This book aims to show the centrality of a proper ontology of properties in thinking about consciousness. Philosophers have long grappled with what is now known as the hard problem of consciousness, i.e., how can subjective or qualitative features of our experience—such as how a strawberry tastes—arise from brain states? More recently, philosophers have incorporated what seems like promising empirical research from neuroscience and cognitive psychology in an attempt to bridge the gap between measurable mental states on the one hand, and phenomenal qualities on the other. In Consciousness and the Ontology of Properties, many of the leading philosophers working on this issue, as well as a few emerging scholars, have written 14 new essays on this problem. The essays address topics as diverse as substance dualism, mental causation, the metaphysics of artificial intelligence, the logic of conceivability, constitution, extended minds, the emergence of consciousness, and neuroscience and the unity and neural correlates of consciousness, but are nonetheless unified in a collective objective: the need for a proper ontology of properties to understand the hard problem of consciousness, both on non-empirical and empirical grounds.
Table of Contents
Introduction Mihretu P. Guta Part I: Ontology, Properties and Consciousness 1. The Mystery of the Mystery of Consciousness John Heil 2. Physical Properties Alexander D. Carruth 3. A Powerful New Anomalous Monism Henry Taylor 4. What We Conceive of When We Conceive of Zombies Donnchadh O'Connaill 5. The Metaphysics of Artifical Intelligence Eric T. Olson 6. Substance Dualism: The Best Account of the Unity of Consciousness J. P. Moreland Part II: Ontology, Emergence and Consciousness 7. Explaining the Ontological Emergence of Consciousness Philip Woodward 8. The Non-Causal Account of the Spontaneous Emergence of Phenomenal Consciousness Mihretu P. Guta Part III: Mental Causation and Consciousness 9. Mental Causation and Counterfactuals: A New Argument for the Type-Identity Thesis José Luis Bermúdez and Arnon Cahen 10. Mental Causation Really is Mental Causation Richard Swinburne Part IV: Extended Mind, Constitution and Consciousness 11. Extended Mind and the Authority of Consciousness Adam Green 12. New Mechanisms and the Enactivist Concept of Constitution Shaun Gallagher Part V: Neuroscience and Consciousness 13. Hard Problems of Unified Experience from the Perspective of Neuroscience Eric LaRock 14. Neural Correlates of Consciousness and the Nature of the Mind Matthew Owen References Index
Mihretu P. Guta teaches philosophy at both the graduate and undergraduate levels at Biola University and at Azusa Pacific University, California. He co-edited with Sophie Gibb the Special Issue for the Journal of Consciousness Studies, entitled ‘Insights into the first-person perspective and the self: an interdisciplinary approach’, 11-12 (2015), and is currently working on a manuscript entitled The Metaphysics of Substance and Personhood: A Non-Theory-Laden Approach.
"Anyone looking for a single volume of the latest, most promising work in philosophy of mind could not do better than Guta's brilliant collection of 14 fresh essays in Consciousness and the Ontology of Properties. This is a work that is ideal for experts as well as newcomers who are engaged with philosophically exploring the nature of consciousness."
-Charles Taliaferro, St. Olaf College