Where consciousness isn’t

Tuomas Manninen in Metapsychology:

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Put succinctly, what Alva Noë is offering in Out of Our Heads is nothing short of a paradigm shift, complete with an incisive criticism of the status quo of neurosciences and a suggestion for an alternative model. The scientific study of consciousness in general, and what Noë calls the establishment neuroscience in particular claims to have broken free from its philosophical foundations. Although Noë acknowledges that the problem of consciousness is a scientific problem, one for which a scientific answer should be expected, he challenges the scientific community's contention that consciousness no longer remains a philosophical problem.

The key assumption behind the science of consciousness is that consciousness is an internal process that occurs in the brain. Noë's chief goal in the book is to show that this highly questionable, yet unquestioned assumption, has led the consciousness research astray; in brief, the search for consciousness has focused on where it isn't. Noë opens by challenging this assumption, and offers an alternative picture. Instead of characterizing consciousness as an internal process (like digestion) Noë proposes a picture which takes consciousness to be an activity (like dancing).

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