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Could Consciousness Be an Illusion?

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The problem of integrating consciousness into our scientific, physicalist picture of the world has proved remarkably difficult. One possible explanation of the difficulty is that we are the victims of an illusion: we think that consciousness exists. Although almost self-evidently ridiculous, the claim that consciousness is in some significant sense illusory can be defended. One line of argument holds that consciousness is merely an 'intentional object'. Another argues that the sense that consciousness has a distinct and special kind of existence (apart, say, from its physical basis) stems from a kind of misunderstanding of indexicality. I examine these two approaches and argue that ultimately they fail to even begin to show that consciousness is an illusion.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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