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The Taboo of SubjectivityTowards a New Science of Consciousness$
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B. Alan Wallace

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195173109

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173109.001.0001

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Confusing Scientific Materialism with Science

Confusing Scientific Materialism with Science

(p.145) 7 Confusing Scientific Materialism with Science
The Taboo of Subjectivity

B. Alan Wallace

Oxford University Press

After four centuries of advances in scientific knowledge, more than a century of psychological research, and roughly a half century of progress in the neurosciences, even most advocates of scientism acknowledge that science has yet to give any intelligible account of the nature of consciousness. Nevertheless, the extent of our ignorance concerning consciousness is often overlooked. Under the doctrinal influence of scientific materialism, the public has been led to believe that scientists know things about the mind of which they are in fact ignorant and to believe that ordinary human subjects do not know things that they do in fact know perfectly well. A major tendency of scientific materialism has been to describe machines and other unconscious phenomena in anthropomorphic, cognitive terms. The same terms, adjusted to their application to machines, are then reapplied to human minds, giving the impression that minds and machines are essentially alike. Thus, a kind of “neuromythology” is fabricated that simultaneously obscures the actual nature of both machines and minds.

Keywords:   science, scientific materialism, consciousness, mind, scientism, machines, subjectivity, mental phenomena

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