Our thinking about consciousness and cognition is dominated by a certain very natural conception. This conception dictates what we take the fundamental questions about consciousness and cognition to be as well as the form that their answers must take.
In this book, Michael Thau shows that, despite its naturalness, this conception begins with and depends upon a few fundamental errors. Exorcising these errors requires that we completely reconceive the nature of both consciousness and cognition as well as the fundamental problems each poses. Thau proceeds by discussing three famous and important philosophical puzzles - Spectrum Inversion, Frege's Puzzle, and Black-and-White Mary - each of which concerns some aspect of either consciousness or cognition. It has gone unnoticed that at a certain important level of generality, each of these puzzles presents the very same problem and, in bringing out this common problem, the errors in our natural conception of consciousness and cognition are also brought out.
Thau's book will appeal to the casual reader interested in the proper solution of these puzzles and the nature of consciousness and cognition. The discussion of Frege's puzzle also contains important insights about the nature of linguistic communication and, hence, anyone interested in the fundamental questions in philosophy of language will also want to read the book.
About the Author
Michael Thau teaches Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles. He works in Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics, and Epistemology.