Self-awareness and the mind-brain problem
Topics:Theory of Consciousness
Keywords:consciousness; self-awareness; mind-brain problem; mind-brain identity
Deposited by:Prof. Gilberto Gomes
Date of Issue:1995
Journal/Publication Title:Philosophical Psychology
Abstract:The prima facie heterogeneity between psychical and physical phenomena seems to be a serious objection to psychoneural identity thesis, according to many authors, from Leibniz to Popper. It is argued that this objection can be superseded by a different conception of consciousness. Consciousness, while being conscious of something, is always unconscious of itself. Consciousness of being conscious is not immediate, it involves another, second-order, conscious state. The appearance of mental states to second-order consciousness does not reveal their true nature. Psychoneural identity can thus be considered a valid hypothesis. Related views of Kant, Freud, Shaffer, Bunge and others are considered. “Naïve psychical realism” is criticized. Consciousness of mental events is considered as the result of the action of a cerebral system that observes the mental events hypothetically identical to mental events. The theory combines a materialist view with a due consideration of subjective experience.