Thinking About Consciousness by Papineau – Book Report/Review Example

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The paper "Thinking About Consciousness by Papineau" is a worthy example of a philosophy book review. In the book, Papineau tries to explain the existence of subjective consciousness in the physical world. He is the materialist in his explanations and believes that we should embrace materialism, as a result. He believes that consciousness is major as a result of material interactions. Papineau believes that physical behavior is a result of the interaction between a conscious state and a physical state. For example, if one feels thirsty, the thirst is considered the conscious state and the neuronal firing the physical state that together causes the individual to get a beer.

I agree with his view that many effects attributed to consciousness have physical causes. According to Gertler, B. & Shapiro, L. (2007), the assertion on overdetermination may be misleading. This implies that even if one cause were absent, the effect would still have occurred. This is wrong because, neither the physical state nor the conscious state can independently cause an effect. Both states work hand in hand to yield the desired effect.

Papineau is clearly mistaken when he argues that counterfactual implications are mistaken. It is logical to think that the conscious state that is the thirst acts as the major initiator of the physical state of neuronal firing Gertler, B. & Shapiro, L. (2007), On the other hand, it is not logical to think that the neurons could have fired on their own without the thirst. The neurons cannot fire without any apparent reason. Finally, Papineau denies the mind-brain interaction epiphenomenalism that suggests that only the brain can cause effects on the mind and not vice versa.

This view suggests that consciousness is relevant is leading to various effects, a view I agree with. This is because; the experience that constitutes the physical cause plays a big role in determining various effects. Conclusion The book helps in the understanding of consciousness. Papineau believes that conscious states are material states, therefore, supporting that they must be part of the physical world. The book examines some of the challenges met when trying to understand consciousness and then tries to shed light on them in the sense that consciousness exists due to physical properties.


Gertler, B. & Shapiro, L. (2007). 11, the case for materialism. In Arguing about the mind (pp. 125-132). New York: Routledge.
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