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Consciousness Explained

Consciousness Explained (published 1991) is a controversial book by the American philosopher Daniel Dennett which purports to explain consciousness. He argues from the standpoint of eliminativist materialism, which has resulted in other philosophers accusing him of defining away the problem.

The book puts forward a "multiple drafts" model of consciousness. Arguing from research on the brain, it suggests that there is no single central place (a "Cartesian Theater") where conscious experience takes place; instead there are "various events of content-fixation occurring in various places at various times in the brain" (p365). The brain consists of a "bundle of semi-independent agencies" (p260); when "content-fixation" takes place in one of these, its effects may propagate so that it leads to the utterance of one of the sentences that make up the story in which the central character is my "self".


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