John Henry Taylor
John Henry Taylor is a postgraduate researcher.
His main interests are in philosophy of mind and metaphysics but he also has interests in cognitive science and Kantian ethics.
The Ontology of Consciousness.
I am interested in the distinction that Ned Block draws between Phenomenally Conscious Experiences (tastes, tickles, sensations, sounds etc.) and what he calls Access Conscious states (states whose content is poised for free use in reasoning and inference by the rest of the cognitive system). Block uses this distinction to launch a critique on current research in consciousness science, arguing that explanations of consciousness claim to explain phenomenal consciousness but end up targeting access consciousness.
I hope to examine the distinction and assess not only the claims that Block makes about it but also examine the way that the distinction has been interpreted by others. Not only philosophers but also many cognitive scientists have had a lot to say about the distinction, as it lies at the core of how one views the whole discipline of consciousness studies.
In my more optimistic moments, I feel like I could analyse the ontological structure of the two forms of consciousness, assign each kind of consciousness to an ontological category, and then use this to redraw the distinction and then outline how cognitive science might proceed when looking for the brain states that underpin the two forms of consciousness. Most of the time, however, I feel that that is a ludicrously ambitious thing to do and that I should satisfy myself with criticising the views of others...
Professor E. J. Lowe and Dr. S. C. Gibb.
Research Groups: Mind, Metaphysics and Language.