Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement


Consciousness as Existence, and the End of Intentionality

Ted Honderich

It was only in the last century of the past millennium that the Philosophy of Mind began to flourish as a part of philosophy with some autonomy, enough for students to face examination papers in it by itself. Despite an inclination in some places to give it the name of Philosophical Psychology, it is not any science of the mind. This is not to say that the Philosophy of Mind is unempirical, but that it is like the rest of philosophy in being more taken up with good thinking about experienced facts than with establishing, elaborating or using them. Logic, if not formal logic, is the core of all philosophy, and so of the Philosophy of Mind. The discipline's first question is what it is for a thing to be conscious, whatever its capabilities. The discipline's second question is how a thing's being conscious is related to the physical world, including chairs, brains and bodily movements—the mind-brain or mind-body problem.

Grote Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic, University College, London; Vice-Chairman of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy.