1st Edition

What is Consciousness? A Debate

By Amy Kind, Daniel Stoljar Copyright 2023
    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    What is consciousness and why is it so philosophically and scientifically puzzling? For many years philosophers approached this question assuming a standard physicalist framework on which consciousness can be explained by contemporary physics, biology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. This book is a debate between two philosophers who are united in their rejection of this kind of "standard" physicalism - but who differ sharply in what lesson to draw from this. Amy Kind defends dualism 2.0, a thoroughly modern version of dualism (the theory that there are two fundamentally different kinds of things in the world: those that are physical and those that are mental) decoupled from any religious or non-scientific connotations. Daniel Stoljar defends non-standard physicalism, a kind of physicalism different from both the standard version and dualism 2.0. The book presents a cutting-edge assessment of the philosophy of consciousness and provides a glimpse at what the future study of this area might bring.

    Key Features

    • Outlines the different things people mean by "consciousness" and provides an account of what consciousness is
    • Reviews the key arguments for thinking that consciousness is incompatible with physicalism
    • Explores and provides a defense of contrasting responses to those arguments, with a special focus on responses that reject the standard physicalist framework
    • Provides an account of the basic aims of the science of consciousness
    • Written in a lively and accessibly style
    • Includes a comprehensive glossary

    Frank Jackson

    Opening Statements

    1. The Mind-Body Problem: Dualism Rebooted
    Amy Kind

    2. Non-standard Physicalism: The epistemic view
    Daniel Stoljar

    First Round of Replies

    3. Ignorance Is No Defense: Reply to Daniel Stoljar
    Amy Kind

    4. Taking Non-Standard Options Seriously: Reply to Amy Kind
    Daniel Stoljar

    Second Round of Replies

    5. The Consciousness Slugathon: Reply to Daniel Stoljar's Reply
    Amy Kind

    6. Taking Non-Standard Options Seriously: Reply to Amy Kind's Reply
    Daniel Stoljar


    Amy Kind is Russell K. Pitzer of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College. She has authored numerous articles in philosophy of mind, as well as two books, Persons and Personal Identity (Polity, 2015) and Philosophy of Mind: The Basics (Routledge, 2020); she has also edited and co-edited four volumes, the most recent of which is Epistemic Uses of Imagination (Routledge, 2021).

    Daniel Stoljar is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Consciousness in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. He is the author of many papers in philosophy of mind and related topics, as well as the books, Ignorance and Imagination: The Epistemic Origin of the Problem of Consciousness (OUP, 2006), Physicalism (Routledge, 2010), and Philosophical Progress: In Defence of a Reasonable Optimism (OUP, 2017).