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Actual Consciousness$
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Ted Honderich

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714385

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714385.001.0001

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Dualisms, Functionalisms, Consciousness-Criteria

Dualisms, Functionalisms, Consciousness-Criteria

(p.85) 4 Dualisms, Functionalisms, Consciousness-Criteria
Actual Consciousness

Ted Honderich

Oxford University Press

There are reasons to look at two existing kinds of theories of consciousness, including the need to elicit criteria by which to judge any theory of consciousness. One kind is dualism, still persisting, and the other is functionalism, dominant in the sciences of mind and consciousness. They are treated differently, wrongly. Dualisms are taken to be to the effect that consciousness is non-physical, taken so persuasively if without the benefit of an understanding of physicality. Abstract functionalism is to the effect, unnoticed, that being conscious, whatever its relation to brains or computers, is unphysical. This is the upshot of several prized propositions, one about multiple realizability of consciousness in physical bases. Abstract functionalism is therefore as vulnerable to certain objections as the dualisms. Does much of science in fact tacitly contemplate physical functionalism, which is true to its name? A pity if so, since physical functionalism as naturally understood is self-contradictory.

Keywords:   dualisms, functionalism, abstract functionalism, multiple realizability, physical functionalism

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