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By Paul M. Livingston

The matter of explaining awareness this day continues to be an issue concerning the which means of language: the standard language of attention during which we outline and show our sensations, techniques, desires and stories. This ebook argues that the modern challenge arises from a quest that has taken form over the 20 th century, and that the research of historical past presents new assets for knowing and resolving it. Paul Livingston strains the advance of the attribute practices of analytic philosophy to difficulties concerning the courting of expertise to linguistic which means, targeting the theories of such philosophers as Carnap, Schlick, Neurath, Husserl, Ryle, Putnam, Fodor and Wittgenstein. in actual fact written and fending off technicalities, this booklet may be eagerly sought out via execs and graduate scholars in philosophy and cognitive technology.

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The retention of a basically structuralist picture of explanation within physicalism and functionalism leads, as we have already seen in outline, to the complaint, evident in Chalmers’s formulation of the “hard problem,” that consciousness is left out of any physicalist or functionalist account. If the complaint is right, no physicalist or functionalist explanation of consciousness can succeed, because no structuralist form of theory is appropriate to explaining consciousness itself. Determining the general reason for this failure – and explaining the recalcitrance of consciousness to physicalist and functionalist description – therefore requires that we reflect methodologically and historically on the underlying nature of structuralist explanation, the continuing reasons for its predominance in analytic philosophy, and the possibility of gaining alternative forms of insight into the nature and structure of consciousness that improve upon it.

On the structuralist view, then, explanation of meaning in terms of logical structure locates meanings as positions within the stable set of rules and norms that collectively comprise a language and are binding on all of its speakers. Beginning with Frege, this consideration and related ones led analytic philosophers to conclude that a general structuralist account of meaning could also account for the objectivity of linguistic meaning. For a sentence to have an objective meaning at all, they supposed, was for it to have a determinate and fixed logical structure, comprehensible in terms of the semantic structure of terms and concepts that characterizes the language as a whole.

The chief and most decisive resource of physicalist or functionalist explanation remains, as the following investigations show in historical detail, reasoning about the structure of language and the semantic interconnections of its descriptive terms. Even if the contemporary projects officially disclaim their own linguistic character, they retain a determinative concern with the logical structure of language in the very form of their explanations. The retention of a basically structuralist picture of explanation within physicalism and functionalism leads, as we have already seen in outline, to the complaint, evident in Chalmers’s formulation of the “hard problem,” that consciousness is left out of any physicalist or functionalist account.

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