How Matter Becomes Conscious: A Naturalistic Theory of the Mind

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This innovative book proposes a unique and original perspective on the nature of the mind and how phenomenal consciousness may arise in a physical world. From simple sentient organisms to complex self-reflective systems, Faye argues for a naturalistic-evolutionary approach to philosophy of mind and consciousness. Drawing on substantial literature in evolutionary biology and cognitive science, this book offers a promising alternative to the major theories of the mind-body problem: the quality of our experiences should not, as some philosophers have claimed, be associated with subjectivity that is not open for scientific explanation, nor should it be associated with intrinsic properties of the brain. Instead, Faye argues that mental properties are extrinsic properties of the brain caused by the organism?s interaction with its environment. Taking on the explanatory gap, and rejecting the ontological pluralism of present naturalist theories of the mind, Faye thus proposes a unified view of reality in which it is possible to explain qualitative mental presentations as part of the physical world.
 

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Contents

1 Flipping the Debate
1
2 Our Animal Mind
29
3 Subjectivity in a Biological Perspective
69
4 A Difference That Makes No Difference
107
5 Why Identity Is Not Enough
145
6 Functionalism Mechanisms and Levels of Reality
183
7 The Environment Is What Matters
225
8 Understanding Consciousness
259
Epilogue
305
Bibliography
313
Index
324
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