We are a University of London group aimed at fostering intercollegiate research in the Philosophy of Mind. We host talks and read-ahead discussions where postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty can share their work.
Jonathan Birch (LSE)
27 January 2020: 4-6pm in Senate House 234
The Search for Invertebrate Consciousness
There is no agreement on whether any invertebrates (e.g. insects, spiders, worms, octopuses, crabs) are conscious and no agreement on a methodology that could settle the issue. How can the debate move forward? I distinguish three broad types of approach: theory-heavy, theory-neutral and theory-light. I argue that the theory-heavy and theory-neutral approaches face serious problems, motivating a middle path: the theory-light approach. At the core of the theory-light approach is a minimal theoretical commitment about the relation between consciousness and cognition that is compatible with many specific theories of consciousness: the hypothesis that conscious perception of a stimulus facilitates, relative to unconscious perception, a cluster of cognitive abilities in relation to that stimulus. This “facilitation hypothesis” can productively guide inquiry into invertebrate consciousness. What's needed? At this stage, not more theory, and not more undirected data gathering. What's needed is a systematic search for consciousness-linked cognitive abilities, their relationships to each other, and their sensitivity to masking. I illustrate the "theory-light" approach using the example of bees.
Dan Williams (Cambridge)
10 February 2020: 4-6pm in Senate House 234
Kathrine Cuccuru (Sussex)
24 February 2020: 4-6pm in Senate House 234
'The Mind of a Genius: Eighteenth Century Theories of Creating and Judging’
Daniel Vanello (Dublin)
9 March 2020: 4-6pm in Senate House 234
The paper begins with the assumption that moral individuality is a centre piece of our moral thinking. But what constitutes moral individuality? My aim in this paper is to make progress in answering this question. I do so by assessing how far we can take Bernard Williams’ criticism of Kantian-inspired, characterless conceptions of moral individuality.
Jonathan Mitchell (Manchester)
23 March 2020: 4-6pm in Senate House 234
‘The Phenomenology of Self Awareness’
4 May 2020: 4-6pm in Senate House 234
Mike Martin (Oxford/Berkeley)
25 May 2020: 4-6pm in Senate House 234
David Jenkins (Tel Aviv)
8 June 2020: 2-4pm in Senate House 234
Matt Soteriou (Kings)
22 June 2020: 4-6pm in Senate House 234
29 June 2020: 4-6pm in Senate House 234
Our Past Events
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Senate House, University of London, Malet St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HU, UK