Chaired by Henry Taylor (Birmingham)
Waking Up and Being Conscious
Matthew Soteriou (KCL)
This paper addresses the following questions: what account should be given of the state of wakeful consciousness, and what explanatory roles should be assigned to that state? Those questions are taken up after some discussion of the related but distinct question of what it is to be awake. On the view proposed here, in seeking to provide an account of the state of wakeful consciousness one should be aiming to provide an account of a point of view that is associated with the distinctive the form of awareness to which one surfaces when one wakes up. Our specification of that point of view should appeal to the awake subject’s temporal point of view, and the epistemic orientation and agential perspective it embodies. The explanatory roles that can be assigned to the state of wakeful consciousness are the explanatory roles that can be assigned to that point of view.
Matthew Soteriou is a Professor in Philosophy, and Chair in Philosophy of Mind, at King’s College London. He is the author of Disjunctivism (Routledge 2016), The Mind’s Construction: The Ontology of Mind and Mental Action (Oxford University Press, 2013), and co-editor (with Lucy O’Brien) of Mental Actions (Oxford University Press, 2009).
Waking Up and Being Conscious
James Stazicker (Reading)
Being conscious, in the sense in which this state is associated with being awake as opposed to dreaming or sleepwalking, has a distinctive experiential character and epistemic role. The former is reflected in the experience of waking up, the latter in traditional problems about perceptual knowledge. I outline a conception of being wakefully conscious which identifies this state in terms of its role in explaining knowledge about one’s environment and oneself. I suggest that this dual epistemic role may be grounded, in part, in the control of attention. I argue that this conception has some advantages over Matthew Soteriou’s (2019) account of the state in question in terms of a temporal point of view. These advantages are brought out by examining the experience of waking up, a traditional problem about perceptual knowledge, and folk attitudes to sleepwalking and infant consciousness.
James Stazicker is a Lecturer in Philosophy of Mind and Psychology at King’s College London. He was previously a Bersoff Faculty Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at New York University, and a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Reading. He studied Classics at New College, Oxford, before doing an MPhil in Philosophy at University College London, then a PhD in Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focusses on the nature and epistemic roles of consciousness, attention and perception. He has published papers in the philosophy of perception and in interdisciplinary work about the scientific study of consciousness and attention. He also edited The Structure of Perceptual Experience (Wiley 2015). He has run interdisciplinary projects funded by the AHRC, the British Academy, the University of Reading and the University of California, Berkeley. At King’s College London he teaches courses for the Psychology BSc as well as courses for Philosophy degrees.
19–21 July 2019
The Palatine Centre
Durham DH1 3LE
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