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The Southern Journal of Philosophy

Volume 45, Issue 4, Winter 2007

Wayne Wright
Pages 583-607

Why Naturalize Consciousness?

This paper examines the relevance of philosophical work on consciousness to its scientific study. Of particular concern is the debate over whether consciousness can be naturalized, which is typically taken to bear on the prospects for its scientific investigation. It is not at all clear that philosophers of consciousness have properly identified and evaluated the assumptions about scientific activity made by both naturalization and antinaturalization projects. I argue that there is good reason to think that some of the assumptions about physicalism and explanation made by the parties to the debate are open to serious doubt. Thus this paper is an invitation for those inquiring into whether consciousness can be naturalized to more carefully consider the expected payoff of such efforts.

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