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Academic Studies of Human Consciousness

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Consciousness Concepts of Colin McGinn

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We are suffering from what I called "cognitive closure" with respect to the mind-body problem.  Just as a dog cannot be expected to solve the problems of space and time and the speed of light, that it took a brain like Einstein's to solve, so maybe the human species cannot be expected to understand how the universe contains mind and matter in combination.  Isn't it really a preposterous overconfidence on our part to think that our species--so recent, so contingent, so limited in many ways--can nevertheless unlock every secret of the natural world?  As Socrates always maintained, it is the wise man who knows his own ignorance.

Colin McGinn, The Making of a Philosopher, Page 182 (Published 2002)

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Colin McGinn

Colin McGinn was born in 1950 in West Hartlepool, County Durham, England.  McGinn attended the University of Manchester from 1968-1972 where he received a first class degree in psychology in 1971 and a M.A. degree in 1972. He subsequently entered Oxford University and received a B. Phil. degree in 1974.  While at Oxford he received the prestigious John Locke Prize in Mental Philosophy for the year 1972.  After graduation, McGinn taught at University College in London and later at the University of California in Los Angeles; he eventually returned to Oxford in 1985 to take a the position as the Wilde Reader in Mental Philosophy.  In the late 1980s, he came to the realization that "Oxford had become a bit of a philosophical backwater, with the best philosophy being done in America." Accordingly, in 1989, he accepted a job offer from Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he currently is a Professor of Philosophy and a colleague of Jerry Fodor.


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