Consciousness - phenomenal experience such as sensations, emotions, and other qualitative subjective states - poses an intriguing and as yet unsolved problem for naturalists seeking a unified picture of the world. We know conscious experience arises in conjunction with certain neural goings on in our brains, but there is no consensus in the philo-scientific, naturalist community about why it should arise, or how. Naturalists often gravitate to physicalism in proposed explanations - that consciousness must be essentially physical - but naturalism is not necessarily equivalent to physicalism. Not all phenomena need be spatio-temporal to qualify as naturalistically real, and experience is possibly one example. The papers in this section try to pose the explanatory question clearly, and then explore the possibilities of a trans-physical/mental representationalism in answering it. 

Articles in this Section

Related Content from Other Sections

  • The Cost of Consciousness, Book Review

    A review of Annaka Harris's book Conscious.

  • Death, Nothingness, and Subjectivity, Article
    Critiques the widespread secular misunderstanding of death as a plunge into oblivion.
  • Three Threats to Autonomy: Why Consciousness Does and Doesn't Matter, Talk

    Notes for talk given at Brown University psychology department, 2/17/2012

  • Consciousness Revolutions, Book Review

    Thomas Metzinger’s The Ego Tunnel is a must read for anyone interested in consciousness and the mind-body problem. Metzinger has a well-developed, empirically supported representationalist theory that offers a promising approach to many puzzles about conscious experience.

  • Good and Real , Book Review

    In Good and Real, computer scientist and independent scholar Gary Drescher mounts a mind-bending attack on problems that arise when common sense conflicts with the science-based view that we inhabit a purely physical, mechanistic, deterministic universe.

  • Consciousness, Book Review

    A review of three of Susan Blackmore's books on consciousness.

  • Hodgson’s Black Box, Article
    This invited reply to David Hodgson's "A Plain Person's Free Will" originally appeared in The Journal of Consciousness Studies.
  • Is There an Observing Self?, External Resource

    An article from Science and Conciousness Review, authored by Tom Clark and dated February 1, 2004, containing commentary on Baars et al., "Brain, conscious experience, and the observing self," Trends in Neurosciences, 26 (12), December 2003.

  • Empirical Constraints on the Concept of Consciousness, External Resource

    An article from Science and Conciousness Review, authored by Tom Clark and dated April 30, 2003, containing editorial commentary on Crick and Koch's "A Framework for Consciousness".

  • The Illusion of Conscious Will, Book Review

    In The Illusion of Conscious Will, Wegner sets out to deconstruct, largely from an experimental psychological perspective, the sense we have of consciously willing our actions.