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Switched-on Consciousness: Clarifying What It Means

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Abstract:

'Consciousness' has been called the 'final frontier' for science, philosophy's 'hard problem', and the greatest mystery in mysticism. It is a central focus in philosophy of mind. Yet confusion abounds about what 'consciousness' means -- even among philosophers, scientists, and mystics who have built careers exploring the mind. Different scholars and different disciplines use the same word to mean very different things. Debates and dialogues on consciousness often run aground because scholars conflate two radically different uses of the term. This paper addresses the problem by elucidating a fundamental distinction between the philosophical and psychological uses of 'consciousness'.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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