|Graduate Seminar: Consciousness
This will be a seminar about consciousness. As well as being interested in first order questions about the nature of conscious experiences (we’ll focus on the implications and viability of the intentionalist program, and the relation between consciousness and accessibility) we will also be interested in two broad metatheoretical issues. First, to what extent is a systematic theory of the dependence of consciousness on the physical world possible? To address this, we’ll start with supervenience and the idea of experience-types having “neural correlates”, and then look at some different ways in which psychophysical dependence might (or might not) be more systematic than the existence of either of these relations alone implies. The second metatheoretical issue is this: is consciousness as intellectually and practically significant as is conventionally assumed, and (related to this) how many of the questions people typically ask about consciousness have determinate answers? We’ll explore a deflationary view that resembles the position that certain philosophers have taken in past about such concepts as personal identity and free will.