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A Place for Consciousness : Probing the Deep Structure of the Natural World - Gregg Rosenberg

A Place for Consciousness

Probing the Deep Structure of the Natural World

Hardcover Published: 1st August 2004
ISBN: 9780195168143
Number Of Pages: 344

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What place does consciousness have in the natural world? If we reject materialism, could there be a credible alternative? In one classic example, philosophers ask whether we can ever know what is it is like for bats to sense the world using sonar. It seems obvious to many that any amount of information about a bat's physical structure and information processing leaves us guessing about the central questions concerning the character of its experience.
A Place for Consciousness begins with reflections on the existence of this gap. Is it just a psychological shortcoming in our merely human understanding of the physical world? Is it a trivial consequence of the simple fact that we just cannot be bats? Or does it mean there really are facts about consciousness over and above the physical facts? If so, what does consciousness do? Why does it exist?
Rosenberg sorts out these problems, especially those centering on the causal role of consciousness. He introduces a new paradigm called Liberal Naturalism for thinking about what causation is, about the natural world, and about how to create a detailed model to go along with the new paradigm. Arguing that experience is part of the categorical foundations of causality, he shows that within this new paradigm there is a place for something essentially like consciousness in all its traditional mysterious respects.
A striking feature of Liberal Naturalism is that its central tenets are motivated independently of the mind-body problem, by analyzing causation itself. Because of this approach, when consciousness shows up in the picture it is not introduced in an ad hoc way, and its most puzzling features can be explained from first principles. Ultimately, Rosenberg's final solution gives consciousness a causally important role without supposing either that it is physical or that it interacts with the physical.

"A Place for Consciousness is strikingly original, clearly written, tightly argued and does an excellent job of presenting a very distinctive, fascinating and promising account of causation and consciousness...Rosenberg's work is very refreshing; it takes a genuinely new approach without sacrificing the kind of 'rigour' and clear argumentation which is the backbone of analytic philosophy."--William E. Seager, University of Toronto at Scarborough "A Place for Consciousness adopts a unified approach to the metaphysics of consciousness and causation, on which consciousness is intimately linked to the basis of causation in the physical world. Rosenberg develops his fascinating view with ingenuity and precision. Philosophers of mind and metaphysicians will learn much from a close study of this remarkable book."--Torin Alter, The University of Alabama "Gregg Rosenberg systematically explores the idea that consciousness is tied to an inner aspect of processes that science normally studies only from the outside. He develops this idea in unprecedented depth and detail, laying out an original theory of the roots of consciousness in the intrinsic nature of causation. The book is full of fresh ideas in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind. The result is a significant work of philosophy that makes compelling reading for anyone interested in the place of consciousness in nature."--David J. Chalmers, University of Arizona "A Place for Consciousness is strikingly original, clearly written, tightly argued and does an excellent job of presenting a very distinctive, fascinating and promising account of causation and consciousness...Rosenberg's work is very refreshing; it takes a genuinely new approach without sacrificing the kind of 'rigour' and clear argumentation which is the backbone of analytic philosophy."--William E. Seager, University of Toronto at Scarborough "A Place for Consciousness adopts a unified approach to the metaphysics of consciousness and causation, on which consciousness is intimately linked to the basis of causation in the physical world. Rosenberg develops his fascinating view with ingenuity and precision. Philosophers of mind and metaphysicians will learn much from a close study of this remarkable book."--Torin Alter, The University of Alabama "Gregg Rosenberg systematically explores the idea that consciousness is tied to an inner aspect of processes that science normally studies only from the outside. He develops this idea in unprecedented depth and detail, laying out an original theory of the roots of consciousness in the intrinsic nature of causation. The book is full of fresh ideas in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind. The result is a significant work of philosophy that makes compelling reading for anyone interested in the place of consciousness in nature."--David J. Chalmers, University of Arizona

A place for consciousnessp. 3
The argument against physicalismp. 13
Physicalist responses to the argument against physicalismp. 31
The boundary problem for experiencing subjectsp. 77
On the possibility of panexperientialismp. 91
On the probability of panexperientialismp. 104
Paradoxes for liberal naturalismp. 114
Against Humep. 129
The theory of causal significancep. 141
A tutorial on causal significancep. 184
Is connectivity entailed by the physical?p. 218
The carrier theory of causationp. 230
The consciousness hypothesisp. 248
Applicationsp. 272
Conclusionp. 297
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195168143
ISBN-10: 0195168143
Series: Philosophy of Mind Series
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 344
Published: 1st August 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.2 x 16.3  x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.61