Syllabus for Consciousness, G83.2294 Tuesday 2-4
Background assumed and course requirements have been moved to the end of this page.
Starred items will be handed out in xerox form. Some items
are on the web as indicated. All other items are in Block, Flanagan and
Güzeldere, The Nature of
Consciousness: Philosophical Debates (MIT Press, 1997). Page numbers below
refer to that book.
September 25: Eliminativism
Ø Daniel Dennett, "Quining Qualia" (also in anthology 619-642)
Ø Daniel Dennett and Marcel Kinsbourne,"Time and the Observer: The Where and When of Consciousness in the Brain" (also in anthology 141-174)
Ø Ned Block, "Begging the Question against Phenomenal Consciousness" 175-180
Ø Robert Van Gulick, "Time for More Alternatives", 181-184
October 2: Sensorimotor Accounts of Consciousness
Ø David Milner and Mel Goodale, precis of The VisualBrain in Action
Ø (Those who know little about vision might want to pursue the references in Visual Processing Streams)
Ø J. K. O’Regan. and Alva Noë, "A Sensorimotor Account of Vision and Visual Consciousness"
Ø Ned Block, comment on O’Regan and Noë, “Behaviorism Revisited”
October 9: Inverted Spectrum
Ø Sydney Shoemaker, "The Inverted Spectrum", 643-662
Ø Stephen White, "The Curse of the Qualia", 695-718
Ø Robert Stalnaker, "Comparing Qualia Across Persons."
Ø Extra reading that will not be discussed in class: Stephen Palmer, “Color, Consciousness, and the Isomorphism Constraint”
October 16: Lewis and Shoemaker on Functionalism and Physicalism
Ø David Lewis, “Mad Pain and Martian Pain”* This paper appeared in Readings in Philosophy of Psychology Volume 1 (Harvard U. Press, 1980) and is also in Lewis’ collected papers
Ø Sydney Shoemaker, “Some Varieties of Functionalism”* From Philosophical Topics. Also in Shoemaker’s collected papers, first volume
October 23: The Harder Problem of Consciousness
Ned Block, "The
Harder Problem of Consciousness", forthcoming in The Journal of Philosophy (revised
October 30: Higher Order Monitoring
November 6: The Search for the Neural Correlate of Consciousness
All of the articles in this section except for the one by Crick and Koch are available in Cognition, Volume 79, Issues 1-2, Pages 1-237 (April 2001) This volume is on the web and available on the NYU library site by clicking here and then clicking on "Cognition" and then going to 79, 1-2. Other library sites will also have this journal. In addition, the papers by Block and Dennett are available on the web sites linked below.
Ø Background of Assigned Reading. You will not be able to fully understand the assigned reading without having read some of the items below.
November 13: Phenomenal Concepts
Ø Assigned Reading:
o Brian Loar, "Phenomenal States" 597-616
Ø Other Reading
o John Perry, Chapters 4, 7, 8 of Knowledge, Possibility and Consciousness [PDF] Chapters 5 and 6 [PDF]
November 20: Frege’s Problem as Applied to Mind-Body Identity
November 27: Conceivability Arguments against Physicalism
The following items may be assigned later, but will not be discussed November 27th.
December 4: Representationism (the view that the phenomenal character of an experience is its representational content)
Ø Assigned Reading
Ø Other Reading
December 10: Chapter 3 of Joe Levine, Purple Haze
Other topics that students may wish to write papers on.
Background assumed: the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in philosophy and some familiarity with issues in philosophy of mind. Those who have little knowledge of philosophy of mind should browse through an introductory text such as
Alternatively, you might browse through
Some introductory material of mine is available on the web: "What is functionalism", "The Mind as the Software of the Brain", "Semantics, Conceptual Role", "Holism, Mental and Semantic" Other sources are Alex Byrne’s, David Chalmers', Dan Dennett's and William Lycan’s web sites. In our discussions of conceivability arguments against physicalism, some acquaintance with Kripke’s ideas about necessity and identity will be assumed. If you are not familiar with this material, that is a very strong indicator that your background is insufficient for this course.