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Hardcover | Out of Print | 264 pp. | 5.9 x 8.9 in | November 1995 | ISBN: 9780262201032
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Ten Problems of Consciousness

A Representational Theory of the Phenomenal Mind


Can neurophysiology ever reveal to us what it is like to smell a skunk or to experience pain? In what does the feeling of happiness consist? How is it that changes in the white and gray matter composing our brains generate subjective sensations and feelings? These are several of the questions that Michael Tye addresses, while formulating a new and enlightening theory about the phenomenal "what it feels like" aspect of consciousness. The test of any such theory, according to Tye, lies in how well it handles ten critical problems of consciousness.

Tye argues that all experiences and all feelings represent things, and that their phenomenal aspects are to be understood in terms of what they represent. He develops this representational approach to consciousness in detail with great ingenuity and originality. In the book's first part Tye lays out the domain, the ten problems and an associated paradox, along with all the theories currently available and the difficulties they face. In part two, he develops his intentionalist approach to consciousness. Special summaries are provided in boxes and the ten problems are illustrated with cartoons.

A Bradford Book

Representation and Mind series

About the Author

Michael Tye is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Ten Problems of Consciousness (1995), Consciousness, Color, and Content (2000), and Consciousness and Persons (2003), all published by the MIT Press.


“The book is superb. It is lively, well argued, well-written, beautifully clear, and offers the most developed intentional theory of consciousness to date. Tye makes the most powerful case yet made that consciousness can be accounted for by appeal only to intentional states. His book is better than any book on consciousness now in print, and it is better than any forthcoming book on consciousness of which I am is better than any forthcoming book on consciousness of which I am aware. Tye walks a tightrope, offering experts a new theory of consciousness while at the same time offering students a way into the problems of consciousness. As difficult as this is, he pulls it off.”
Brian P McLaughlin, Rutgers University
“A fascinating account of the phenomenal aspects of consciousness. Clearly written, philosophically sophisticated, and scientifically informed. Tye's book develops a persuasive and, in many respects, original argument for the view that the qualitative side of our mental life is representational in nature.”
Fred Dretske, Stanford University