This innovative book proposes a unique and original perspective on the nature of the mind and how phenomenal consciousness may arise in a physical world. From simple sentient organisms to complex self-reflective systems, Faye argues for a naturalistic-evolutionary approach to philosophy of mind and consciousness. Drawing on substantial literature in evolutionary biology and cognitive science, this book offers a promising alternative to the major theories of the mind-body problem: the quality of our experiences should not, as some philosophers have claimed, be associated with subjectivity that is not open for scientific explanation, nor should it be associated with intrinsic properties of the brain. Instead, Faye argues that mental properties are extrinsic properties of the brain caused by the organism’s interaction with its environment. Taking on the explanatory gap, and rejecting the ontological pluralism of present naturalist theories of the mind, Faye thus proposes a unified view of reality in which it is possible to explain qualitative mental presentations as part of the physical world.
About the author
Dr. Jan Faye, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is a philosopher who has written extensively on topics in philosophy of science, metaphysics, and epistemology. His previous books include After Postmodernism (2012), The Nature of Scientific Thinking (2014), and Experience and Beyond (2016) all published by Palgrave Macmillan.
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