Consciousness and Object

A mind-object identity physicalist theory

Riccardo Manzotti | IULM University of Milan
ISBN 9789027213624 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027265098 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
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What is the conscious mind? What is experience? In 1968, David Armstrong asked “What is a man?” and replied that a man is “a certain sort of material object”. This book starts from his question but proceeds along a different path. The traditional mind-brain identity theory is set aside, and a mind-object identity theory is proposed in its place: to be conscious of an object is simply to be made of that object. Consciousness is physical but not neural.

This groundbreaking hypothesis is supported by recent empirical findings in both perception and neuroscience, and is herein tested against a series of objections of both conceptual and empirical nature: the traditional mind-brain identity arguments from illusion, hallucinations, dreams, and mental imagery. The theory is then compared with existing externalist approaches including disjunctivism, realism, embodied cognition, enactivism, and the extended mind. Can experience and objects be one and the same?

[Advances in Consciousness Research, 95] 2017.  xv, 254 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“Despite impressive recent advances in our understanding of the brain, there remains the puzzle of consciousness itself: What is it? How does my brain produce it? How can it have a causal effect on my body? Manzotti presents a bold account of consciousness that answers these questions and more in a refreshingly novel way. His theory is both easy to understand and breathtaking, it its simultaneously upsetting the applecart of consciousness while somehow, miraculously, leaving everything exactly as it was, and where it should be. With a simplicity and elegance of prose that matches that of his theory, Manzotti takes you on a journey that avoids the pitfalls of both dualism and neural reductionism, that steers clear of internalism while dodging enactivism. He arrives at a position that will at least make you wonder “how did I not see this possibility before?”. Even if you are not persuaded, you will be hard-pressed to say why.”
“This bold book is an attempt to shake the earth underneath the dogmas that have been stifling the philosophy of mind, and rid it of any vestiges of dualisms and dichotomies that, despite avowals to the contrary, current identity theories fail to eradicate. It goes beyond direct realism, radical embodiment and extended mind theories, and offers a real, uncompromising physicalist monism, structured around the maxim that one's experience of an object is the object that one experiences. Packed with tight arguments and provocative thought experiments, and informed by the latest empirical findings, the book sets out to radically transform the paradigms within which consciousness is conceived and researched.”
“The book outlines a full-fledged physicalist account of conscious experience that may cast the basis for a radically new and surprisingly enthralling philosophy of nature. The defended view will present conscious experience as you have never conceived it – experience has been reloaded! To my knowledge, the mind-identity theory is the most radical attempt to overcome the existing theoretical shortcomings of the traditional mind-body dualism.”
Cited by

Cited by 7 other publications

Albertazzi, Liliana
2018. Naturalizing Phenomenology: A Must Have?. Frontiers in Psychology 9 DOI logo
Compiani, Lucrezia
2019. The Chimeric Self: A Neo Naturalist Bundle Theory of the Self. Frontiers in Psychology 10 DOI logo
Lee, Raymond S. T.
2020. AI and Self-consciousness. In Artificial Intelligence in Daily Life,  pp. 349 ff. DOI logo
Manzotti, Riccardo
2023. I Shop Therefore I Am: The Artificial Consumer. Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness 10:01  pp. 49 ff. DOI logo
Manzotti, Riccardo & Antonio Chella
2018. Good Old-Fashioned Artificial Consciousness and the Intermediate Level Fallacy. Frontiers in Robotics and AI 5 DOI logo
Parisi, Francesco
2019. Temporality and metaplasticity. Facing extension and incorporation through material engagement theory. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18:1  pp. 205 ff. DOI logo
Todorović, Dejan
2020. What Are Visual Illusions?*. Perception 49:11  pp. 1128 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 19 february 2024. 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.


Consciousness Research

Consciousness research

Main BIC Subject

JMS: The self, ego, identity, personality

Main BISAC Subject

PHI015000: PHILOSOPHY / Mind & Body
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2017025553 | Marc record