Saturday, May 12, 2012

Is consciousness a valid concept?
The most compelling argument for the existence of consciousness is that the vast majority of mankind have an overwhelming intuition that there truly is such a thing. Skeptics argue that this intuition, in spite of its compelling quality, is false, either because the concept of consciousness is intrinsically incoherent, or because our intuitions about it are based in illusions. Gilbert Ryle, for example, argued that traditional understanding of consciousness depends on a Cartesian dualist outlook that improperly distinguishes between mind and body, or between mind and world. He proposed that we speak not of minds, bodies, and the world, but of individuals, or persons, acting in the world. Thus, by speaking of 'consciousness' we end up misleading ourselves by thinking that there is any sort of thing as consciousness separated from behavioral and linguistic understandings. More generally, many philosophers and scientists have been unhappy about the difficulty of producing a definition that does not involve circularity or fuzziness

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