SubjectsSubjects(version: 837)
Course, academic year 2018/2019
   Login via CAS
Contemporary Theories of Consciousness - AFSV00290
Title in English: Contemporary Theories of Consciousness
Guaranteed by: Institute of Philosophy and Religious Studies (21-UFAR)
Faculty: Faculty of Arts
Actual: from 2018
Semester: winter
Points: 0
E-Credits: 6
Examination process: winter s.:
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:2/0 Ex [hours/week]
Capacity: unknown / unknown (30)
Min. number of students: unlimited
State of the course: not taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Additional information:
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: doc. James Hill, Ph.D.
Last update: UFRHILL (04.10.2017)
We shall examine contemporary attempts to define and explain the phenomenon of consciousness. The central question will be whether or not consciousness can be explained in a naturalistic way: whether, for example, it can be understood as a state of the brain, or as reducible to "functional states", or by a physicalist theory involving sub-atomic events. We will pay attention to the mysterians who think that a naturalist explanation, though in principle possible, is humanly unattainable. We will also consider emergentist theory and the recent revival of panpsychism and neutral monism which, though they reject physicalism, remain naturalistic theories. Throughout the course we will bear in mind the different conceptions of consciousness that are presupposed by the philosophers whom we discuss.

Course Plan:
1. Introduction: consciousness and naturalism
2. Identity theory
3. Functionalism
4. Non-reductive biological theory
5. Quantum theory
6. Evolutionary adaptationism
7. Mysterianism
8. Cognitive closure
9. Emergentism
10. Panpsychism
11. Neutral monism
12. Conclusion
Registration requirements
Last update: UFRHILL (04.10.2017)

Each week there will be a reading available which will be the subject of our discussion in the seminar. The reading is an essential part of the course, and students will lose their way if they fail to do it. Our course will be graded according to two criteria: attendance and written work.

(i) To be eligible for the grade, students should not be absent from the seminar more than three times over the semester.

(ii) The written work will be a short essay, of between 1,000-1,500 words on one subject from the course. This essay, written in English, should show knowledge of a philosopher included in the course, and the student’s own argued standpoint. The essay should be handed in on paper by December 1st, 2017. Essays cannot be accepted after this date, nor can they be accepted in electronic form. It is important that Erasmus students do not leave Prague without discussing their essay with me, as the discussion may contribute towards the grade.

Charles University | Information system of Charles University |