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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Unity of consciousness

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Although there is much talk in various literatures of streams of consciousness, and most of us have an intuitive understanding of such talk, we are far from having a full grasp of what it is that unifies streams of consciousness, binding together the individual experiences that serve as their constituents. In recent years, discussion of this topic has been principally concerned with synchronic unity of consciousness—the form of unity that is exhibited by momentary states of consciousness, or in other words, by time slices or temporal segments of streams. There are two main questions about synchronic unity. First, what is its scope? Are the simultaneous experiences of a single subject necessarily unified? Generally but not necessarily unified? Sometimes unified? And second, what is the nature of synchronic unity? Is it a fundamental phenomenon, and if not, what are the more basic phenomena that constitute it? This essay reviews recent work on these questions, and provides reasons for preferring some answers to others. This article is categorized under: Philosophy > Consciousness Philosophy > Foundations of Cognitive Science Philosophy > Metaphysics

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Philosophy > Metaphysics
Philosophy > Foundations of Cognitive Science
Philosophy > Consciousness

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