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This book presents a novel and comprehensive theory of consciousness. The initial chapter distinguishes six main forms of consciousness and sketches an account of each one. Later chapters focus on phenomenal consciousness, consciousness of, and introspective consciousness. In discussing phenomenal consciousness, Hill develops the representational theory of mind in new directions, arguing that all awareness involves representations, even awareness of qualitative states like pain. He then uses this view to undercut dualistic accounts of qualitative states. Other topics include visual awareness, visual appearances, emotional qualia, and meta-cognitive processing. This important work will interest a wide readership of students and scholars in philosophy of mind and cognitive science.Read more
- Provides a comprehensive theory of consciousness, identifying all of the main forms of consciousness and proposing an account for each of them
- Develops the representational theory of mind in a unique way, providing a new insight for the reader
- Offers detailed accounts of three types of phenomenology: visual phenomenology, somatic phenomenology and emotional phenomenology, ideal for those wishing to study this subject in depth
Reviews & endorsements
"Christopher Hill’s Consciousness is the most compelling development and defense of representationalist physicalism about consciousness that I know. It takes the representational approach to a new level. There is a wealth of material here, with every important topic and issue covered judiciously and in detail. Hill’s engagement with the current debates in the field illuminates his own views and make them stand out with great clarity. His book has forced me to rethink my own views about consciousness; another reading might convert me into a representationalist myself – something I would never have thought possible. This excellent book cannot be ignored by anyone with a serious interest in consciousness, physicalism, and the mind-body problem."
--Jaegwon Kim, Brown UniversitySee more reviews
"This is a terrific philosophical state-of-the-art account of consciousness that develops a new improved version of the representative theory of mind and advances the discussion of consciousness to a new level."
--Gilbert Harman, Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University
"Hill defends a representational account of consciousness and qualia, but his centerpiece is a notion of 'experiential awareness' that has not previously been explored. His chapter on pain is the best defense I have seen of the proprioceptive theory, and the chapter on emotional qualia is important and highly original. There is also an unprecedented defense of the view that all introspective awareness takes the form of belief."
--William G. Lycan, Professor of Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
"In this lucidly wrought volume, Christopher Hill makes the case for a unified representational theory of awareness. It is a magisterial work of great ambition and scope. Hill systematically applies the theory to the varieties of consciousness, showing how it can account for visual experience, qualia, pain, emotions, propositional attitudes, and introspection. On each topic, Hill sets up the pins and one by one knocks them down, until the representational account stands alone, seemingly inevitable. His marshalling of the theory to eviscerate well-known arguments for dualism is particularly devastating. Hill makes effective use of empirical results from vision science and neuroscience to buttress his case. The writing is extremely clear and compact, making it an excellent entry point for readers from cognitive science, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and vision science into the philosophical issues – which they ignore at their peril."
--William H. Warren, Professor of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences, Brown University
"This impressive book is filled with philosophical wisdom. It elevates the discussion of consciousness to a new level of clarity and precision, while providing a surer footing to the view that consciousness is representational in nature. The book will contribute to setting the agenda for future research."
--Brian McLaughlin, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University
Consciousness is imbued with enthusiasm for its eponymous subject, tempered by respect for the problems it discusses. In the course of defending his own heterodox brand of a representational theory of consciousness, Hill covers an impressive list of topics, including bodily sensations, emotions, spatial perception, self-knowledge, andthe explanatory gap. Packed with intricate arguments and exciting claims, this provocative and important book will be of great interest to students and specialists alike.
--Alex Byrne, Professor of Philosophy, MIT
“Christopher Hill's Consciousness is a lively tour through a wide range of central topics in the philosophy of mind, sprinkled generously with insights about the nature of pain, perception, the emotions, hedonic properties, introspection, and phenomenal concepts. It all adds up to a unified theory of the qualitative, framed by the author's renegade refusal to rely on the idea that forms of consciousness can be characterized by talking about what they are like. Philosophers interested in conscious mental life and in our distinctively first-personal ways of knowing about it are bound to find much in this book that they will want to chew over and digest.”
--Susanna C. Siegel, Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University
"....well-written and thoroughly researched study.... provides an excellent context that may be employed in inter-disciplinary discussions on consciousness, mainly due to the clarity and coherence of the nomenclature presented in the book... Hills book is a valuable contribution to the field and it deserves careful study. The text should be seen as calling the attention of graduate students and researchers within consciousness studies, not only in analytic philosophy but also in phenomenology, psychology, and cognition science."
--Kyriakos Theodoridis, PhD, Malmo University, Metapsychology
"....Overall, Consciousness is instructive in where it goes right.... Hill's masterful exposition of the positions and problems of the major camps of philosophy of mind is really quite extraordinary.... informative and notable for its breadth, depth and seriousness."
--Ellen Fridland, Philosophical Inquiry
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- Date Published: November 2009
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521125215
- length: 276 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
- weight: 0.37kg
- contains: 3 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Form of consciousness
2. Theories of qualia
3. Awareness, representation, and experience
4. The refutation of dualism
5. Visual awareness and visual qualia
6. Ouch! The paradox of pain
7. Internal weather: the metaphysics of emotional qualia
8. Introspection and consciousness
9. A summary, two supplements, and a look beyond.
Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses
- Consciousness and Experience
- Philosophy of Mind Seminar
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