The course will cover problems associated with giving a naturalistic account of perceptual consciousness, and problems associated with a naturalistic account of thinking – the latter is a topic much less covered, until recently, than the former.
We will follow the development of materialist theories of perceptual consciousness from the early work of J.J.C. Smart and D. M. Armstrong (still the best and most lucid, in my view), through Davidson and Putnam, to the currently fashionable ‘phenomenal concept strategy’.
We will then consider the rise of neutral monism and panpsychism.
On thinking, we will start by considering radical empiricist views, such as associationism and behaviourism, then computational theories. From Searle’s ‘Chinese Room’ argument, we will move on to cognitive phenomenology, which is the investigation of the role of consciousness in thought, then finally the possibility of a immaterialist theory of thought with Platonic and Aristotelian roots.