Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Dion Scott-Kakures

Reader 2

Yuval Avnur

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Rights Information

2019 Rowen R Cox-Rubien


An ontological exploration of consciousness and how it is related to the body and other aspects of physical reality. Framed by David Chalmers' conception of "The Hard Problem", we begin from a physicalist perspective to discuss the problem of mental causation, which is the inquiry of how the mind communicates and interacts with the body. From here we examine the employment of identity reduction to functionalize and therefore physically explain mentality. We find that reductionist methods, the backbone of scientific investigation, do not work to explain conscious experience, because conscious experience is not quantifiable--it is qualitative. Thus we are left with looking for alternatives to our physicalist world-view in order to explain consciousness's place in reality. Perhaps a major conceptual revolution of how we see and understand the world is on the horizon that will allow us to finally explain consciousness.