Sisyphus’s Boulder

Consciousness and the limits of the knowable

| Binghamton University
| Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
ISBN 9789027251961 (Eur) | EUR 90.00
ISBN 9781588116024 (USA) | USD 135.00
ISBN 9789027294791 | EUR 90.00 | USD 135.00
Consciousness lies at the core of being human. Therefore, to understand ourselves, we need a theory of consciousness. In Sisyphus's Boulder, Eric Dietrich and Valerie Hardcastle argue that we will never get such a theory because consciousness has an essential property that prevents it from ever being explained. Consequently, philosophical debates over materialism and dualism are a waste of time. Scientific explanations of consciousness fare no better. Scientists do study consciousness, and such investigations will continue to grow and advance. However, none of them will ever reveal what consciousness is. In addition, given the centrality of consciousness in philosophy, Dietrich and Hardcastle claim that philosophy itself needs to change. That the central problems of philosophy persist is actually a profound epistemic fact about humans. Philosophy, then, is a limit to what humans can understand. (Series A)
[Advances in Consciousness Research, 60]  2005.  xii, 136 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
1.Intuitions at an impasse: The explanatory landscape
Part I:Troubles with Naturalism
2. Against naturalism: The logical boundary of conscious perception
3.The dismal prospects for naturalism
Part II: Aspects of a science of consciousness
4.How to avoid being a mysterian
5.Science in the face of mystery
Part III: An application
6. How consciousness creates philosophy
Appendix: Problems with zombies: A discussion of Chalmers's arguments for dualism
“Sisyphus’s Boulder is a bold reformulation of the problem of consciousness that denies the existence of a reductive explanatory theory of consciousness. Dietrich and Hardcastle take aim at the leading theories of our time and masterfully expose the fundamental weaknesses of each theory. This book is written with wit and insight and should be read by all conscious entities.”
“[...] enjoyable and thought provoking.”
Cited by

Cited by 2 other publications

Baars, Bernard J.
2017.  In The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness,  pp. 227 ff. Crossref logo
Fields, Chris, James F Glazebrook & Michael Levin
2021. Minimal physicalism as a scale-free substrate for cognition and consciousness. Neuroscience of Consciousness 2021:2 Crossref logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 12 september 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.

Subjects & Metadata

Consciousness Research

Consciousness research


BIC Subject: JMT – States of consciousness
BISAC Subject: PSY020000 – PSYCHOLOGY / Neuropsychology
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2004059570 | Marc record