|Graduate Seminar: Consciousness
This seminar will have two parts. The first part will be an opinionated overview of some of the philosophical problems thought to be obstacles to an explanatory theory of conscious experience, including the notorious “hard problem”, and the methodological puzzle. With this background in place, in the second part we will discuss some questions related to the distribution and significance of consciousness. How do we tell which non-human creatures and physical systems have conscious experiences? What does it mean to imaginatively empathize with another being? What can we say about the evolution of consciousness? Does consciousness come in degrees or is it an all-or-nothing phenomenon? And in what sense is consciousness something that matters? Readings will be chapters from a book on consciousness I’m working on, plus readings by other authors.