Consciousness, Function, and Representation

Collected Papers

This volume of Ned Block's writings collects his papers on consciousness, functionalism, and representationism. A number of these papers treat the significance of the multiple realizability of mental states for the mind-body problem—a theme that has concerned Block since the 1960s. One paper on this topic considers the upshot for the mind-body problem of the possibility of a robot that is functionally like us but physically different—as is Commander Data of Star Trek's second generation. The papers on consciousness treat such conceptual issues as phenomenal versus access consciousness, Dennett's theory of consciousness, and the function of consciousness, as well as such empirical matters as "How Not to Find the Neural Correlate of Consciousness," and (in an expanded version of a paper originally in Trends in Cognitive Sciences) an argument that there are distinct neural correlates for access consciousness and phenomenal consciousness. Turning to the mind-body problem, Block defends physicalism against Max Black's argument concerning phenomenal modes of presentation. The papers on representationism consider "mental paint" as well as the "Inverted Earth" thought experiment—a world in which colors are reversed but there is a compensating reversal in the words that are used to describe them.

Consciousness, Function, and Representation, bringing together papers that have appeared primarily in journals and conference proceedings, can be regarded as Block's most complete statement of his positions on consciousness.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: Remarks on Chauvinism and the Mind-Body Problem
  2. I. Functionalism
  3. 1. Functionalism
  4. 2. What Is Functionalism?
  5. 3. What Psychological States Are Not, with J. Fodor
  6. 4. Troubles with Functionalism
  7. 5. What Intuitions about Homunculi Do Not Show
  8. II. Concepts of Consciousness
  9. 6. Consciousness
  10. 7. Review of Daniel Dennett, Consciousness Explained
  11. 8. What Is Dennett's Theory a Theory Of?
  12. 9. On a Confusion about a Function of Consciousness
  13. 10. How Many Concepts of Consciousness?
  14. 11. Biology versus Computation in the Study of Consciousness
  15. 12. Ridiculing Social Constructivism about Phenomenal Consciousness
  16. 13. Concepts of Consciousness
  17. III. Empirical Approaches to Consciousness
  18. 14. How Not to Find the Neural Correlate of Consciousness
  19. 15. Paradox and Cross-Purposes in Recent Work on Consciousness
  20. 16. Spatial Perception via Tactile Sensation
  21. 17. Two Neural Correlates of Consciousness
  22. 18. Review of Alva Noe, Action in Perception
  23. IV. Consciousness and the Mind-Body Problem
  24. 19. Are Absent Qualia Impossible?
  25. 20. The Harder Problem of Consciousness
  26. 21. Max Black's Objection to Mind-Body Identity
  27. V. Consciousness and Representation
  28. 22. Qualia
  29. 23. Inverted Earth
  30. 24. Mental Paint
  31. 25. Sexism, Racism, Ageism, and the Nature of Consciousness
  32. 26. Is Experiencing Just Representing?
  33. 27. Bodily Sensations as an Obstacle for Representationism
  34. Name Index
  35. Subject Index