How to Solve the Mind Body Problem
Imprint Academic, 2000
How does the water of the brain yield the wine of conscious experience? What is the link between bodily activity and our inner feeling of what it's like to be ourselves? In this highly readable yet scholarly essay Nicholas Humphrey takes a fresh look at the so-called "hard problem" of consciousness and, in the light of evolutionary history, proposes a radically new solution. His controversial ideas are discussed and challenged by leading figures in the philosophy of mind.
From the Commentaries:
Carol Rovane: Humphrey's account of the position of qualia in mental life is the most promising and fertile I have seen. I am especially impressed by his pivotal idea that sensation is itself a species of affect-laden intentional activity. This is a genuinely new idea with enormous appeal and explanatory potential, the full measure of which I suspect not even he has taken.
Robert van Gulick: Humphrey's article is full of intriguing and original suggestions, pointing out new directions for investigation and probing deep beneath the surface.
Andy Clark: I believe Humphrey's careful and progressive story, once insulated from the threat of circularity, holds out the hope of real progress in an argumentative arena depressingly close to a stalemate.
Natika Newton: Humphrey's article contains some profound insights... It has the potential to bridge the explanatory gap; no competing theory comes close.
Christian de Quincey: Sometimes, after years of painstaking work, someone presents a startling argument that seems to suddenly snatch the ground right from under your feet. And it's back to square one.