Syllabus for Phil GA 1103, Advanced Introduction to Philosophy of Mind



Ned Block,, Office hours Wed 4-6

Dave Chalmers,, Office hours Wed 3-5


*Starred readings are the major focus of the week’s discussion


Further Readings on all of these topics can be found in the philosophy of mind section of PhilPapers


September 8: Chalmers

Consciousness and the Mind-Body Problem

*David Chalmers (2003). Consciousness and its place in nature. In S. Stich & T. Warfield (Eds.), Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Mind: Blackwell.

Frank Jackson, “Epiphenomenal Qualia,  American Philosophical Quarterly, 32, 127-136, 1982. 

Block, N., & Stalnaker, R. (1999). Conceptual Analysis, Dualism and the Explanatory Gap. The Philosophical Review, 108(1), 1-46.


September 15: Block

The phenomenal concept strategy

*David Papineau, Chapter 2 and 4 of Thinking about Consciousness, Oxford University Press, 2002

*Kati Balog, In Defense of the Phenomenal Concept Strategy, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84(1), 1-23, 2012

David Chalmers, Phenomenal Concepts and the Explanatory Gap, (T. Alter & S. Walter, eds) Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism (Oxford University Press, 2006)

(Ned Block, "Max Black’s Objection to Mind-Body Identity", in Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, II, edited by Dean Zimmerman with replies by John Perry and Stephen White, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 3-78.  White’s reply here.  This article is very long and overly complicated.)

Background to this and other topics on the list: Thomas Nagel, “What is it like to be a bat?” The Philosophical Review 83 (1974); 435-50



September 22: Chalmers

Panpsychism and Russellian Monism

*Galen Strawson, Realistic monism - why physicalism entails panpsychism, Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11):3-31 (2006)

*David Chalmers, Panpsychism and panprotopsychism


David Chalmers, The combination problem for panpsychism

Philip Goff, Against constitutive Russellian monism

Barbara Montero, Russellian Physicalism

Hedda Hassel MŅrch, Panpsychism and Causation: A New Argument and a Solution to the Combination Problem

Daniel Stoljar, Two concepts of the physical

Giulio Tononi et al, Integrated information theory 3.0


September 29: Block

Phenomenal consciousness and access consciousness

*Ned Block, “Concepts of Consciousness”.  In D. Chalmers (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings. 206-219 (2002)

*Ned Block, ““Perceptual consciousness overflows cognitive access”. Trends in Cognitive Sciences December 15, 12, 2011, p 567-575

Note: this paper might be hard to understand for someone with no empirical background.  If you are having problems understanding it, read this instead.  It is a summary of the empirical issues as of 2007 for philosophers:

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

For an update on the empirical issues, see: Ned Block, “Rich conscious perception outside focal attention”, Trends in Cognitive Sciences Vol. 18, Issue 9, p445–447, 2014

For an amusing take on the scientific issues by a scientist, see Victor Lamme’s Youtube talk.  This is 30 minutes and goes down easily


These are constructive takes on how access consciousness should be understood:

Š      David Chalmers, Availability: The cognitive basis of experience? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20:148-9, 1997

Š      Daniel Stoljar, “In Praise of Poise”, Forthcoming in A. Pautz and D. Stoljar (eds.) Themes from Block, Cambridge, MA:MIT Press.

This is a discussion of the methodological issues:

Š      Nicholas Shea, Methodological Encounters with the Phenomenal Kind, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. LXXXIV No. 2, March 2012


These are critiques:

Š      Ian Phillips (2011). Perception and Iconic Memory: What Sperling Doesn’t Show. Mind and Language 
26, 4.  (or here)

Š      Ian Phillips (2015) No watershed for overflow: “Recent work on the richness of consciousness,” Philosophical Psychology, on-line September 24, 2015, Paywalled copy,  protected copy

Š      James Stazicker (2011). Attention, Visual Consciousness, and Indeterminacy. Mind and Language 26, 2, 156-184 (or here or here

Š      Cohen, M. and Dennett, D. (2011) Consciousness cannot be separated from function. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15, 358-364


October 6: Chalmers

Illusionism about Consciousness

*Keith Frankish, “The illusion problem”. A new version just came in that is not supposed to be very different from the old one. And Frankish On Philosophy Bites

*Alva Noe, Is the visual world a grand illusion?

Jonathan Cohen, The grand grand illusion illusion


No class October 13


October 20: Block


*Ned Block, “Troubles with Functionalism

*David Chalmers, Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia

*Michael Tye, “Homunculi Heads And Silicon Chips: The Importance Of History To Phenomenology”, Forthcoming in A. Pautz and D. Stoljar (eds.) Themes from Block, Cambridge, MA:MIT Press.


October 27: Chalmers

The Problem of Perception


*Crane, T. (2005). The Problem of Perception. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Vol. Spring). Stanford: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

*Susanna Siegel, The Contents of Perception, In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Vol. Spring). Stanford: Center for the Study of Language and Information.



November 3: Block

Representationalism and attention

*Block, N. (2010). Attention and Mental Paint. Philosophical Issues: A Supplement to Nous, 20, 23-63.

*Sebastian Watzl, “Can representationism explain how attention affects appearances?Forthcoming in A. Pautz and D. Stoljar (eds.) Themes from Block, Cambridge, MA:MIT Press.

Alex Byrne, Intentionalism Defended, Philosophical Review 110, 2: 2001

David Chalmers, The representational character of experience, in B. Leiter (ed.) The Future for Philosophy (Oxford, 2004)


November 10: Chalmers


Phenomenal Intentionality

*Horgan and Tienson, The Intentionality of Phenomenology and the Phenomenology of Intentionality

*Angela Mendelovici & David Bourget, “Phenomenal Intentionality”, forthcoming in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Angela Mendelovici & David Bourget, Naturalizing Intentionality: Tracking Theories Versus Phenomenal Intentionality Theories. Philosophy Compass 9 (5):325-337. 2014.

Brian Loar, Phenomenal Intentionality as the Basis of Mental Content, In Martin Hahn & B. Ramberg (eds.), Reflections and Replies: Essays on the Philosophy of Tyler Burge. MIT Press 229--258 (2003)

Pierre Jacob, Intentionality (SEP)

John Haugeland, The Intentionality All-Stars


November 17: Block


*Susanna Siegel,  (2006). Which Properties are Represented in Perception? In T. Gendler & J. Hawthorne (Eds.), Perceptual Experience (pp. 481-503). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

*Ned Block, “Seeing-As in the Light of Vision Science,”  Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2014


Tyler Burge, Reply to Block: Adaptation and the Upper Border of Perception, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2014


November 24: Chalmers

Narrow and Wide Content


*David Chalmers, The Components of Content, in Chalmers, Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings (Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 608-633

John Hawthorne and Juhanni Yli-Vakkuri, Narrow Content

Tyler Burge, Individualism and the Mental, Midwest Studies In Philosophy Volume 4, Issue 1, pages 73–121, September 1979

Curtis Brown, Narrow Mental Content (SEP)



December 1: Block

Twin-earthability and phenomenal representation

*Ned Block, “Inverted EarthPhilosophical Perspectives 4:53-79 (1990)

*Adam Pautz, “How Can Brains in Vats Experience a Spatial World? A Puzzle for Internalists Forthcoming in A. Pautz and D. Stoljar (eds.) Themes from Block, Cambridge, MA:MIT Press.

David Chalmers, Three Puzzles about Spatial Experience, Forthcoming in A. Pautz and D. Stoljar (eds.) Themes from Block, Cambridge, MA:MIT Press.


December 8: Chalmers

Extended Cognition

*Andy Clark and David Chalmers, The Extended Mind, ANALYSIS 58: 1: 1998 p.7-19

Justin Fisher, Why Nothing Mental Is in the Head, Nous 41:2 (2007), 318-334

Fred Adams, Why the Mind is Still in the Head

Brie Gertler, Overextending the Mind



December 15: Block

The Perception-Cognition Border

None of these are starred. The Fodor reading is deep background.  You might choose to read the Lupyan/MacPherson interchange or the Firestone-Scholl/Block/Lupyan interchange

Chapters 1-3 of Fodor, J. A. (1983). Modularity of Mind: An Essay on Faculty Psychology: MIT Press. 

Gary Lupyan, “Cognitive Penetrability of Perception in the Age of Prediction: Predictive Systems are Penetrable Systems, In Review of Philosophy and Psychology. DOI 10.1007/s13164-015-0253-4

Fiona MacPherson, Cognitive penetration and predictive coding: a commentary on Lupyan. Or here Review of Philosophy and Psychology, (2015) 6:571–584 (doi:10.1007/s13164-015-0254-3)

Gary Lupyan, Reply to Macpherson: Further illustrations of the cognitive penetrability of perception, Rev.Phil.Psych. (2015) 6:585–589

Chaz Firestone and Brian Scholl,  Cognition does not affect perception: Evaluating the evidence for ‘top-down’ effects, forthcoming in The Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Ned Block, Tweaking the Concepts of Perception and Cognition, forthcoming in The Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Gary Lupyan, Not even wrong: the "it's just X" fallacy, forthcoming in The Behavioral and Brain Sciences