The Dennes Room

Philosophy 290-4

Fall 2009

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-4 Graduate Seminar: Content & Consciousness Martin W 4-6 234 Moses Hall

What is the connection between consciousness, and more specifically sensory consciousness and the idea of mental content? “Content of consciousness” is a phrase often used in a manner which contrasts with “propositional/representational/mental content”. But some people have argued that it is obvious that states of mind which exemplify sensory consciousness have content in the second sense, and that one cannot suppose that there is any content of consciousness in the first sense without accepting that sensory states have such content in the second sense. In these seminars I want to start out by looking at some recent arguments for the centrality of propositional content in sense experience. But the aim is not to settle the question whether perceptual experiences have (propositional) content but to try and formulate the best terms in which anything might turn on this. In this context I want to look first at some slightly older discussions of representation and sense-data and then move back to the beginning of the twentieth century to look at some of Moore’s writings on sensory awareness, sense-data and our knowledge of the external world.


Students taking this course for credit will write a term paper due no later than one week after the last day of class.