Some sample paper topics on material in the first part of the course.

 

v     Burge on access without phenomenality.

 

v     Do such concepts as phenomenal consciousness, access-consciousness and reflexive consciousness derive from an ambiguity in ‘conscious’?  Or is ‘conscious’ a (relevantly) univiocal term with a family resemblance extension?  (See the article on Religion by William Alston in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Macmillan) for an example of a family resemblance concept.)

 

v     A defense of Church or Dennett or Chalmers on phenomenal consciousness vs access consciousness.

 

v     The dominance/deference distinction and its significance for the mind-body problem.

 

v     Do common sense categories of experience apply at small time scales?

 

v     An explication of the Orwellian and Stalinesque pictures of the phi phenomenon.

 

v     Kripke’s argument against Shoemaker and its relation to the Frege-Schlick view.

 

v     The role of  memory in the inverted spectrum argument.   Assuming inverted spectra can exist at all, could there be an inverted spectrum in a creature that had no memory?

 

v     What kind of possibility is at stake in the possibility of an inverted spectrum?

 

v     Peacocke (BFG, 341-354) gives a number of examples: the two trees, one eye vs two eyes, etc.  What do they show?

 

v     How should advocates of higher order theories of consciousness reply to some of the most obvious objections to their view?

 

v     The relation between consciousness and the self and its relevance to various pictures of the nature of consciousness.

 

v     Dennett’s Chase & Sanborn argument: what it is and whether it works.

 

v     Is a functional criterion of similarity and identity compatible with a physicalist view of the specific nature of phenomenal experience?