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Sensory Integration and the Unity of Consciousness$
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David J. Bennett and Christopher S. Hill

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027786

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027786.001.0001

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Experiences and Their Parts

Experiences and Their Parts

(p.287) 13 Experiences and Their Parts
Sensory Integration and the Unity of Consciousness

Geoffrey Lee

The MIT Press

In this chapter, Geoffrey Lee gives an account of the difference between “Holistic" and “Atomistic" views of conscious experience. Other authors make the distinction in an informal way; here a more rigorous taxonomy of ways to draw the distinction is attempted. On the Holistic view, we enjoy a unified “field" of awareness, whose parts are mere modifications of the whole, and therefore owe their existence to the whole. On the Atomistic view, your overall experience at a time has independent experiences as parts. There is some tendency to saddle those who reject the Holistic field model with a (perhaps) implausible “building block" view. A number of different theses about the parts of an experience that are suggested by the “building block" metaphor are distinguished. It is then argued that they can be rejected by those who also reject the holistic field view. This suggests that there are moderate, viable forms of Atomism that we should take seriously.

Keywords:   Experience, Consciousness, Unity, Holism, Atomism, Part, Whole

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