Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham Emergence Project

Fellowship

Is consciousness emergent or merely reducible to the base level, structural property?


Introduction

The workshop on the Metaphysics of Consciousness explored the problem of consciousness from three standpoints, namely: (i) the metaphysics of powers ontology; (ii) the metaphysics of personal identity; and (iii) the first-person perspective and neuroscience. A total of five presentations were given at this workshop. The papers by John Heil, Alex Carruth and Henry Taylor each in its own way focused on properties, understood as powerful qualities as opposed to being categorical, dispositional or the mixture of the two. The paper by Eric Olson focused on personal identity, in which he defended his well-known theory of animalism by arguing why denying conscious experience to our bodies turns them into zombies (i.e., beings physically identical to normal human beings in every respect yet lacking experience). Finally, Mihretu Guta’s paper focused on making the case for the asymmetry between the first-person perspective and the third-person perspective, which couldn’t be bridged via modern day neuroimaging techniques.


Participants

Mihretu Guta


Project Description

The purpose of this project is to address the following research questions:

1. Is consciousness emergent or merely reducible to the base level, structural property? If it is an emergent property, is it strongly or weakly emergent?

2. What does the activity of the brain have to do with consciousness? Is brain activity the source of phenomenal consciousness, or is its relation to the brain merely intimate correlations?

Both (1) and (2) above are linked with the Research Questions of the Emergence Project: 1, 2, 3 and 5, which, inter alia, deal with strong emergence, metaphysics of causation, emergentist positions in the philosophy of mind, the casual closure principle and mental causation, respectively.

Publications

  • Consciousness, First-Person Perspective and Neuroimaging’, in Mihretu P. Guta and Sophie Gibb (eds.), Insights into the First-Person Perspective and the Self: An Interdisciplinary Approach, A Special Issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, 11-12 (2015): 218-45.
  • Editorial Introduction’ in Mihretu P. Guta and Sophie Gibb (eds.), Insights into the First-Person Perspective and the Self: An Interdisciplinary Approach, A Special Issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, 11-12 (2015): 8-19.
    3. Mihretu P. Guta and Sophie Gibb (eds.), Insights into the First-Person Perspective and the Self: An Interdisciplinary Approach, A Special Issue the Journal of Consciousness Studies, 11-12 (2015).
    4. ‘Objects, Dispositions and Lockean Person-Making Properties with Implications for the Emergence of Consciousness', Appraisal, the Journal of British Personalist Forum (forthcoming, 2016).
    5. ‘A Non-Causal Account of the Spontaneous Emergence of the Phenomenal Consciousness’ (in progress).

Activities

  • Presented Paper: ‘Consciousness, Emergence and Spontaneity’ at the Durham Emergence Project Seminar, Durham University, January 27, 2015.
  • Presented Paper: ‘Consciousness, Emergence and Spontaneity’ at the Talbot Philosophical Society, Biola University, California, March 1-15, 2015.
  • Presented Paper: ‘Consciousness, First-Person Perspective and Neuroimaging’ at the workshop on the Metaphysics of Consciousness, Durham University, March 26, 2015.
  • Presented Paper and chaired discussions: Towards the Science of Consciousness, at the 21st International Interdisciplinary Conferences, University of Helsinki in Finland, June 8-13, 2015.
  • Public Lecture: ‘Consciousness, First-Person Perspective and Neuroimaging’ at the Cognitive Science Lecture Series at the University of Vienna, Austria, June 24, 2015.
  • Presented Paper: ‘Consciousness, First-Person Perspective and Neuroimaging’ at the Annual Ustinov College Interdisciplinary Conference at Durham University, July 10-11, 2015.
  • Presented Paper: ‘Objects, Dispositions and Lockean Person-Making Properties with Implications for the Emergence of Consciousness’ at the 13th International Conference on Persons, Boston University, Massachusetts, August 3-7, 2015.