An argument that what makes consciousness wonderful is its intelligibility.
Consciousness is a wonderful thing. But if we are fully to appreciate the wonder of consciousness, we need to articulate what it is about consciousness that makes it such an interesting and important phenomenon to us. In this book, Harold Langsam argues that consciousness is intelligible-that there are substantive facts about consciousness that can be known a priori-and that it is the intelligibility of consciousness that is the source of its wonder.
Langsam first examines the way certain features of some of our conscious states intelligibly relate us to features of the world of which we are conscious. Consciousness is radically different from everything else in the world, and yet it brings us into intimate connection with the things of the world. Langsam then examines the causal powers of some of our conscious states. Some of these causal powers are determined in an intelligible way by the categorical natures of their conscious states: if you know what consciousness is, then you can also know (by the mere exercise of your intelligence) some of what consciousness does.
Langsam's intent is to get the philosophy of mind away from the endless and distracting debates about whether consciousness is physical or not. He shows that there are substantive things that we can discover about consciousness merely through philosophical reflection. The philosopher who takes this approach is not ignoring the empirical facts; he is reflecting on these facts to discover further, nonempirical facts.
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Number of pages: 244
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 203 x 137 x 21 mm
What makes this an important book is precisely that it is a case for something that is-for no good reason-out of fashion.... I think [Langsam] does succeed in his aims of showing that there is more to philosophy of mind than the mind-body problem.... For that reason, and because of his welcome defiance of fashion, I commend this book.
-Peter Forrest, Mind
Engaging.... Langsam inspires wonder in the midst of philosophical rigor.... In a world increasingly ruled by reductive physicalism, where mystery and wonder have been replaced by process and data, The Wonder of Consciousness is a welcomed addition to the current literature.... refreshingly readable and inspiring.
-Ethics and Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics
A refreshing and commendable addition to recent work on consciousness. It contains many novel and interesting ideas, which Langsam presents in a crisp and engaging way.
-Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews