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Durham e-Theses
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The world without knowledge: The Theory of Brain-Sign

CLAPSON, PHILIP,JOHN (2012) The world without knowledge: The Theory of Brain-Sign. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis proposes the theory of brain-sign should replace the theory of consciousness, and mind generally. Consciousness is first described, and it is evident there is neither a consistent account of it, nor an adequate rationale for its existence beyond its (tautological) self-endorsing characterisation as knowledge. This is the target of the critique. Human history and human self-appraisal have assumed knowledge as an (ontologically) intrinsic facet of human make-up, and human disciplines (of ‘thought’) have relied upon it. On the modern supposition that the universe is purely physical, it is widely assumed that science eventually will demonstrate that consciousness, and thus knowledge, are physical. But it is shown here (theoretically and empirically) that as theories of the physical universe, consciousness and thus knowledge are prescientific, incoherent and unmotivated.

Nevertheless, there is a brain phenomenon requiring explanation. That explanation is given here by a new account: the theory of brain-sign. Brain-sign is developed as a scientific theory, i.e. directly from the physical universe, and with a fundamental biological role as the communication mechanism for (apposite) organisms in dynamic (i.e. uncertain or imprecise) collective operation. The grounding principle is that the brain is an action organ, not a knowledge organ. The detail and structure of brain-sign is expounded, and its success is contrasted with the inadequacy of consciousness. Humans, and other organisms, are placed in the physical world, and in the context of evolutionary theory. Thus brain-sign theory founds an approach to brain science, but with the result that human self-conception alters fundamentally, as does the relation between the organism and its disciplines, including science itself. Brain-sign theory shows why there ever was a theory of consciousness, or indeed a theory of anything. However, from the nature of our being in the world, it also demonstrates it cannot claim to be true.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Brain-sign, Consciousness, Eliminativism, Language, Neural Communication, Organismic Communication
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 May 2012 08:47

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