What is consciousness? The answer to this question has been pondered upon, grappled with, and argued about since time immemorial. There has never been an answer that achieved consensus; certainly philosophers have never agreed.
In this book, William Lycan defends an original theory of mind that he calls "homuncular functionalism." He argues that human beings are "functionally organized information-processing systems" who have no non-physical parts or properties. However, Lycan also recognizes the subjective phenomenal qualities of mental states and events, and an important sense in which mind is "over and above" mere chemical matter. Along the way, Lycan reviews some diverse philosophical accounts of consciousness-including those of Kripke, Block, Campbell, Sellars, and Castañeda, among others-and demonstrates how what is valuable in each opposing view can be accommodated within his own theory.
Consciousness is Lycan's most ambitious book, one that has engaged his attention for years. He handles a fascinating subject in a unique and undoubtedly controversial manner that will make this book a mainstay in the field of philosophy of mind.
This long-awaited book sets out the implications of Habermas's theory of communicative action for moral theory. "Discourse ethics" attempts to reconstruct a moral point of view from which normative claims can be impartially judged. The theory of justice it develops replaces Kant's categorical imperative with a procedure of justification based on reasoned agreement among participants in practical discourse.Habermas connects communicative ethics to the theory of social action via an examination of research in the social psychology of moral and interpersonal development. He aims to show that our basic moral intuitions spring from something deeper and more universal than contingent features of our tradition, namely from normative presuppositions of social interaction that belong to the repertoire of competent agents in any society. J??rgen Habermas is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt.
In Consciousness and the Computational Mind, Ray Jackendoff probes one of the fundamental issues in cognitive psychology: How does our conscious experience come to be the way it is? In so doing, he develops an overview of the mental representations invoked by the language, visual, and musical faculties, and describes how they are used in perception, production, imagery, and thought. He then explores how these representations determine the character of conscious awareness, arriving at the "Intermediate Level Theory" of consciousness, an account strikingly different from and more empirically adequate than the many previous theories examined in the book.
In Matter and Consciousness, Paul Churchland clearly presents the advantages and disadvantages of such difficult issues in philosophy of mind as behaviorism, reductive materialism, functionalism, and eliminative materialism. This new edition incorporates the striking developments that have taken place in neuroscience, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence and notes their expanding relevance to philosophical issues.
Churchland organizes and clarifies the new theoretical and experimental results of the natural sciences for a wider philosophical audience, observing that this research bears directly on questions concerning the basic elements of cognitive activity and their implementation in real physical systems. (How is it, he asks, that living creatures perform some cognitive tasks so swiftly and easily, where computers do them only badly or not at all?) Most significant for philosophy, Churchland asserts, is the support these results tend to give to the reductive and the eliminative versions of materialism.