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The many-worlds theory of consciousness

List, Christian (2021) The many-worlds theory of consciousness. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This paper sketches a new and somewhat heterodox metaphysical theory of consciousness: the “many-worlds theory”. It drops the assumption that all conscious subjects’ experiences are features of one and the same world and instead associates different subjects with different “first-personally centred worlds”. We can think of these as distinct “first-personal realizers” of a shared “third-personal world”, where the latter is supervenient, in a sense to be explained. This is combined with a form of modal realism, according to which different subjects’ first-personally centred worlds are all real, though only one of them is present for each subject. The theory offers a novel way of capturing the irreducibly subjective nature of conscious experience without lapsing into solipsism. The paper also looks at some scientific theories of consciousness, such as integrated information theory, through the proposed lens and reconsiders the hard problem of consciousness.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
List, Christian
Keywords: Consciousness, subjectivity, experience, modal realism, first-personal vs third-personal facts, hard and easy problems, levelled ontology, integrated information theory, presentism, indexicality
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
Specific Sciences > Psychology
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Christian List
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2021 03:01
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2021 03:01
Item ID: 18771
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
Specific Sciences > Psychology
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: 2 March 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18771

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