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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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Counting Minds and Mental States

Counting Minds and Mental States

(p.393) 17 Counting Minds and Mental States
Sensory Integration and the Unity of Consciousness

Jonathan Vogel

The MIT Press

In this chapter, Jonathan Vogel explores the important conceptual and metaphysical issues that arise when we try to understand the mental lives of “split-brain” subjects. How many distinct streams of consciousness do they have? According to Elizabeth Schechter’s partial unity model, the answer is one. A related question is whether co-consciousness, in general, is transitive. That is, if α and β are co-conscious experiences, and β and γ are co-conscious experiences, must α and γ be co-conscious? According to Schechter, the answer is no. The partial unity model faces some serious objections. Its underpinnings are suspect, and ways of working out the model fall into trouble of various sorts: incoherence, emptiness, or unacceptable indeterminacy about the identity of (token) conscious states. One apparent lesson is that a subject can host two distinct conscious experiences of precisely the same sort. Another is that the co-consciousness relation is transitive after all.

Keywords:   split brain, co-consciousness, transitivity, mental unity, individuation of minds, individuation of mental states

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