oa Alternation - Consciousness Studies: Research Prospects in the 'Cradle of Human Consciousness'

Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Consciousness seems, at one and the same time, to be both the most obvious characteristic of human existence and yet also the most mysterious. If you were not now conscious, you would be asleep or in a coma, and certainly not aware of the meaning conveyed by the words on this page. Yet we live in a world dominated by a belief in physicalism - roughly, the doctrine that the ultimate constituents of the universe, and thus the 'building blocks' of all entities both conscious (us) and non-conscious (this page, your chair), are purely physical particles-the kinds of 'stuff' studied by physicists. From the point of view of physicalism, it seems thoroughly surprising that there are objects (creatures) in this world that experience qualitative states-states that it feels like something to be in. We have made great progress in understanding how certain organisations of matter can 'give rise to' what we call life.

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