Early philosophers such as Descartes and Leibniz [ citation needed ] noted that the apparent unity of our experience is an all-or-none qualitative characteristic that does not appear to have an equivalent in the known quantitative features, like proximity or cohesion, of composite matter. William James , [ citation needed ] in the nineteenth century, considered the ways the unity of consciousness might be explained by known physics and found no satisfactory answer. He coined the term "combination problem", in the specific context of a "mind-dust theory" in which it is proposed that a full human conscious experience is built up from proto- or micro-experiences in the way that matter is built up from atoms. James claimed that such a theory was incoherent, since no causal physical account could be given of how distributed proto-experiences would "combine". He favoured instead a concept of "co-consciousness" in which there is one "experience of A, B and C" rather than combined experiences. A detailed discussion of subsequent philosophical positions is given by Brook and Raymont (see 26). However, these do not generally include physical interpretations. James [ citation needed ] remained concerned about the absence of a "single physical thing", other than an atom, that could be co-conscious (of A, B and C), echoing Leibniz.
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In France, the academic dissertation or thesis is called a thèse and it is reserved for the final work of doctoral candidates. The minimum page length is generally (and not formally) 100 pages (or about 400,000 characters), but is usually several times longer (except for technical theses and for "exact sciences" such as physics and maths).
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