've elsewhere called abstract functionalism, conscious events
being just certain effects and
causes, functioning in that sense, but
themselves somehow being abstract rather than physical. Let us not go into that
worse-than-suspect kettle of fish, anyway right now. In my own view, it is
I succumb to the temptation to add here, too late, that the objective physical world has those 16 properties -- 9 properties of physicality and 7 characteristics of objectivity. That list, which you can look at in the Caruso book on both p.6 and p.119 (the latter table enlarged by the encounter still going on right here now with Chomsky) is of course a further and better clarification of the objective physical world in terms just of itself rather than initially only by its inclusion in the whole physical world.
4. SUBJECTIVE PHYSICAL WORLDS AND ABOUTNESSES
The second species, part or
division of the whole physical world is made up of subjective physical
worlds. Different characteristics enumerated again. These worlds are very likely news to you, maybe unheard of by
you before now, breaking philosophical news. Should they be on the telly? Announced
on the BBC new science programme? Yes! But you don't need that. You've got a hold
on your consciousness within perception, as on all your consciousness. You've
got that hold with respect to perceptual consciousness right now -- in fact of
subjective physical worlds. Not that your hold is anything like the full
argument for them.
Certainly your subjective physical world right now, probably as well spoken of as the room you're in, like the objective physical world in part, is something out there. That's where it is. It's out there in space and time. In ways dependent on both the objective physical world out there and also dependent on you -- say you neurally. The last dependency is much of the reason, anyway some of it, for calling this physicality subjective rather than objective.
Your subjective physical world certainly not some damned thing in your head. Not an idea or an image of something, as started to be said back in the philosophy British Empiricism in the 17th and 18th centuries -- Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. Or just an impression, or a sense-datum, or a perception, or a concept, or a content in a special sense. Or not, to be more respectful than necessary, one or more of the things recently called qualia in one or another sense of that philosopher's word.
Your subjective physical
world is not any such inner thing or
things whatever. Certainly saying anything of that old kind, going in for what
you can call the old internalism rather than an externalism about
exactly perceptual consciousness -- if not about any other kind of
consciousness -- has according to me been the main mistake in the philosophical
and also the scientific history of inquiry into mind until now. Something just
asking for a little calm philosophical and scientific revolution.
Yes, novel things do come up in philosophy as well as in science. These ones, subjective physical worlds, are very definable, can definitely be made clear enough. These subjective physical worlds, maybe better called stages of such worlds, certainly in space and time, are indeed for a very small start what you can call the stuff of perceptual consciousness. That is of course consciousness within perception as a whole -- consciousness within seeing, touching and so on. Subjective physical worlds as they are are in a sense what consciousness within perception comes to -- in seeing and so on -- although there is a lot more to say about perception, including more of objective physicality.
These subjective physical worlds, as it turns out, like the whole objective physical world, are also definable as having 16 listed characteristics, some the same as ones of the objective physical world, some different. Some are about what your subjective physical worlds are dependent on as a matter of law. On both the objective physical world and you yourself in a way.
Is Noam put off by my subjective physical worlds? I don't know. Could be. Some people are. He isn't a stick-in-the-mud by nature, thank God. But maybe he hasn't got around to getting linguistics in its representationism or aboutism sufficiently up to date with a maybe growing philosophical minority of the rest of the world -- to catch up with my philosophical realism about what perceptual consciousness includes or comes to?
But be reassured yourself. There's
nothing airy-fairy about the subjective physical worlds and their defining
characteristics -- or of course the objective physical world and its
characteristics, not to mention the genus the whole physical world. The
conception of a subjective physical world isn't any funnier than a lot of stuff
in physical science. Start with a boy's own encyclopedia of science if
necessary. You'll find a ton of funny.
Most of the characteristics of all these subjective physical worlds are pretty obvious, such as the things being, yes, in the categories being within the inventory of science, in the list of what science takes to exist, and of course open to the scientific method, and also being either public or private -- open to all or else open only to somebody in particular or something in particular. In fact private.And that obvious characteristic of standing in connections of scientific law with other things. Or involving points of view or not etc.
And, importantly in all this philosophy of consciousness, by the way, there is the matter of the lawful individuality or unity or identity that is a person -- say you -- not to be confused for a minute with loose talk of a funny subjectivity or a mysterious self or ego, left over from the soul. But I have to skip all that here, along with a lot more about your subjective physical world.
I'll come back to to that, this being a kind of wandering lecture, and thus imperfect, but right now to come on instead to the third defined species or part of the whole physical world, this part consists in what is very different from the subjective physical worlds. This is the species that is subjective physical representations or aboutnesses -- having to do with what has already been mentioned, represention, aboutness, meaning and so on -- including of course what is inquired into very particularlyin the science linguistics.
Yes, each representation or
aboutness means or stands for something. They are not arcane,
anyway at bottom. Yes, they are things you know about. In a way know all about. To repeat myself, having the
usual uncertainty about funny people at the back of audiences of lectures,
representations are indeed like what comes into being when you name a child,
make a certain connection. They are the stuff not of perceptual consciousness but rather of cognitive and
affective consciousness. Those two sides of consciousness, again to be madly
brief, are various kinds of thinkings etc. and various kinds of wantings
etc -- and also mixes of the two, including intendings.
Subjective aboutnesses or representations are distinct from consciousness in perception, despite very often going right along with consciousness in perception. Your attending to some particular one of the things you're seeing now is cognitive and/or affective consciousness. But it would be pretty dumb, I say, to confuse the seeing with the attending. The seeing is always going on but certainly the attending isn't. There's also the fact larger than the fact of attention -- that thinking and feeling, not just attending, typically go along with perceptual consciousness. They're usually in some kind of ongoing unity or bundle.
These subjective physical aboutnesses or representations, no surprise, also have 16 characteristics, related of course to the 16's of the objective physical world and of subjective physical worlds. Some being the same and some different. Subjective physical aboutnesses are in a clear sense private rather than public -- and so on and so on. Related to but certainly not the same as words printed on pages -- which are representations but aren't themselves actual in the defined and fully worked out] sense. But nothing deep here either, let alone airy-fairy.
If you're properly diligent, I say again, do look up the various 16-items lists sometime in those couple of tables on physicalities in that recent Caruso volume.
5. PREVIOUS THEORIES OF CONSCIOUSNESS -- AND ACTUALISM
It's pretty safe to say, now to come on to something else, or maybe to repeat it, that all previous accounts of the nature of consciousness in general, accounts of all of consciousness, the whole breadth of it, universal or all-in or flattening accounts -- and all accounts of chosen sides or parts of consciousness -- say the perceptual, cognitive and affective sides -- have divided into what have been named just physicalisms in a certain sense -- objective physicalisms -- materialisms in a sense -- and then dualisms or part-spiritualisms in a sense.
The physicalisms or materialisms in short being that the mind just is the brain, has only the properties of the brain, is just all those objectively physical neurons in their complex networks. The dualisms or spiritualisms (yes, the latter including those abstract functionalisms already mentioned) being in short that the mind is not the brain but is somehow related to it, maybe somehow above it. Mind or anyway consciousness in the tradition being thought about as ghostly stuff, indeed something recently obscurely called, as you've been hearing already, just abstract. Hovering and also abstract? Sounds like quite a trick even before you try to go further.
The physicalisms or materialisms -- the objective physicalisms re consciousness -- fail in making consciousness not different, which we sure know it is. It's different in kind from the chair under you or anything else however different from the chair, however more interesting, but still in the objective physical world.
The dualisms, including more
of what can be called recent computerisms, and other more old-fashioned
funny stuff, which are not benighted objective physicalisms, fail in making
consciousness itself unreal and ineffective, which we know it is not. Yes,
ma'am, desires do have effects.
Both the physicalisms and the dualisms also have lesser failings. The physicalisms do not even recognize at all the existence of that mind-body problem, better called the mind-brain problem. They disable themselves from giving solutions to this obvious and overwhelming problem of the relation of consciousness to the brain by in effect denying the problem. Indeed usually by completely denying it. The dualisms are in as much trouble.
The mind-brain problem
arises, despite the denial of it, because there is indeed that fundamental difference
between mind and brain -- some fundamental
difference of consciousness -- including at least a question, some question,
about the physicality or whatever of consciousness.
As for the dualisms, yes, their making consciousness unreal and not effective, what is rightly called their epiphenomenalism, more or less excludes them from serious consideration. Your shoelaces really do get tied as a result of exactly your conscious intention as well as whatever else including your fingers. The entailed epiphenomenalism of dualism, I repeat, more or or less excludes the dualisms from serious consideration. So, to repeat myself, does the dualisms' failure with respect to that mind-body problem -- excludes them even just by their denial of the problem, wholly unpersuasively. They should be left in their own past centuries, first left there by a few of our neuroscientists, notably what I take to be the philosophically gullible ones. Some led there by gullible philosophers?
The Actualism theory of consciousness, to go on with that, is different fundamentally and you might even say completely from objective physicalisms and dualisms -- some of the latter still with us under disguise as scientific realism.
Actualism is that consciousness is actual in several defined and clarifiable and pretty fully developed senses. So it is both different and also not unreal or ineffective. Still, is the theory clear and unavoidable? Or conceivably idiosyncratic -- or even just batty? There is batty philosophy, quite a lot. The first alternative of clarity and unavoidability isn't proved by me, partly since there just aren't proofs in philosophy. One reason philosophy isn't easy. In a way harder than science. But....
I add too, if a little dangerously, that Actualism is indeed what you can call common sense philosophy. That must be a recommendation, but plainly not enough by itself. It's rightly an awful long way from that intoning that the mind is above the brain.
The Actualism theory begins from -- is unique in beginning from -- an assembled figurative or metaphorical database that in fact you yourself share -- and in fact contribute to yourself. 40 or so items by my count. Consider yourself right now. Consider your admittedly figurative ordinary thought and talk about your being conscious right now.
Your being conscious right
now, for just a start, is to you something's being there isn't it? Something being right there, something
given, something somehow or other existing, also something being had,
immediate, open, for
something else, something not deduced from anything else, proximal
rather than distal, and so on and so on.
The Actualism theory in beginning from this database is in that good sense empirical. Look over the whole list of data sometime. The longest list is in my longest book, Actual Consciousness.
And the Actualism theory goes on to give as or rather defend that initial figurative summary of consciousness, in fact of the database -- as consciousness being just this: something's being actual. The theory then goes on to lay out and defend what that comes to, an understanding of what consciousness is in general -- an understanding of it as what can indeed be called or labelled actual consciousness.
Ordinary conciousness is actual consciousness considered methodically
and of course perfectly literally rather than figuratively, one way with
perceptual consciousness, one way with both cognitive and affective
consciousness. That takes a long a while, or rather two pretty long whiles. This
is the main work, the wholly literal and explicit theory. You don't have to
take anything on trust, accept anything not really spoken out.
Yes, the assembled Actualism theory for good or ill is definitely new. Out of sight of, say, William James's still cited but entirely unexplained and mainly for literary consumption 'stream of consciousness'. Actualism mainly and most obviously new in the matter of subjective physicality as defined --and the two sorts of it -- the first with perceptual consciousness, the second with cognitive and affective consciousness. For good or ill, the theory is really different from what preceded it about mind and consciousness in philosophy and science.
Actualism, I say, is clear in its contentfulness. It is, for a start, a lot clearer than the claim that conscious mentality and unconscious mentality are inextricable. I have just the inextricabiliy of consciousness and unconsciousness, if it can be called inextricability, which is just the explanatory contribution of unconsciousness in the only main business, which is the analysis of consciousness.
6. CONSCIOUSNESS AND UNCONSCIOUSNESS -- MORE ON THE DIFFERENCE
I remain a little inclined to the idea that Noam's thinking does come pretty close to the proposition that the relation of consciousness and unconsciousness is such that there can't be an explanation of consciousness without there being an awful lot more in it about unconsciousness -- that it is somehow a lot bigger part of the explanation of consciousness. It's possible to disagree. You've heard quite a lot already.
Noam remarks, by the way, that you seriously misrepresent 'mental life' if you leave out the unconscious or give it insufficient attention . Well, I can easily agree with that, given one pretty ordinary conception of mental life -- certainly his. But my subject has never been that wide -- all of what can be called mental life. It has precisely been consciousness.
As with all the relevant philosophy of mind of which I know, it is hard to resist the general proposition that to assume relationship between two things cannot conceivably entail that there is no useful conception of one by itself, or anyway mainly by itself. Start with day and night.
Of course the unconscious mind must be a subject of relevance with respect to the subject of consciousness. That latter subject has within its explanation -- thus has as part of its analysis -- the unconscious mind. Along with, of course, in sum, the external objective physical world. But that truth of the contribution of unconsciousness does not come near to being that there can be no effective theory of consciousness without as effective a theory of unconsciousness.
If it were, to pick one example out of an air full of them, there could be no effective thinking of, say, war -- none, say, in terms of casualties and whatever else, without success in a causal and representational and somehow linguistic explanation of the occurrence of war.
There is the connected fact on which I insist. Yes, the understanding consciousness requires a lot more attention to consciousness in it itself as distinct from the related things that are its relata or connections. So obviously you do not need an exhaustive account of the effects of consciousness in the external world in order to understand, in an ordinary sense, consciousness itself.
I readily admit that I have no complete or developed or even half-developed view of that part of the explanation of the occurrence or existence of consciousness that is unconscious mentality. Might I make some advance on Noam's good reference to the metaphor the back of the mind? But I have no need to do so. There is no necessity. Any more than I need to work at the immense task of clarifying the effects of consciousness.
That an answer to a general question raises other questions is not a refutation of the answer to the general question.
Actualism, again, has in it these things: an initial reliance on our holds on our consciousnesses, a figurative database about consciousness deriving from the holds, the resulting figurative summary that being conscious is something's being actual, literal anwers to the questions of what is actual, the main body of the theory that is the accounts of what the actualities -- the beings actual -- come to, including the proposition that the connected existing question of the relations between consciousness and unconsciousness are lawful and both semantic and syntactic relations.
You will guess that it is my position that there is no necessity of starting to think anew of what consciousness is again because of a little local difficulty, if it even counts as that, having to do with the richness in the relations between consciousness and unconsciousness -- those relations having aleady been initially but adequately clarified as being lawful dependencies plus semantic and syntactic relations. You wouldn't get a significant advance in or on the general theory of Actualism by attending to Noam's linguistic complexities. Or by attending more to other complexities with the other contents of Actualism.
To leave all that, I note in passing that Actualism is different not only from objective physicalisms and from dualisms. It's different from five leading ideas of consciousness, by the way, including the very goodish but elusive idea from Tom Nagel that a thing's being conscious is there being something it's like to be that thing. And different from Ned Block's idea of phenomenality, whatever that comes to, and so on. The ideas, even the one that to me usually a kind of mumbling, about qualia, remain of interest, and reasonably important, but....
In their failing, by the
way, the five leading ideas provide criteria
-- criteria starting with the two of making consciousness both different and
real -- that have to be shown to be satisfied by a successful theory -- and are,
I say, in the end satisfied by Actualism.
Actualism is also different from my own preceding struggles with consciousness. Different from what was called the Union Theory of mind and brain, and also different enough from what was called the theory of Consciousness As Existence, and thus different from that solution of those fascinating 'psychoneural pairs'. And Actualism is at least a little beyond what was called Radical Externalism in that book of others' essays on it -- Harold Brown, Crane, James Garvey, Stephen Law, E. J. Lowe, Derek Matravers, Paul Noordhof, Ingmar Persson, Stephen Priest, Barry Smith, and Paul Snowdeon.
And so on -- all of this little history looked back on and summed up, by the way, in my book Philosopher: A Kind of Life, which is half life and half philosophy.
Yes, you could say in sum that Actualism, despite its pedestrian side, is an attempt at a little Copernicanism, an attempt at a real change in our view of ourselves, if nothing so grand as the successful revolution of getting the relation of the sun and the earth right. An attempt, even if a gloomy Australian reviewer says so rightly she is still waiting for the Einstein of consciousness.
If the pushy newness unsettles you, and if you think it should embarrass me, do have the true thought or maybe recollection that it has very commonly been said in recent decades by philosophers and indeed some scientists that what is needed about mind and consciousness is indeed something different, something very different. But of course clear.
Colin McGinn, my old colleague at University College London and also the writer of the most savage review ever written of a philosophy book, one of mine -- see elsewhere on this website -- and now as companionable an old colleague as I am, used to be known partly for saying exactly that something brand new about consciousness was needed. Including something to replace what was called by others his own mysterianism about consciousness, which mysterianism included the idea that we humans have as much chance of understanding consciousness as chimps have of doing physics, more particularly doing Quantum Theory.
The Actualism theory, to go on still nervously with this very quick introduction to it, unlike other general, complete, or encompassing theories of consciousness, although Actualism too gives that general or complete or summary account of consciousness -- something's being actual -- the Actualism theory is one that also really divides all of consciousness into the three parts, involving fundamental differences.
Thus, if you are still worried by newness, you can have the reassurance that Actualism goes along in a way with -- just continues -- the whole half or so history of the philosophy of mind and maybe science when -- often -- that hasn't been being wholly general or universal, when it hasn't been saying just what all consciousness shares, but when instead it distinguishes and studies, which indeed it does, each or anyway two of the three sides of consciousness, gives different accounts of one or more of the three sides.
Actualism, so, as is worth repeating, does continue and go along in particular with the past philosophy of mind when that has indeed been concerned not with all of consciousness, a general property of it all, but has been concerned with one or the other of (i) consciousness in seeing, hearing, touching and other perception, (ii) consciousness that is thinking in its various kinds, and (iii) consciousness that is sometimes called attitudes -- having to do with wanting and the like -- including valuing things and so on, and thus including ethics and politics -- and the Principle of Humanity.
So there's a continuity as well as a discontinuity with the philosophical past. In particular discontinuity with respect to perception and attitudes.
7. ACTUALISM FURTHER ELABORATED
That is a lot of preface, but there is need for more. I give in to the felt need to elaborate -- if to do not greatly more than repeat myself.
Your being perceptually conscious right now -- being conscious within perception, which certainly is not the whole story of perception, which includes eyes and cortex for a start -- yes, your being perceptually consciousness in itself right now consists in one of those subjective physical worlds out there -- and essentially also an explanation of what that world depends on.
speak a little differently, your being perceptually conscious right now
consists in a stage of a world, of a subjective
physical world -- yes likely a room.
Certainly not identical with the objective physical world mentioned back at the
beginning here. Your room is lawfully dependent for its existence on that
objective physical world, and, to be brief, also dependent on you neurally.
Certainly unconscious mentality.
But your cognitive consciousness, so different from your perceptual consciousness, as you know already, and as certain generalizing philosophers shouldn't have forgotten about for a minute, does in fact consist in certain representations or aboutnesses or the like within you. Inner things but related in kind to the most familiar of aboutnesses -- those outer aboutnesses, words out there on pages and pictures on walls and maps and so on. Aboutnesses somehow so different from inner aboutnesses. In short in not themselves being actual, not being dependent in that sense, the relevant sense.
needs to be said, or can be, if quickly, and a little late, is that your
cognitive consciousness in particular consists in representations or
aboutnesses, somehow including words, that have to do somehow or other with truth,
somehow with whether something is true.
Truth itself, thank God, is no great mystery. Nothing like as hard as consciousness. Truth is of course what has been called correspondence to fact. It's not, to mention the other large idea of truth in the past, propositions just hanging together consistently, being what is called being coherent, or anything like that. But correspondence to fact, of course, needs explaining. Without it, it's just talk.
According to my own idea, which certainly has large antecedents, anything's being true at bottom is something's referred to really having a property that it is described as having. But truth isn't just something just about language, only about linguistic acts, about referring and describing.
thinking and writing about, correspondence to fact of the basic kind as just
understood is also truth being something
in the world being a certain way. As in the case of the weather being cool.
Or of Chomsky having started his career by rescuing the whole science of
linguistics from Behaviourism, which he did. Rescuing the science forever from
the ruling idea, to be a little quick and rude with it, that your wanting
to buy a book is your going to a bookshop, i.e. your legs taking you
To go beyond the referring-describing or a-way-the-world-is foundation of language, and just to say something quick of the case of the truth when it is not of a referring-describing statement but rather of, say, consider just the existential rather than referring-describing statement -- the existential statement 'Lions exist'.
That truth comes
to its being the case that somewhere or other the referring-describing
statement 'That's a lion' is such that what is referred to is as it's described
to be -- something in the world is that way. Other categories than true
existential statements are true in virtue of different relations to the
fundamental referring-describing statements.
So much again for cognitive consciousness. Your affective consciousness is certainly different.
Your affective consciousness now also consists in aboutnesses or representations but ones having or having something to do with quite other than just truth-valuing in the sense just summarized. Affective consciousness consists in aboutnesses or representations that are your taking something to be somehow good or bad or the like -- maybe lovely, neat, proper, morally right, a good-looker, true to the dishonourable tradition of Conservatism. Maybe good or bad in terms of essential consequences of actions rather than intentions or anything else. Is that 'The ends justify the means?' do I hear you ask again? Yes, but depending as much on the means. What else but both could justify anything?
It's natural to say, then, as people do, that affective consciousness unlike the other two sides, perceptual and cognitive consciousness, consists in attitudes. A lot of them will be among those to be examined in, if it gets written, a book that now has the possible title The Reasons of Our Societies -- and Retorts To Them. The retorts have to do with that fundamental principle of right and wrong, the Principle of Humanity. Like the Golden Rule, taken so often as the foundation of moraity, but with less attention to reality in it. Also much discussed, by the way, in a part of the Caruso volume not on consciousness.
The Actualism account of perceptual consciousness, to go back to it, whatever else has to be said in the whole account, which can't be simple, and whose sequence of construction (the right description of the activity) as already indicated isn't simple but instead laborious -- the Actualism account of perceptual consciousness is distantly related to if far beyond, or anyway shares some motivation with, old understandings of perceptual consciousness known as naive realism or direct realism.
common-sensical, are somehow only vaguely to the effect that in perception we
are in direct or immediate or unmediated touch with the world -- but what above
was called the objective physical world. That connection was never made clear,
never really explained. No doubt the best attempt was made by another old
colleague of mine, Mike Martin, after he abandoned Bloomsbury and UCL for
Berkeley and U Cal. Actualism, I say, and not just with respect to perceptual
consciouness, is explained.
The Actualism accounts not of perceptual consciousness but of cognitive and affective consciousness are also related to but very far beyond that contemporary and past theorizing about all of consciousness having to do with aboutnesses or representations or the like. Actualism is beyond that just universal or pure or exclusive representationism. For Actualism, aboutnesses are indeed like words on pages and drawings on walls -- but very different in being actual -- in including being actual -- in the defined and wholly literal ways. The laying out working out of actuality is a or rather the main work in the Actualism theory.
But cognitive and affective consciousness aren't all consciousness. As you won't have forgotten already, perceptual consciousness in Actualism is very different. It is the existence of those subjective physical worlds. To which can be added that at least partly they are dependent as a matter of lawful connection -- this connection being what you can call despite-whatever-else-is-happening-connection, on which I've spent some philosophical time -- a matter of natural or scientific law. They are dependent on both the objective physical world and on a perceiver, say a perceiver neurally. So your subjective physical world right now, very likely a room, is partly dependent on you. I won't try go further into all that now.
8. METAPHYSICS, SELVES AS ORDINARY PERSONS, NATURALISM
Please don't sneak out of this online lecture early, right now, for any reason. Let alone in a huff at unfamiliarity or a different terminology -- or at necessary complication. Or out of any old resistance or loyalty or undergraduate conversion. Remember McGinn and the necessity of the new. We did have to start again and differently.
one other mistaken possible excuse for sneaking out, there is in fact
relatively little in any of Actualism that is open to the charge of being metaphysics
-- if that is taken as something really deep. There's nothing deep around here,
even if there are the various conceptions of related things to be kept distinct
and straight and remembered, which maybe isn't easy. Like in some science? Most
of it? There has to be more to life than easy. You know that already.
Yes, Actualism is metaphysics in what can be taken as a perfectly respectable sense. Here metaphysics can be said to be a philosophical inquiry into fundamental concepts, as Wikipedia reports -- or rather, of course, to be more specific than Wikipedia, metaphysics is inquiry into the subjects of the concepts, what the concepts are of. The examples given, arguably enough, if certainly not the only ones, are said to be being, existence, reality, space and time, causality, physicality, maybe knowledge, and freedom.
Maybe the self -- our selves, whatever those are. Is it a self in this sense, so much in need of clarification, that Noam has in mind in speaking of each of us us in terms of the puppeteer as distinct from the strings and the puppet? Actulism does a whole lot better.
In fact, a
different answer to what a self is is one of the side-recommendations of
Actualism. It turns the subject of the self, ego, or subject in a special sense, and all that, into the really different
and known matter of something less mysterious -- a person. Just personal identity in the ordinary sense,
who you are, what person. An old problem, in my view not until now put in
the right context -- yes, the context of consciousness -- and somehow
unconsciousness? The self, in short, involves half of the dependencies of
subjective physical worlds, as against the half on the objective physical
worlds, and, so to speak quickly, more than half the dependencies of the two
sorts of representations.
Real or decent metaphysics, of course, has nothing to do with metaphysics in the pejorative sense, where it is or may also be elusive or elevated talk with no basis in reality. Maybe talk in our democratic politics, brought to its imperfection by Blairism and Trumpery. Not to mention before them the impostor and dragger-down of decent society -- Thatcher. The philosopher you are reading, like all philosophers half or quarter worth the name, are honourably far above or rather honourably far below metaphysics in the pejorative sense. We owe something to the dear departed Freddie or A. J. Ayer, a supervisor of me among others at University College London.
The work or struggle of some of us, by the way, is in another category -- naturalism. I put Actualism right inside naturalism. Constructive naturalism? But I leave you to clarify that, maybe with a little help from a few entries in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy -- on nature as well as naturalism.
There's also a simplicity in what you've been hearing -- clarity and continuity despite what seems to me the necessary complexity of a real clarification of us conscious things.
I repeat that the genus whole physical world in general, as you've heard, is defined principally in terms of or by way of the species and subspecies making it up. The species objective physical world is defined unspeculatively in terms of the 16 related but partly different characteristics. So with the species subjective physical worlds and the species subjective physical aboutnesses -- thinkings and wantings -- and their partly different characteristics.
The Chomsky-on-Honderich subject we're on, now to get around to exactly that at last, more than a little late, but after what I think or hope or anyway half-say has been a really necessary preparation, is his piece already mentioned 'Mentality Beyond Consciousness'.
I shamelessly or shamefully repeat, one more time, about what you've heard here so far on consciousness, that if you're brave about getting more of a quick understanding, you could not do better than glance at just the table of the physicalities on p.6 of the Caruso volume -- the table of (i) physicality, (ii) objective physicality, and (iii) the two sorts of subjective physicality -- each in terms of 16 properties. It's not that the devil is in the details, but that our present business is an introduction. The table in part summarizes explicitly everything of Actualism. It's also in my recent thing Mind: Your Consciousness Is What and Where?
To give in still more to repeating myself, like any decently half-worried lecturer, I say that if you are a glutton for trying to get all or anyway more or a lot of a quickish understanding early of Actualism now, there is also the enlarged table, something prompted exactly by our present concern -- Noam on me -- the enlarged table of physicalities on p.119 of the Caruso volume. It includes unconscious mentality specifically, but doesn't change Actualism much at all.
9. UNCONSCIOUS MENTALITY YET AGAIN
Come now to
another and smaller subject, but in fact the real aim of this whole lecture
you're hearing or reading, That is a particular defence of Actualism, a
self-defence of me by me, to which everything said so far has in fact been an
anticipation -- if a very necessary anticipation, in fact pretty much the whole
premise of what follows, my conclusion or self-defence in response to the objection
by Noam as I take it to be.
Come on to
this other and smaller subject so far only mentioned with unconscious
mentality -- as against conscious mentality or consciousness. Is unconcious
mentality what is also talked of in terms of the subconscious or subconscious
mentality? Or, anyway, how are they related? I leave that to you and any
Anyway, for unconscious mentality, it is far from easy, as indicated by no specific words on the subject from Noam, and I guess something pretty impossible for me, to get it into effective definion. Life being short, let me just cheat a little by just saying that in speaking of unconscious mentality I am speaking not by way of the metaphor 'the back of the mind' or the like, or any other funny thing, but speaking of the human brain itself, that objectively physical thing, in so far as it is related to consciousness. Or some side or sides of no more than that objectively physical thing in so far as it is related to consciousness.
Anyway, we come now again to exactly the objection to Actualism in connection with unconscious mentality, the objection raised and developed by Noam. An objection to the whole shebang of Actualism -- and also to an awful lot else. A pretty fatal objection if it stands up? He does go for the jugular in a friendly way.
Of course unconscious mentality couldn't possibly be entirely avoided by me in advancing the theory of Actualism. The theory as you've heard has indeed been a theory of consciousness itself -- but the connection of that with unconscious mentality couldn't conceivably be entirely avoided. That is because a full theory or analysis or understanding of something, anything, as no doubt I've said before, includes not only (a) its own nature, but also (b) the thing's causes, its explanation in that sense, and (c) what the thing does.
Of course there is the assumption in my thing, for a start, although the matter is not much looked into, maybe not at all, that with respect to consciousness, there is some counterpart division of unconscious mentality -- and conceivably or even presumably a counterpart unconscious fact or more likely facts for each and every consciousness fact.
Amour propre or something else prompts me to repeat something so relevant. I have never in any moment or syllable expressed the idea that an adequate theory of consciousness could leave out unconscious mentality. I have said just the opposite, if not maybe with enough persistence -- or interest?
And lastly here, some more on the main matter, a somewhat unsettling answer to a decent question. How much and in what way or ways does a good theory of something have to have in it about (ii) where the thing comes from as against (i) what it is and (iii) what it does? The unsettling answer is that the answer to the question is in part, in some way, a matter of attitude -- if a pretty high-class attitude in comparison to others. An attitude of course being somehow, maybe in a small degree, a matter of affective consciousness as well as cognitive?
Anyway what you can call preference -- which can turn into a whole working life. Somehow a tendency owed in part to this rather than with respect to kinds of evidence? I leave that to your own further reflection. And maybe mine some other time.
But prompted by Noam, I have
done a little more work in this neighbourhood. Just made something more
That is what is useful and has not been hard to add -- another species to that genus that is physicality in general and the sub-genus, so to speak, that is objective physicality. The particular further species is that fourth one that you might expect -- objectively physical unconscious mentality. As you've heard. it gets included in that enlarged table on that p.119.
Noam for his part has it or anyway at least contemplates something pretty confidently. if certainly radically -- by God, it's news if true, as much news as Actualism itself.
As you'll have gathered already, it's that the philosophy of mind, anyway this main part of it, rightly becomes just something like a part of or anyway to be carried forward or helped on its way or anyway graced by by Noam's great specialism -- linguistics. Say first his great contribution to that science -- his generative grammar? The main part of the philosophy of mind is to be carried forward essentially or very significantly in terms of reflection on exactly language? At least aided by it? Conceivably uniquely aided by it?
Even helped in the right direction by Noam's overstatement or understatement or maybe both that 'language is thought'? If thought there is to be understood as cognitive consciousness, the identity-statement certainly faces questions -- to say the very least.
Noam wouldn't be entirely alone in that sort of thing. Or anyway -- certainly a lesser proposition by others -- there is the question of whether consciousness is -- or, a little more calmly, anyway involves -- a language of thought, something asserted but not much clarified by others? I remark just in passing that that definitely is just not true at all of exactly perceptual consciousness as we have been understanding it -- as distinct, of course, from any thinking within or rather alongside the course of it.
10. INEXTRICABILITY -- THE CONCLUSION ONE LAST TIME
I have at moments been a little less than entirely certain about what Noam's conclusions come to -- what their burden is, what the consequence of Noam's thesis is for my stuff. It cannot be, I take it, that I do not recognize the causal or lawful and any other role of unconscious mentality with respect to consciousness. I bloody do recognize it and state it. And the other way on. There is repetition of that -- see the indexes to books -- my tome Actual Consciousness and elsewhere. He, you and I agree or can agree on the causal/lawful role and whatever else of unconscious mentality with respect to conscious mentality.
We can also agree, of
course, on causation going the other way, from conscious to unconscious
mentality. Who would deny it? Yes, so to speak, just for a start, there is learning. That of course is far from
unique or even unusual. Here as elsewhere, think of evolution again. Does
anyone think that either of environmental change or species change, on account
of the richness and complexity of both, is such that there is no effective
generalization, no satisfactory understanding or summary, of either?
Noam's variously expressed general conclusion about consciousness and unconsciousness -- whatever the conclusion comes to -- is supported by a whole battery of arguments and claims of evidence. From ancient Greek philosophy about not being able to step into that same river twice, to at least sympathy with the 17th Century talk about those real or inescapable 'secrets of nature', and right up to contemporary neuroscience. Even to Wittgenstein, whose respected presence on his subject of dolls and spirits in any real thinking surprises me. I myself would get very worried if it turned out the flatulent sage of Cambridge was on my side.
But Noam's general proposition having to do with consciousness and unconsciousness being inextricable, interwoven, somehow language-sharing, something like indicated or proven to be such by an ordinary experience spoken of by us and maybe us in terms of something having been in the back of the mind -- the general conclusion having to do with consciousness and unconsciousness does seem to me at best to be wholly ineffective against Actualism, that conclusion against Actualism is up the spout. To be bullish in speaking for myself, Noam's conclusion to me really a complete non-starter, for plain reasons.
If so, by the way, this proposition of mine against inextricability will be good news for neuroscience as well as the philosophy of mind. If inextricability etc. were a fact, that would be exactly as sadly consequential for the possibility of a theory of the brain as well as of consciousness. Neuroscience, strictly and ordinarily speaking, would be up the spout.
To stick to our own present business, however, I have the nerve flatly to deny again Noam's general conclusion about the inseparability of consciousness and unconscious mentality. My denial is simple. It is mainly owed exactly to the patent size and I trust strength of the case on my side, Actualism as laid out and open to different levels of summary. Even as already sketched to you.
From figurative database with respect to ordinary consciousness and the figurative summary of ordinary consciousness as something's being actual to the entirely literal accounts of actuality in the cases of perceptual consciousness, cognitive consciousness, and affective consciousness. That news, sufficiently-common sense, with respect to perceptual consciousness of subjecive physical worlds. Those different lines of thinking on cognitive and affective representations. All the clarification with respect to perceptual consciousness of subjective physical worlds. Those different lines of thinking on cognitive and affective representations. All of what, I put it to you, entirely distinguishes consciousness in its three sides from all that is not conscious -- chairs and the rest of ordinary objective physicality for a start and of course unconscious mentality.
You haven't got a hold on what is unconscious with you, have you? By definition none at all. That distinguishes consciousness for a start. Not a lot of room left already for complete superiority about inextricableness? And unconsciousness patently isn't actual in the sense asserted in Actualism with respect to consciousness. Unconsciousness isn't at all a matter of those several dependencies of consciousness, is it? And so on to a further conclusion in the good sense being given to a self -- as a person, a unity having to do with perceptual, cognitive and affective consciousness.
In short, very short, a premise named inextricability doesn't wave its wand and make the theory disappear.
I do not propose to put
myself in far too respectable company, but I have the face to say that that
would be like saying to Darwin and those teaching and lecturing on him and all
his successors that there are these problems of distinguishing certain ways
between environments and species, that there are interrelations, and so
Evolution is done for. Well, Evolution wouldn't be done for. It's an awful lot
stronger than the problems about, say, turtles and temperatures.
I repeat that there is all that distinguishing in my stuff on consciousness, not much of which distinguishing has a real counterpart with unconscious mentality, our hold or want to hold, and so on and so on. And whatever in unconsciousness that is causally or otherwise lawfully connected with consciousness, that fact does not make consciousness and unconscious mentality indistinguishable. In fact, of course, causal or other lawlike connection requires distinguishability.
I bravely say conscious mentality bloody well has been distinguished from, has been separated from, unconcious mentality. It has been despite the fact that philosophy does indeed consist in advocacy aimed at truth rather than proof -- advocacy sometimes effective.
Since you and I are both online, free from the power of a good desk editor, I repeat myself and say that what my case comes to, the separateness of consciousness, is indeed my bag of stuff, the sum of the philosophy indicated already by what you have ploughed through above. My reflections distinguishing conciousness from unconscious mentality by specifying and elaborating those properties of consciousness that we all know unconscious mentality lacks -- whatever the facts of its causal or other lawful connection or seemingly whatever other other connection with conscious mentality.
I give in both shamelessly
and shamefully to reminding you of Actualism. Repeating what one takes to be truth
on one's side is hard to resist.
(1) There is the initial clarification of the subject of all ordinary consciousness in its three sides -- as actual consciousness in the full and literal definition -- and of course thereby precisely or anyway almost entirely its difference from unconscious mentality. A lot to do with different lawful dependencies. To believe that ordinary consciousness has been clarified, of course, and that it is not identical with unconscious mentality, must be to take Noam's 14 pretty quick reasons advanced against that fact to be at the very least insufficient. I have to and I do so.
(2) This sum, to say a bit more, begins from something mentioned more than once but maybe forgetable, your hold in memory on your consciousness, your remembering right now an item a moment or a minute ago, which hold certainly isn't any kind of inner peering. Not anything made suspect by superior talk of 19th Century or subsequent 'introspection'. Whatever help you may have got from Freud et al, if any real help, you have no hold at all -- none of the given kind -- on your unconscious. By God that's difference.
If by any chance you're a clinical psychologist good at remembering what was said to be the sad fate of 19th Century 'introspection' in psychological laboratories, do anyway ask yourself what gives you confidence that you don't have a hold on your consciousness. Might it be you get your confidence from -- your hold on your consciousness? Blunders happen.
(3) There's also that pre-philosophical database of our shared conceptions of consciousness, indubitably conceptions even if admittedly more figurative than literal. Talk, definitions, axioms, principles, etc. The 40 items. They are or are mainly or at least include properties of consciousness that patently are presented as and are not properties at all of unconscious mentality itself. I take it no one supposes that they are.
This sum is itself, in my view, a lot more than just a very good start on making a distinction, a distinction that is that summation of consciousness but certainly not unconscious mentality, as something's being actual -- a figurative summation capable of being made otherwise, being made a lot more of.
I confess to being sure that here by itself we have what distinguishes consciousness from unconsciousness. If the job in hand were only just distinguishing consciousness from unconscious mentality, surely there would be little need to go further. But in fact an awful lot of other distinguishings follow.
(4) What follows after the database, apparently as in so much of science, a very early part of the scientific method, is an advance from that admittedly figurative database to a wholly literal and very full account of the causes or other necessary conditions of actual consciousness, and of course its own nature, and its correlates. Work and time goes into the different literal accounts of things being actual, but maybe or even surely it recommends itself.
(5) There is in particular clarification of the actuality of consciousness being its subjective physicality, or rather the three different and defined and discussed subjective physicalities of perceptual, cognitive, and affective consciousness. This meat of Actualism is what first makes in full the difference between consciousnness and unconscious mentality. Unconscious mentality is, in an essential part, what is not actual.
So -- consciousness as against unconciousness, I maintain, is clarified by a pile of things -- including its relation to perception itself, point of view, primary and secondary properties to an extent, the private v. public distinction, privileged access or common access, an individuality or unity consisting in dependencies, no funny self or ego in you -- real personal identity or what is as well called individuality instead. You could say that exactly clarification of consciousness as against all else, of course including unconscious mentality, is pretty much the whole campaign of Actualism.
(6) Perceptual consciousness, to repeat myself, is or can be laid out partly in terms of a dual dependency -- subjective physical worlds being lawfully dependent and maybe dependent in some other way having to do with representation, aboutness, meaning, reference, standing-for, semantics, language, images-of, content somehow similarly understood, mental paint, and what is called intentionality for an historical but no good enough reason -- intentionality somehow understood in a special and secondary sense of that word where it is close enough to representation or aboutness.
11. FAREWELL REMARKS
Of course there is the assumption in my consciousness stuff, for a start, although the matter is not much looked into, maybe not at all, that with respect to consciousness, there is some counterpart division of unconscious mentality -- and not presumably or conceivably or anyway possibly a counterpart unconscious fact or more likely facts for each and every conscious fact.
If of course there is a little sense in which you can't extricate consciousness from unconsciousness, the sense in which unconciousness enters into a conception that includes the explanation of the occurrence of conscious events and states. And there plainly is also a sense in which you can't have a theory of just consciousness. That is entirely undangerous. To say it again, evidently there is another sense in which what is extricated from consciousness is also plainly and obviously included in the conception of consciousness.
And another parting shot.
Noam says that two things are something like indistinguishable. Doesn't his
saying so commit him to believing they fall under separate descriptions? And
Yes Actualism doesn't try to answer a question it isn't trying to answer -- the question of the full nature and causal or other role of unconscious mentality. Of course it doesn't have to. Any more than it has to answer the general and large questions of the various environmental inputs to consciousness. Like rain. Actualism, you can say, just is the full distinguishing of consciousness -- itself, causation or the like of it, consequences of it. That's what Actualism does and is.
Maybe instead, if you are still prompted to ask for more, just give attention to the first third of Professor Caruso's volume on my stuff. The contributors on consciousness in addition to Noam are Paul Snowdon, Alastair Hannay, Barbara Gail Montero, and Barry Smith. At least a respectable bunch, all with their own reasoned questions and objections with respect to Actualism. But although Barry for one has grumpy doubts about my getting somewhere on the reality of consciousness, there is nothing by any of the contributors against the distinction between consciousness and unconsciousness. Yes, they might all be wrong, sharing an illusion, but....
Do you also ask if you've read some of it that there's just too much in Actualism? Do you say, worse, that the whole thing resisting getting hold of? Too many damned categories etc? Complexity? Too much walking around in the database, too much English pedestrian philosophy? Too much in all of Actualism to be manageable? Manufactured complexity? All those lines in the bloody tables? Too much to be at least a good start on truth?
Well, have another look at or just think again of something in a higher class, the highest class. The really great theory of evolution, out of sight of Actualism. If necessary, start on evolution with Wikipedia and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The theory always was overwhelming. It's still overwhelming, maybe moreso. There's been a lot of thinking and rethinking too. It's a pile. Actualism by comparison is simplicity. Boy's own simplicity?
Did I say at the beginning
that Noam did and does at least assert, if still with some hesitation, that any
good theory of consciousness must also in some sense or way or extent also be a theory of unconscious mentality.
Anyway he comes close enough to that. You can't have a good theory of
consciousness in a sense by itself.
Well, I do more than agree with that. A theory of anything, yes, to be brief,
is of its own nature, its causation, and its effects.
Noam tells me also by email that he continues to maintain, certainly a little notoriously, that there just is no adequate conception of the physical. There is none as a result, to be brief, of the advance of science and of physics in particular far beyond relatively simple particles etc. of the 17th Century. As you will not have forgotten, I have implicitly denied, in fact explicitly denied, that there is no adequate conception of the physical. There is. Yes, to be on the way to details of my conception of the physical, of course advanced as adequate, study yet again that table or rather those two tables of physicalities already mentioned in the Caruso volume.
If we were to accept that there is no adequate conception of the physical in science, would we be forced to Noam's proposition that somehow -- somehow or other -- there is is no distinction between consciousness and unconscious mentality? Why should we? We wouldhave to amend much the proposition of the physical as got in good part from science.
As remarked yet again, yes one more time, look at the enlarged table of all of physicality on p 119 of the Caruso volume -- including the additional column on unconscious mentality prompted by Noam. Of course the table it is not in sight of ruling out distinction between conscious and unconscious and is itself a detailed denial of no distinction.
I add, as well, that even acceptance of there being no distinction would not get in the way of a rewriting of Actualism into a kind of remnant of itself -- but one that still made a difference between consciousness and unconsciousness. I leave consideration of this to any volunteer. Maybe an additional postgraduate volunteer in need of a change of air maybe away from more political philosophy.
On top of all that, when you are up against a wall, or taken to be by some folk, quote yourself. Try to give yourself a character reference by quoting yourself, maybe taking back what needs to be taken back. I do, twice.
'You are not in the company of a salesman for anything, in particular a salesman for or of ordinary consciousness. Our aim has been and remains to see what this consciousness is -- if also in the end to make a judgement on its importance or place or role. Maybe actual consciousness, as some seem to suppose or half-suppose, is not a lot more than flotsam and jetsam on the tide of unconscious mentality? We are not taking a side about that now, not even thinking about it.' (Actual Consciousness, p.300, cf. pp. 287, 365-6) On second thought, that tolerance is trash.
'A good philosophy of consciousness can no more make the science of it into a handmaiden than decent philosophy can be what Locke supposed, merely a handmaiden of science'. (Mind: Your Consciousness Is What and Where? p.171)
Yes, it would be absurd to deny difference between conciousness and unconsciousness on the basis of what inextricableness exists. However understood. Consciousness has to be understood in one part in terms of unconsciousness -- that part of the explanation of the existence of consciousness.
In my uneasiness, anyway, I remember again that Noam himself leaves us in his piece without any general or inclusive answer to the question most naturally put as that of what the fact of consciousness is, what its own nature is. The most notable thing for me, the most salient thing, is that in all of his retort to Actualism, all this, we do not have what is rightly called an account of consciousness itself, what that that fact itself is. You will have to look elsewhere in Noam's publications for this. Actualism is such an answer. I wonder how much inconsistency there will be between his stuff and mine.
Certainly include in your own inquiry now Noam's book Reflections on Language. And Neil Smith's fine book on him -- Chomsky: Ideas and Ideals. And go too to the various philosophers in Louise Antony and Norbert Hornstein, Chomsky and his Critics. Also William Lycan's paper 'Chomsky on the Mind-Body Problem',
And, for something on greater issues, the collection of political philosophy by Noam himself, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies. If America sinks and stinks with Trump, it still rises with Chomsky. Pity their offices aren't exchanged. Trump would have to be demoted to Junior Lecturer of course, but that's his way of existence.
In farewell, I say sorry a little about the complexity or anyway richness of the Actualism theory, despite what is surely the need for that complexity and richness, and more sorry maybe more about the persistence as well as the repetition and the imperfection of this boiling-down of it. And what may be your struggle to keep it all in mind. A boiling-down a little way on the way to the lowest form of intelligent life, which is pop philosophy. This piece sure isn't perfect, far from it. Yes, too much repetition for a start. But then it's only online, in that great morass, not on paper.
Could it be that even if I didn't leave out consciousness's having an absolutely essential part of the explanation of its existence in unconscious mentality, I am still rightly perceived by Noam as having gone wrong in some related way? Being insufficient? Maybe as indicated by in passing by those quotations from Noam, have I failed to give enough attention to unconscious mentality in trying to answer the question of what conscious mentality is? Well...
Noam's piece easily persuades me again that there is more thinking about consciousness to be done, anyway attempted. Yes there is an incompletness, a piece or two of vagueness in Actualism and all competing theories with respect to the relations between conscious and unconscious mentality.
Certainly no past or other present theory known to me has done anything more -- certainly not anything much. On the other hand, incidentally, it just cannot be that a theory of anything must be as full a theory of just its explanatory connections. What a thing is and what it does reasonably demands more attention than the subject of what it comes from. Is asserting that no more than what you might call personal history in inquiry? I don't know, but.....
And while I am on the subject of other present or indeed past theories of consciousness, I remark, for what it is worth, which is not nothing, that Noam's general objection having to do with unconsciousness and consciousness must apply to every theory of consciousness that there is. He could still be right, but....
You will find rather a lot of pages on exactly unconscious mentality cited in the index at the back of the Caruso volume, and more in the index to my Actual Consciousness and enough pages in the index to the precis-volume Mind: Your Consciousness Is What and Where?
I cannot and do not say that all of what you have read from me is dead clear, or that it continues to be dead clear to me, that everything has been got straight. That philosophy goes for clarity, consistency, completeness, generality is not to claim that it always succeeds. A piece of it can remain somehow baffling despite the confidence one manages to bring to it. Has my haste of amour propre made for mistake? Certainly imperfection in presentation? Is it a struggle to hold all of Actualism in mind? Yes, I guess so. Is the version of it here not far enough above pop philosophy? Just enough above? Has a lot but not quite enough time been spent on the idea or ideas of extrication?
No doubt. All admitted. The scepticism of philosophy should extend to the philosopher you are. But the same with you too.
There certainly is more food for thought in contributions the other people discussing Actualism in the Caruso book. These four philosophers are not of one mind with Noam -- or the four of them in one mind with one another. Snowdon on property dualism, physicalities, and more. Hannay first on Actualism and Naive Realism and then on Actualism and that nemesis of philosophers of mind -- the fact or idea or ideas of subjectivity. Montero on physicality and science, and the objective physicality of consciousness. Barry C. Smith first on how consciousness eludes us when we try to think of it and then secondly how it is possible to get somewhere. Should he too have got closer to Actualism?
Among the things I partly learned from Noam, for me and others science's great moral and political thinker in our age, or anyway among the things I have been reinforced in by Noam, is something in sight of of his own lovely independence of of mind -- certainly including even my independence of him about the difference between consciousness and unconsciousness. My admiration and more than admiration includes my regarding him as properly indomitable in what he believes, even if I don't believe it myself. All of us, each philosopher above all, lets down everybody by not thinking for himself or herself.
At last, my own scorecard for what you have read here from two sides in this lesser event not long after the World Cup in football? Despite my necessary awareness of my shortcomings, longcomings, repetitions, meandering, and so on? My scorecard of what has at least partly been the game of Philosophy v. Linguistics About Consciousness? Total of goals scored in the end after the 90 minutes? Well, I bravely say and hope Philosophy 3, Linguistics 1. Maybe just 2-1.
Finally here, a bibliography on consciousness -- the many books on my shelf, trusted authors and publishers. Try more than a few if you are really diligent. Almost all their titles are enlightening or anyway indicative enough. If I myself have not been able to start to consider this reputable and strong philosophy here, indeed even read all of it, it has of course influenced me. Maybe not enough. So too has the work of philosophers of journal articles as against books -- say Mike Martin. See the readings list at the end of Mind: Your Consciousness Is What and Where?
Antony, Louise M. and Hornstein, Norbert, eds., Chomsky and His Critics, Wiley Blackwell, 2003
Arnove, Anthony, ed., The Essential Chomsky, Bodley Head, 2008
Armstrong, D. M., A Materialist Theory of the Mind, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968
Enc, Berent, How We Act: Causes, Reasons, and Intentions, Oxford University Press, 2003
Blackmore, Susan, Consciousness: An Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2004
Block, Ned, Consciousness, Function, and Representation, MIT Press, 2007
Brentano, Franz, Psychology from An Empirical Standpoint (1874), Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973
Burge, Tyler, Foundations of Mind, Oxford University Press, 2007
Campbell, Neil, Mental Causation and the Metaphysics of Mind, Broadview Press, 2003
Carruthers, Peter, Phenomenal Consciousness, Cambridge University Press, 2000
Caruso, Gregg D., ed., Ted Honderich on Consciousness, Determinism, and Humanity, Palgrave Macmillan, Springer, 2018
Cassam, Quassim, Self and World, Oxford University Press, 1991
Chalmers, The Conscious Mind, Oxford University Press, 1996
Chomsky, Noam, Reflections on Language, Pantheon Books, 1971
Chomsky, Noam, The Essential Chomsky, edited by Anthony Arnove, Bodley Head, 2008
On Chomsky, see also Smith, Neil, Chomsky: Ideas and Ideals, Cambridge University Press, 1999
On Chomsky, see also the two books edited by Antony & Hornstein and by Neil Smith
Clark, Andy, Supersizing the Mind, Oxford University Press, 2011
Crane, Tim, The Contents of Experience: Essays on Perception. Cambridge, 1992
Crane, The Mechanical Mind: A Philosophical Introduction to Minds, Machines and Mental Representation, Penguin, 1995
Crane, Elements of Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, Oxford University Press, 2001
Crane, The Objects of Thought, Oxford University Press, 2013
Dancy, Jonathan, ed., Perceptual Knowledge, Oxford University Press, 1988
Dennett, Daniel C., The Intentional Stance, MIT Press, 1987
Dennett, Daniel C., Consciousness Explained, Penguin, 1993
Farcas, Katalin, The Subject's Point of View, Oxford University Press, 2008
Flanagan, Owen, The Science of the Mind, MIT Press, Bradford Book, 1984
Flanagan, Owen, The Really Hard Problem: Meaning In A Material World, MIT Press, 2007
Fodor, Jerry, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Psychology. Random House, 1968
Fodor, Jerry, Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Oxford University Press, 1998
Gendler, Hawthorne, Perceptual Experience, Oxford University Press, 2006.
Gray, Jeffrey, Consciousness: Creeping Up On The Hard Problem, Oxford University Press, 2004
Guttenplan, Samuel, ed., A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind, Blackwell, 1994
Hannay, Alastair, Human Consciousness, Routledge, 1990
Hannay, Alastair, Mental Images: A Defence, Allen & Unwin, 1971
Heil, John, Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction, 1998
Heil, John, Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford,2004
Honderich, Ted, ed., The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2005
Honderich, Ted, Actual Consciousness, Oxford University Press, 2014
Honderich, Ted, Mind: Your Consciousness Is What and Where?, Reaktion Books, University of Chicago Press, 2017
Jackson Frank, Mind and Body, Acumen, 2003
Jackson, Frank, Robots, Zombies, and Us, Bloomsbury, 2007
Kim, Jaegwon, Philosophy of Mind, Westview Press, 1998
Kim, Jaegwon, Physicalism, Or Something Near Enough, Princeton University Press, 2005
Kirk, Robert, Mind and Body, Acumen, 2003
Lycan, William G., 'Chomsky on the Mind-Body Problem', in Antony, ed., Chomsky and His Critics.
Lycan, William G., 'Representational Theories of Consciousness', Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Margolis, Eric; Samuels, Richard; Stich, Stephen, eds, The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Oxford University Press, 2012
McGinn, Colin, The Problem of Consciousness, Blackwell, 1991
McGinn, Colin, The Character of Mind, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, Oxford University Press, 1996
McGinn, Colin, The Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds in a Material World, Basic Books, 1999
Metzinger, Thomas, ed., Conscious Experience, Imprint Academic, 1995
Mole, Christopher, Declan Smithies, Wayne Wu, eds., Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford 2011
Morton,Peter A., A Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind: Readings With Commentary, Broadview Press, 1997
Nagel, Tom, Mortal Questions, Oxford, 1979
Noe, Alva, Action in Perception, MIT Press, 2006
Noe, Alva, Out Of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness, Hill And Wang, 2009.
O'Hear, Anthony, ed., Minds and Persons, Cambridge University Press, 2003
Papineau, David, Thinking About Consciousness, Oxford University Press, 2002
Peacocke, Christopher, Sense and Content: Experience, Thought, and Their Relations, Clarendon Press Oxford, 1983
Peacocke, Christopher, Thoughts: An Essay on Content, Blackwell, 1986
Priest, Stephen, Theories of the Mind, Penguin, 1991
Ravenscroft, Ian, Philosophy of Mind: A Beginner's Guide, Oxford, 2005
Robinson, Daniel, The Mind, Oxford University Press, 1998
Rockwell, W. Teed, Neither Brain Nor Ghost: A Nondualist Alternative to the Mind-Brain Identity Theory, MIT Press, 2007
Rosenthal, David M., Consciousness and Mind, Clarendon Press, 2005
Seager, William, Theories of Consciousness: An Introduction and Assessment, Routledge, 1999
Searle, John, Minds, Brains and Science, British Broadcasting Corporation, 1984
Searle, John, The Rediscovery of the Mind, Cambridge MA, 1992
Searle, The Mystery of Consciousness, New York Review Book, 1999
Searle, Mind: A Brief Introduction, Oxford Univerity Press, 2004
Siegel, Susanna, The Contents of Visual Experience, Oxford University Press, 2010
Smith, Neil, Chomsky: Ideas and Ideals, Cambridge, 2004
Smith, Quentin & Jokic, Aleksandar, Consciousness, Oxford University Press, 2003
Sterelny, Kim, The Representational Theory of Mind: An Introduction. Blackwell, 1990
Strawson, Galen, Selves: An Essay in Revisionary Metaphysics. Oxford University Press, 2009
Tye, Michael, Consciousness Revisited: Materialism Witout Phenomenal Concepts, MIT Press, 2009
Wright, Edmund, The Case For Qualia, MIT Press, 2008