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Journal of Consciousness Studies

JCS-Online: A digest of the key debates

The email discussion forum has generated some heated debates and we have archived below a few of the classic threads here. The current conversation is archived at Yahoo! Groups JCS-ONLINE is an email list that discusses consciousness studies from a broad multi-disciplinary perspective. All postings to the list are carefully moderated and restricted to a maximum of six per day.

Owing to technical difficulties with our previous listserve provider, we have changed to egroups.com. This means all existing subscribers will need to resubscribe. To participate or listen in to the discussion, send a blank email to

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The list is open to all and is offered as a complimentary service of the Journal of Consciousness Studies

Naturalism (debate on Psyche-D)

  • Keith Sutherland, On Avoiding the Noun "Consciousness"
  • Valerie Hardcastle, Sutherland on Philosophers
  • John Baressi, Science and Philosophy
  • Keith Sutherland / John Baressi, Naturalism or Pessimism?
  • Valerie Hardcastle, Rigor at All Costs
  • Jim Newman, Speak for Yourself!
  • Keith Sutherland, Logical Positivism and the Postmodern Theory of Science
  • Gregg Rosenberg / Valerie Hardcastle, Nature or Naturalism?
  • Pete Mandik, LP and the Principle of Verifiablity
  • Paul Patton / Valerie Hardcastle, Ditto
  • Stan Klein / Keith Sutherland / Roland Cook, Definitions and Dualism
  • Gregg Rosenberg, Circling Round the Wagons
  • Synchronous oscillations and the Emperor's New Clothes?

    This thread grew out the hard problem debate in JCS. In defence of his functionalist dissolution of the problem of phenomenal experience, Thomas Clark cited Thomas Metzinger's chapter "Faster than Thought -- Holism, Homogeneity and Temporal Coding" in the Conscious Experience collection. This led to an outspoken attack by Keith Sutherland in which the term "homuphobia" was coined for the "fear of homunculi, agents and Cartesian theatres".

    Metzinger's original article has three principal threads to it: the problem of "binding" in perception, the use of connectionist models in cognitive theory, and the attempt to develop a "bottom-up" theory of the self. The resulting commentaries have been classified into three sub-sections:

    The Binding Problem

    Computational Theory and Connectionism

    Subjectivity and the Self

    Forget qualia, zombies and zimboes

    Why Now?

    Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness

    Contentless Awareness and the PCE

    The Hard Problem -- Keynote Paper and Short Contributions

    The Purpose of Consciousness

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