Macmurray and Consciousness

Jeanne Warren on a philosopher of personality.

I have to confess to spending the last twenty years mystified by what philosophers mean by consciousness. There seems to be a mismatch between my categories of thought and theirs. Mary Midgley’s recent article (‘Souls, Minds, Bodies & Planets’ in Philosophy Now Issue 47) has thrown some light on the matter. She says that “some thirty years back, scientists suddenly rediscovered consciousness”, after it became clear that a Machine without a Ghost did not adequately represent us.

‘Consciousness’ has one perfectly straightforward and well understood meaning, which is what we are when we are not unconscious, i.

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