Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/279999
Title:
The unity of consciousness
Author:
Bayne, Timothy
Issue Date:
2002
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
I am currently enjoying a number of experiences: I can hear the sound of a dog barking in the distance, I can feel the pressure of my feet on the floor, and I can smell freshly brewed coffee. These experiences don't simply occur at the same time, they also seem to be unified in a certain way. More generally, it is often said that consciousness is necessarily unified. This claim raises three questions: (1) What exactly does it mean? (2) Is it true? (3) What implications does it have? Chapters one and two are concerned with the first question: what does it mean to say that consciousness is unified? I develop a conception of the unity of consciousness that is both substantive and plausible. I call this conception the "unity thesis". Roughly, the unity thesis says that any pair of experiences that a single subject of experience has at the same time must be contained within a single fully unified phenomenal field: they must have a conjoint phenomenology. Chapters three and four are concerned with the second question: Is consciousness necessarily unified? In chapter three I tentatively endorse an inconceivability-based argument for thinking that they are not. Of course, a priori arguments against the possibility of disunified subjects must be weighed against empirical considerations. In chapter four I examine the evidence for thinking that some people actually are disunified subjects, focusing mostly on the split-brain syndrome. I argue that empirical arguments against the unity thesis are inconclusive. Chapters five and six are concerned with the third question: what implications does the unity of consciousness have? In chapter five I argue that the unity thesis places constraints on our account of state consciousness: if the unity thesis is true, then certain influential accounts of consciousness are false. In chapter six I argue that the unity thesis also constrains our account of the self: if the unity thesis is true, then we need to think of the self in phenomenal terms.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Philosophy.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Philosophy
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Chalmers, David J.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleThe unity of consciousnessen_US
dc.creatorBayne, Timothyen_US
dc.contributor.authorBayne, Timothyen_US
dc.date.issued2002en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractI am currently enjoying a number of experiences: I can hear the sound of a dog barking in the distance, I can feel the pressure of my feet on the floor, and I can smell freshly brewed coffee. These experiences don't simply occur at the same time, they also seem to be unified in a certain way. More generally, it is often said that consciousness is necessarily unified. This claim raises three questions: (1) What exactly does it mean? (2) Is it true? (3) What implications does it have? Chapters one and two are concerned with the first question: what does it mean to say that consciousness is unified? I develop a conception of the unity of consciousness that is both substantive and plausible. I call this conception the "unity thesis". Roughly, the unity thesis says that any pair of experiences that a single subject of experience has at the same time must be contained within a single fully unified phenomenal field: they must have a conjoint phenomenology. Chapters three and four are concerned with the second question: Is consciousness necessarily unified? In chapter three I tentatively endorse an inconceivability-based argument for thinking that they are not. Of course, a priori arguments against the possibility of disunified subjects must be weighed against empirical considerations. In chapter four I examine the evidence for thinking that some people actually are disunified subjects, focusing mostly on the split-brain syndrome. I argue that empirical arguments against the unity thesis are inconclusive. Chapters five and six are concerned with the third question: what implications does the unity of consciousness have? In chapter five I argue that the unity thesis places constraints on our account of state consciousness: if the unity thesis is true, then certain influential accounts of consciousness are false. In chapter six I argue that the unity thesis also constrains our account of the self: if the unity thesis is true, then we need to think of the self in phenomenal terms.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectPhilosophy.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePhilosophyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorChalmers, David J.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest3053863en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b42811491en_US
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