Rey Cogitans: The Unquestionability of Consciousness

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 194)


Consciousness is an embarrassment to functionalism and to the computational-representational theory of mind. Whatever the causal and/or computational role of a mental state, it seems that same function might be performed without consciousness. So functionalism or computationalism which would identify a mental state with its causal or computational role cannot account for consciousness. (Unless it can be shown that being conscious changes the causal or computational role of a mental state.) It would be convenient, then, for the functionalist or computationalist, if someone could show that consciousness does not exist.


Mental State Conscious State Brain State Mental Operation Mental Phenomenon 
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.


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  1. Cf. D.W. Smith, “The Structure of (Self-) Consciousness”, Topoi, 1986, and a longer treatment in my The Circle of Acquaintance (forthcoming).Google Scholar

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© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1988

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