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Should we expect to feel as if we understand consciousness?

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We tend to assume that progress in answering the ‘hard question’ of consciousness will be accompanied by a subjective feeling of greater understanding. However, in order to feel we understand how one state of affairs arises from another, we have to deceive ourselves into thinking we have found a type of causal link which in reality may not exist (Rosch, 1994). I draw from and expand upon Rosch's model, which specifies the conditions under which this self-deceptive kind of causal attribution arises. I argue that the mind-body relationship may not meet these conditions, especially because of its potential novelty and uniqueness. We should not therefore expect to subjectively feel we understand consciousness.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EB, UK.

Publication date: April 1, 1996


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