William James and the Embodied Mind

In: Contemporary Pragmatism
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The hard problem of consciousness lies in explaining what constitutes the subjectivity of consciousness. I argue that significant headway can be made on the problem from an embodied mind view, and particularly if we turn to William James’ theory of emotions. The challenge is one of explaining how bodily subjectivity arises from biological processes. I argue that the solution to this problem lies in our sense of interoception, and James’ theory which suggests emotional feelings are the cascade of changing bodily states. Through James’ account, I show how the biological body can give rise to a bodily subjectivity in experiential consciousness, and thus move towards a solution of the hard problem.

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