How Matter Becomes Conscious

A Naturalistic Theory of the Mind

  • Jan Faye

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Jan Faye
    Pages 1-28
  3. Jan Faye
    Pages 29-68
  4. Jan Faye
    Pages 107-143
  5. Jan Faye
    Pages 145-181
  6. Jan Faye
    Pages 225-258
  7. Jan Faye
    Pages 259-304
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 305-329

About this book


This innovative book proposes a unique and original perspective on the nature of the mind and how phenomenal consciousness may arise in a physical world. From simple sentient organisms to complex self-reflective systems, Faye argues for a naturalistic-evolutionary approach to philosophy of mind and consciousness.  Drawing on substantial literature in evolutionary biology and cognitive science, this book offers a promising alternative to the major theories of the mind-body problem: the quality of our experiences should not, as some philosophers have claimed, be associated with subjectivity that is not open for scientific explanation, nor should it be associated with intrinsic properties of the brain. Instead, Faye argues that mental properties are extrinsic properties of the brain caused by the organism’s interaction with its environment. Taking on the explanatory gap, and rejecting the ontological pluralism of present naturalist theories of the mind, Faye thus proposes a unified view of reality in which it is possible to explain qualitative mental presentations as part of the physical world. 


Consciousness Naturalism Subjectivity Darwinism Physicalism Adaptation Extrinsic states

Authors and affiliations

  • Jan Faye
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Media, Cognition and CommunicationUniversity of Copenhagen, PhilosophyCopenhagenDenmark

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-16137-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-16138-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site