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Introduction

Susan Schneider and Max Velmans


Subject Mind and Cognitive Science » Philosophy of Mind
Cognitive Psychology » Psychology of Consciousness

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405120197.2007.00001.x


Extract

Listen to the sound of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, taste the flavor of a strong espresso, or feel the heat of a summer day. There is something that it's like to have these experiences; something that it's like to be conscious. Indeed, anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives. One distinctive thing about consciousness is that it can be studied both from “the inside,” that is, from the perspective of the conscious subject, and from the “outside,” that is, by any of the academic fields that study the mind. Indeed, over the last 15 years or so, many scholars have developed an intense interest in consciousness. Some of its features are beginning to be understood in detail, and some amazing and surprising discoveries have been made. This interest has given rise to a new discipline which has consciousness as its primary focus – “consciousness studies.” “Consciousness studies” is an umbrella term for the multidisciplinary study of consciousness in fields such as neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, artificial intelligence, and linguistics. Over the brief period of its existence, this field has become extensive. For example, as we write this introduction, a Google Scholar search yields over 600,000 books and articles with “consciousness” in the title! This ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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