Review of 'Unity of Consciousness' by Tim Bayne
Baker (Lynne Rudder)
Source: Times Literary Supplement, (24), 2011
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. Consciousness studies comprises a myriad of problems: How is it possible that the atoms that make you up produce bright conscious experiences? Why is there consciousness at all? — and on and on. Tim Bayne’s new book takes up the central issue of unity: What, if anything, unifies the multiplicity of experiences that one has at a time? What is the nature of unity of consciousness?
  2. Although these are difficult questions, Bayne’s overall position … (is) … what Bayne calls the ‘Unity Thesis’: “Necessarily, for any conscious subject of experience (S) and any time (t), the simultaneous conscious states that S has at t will be subsumed by a single conscious state — the subject’s total conscious state.” Bayne offers a mereological model of subsumption: An experience subsumes another if it takes the latter as a part. The mereological model of subsumption leads to a mereological account of phenomenal unity: “Experiences are phenomenally unified with each other exactly when they occur as parts of a single experience.” The burden of the book is to explain, defend and tease out the implications of the Unity Thesis.


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