Semin Neurol 1997; 17(2): 85-93
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1040917
© 1997 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

The Irreducible Perspectives of Consciousness

Todd E. Feinberg
  • Betty and Morton Yarmon Division of Neurobehavior and Alzheimer's Disease Center, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, N.Y.
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19. März 2008 (online)


I argue that there is no mind-brain problem but rather that there are irreducible subjective - objective problems. These include the difference between “inside” and “outside” perspectives on neural states, the creation of subjective neural states with objectified outside objects, and awareness of the self as an object in the world. The origin of consciousness is traced to the development of meaning states, and I demonstrate how differing perspectives related to these states are mutually irreducible. For instance, neural states are spatiotemporally distributed when observed from the outside, while mental states are unified when experienced from the inside; from the inside neural states are experienced as outside of themselves; and qualia have a material reality only from the inside. Rather than positing a special substance or immaterial process theory of consciousness, it is argued that the apparent immateriality of mind is an artifact of the nature of the phenomenon and of the process of observation itself.