Silver Center 206

Monday and Wednesday 3:30-4:45

Professor: Ned Block 
ned.blockat-sign nyu.edu
5 Washington Place 405

212-998-8322 (Note: you will have better
luck reaching me by email than by phone)
Office Hours: Wednesday 4:45-5:45, 
and by appointment


TAs: Knut Skarsaune, kos214 at-sign nyu.edu
5 Washington Place, Rm 515

Office hours: Tuesdays 11-12 and by appointment

Philippe Lusson, pal305 at-sign nyu.edu,
5 Washington Place, Rm 611

Office Hours: Thursday 12:30-2:30


Philippe Lusson

Th 9:30–10:45

Th 11–12:15

Knut Skarsaune

T 9:30–10:45

T 12:30–1:45




j0336968ATTENTION: The final examination will be in class on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 the last class.


No late papers.  If you miss the deadline for one assignment, just do another.

Read Jim Pryor’s advice on writing a philosophy paper:  Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper


Assignments (and slides) are posted on Blackboard. Please submit your assignments in .doc, .docx or .rtf format, but not .pdf format.

Final Exam: December 15th: questions will be based on the assignments

Please send info about broken links to Ned Block


All readings will be available on the web.  Some will require a password that will be revealed in class.

The reading for this course is not lengthy but it is difficult material. You should expect to read almost everything twice.






The Explanatory Gap

Thomas Nagel, "What is it Like to be a Bat?" The Philosophical Review, LXXXIII (4), 435-450, 1974  Sept 13, 15

David Chalmers, “Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness”, Journal of Consciousness Studies 1995 Sept 15, 20


Higher Order Theories of Consciousness

David Rosenthal, “A Theory of Consciousness” in N. Block, O. Flanagan and G. Güzeldere, The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates (MIT Press, 1997).   Sept 22

Josh Weisberg, “Misrepresenting Consciousness”, Philosophical Studies 2010 Sept 27

Ned Block, “The Higher Order Approach to Consciousness is DefunctSept 29


Concepts of Consciousness

Stanislas Dehaene. And J-P Changeux (2005), “Neural Mechanisms for Access to Consciousness”, The Cognitive Neurosciences III, Michael Gazzaniga (ed.) MIT Press October 4th

Ned Block, “Consciousness and Cognitive Access”, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 108, Issue 1 pt 3 (October 2008), p. 289-317 October 6th

Commentaries by Burge, Byrne, et. al., Clark & Kiverstein, Garelle & Dupoux, Lau & Persaud, Levine, Lycan, Malach, Naccache & Dehaene, Prinz, Sergent, et. al., van Gulick and author’s replies (The commentaries and replies are parts of the same document.) October 11 is a holiday so this material will be discussed October 13th.


Consciousness vs. Attention

Christopher Mole, “Attention”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy October 18th

Christof Koch & Naotsugu Tsuchiya, “The Relationship between Consciousness and Attention,” in Laureys & Tononi, The Neurology of Consciousness, 2008 October 20th

Victor Lamme, V. (2003) Why visual attention and awareness are different. Trends in Cognitive

Sciences 7:12–18. October 25th

Jesse Prinz, “When is Perception Conscious?” In Bence Nanay, Perceiving the World: New Essays on Perception. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. October 27th

Eric Lormand, Comments on “A Neurofunctional Theory of Visual ConsciousnessConsciousness and Cognition 9 (2), June 2000, Pages 260-266 November 1st

Jesse Prinz, A Reply to Lormand, Consciousness and Cognition 9 (2), June 2000, Pages 274-278 November 1st

Jesse Prinz, “Does Consciousness Outstrip Sensation?”, in On the Human, National Humanities Center Blog, November 1, 2010, November 3rd


Modularity of Mind and Top-Down Effects on Perception

Fiona Macpherson, “"Cognitive Penetration of Colour Experience: Rethinking the Issue in Light of an Indirect Mechanism", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, forthcoming November 8th

Keith Payne, “Weapon Bias”: Split-Second Decisions and Unintended Stereotyping, Current Directions in Psychological Science 15, 6, 2006 November 10th

Harold Bekkering and Sebastiaan F. W. Neggers, “Visual Search is Modulated by Action Intentions,” Psychological Science 13, 4, 2002. November 15th

Dennis R. Proffitt, “Distance Perception,” Current Directions in Psychological Science 15, 3, 2006 November 15th


The Inverted Spectrum

Alex Byrne, “Inverted Qualia”, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy November 17th

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, paragraphs 89-133, 243-315 November 22nd

Ned Block, “Wittgenstein and Qualia”, Philosophical Perspectives (21, 1) edited by John Hawthorne. 2007: 73-115 November 24th

Daniel Dennett, "Quining Qualia", in A. Marcel and E. Bisiach, eds, Consciousness in Modern Science, Oxford University Press 1988 November 29th


Time and Eliminativism about Consciousness

Daniel Dennett and Marcel Kinsbourne, "Time and the Observer: The Where and When of Consciousness in the Brain" Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1991 December 1st

Replies to Dennett and Kinsbourne and their rejoinders.  The replies by Antony, Block, Damasio, Clark, Lycan and VanGulick may come up in class   December 6th

Ian Phillips, “The Temporal Structure of Experience,” To appear in D. Lloyd and V. Arstila (eds.) Subjective Time: the Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Temporality MIT Press. December 8th

December 13th: review


The Zombie Within

Andy Clark, "Visual Experience and Motor Action: Are the Bonds Too Tight?" Phil Review Oct 2001. Christof Koch & Frances Crick, The zombie within. Nature (2001) 411, 893, or, if that link doesn’t work use library access to the Nature web site  


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


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












Slides will be posted on Blackboard after each class.


MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science

·      Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy




There will be a 3-5 page writing assignment posted each week and due the following week.  You must choose three of these assignments, including one of Assignments 1-3, and one assignment after Assignment 6.

There will be a final examination, the questions of which will be very similar to questions on the weekly writing assignments. So you should be satisfied that you understand the questions even for assignments that you do not do in writing.  

The writing assignments will normally require statements of positions taken by one of the authors that you've read. These statements should be couched in your own words, explaining how you see what the author has said. No quotations; no paraphrases

Grading: Each of the three papers will count for one fifth of the grade, the final will count for one fifth of the grade and participation in class (including section) will be another one fifth.

Joint work is encouraged. Arguing about your views with others is the best way to find out where your position leads. If your paper is a product of joint work, all of the participants should turn in their own versions, with the communal ideas stated in each paper in the writer's own words. When you do work together on an assignment, this must be stated on each paper. All participants in joint work get full credit. 

j0336968finger.gifNO LATE PAPERS.  Papers are due at 8 PM.  If you can’t get it in by 8 PM, just do the next assignment.





David Chalmers’ Bibliography of Philosophy of Mind, MindPapers