Philosophical Studies

, Volume 161, Issue 3, pp 483–487 | Cite as

Précis of Consciousness

  • Christopher S. Hill

Consciousness begins by distinguishing seven forms of consciousness, by enumerating their differences, and by urging that theories of consciousness are under an obligation to treat them separately. Many philosophers and scientists have attempted to discuss consciousness in fully general terms, without first drawing distinctions or imposing restrictions. My view is that nothing good can come of efforts of this sort. When someone tells us that he or she has just written a book about consciousness, our first question should always be, “What forms of consciousness do you discuss in the book?” Unless there is a clear answer, we should consign the book to the flames, though of course, since it is important to be polite, we should do this only in the privacy of our imaginations.

The best way to describe Consciousness is to say that it offers characterizations of all of the seven forms of consciousness that it distinguishes, and fairly elaborate accounts of four of them.

To illustrate, one of...


Property Dualism Folk Psychology Phenomenal Consciousness Perceptual Consciousness Counterpart Relation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I have received valuable help from David Bennett in preparing this Précis.


  1. Carrasco, M. (2009). Attention: Psychophysical approaches. In T. Bayne, A. Cleeremans, & P. Wilken (Eds.), The Oxford Companion to Consciousness (pp. 78–84). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Durgin, F. H., Li, Z., & Hajnal, A. (2010). Slant perception in near space is categorically biased: Evidence for a vertical tendency. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, 72(7), 1875–1889.Google Scholar
  3. Harman, G. (1990). The Intrinsic Quality of Experience. In J. J. Tomberlin (Ed.), Philosophical Perspectives (pp. 31–52). Atascadero: Ridgeview Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  4. Li, Z., & Durgin, F. H. (2010). Perceived slant of binocularly viewed large-scale surfaces: A common model from explicit and implicit measures. Journal of Vision, 10, 1–16.Google Scholar
  5. Proffitt, D. R., Bhalla, M., Gossweiler, R., & Midgett, J. (1995). Perceiving geographical slant. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 2, 409–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Tye, M. (2000). Consciousness, Color, and Content. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

Personalised recommendations