William G. Lycan

William G. Lycan is Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

  • Consciousness and Experience

    Consciousness and Experience

    William G. Lycan

    This sequel to Lycan's Consciousness (1987) continues the elaboration of his general functionalist theory of consciousness, answers the critics of his earlier work, and expands the range of discussion to deal with the many new issues and arguments that have arisen in the intervening years—an extraordinarily fertile period for the philosophical investigation of consciousness. Lycan not only uses the numerous arguments against materialism, and functionalist theories of mind in particular, to gain a more detailed positive view of the structure of the mind, he also targets the set of really hard problems at the center of the theory of consciousness: subjectivity, qualia, and the felt aspect of experience. The key to his own enlarged and fairly argued position, which he calls the "hegemony of representation," is that there is no more to mind or consciousness than can be accounted for in terms of intentionality, functional organization, and in particular, second-order representation of one's own mental states. A Bradford Book

    • Hardcover $11.75
  • Consciousness


    William G. Lycan

    In this book, William Lycan defends an original theory of mind that he calls "homuncular functionalism."

    What is consciousness? The answer to this question has been pondered upon, grappled with, and argued about since time immemorial. There has never been an answer that achieved consensus; certainly philosophers have never agreed.In this book, William Lycan defends an original theory of mind that he calls "homuncular functionalism." He argues that human beings are "functionally organized information-processing systems" who have no non-physical parts or properties. However, Lycan also recognizes the subjective phenomenal qualities of mental states and events, and an important sense in which mind is "over and above" mere chemical matter. Along the way, Lycan reviews some diverse philosophical accounts of consciousness-including those of Kripke, Block, Campbell, Sellars, and Castañeda, among others-and demonstrates how what is valuable in each opposing view can be accommodated within his own theory.

    Consciousness is Lycan's most ambitious book, one that has engaged his attention for years. He handles a fascinating subject in a unique and undoubtedly controversial manner that will make this book a mainstay in the field of philosophy of mind.

    Consciousness, with these earlier works, is a Bradford Book.

    • Hardcover $27.50
    • Paperback $20.00
  • Knowing Who

    Knowing Who

    Steven E. Boer and William G. Lycan

    This is the first detailed study to explore the little-understood notions of "knowing who someone is," "knowing a person's identity," and related locutions. It locates these notions within the context of a general theory of believing and a semantical theory of belief- and knowledge-ascriptions. The books's main contention is that what one knows, when one knows who someone is, is not normally an identity in the numerical sense of "a = b," but rather a certain sort of predication to know who someone is is just to know that that person is F, where "F" is a predicate that is "important," in a technical sense defined by the authors, for the purposes determined by context. Their book offers a rigorous formal semantics for ascriptions of knowing and of knowing-who in particular, solving such well-known problems and paradoxes as Kripke's Puzzle, and Quines difficulties with de re belief, along the way. The authors apply their analysis to each of several important issues in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and ethical theory in which the previously unexamined notion of "knowing who" has loomed large-the mechanics of linguistic referring, the foundations of epistemic logic, problems of self-knowledge and self-regarding belief, universalizability and "Golden Rule" arguments in ethics, and moral "personalism" versus "impartialism."

    A Bradford Book.

    • Hardcover $30.00
    • Paperback $30.00
  • Logical Form In Natural Language

    William G. Lycan

    In this book, a well-known and highly respected philosopher details the complicated anatomy of linguistic meaning, showing how its elements fit together; he explores the interface between "languages" considered as formal systems and the linguistic activities of human beings in speech situations; and he defends the autonomy of linguistic semantics as a branch of scientific psychology. The book's first Part sets out and defends the truth-theoretic method in semantics, arguing that the notion of a sentence's truth-condition lies at the core of meaning. Part Two considers a number of apparent differences between formal and natural languages, having chiefly to do with the context-bound features of natural-language semantics, and attempts to reconcile them. It provides a definite focus to the semantics/pragmatics distinction, and argues that few if any of the pragmatic phenomena investigated by linguists will need to be represented in semantic theory. The author offers plausible and in some cases novel solutions to the technical problems that have plagued the semantics/pragmatics border. Part Three portrays the role of semantics in psychology and the relation of semantics to human speakers' internal functional organization. Further, the author shows how a sentence's truth-condition meshes with each of the other aspects of its meaning, and argues that traditional theories of meaning which have focused on some of these other aspects should be regarded as mutually complementary components of linguistic theory rather than being treated as rival accounts of a common subject-matter.

    A Bradford Book.

    • Hardcover $45.00
    • Paperback $12.50


  • Quotations as Pictures

    Josef Stern

    The proposal of a semantics for quotations using explanatory notions drawn from philosophical theories of pictures.

    In Quotations as Pictures, Josef Stern develops a semantics for quotations using explanatory notions drawn from philosophical theories of pictures. He offers the first sustained analysis of the practice of quotation proper, as opposed to mentioning. Unlike other accounts that treat quotation as mentioning, Quotations as Pictures argues that the two practices have independent histories, that they behave differently semantically, that the inverted commas employed in both mentioning and quotation are homonymous, that so-called mixed quotation is nothing but subsentential quotation, and that the major problem of quotation is to explain its dual reference or meaning—its ordinary meaning and its metalinguistic reference to the quoted phrase attributed to the quoted subject.

    Stern argues that the key to understanding quotation is the idea that quotations are pictures or have a pictorial character. As a phenomenon where linguistic competence meets a nonlinguistic symbolic ability, the pictorial, quotation is a combination of features drawn from the two different symbol systems of language and pictures, which explains the exceptional and sometimes idiosyncratic data about quotation. In light of this analysis of verbal quotation, in the last chapters Stern analyzes scare quotation as a nonliteral expressive use of the inverted commas and explores the possibility of quotation in pictures themselves.

    • Paperback $50.00
  • Blockheads!


    Essays on Ned Block's Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness

    Adam Pautz and Daniel Stoljar

    New essays on the philosophy of Ned Block, with substantive and wide-ranging responses by Block.

    Perhaps more than any other philosopher of mind, Ned Block synthesizes philosophical and scientific approaches to the mind; he is unique in moving back and forth across this divide, doing so with creativity and intensity. Over the course of his career, Block has made groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of intelligence, representation, and consciousness. Blockheads! (the title refers to Block's imaginary counterexample to the Turing test—and to the Block-enthusiast contributors) offers eighteen new essays on Block's work along with substantive and wide-ranging replies by Block. The essays and responses not only address Block's past contributions but are rich with new ideas and argument. They importantly clarify many key elements of Block's work, including his pessimism concerning such thought experiments as Commander Data and the Nation of China; his more general pessimism about intuitions and introspection in the philosophy of mind; the empirical case for an antifunctionalist, biological theory of phenomenal consciousness; the fading qualia problem for a biological theory; the link between phenomenal consciousness and representation (especially spatial representation); and the reducibility of phenomenal representation. Many of the contributors to Blockheads! are prominent philosophers themselves, including Tyler Burge, David Chalmers, Frank Jackson, and Hilary Putnam.

    ContributorsNed Block, Bill Brewer, Richard Brown, Tyler Burge, Marisa Carrasco, David Chalmers, Frank Jackson, Hakwan Lau, Geoffrey Lee, Janet Levin, Joseph Levine, William G. Lycan, Brian P. McLaughlin, Adam Pautz, Hilary Putnam, Sydney Shoemaker, Susanna Siegel, Nicholas Silins, Daniel Stoljar, Michael Tye, Sebastian Watzl

    • Hardcover $90.00