Consciousness, Action and Attention

Thursday 3:30-5:30, Philosophy 2nd floor Seminar Room, 5 Washington Place  (Note the change to the 2nd floor)

Attendance by those who are not PhD students in a philosophy department requires permission of Professor Block

Requirements: A 10 page mid-term paper is due March 13th and a longer term paper is due May 1st.  The term paper can be a revised version of the mid-term paper


Assignments for the remainder of the term

May 1: Sensorimotor 3

NoĎ PPR (2008) précis, NoĎ, Magic Realism, Block review, Hurley, “Varieties of Externalism”.  NoĎ’s “Magic Realism” and Hurley’s paper require the password given out in class.  If you don’t remember it, send me an email.  Those 2 articles will be the main focus of the class.


Reading List


Note: some of the links below are linked to the NYU Library web site.  (They start with ‘ezproxy’.)  If you do not have an NYU email account, you can access the articles via your own library.  If you do not have any library account at all, contact Professor Block about the articles you cannot access.


Qualia: The Inverted Spectrum

Ned Block, “Wittgenstein and Qualia”, Philosophical Perspectives 21, 1, 2007: 73-115, edited by John Hawthorne.

Alex Byrne, “Inverted Qualia”, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Consciousness and Attention

Daniel Simons & Ron Rensink, Change Blindness: Past, Present, and Future Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9: 16-20. 2005

Christof Koch & Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Attention and Consciousness: Two Distinct Brain Processes. Trends in Cognitive Sciences (2007) 11, 16-22

Chris Mole, “Attention in the Absence of Consciousness?” forthcoming in Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Chris Mole, “Attention and Consciousness”, Journal of Consciousness Studies.  A new draft of this paper has been posted as of January 30th


The Relation between Consciousness and Attention

Jesse Prinz, “A Neurofunctional Theory of Consciousness”, or here in A. Brook and K. Akins (Eds.) Philosophy and neuroscience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003

Eric Lormand, Comments on “A Neurofunctional Theory of Visual ConsciousnessPages 260-266

Anthony Marcel, On a Neurofunctional Theory of Visual Consciousness: Commentary on J. Prinz, Consciousness and Cognition 9, 267–273 (2000)

Jesse Prinz, A Reply to Lormand, Consciousness and Cognition  Volume 9, Issue 2, June 2000, Pages 274-278

Jesse Prinz, A Reply to Marcel, Consciousness and Cognition 9, 279–287 (2000)


Consciousness and Cognitive Access

Ned Block, ”Consciousness, Accessibility and the Mesh between Psychology and Neuroscience,” forthcoming in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 2008

Replies by Balog, Burge, Byrne Hilbert & Siegel, Clark & Kiverstein, Gopnik, Grush, Harman, Hulme & Whitely, Izard Quinn & Most, Jacob, Kentridge, Koch & Tsuchiya, Kouider, Gardelle & Dupoux, Lamme, Landman & Sligte, Lau & Persaud, Laureys, Levine, Lycan, Malach, McDermott, Naccache & Dehaene, O’Regan & Myin, Prinz, Rosenthal, Sergent & Rees, Shanahan & Baars, Snodgrass & Lepisto, Spener, Tye and Van Gulick (Accessing this file requires a password that will be mentioned in class)

Ned Block, “Overflow, Access and Attention,” responses to the 32 replies


Is the Conscious Will Epiphenomenal?

Dan Wegner, “Who is the controller of controlled processes?  In R. Hassin, J.S. Uleman, & J.A. Bargh (Eds.) The New Unconscious (pp. 19-36).  New York: Oxford University Press.

Richard Holton, review of Wegner, The Illusion of Conscious Will, Mind 113 (2004) 218-21

Tim Bayne, Phenomenology and the Feeling of Doing: Wegner on the Conscious Will, In S. Pockett, W. P. Banks and S. Gallagher (eds.) Does Consciousness Cause Behavior? Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 169-186, 2006


The Phenomenology of Agency

Terry Horgan, John Tienson, George Graham, “The Phenomenology of First Person Agency”, (or here) In S. Walter and H-D Heckmann (eds) Physicalism and Mental Causation: The Metaphysics of Mind and Action. Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic (pp. 323-40), 2003.

Tim Bayne. 2007. The Phenomenology of Agency. Philosophy Compass.

Tim Bayne. & Elisabeth Pacherie, Forthcoming. Narrators and Comparators: The Architecture of Agentive Self-Awareness, Synthese.

Susanna Siegel, The Phenomenology of Efficacy" Philosophical Topics Vol. 33, No 1, Spring 2005.

Elisabeth Pacherie, The phenomenology of action: A conceptual framework, Cognition 2008, in press.

Phenomenal Concepts

David Chalmers, The Content and Epistemology of Phenomenal Belief. In (Q. Smith & A. Jokic, eds) Consciousness: New Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press, 2003

Jesse Prinz, Mental Pointing: Phenomenal Knowledge Without Concepts, Journal of Consciousness Studies 14, 2007

David Papineau, Conceptual Dualism, Chapter 2 of Thinking about Consciousness, Oxford University Press, 2002

Michael Tye: draft of forthcoming book, Consciousness Revisited: Materialism without Phenomenal Concepts, MIT Press, 2008

The Sense of Ownership of the Body

Manos Tsakiris & Patrick Haggard, “The Rubber Hand Illusion Revisited: Visuotactile Integration and Self-Attribution, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 2005, 31, 1, 80-91

Frédérique de Vignemont, Habeas Corpus: The Sense of Ownership of One’s Own Body, Mind & Language 22, 4, 427-449, September 2007

H. Henrik Ehrsson, “The Experimental Induction of Out-of-Body Experiences” Science 317, 2007, p. 1048. 

Greg Miller, “Out-of-Body Experiences Enter the Laboratory,” Science 317, 2007, p. 1020a

Bigna Lenggenhager, Tej Tadi, Thomas Metzinger & Olaf Blanke, “Video Ergo Sum: Manipulating Bodily Self-Consciousness,” Science 317, 2007, p. 1096.

Angelo Moravita, Atsushi Iriki, “Tools for the body (schema)”, Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8, 2, 2004

The Timing of Conscious Experiences

Patrick Haggard, Conscious intention and motor cognition,” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9, 6, 290-295, 2005

Alfred Mele, Chapter 2 of Free Will and Luck, OUP 2006

Hakwan Lau, Robert Rogers & Richard Passingham, “Manipulating the Experienced Onset of Intention after Action Execution”, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 19:1, 1-10, 2007

Alfred Mele, “Proximal Intentions, Intention-Reports, and Vetoing, forthcoming


Higher Order vs. Same Order

Peter Carruthers, Higher-Order Theories (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

David Rosenthal, "Explaining Consciousness," in Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, ed. David J. Chalmers, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 406-421

David Rosenthal, "How Many Kinds of Consciousness?", Consciousness and Cognition, 11, 4 (December 2002): 653-665

Uriah Kriegel, The Self-Representational Theory of Consciousness.” Introductory chapter of Subjective Consciousness: A Self-Representational Theory  Further readings on this topic in: U. Kriegel and K. Williford (eds.), Self-Representational Approaches to Consciousness (pp. 143-170). Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2006


Sensorimotor Theories of Consciousness

Susan Hurley and Alva Noe, "Neural plasticity and consciousness." Biology and Philosophy 18, 1, pp 131-168

Ned Block, "Spatial Perception via Tactile Sensation," (or here) Trends in Cognitive Sciences Volume 7, Issue 7 , July 2003, Pages 285-286.  (Note: the journal incorrectly reversed the noun phrases in the title.) 

Susan Hurley and Alva NoĎ, Neural plasticity and consciousness: Reply to Block Trends in Cognitive Sciences Volume 7, Issue 78, August, 2003 issue.

Alva NoĎ, Precis of Action in Perception, Psyche 12,1, 2006, p. 1-34

Alva NoĎ, “Précis of Action in Perception: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research LXXVI, 3, May 2008

Commentaries in the same issue of Psyche

Andy Clark  Vision as Dance?

 Pierre Jacob - Why Visual Experience is Likely to Resist Being Enacted

Jesse Prinz - Putting the Brakes on Enactive Perception

William Lycan - Enactive Intentionality

Ned Block, Review of Alva NoĎ, Action in Perception, The Journal of Philosophy, CII, 5, May 2005, 259-272

Alva NoĎ, "Experience without the head", in Perceptual Experience, eds. by TS Gendler & J. Hawthorne.

Alva Noe and Evan Thompson, "Are There Neural Correlates of Consciousness?", Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol 11/1, 2004.

Susan Hurley, "Varieties of Externalism", in The Extended Mind, ed. Richard Menary, in press Ashgate. (This link requires a password.  If you don’t remember the password, send an email to Professor Block)

Alva NoĎ, “Magic Realism and the Limits of Intelligibility: What Makes us Conscious(This link requires a password.  If you don’t remember the password, send an email to Professor Block)