Final blog: summary and reflections

I am very glad that I had this opportunity to conduct research on the topic of consciousness this summer. During the research, as I read through the theories developed by various philosophers and neuroscientists, I was impressed by how amazing the human minds are. It is such a wonder that we could have so many different experiences and the human brain could somehow transfer the physical activity into subjective, mental states (if we assume the two are closely related in some way). The explanatory gap raised by David Chalmers is indeed brilliant, and till now I personally don’t think any theoretical models gives out a satisfactory answer.

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Update3: The Higher-order Thought Theory

One of the prominent theories of consciousness is the Higher-order theory, which roughly state that a mental state is conscious because of some relation it bears with a higher order state of mind about it. Several versions of the theory were developed, here I discuss the Higher-Order Thought (HOT) theory, which roughly divides into the Actualist approach and the Dispositionalist approach.

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Update2: The explanatory gap


Studies on consciousness focuses mainly on three things: WHAT is/are the nature/features of consciousness, HOW does consciousness come to exist, and WHY it is this way (roles in evolution). Discussions on consciousness also usually refer to the “explanatory gap” between some aspect of our conscious mental life and objective physical explanation of that aspect. It seems that whatever physical account of a subjective conscious experience we might imagine will leave it completely puzzling why there should be such a connection between the objective physical story and the subjective conscious experience (Nagel 1974).

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Update1: The problem of consciousness

Sorry for this late update of my research…. Went back to China and not really convenient to get on school’s website for updates. But I’ve done a bunch of research during the past two months and in the next couple of days I will introduce   the current popular theories of consciousness in philosophy and neuroscience.

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Abstract: an investigation into the nature of consciousness

Hi! I am Lynette, and I am a sophomore here at the College of William and Mary. I am a philosophy and psychology double major, and I do hope that I could add in a third major Art. My main interest in philosophy is philosophy of mind, especially the topic of consciousness, and also aesthetics and philosophy of art. I’ve always wanted to apply my knowledge in physiological psychology to philosophical issues, so I guess the topic of consciousness in philosophy of mind is just the perfect match. [Read more…]