Consciousness and Experience
"The mind has no special properties that are not exhausted by its representational properties, along with or in combination with the functional organization of its components. It would follow that once representation itself is (eventually) understood, then not only consciousness in our present sense but subjectivity, qualia, 'what it's like,' and every other aspect of the mental will be explicable in terms of representation together with the underlying functionally organized neurophysiology. . . . I do not think there will be any 'problem of consciousness' left."
This sequel to Lycan's Consciousness (1987) continues the elaboration of his general functionalist theory of consciousness, answers the critics of his earlier work, and expands the range of discussion to deal with the many new issues and arguments that have arisen in the intervening years—an extraordinarily fertile period for the philosophical investigation of consciousness.
Lycan not only uses the numerous arguments against materialism, and functionalist theories of mind in particular, to gain a more detailed positive view of the structure of the mind, he also targets the set of really hard problems at the center of the theory of consciousness: subjectivity, qualia, and the felt aspect of experience. The key to his own enlarged and fairly argued position, which he calls the "hegemony of representation," is that there is no more to mind or consciousness than can be accounted for in terms of intentionality, functional organization, and in particular, second-order representation of one's own mental states.
A Bradford Book
About the Author
William G. Lycan is Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.