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Consciousness and the World$
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Brian O'Shaughnessy

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256723

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199256721.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Consciousness and the World

Brian O'Shaughnessy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The aim is to provide a theory of consciousness, and of the relation of consciousness through perception with the World. Consciousness is not a mystery, being an internal state analysable into internal constituents. However, it is essentially directed to the World, and this necessitates some knowledge of the World. Certain epistemological powers are peculiar to it, but are they essential? It emerges that consciousness necessitates an accessible perceptual attentive capacity. This is demonstrated through appeal to the principle: the conscious are ‘in touch with’ Reality, and are of necessity oriented towards the truth. Part of the proof turns upon the theory that perception is the sheer presence to awareness of extensionally given phenomenal objects. It contacts objects (broadly understood), not propositions. This is accomplished through the mediation of perceptual ‘proxies’ like side, surface, and ultimately also in seeing through light and visual sensations. However, even prior to this encounter, a ‘The Visual Given’ is presented to consciousness, a causal posit necessitated by the presence of mental causation in the aetiology of the visual experience. This is where the ‘journey’ of the Attention begins, and it ends in Physical Reality, in a complex mental perceptual‐cognitive phenomenon in which in humans the conceptual powers of the mind are engaged in constituting the physical object and its universal setting. Consciousness has from the start an appointment in the concrete with the World in its ultimate physical form, and the introduction sets out to explain how it is that it keeps that appointment.

Keywords:   Attention, awareness, consciousness, experience, mind, Brian O’Shaughnessy, perception, Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of perception, Reality, seeing, world

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