How can phenomenal consciousness exist as an integral part of a physical universe? How can the technicolour phenomenology of our inner lives be created out of the complex neural activities of our brains? Many have despaired of finding answers to these questions; and many have claimed that human consciousness is inherently mysterious. Peter Carruthers argues, on the contrary, that the subjective feel of our experience is fully explicable in naturalistic (scientifically acceptable) terms. Drawing on a variety of interdisciplinary resources, he develops and defends a novel account in terms of higher-order thought. He shows that this can explain away some of the more extravagant claims made about phenomenal consciousness, while substantively explaining the key subjectivity of our experience. Written with characteristic clarity and directness, and surveying a wide range of extant theories, this book is essential reading for all those within philosophy and psychology interested in the problem of consciousness.
'Carruthers' book is a marvellous and wide-ranging critical introduction to the problem of conciousness from a representational theory point of view ... Carruthers also develops and defends a highly original version of the representational theory of consciousness which boasts a remarkable degree of depth and precision ... an intriguing and original addition to the growing range of representational theories of consciousness, which is the most exciting area in consciousness studies at the moment ... Carruthers' book is now an essential part of the literature in this area.' William Seager, University of Toronto 'Carruthers' new book is a welcome addition to the extensive literature on phenomenal consciousness ... Carruthers has written a rich and rewarding book ... the level of argumentation is consistently high, and a wide range of empirical evidence is brought to bear ... no one working in the philosophy of mind and/or psychology can afford to ignore it.' The Philosophical Quarterly ' ... compulsory reading for anyone interested in the comtemporary philosophical and scientific debate over the nature of phenomenal consciousness.' An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Consciousness