Consciousness and the Mind-Body Problem in Indian Philosophy

Authored by: Christian Coseru

The Routledge Handbook Of Consciousness

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138936218
eBook ISBN: 9781315676982
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315676982-8

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Abstract

The thriving contemporary enterprise of Consciousness Studies owes its success in large ­measure to two late 20th-century intellectual developments in cognitive science and its allied philosophy of mind: a growing interest in the study of the neurobiological processes that underlie consciousness and cognition, and the rehabilitation of first-person approaches to the study of consciousness associated with the 20th-century European tradition of phenomenological philosophy. The first development marks a shift away from preoccupations with the status of mental representation to understanding the function of perception, attention, action, and cognition in embodied and enactive, rather than purely representational, terms. The second acknowledges the importance of fine-grained accounts of experience for the purpose of mapping out the neural correlates of consciousness. Both developments recognize that empirical research is essential to advancing any robust philosophical and scientific theory of consciousness. At the same time, these developments also open up the possibility that there may be aspects of consciousness that are not empirically tractable, aspects whose understanding require that we revise the way we conceptualize both the easy and hard problems of consciousness. It is this revisionary approach that has opened the door to systematic contributions to the study of consciousness that take its phenomenological and transcendental dimensions seriously.

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