Michael Tye: Consciousness Lectures

Michael Tye (University of Texas, Austin)

June 12, 14, 2017

600 Renwen Building
Renmin University of China
2-3:30 pm

Lecture 1: Is There an On/Off Switch for Consciousness in Animal Brains? (June 12)

Does consciousness admit of borderline cases? Should we compare the emergence of consciousness to the sudden switching on of a light, initially with a very narrow beam? Or does it gradually emerge through various indeterminate stages before announcing itself on the scene? If there is a switch for consciousness, where in the brain is it located? And what are the consequences of this debate for views about the extent of consciousness in the animal world? These are the questions to be addressed in my talk.

Lecture 2: Pain and the Appearance / Reality Distinction (June 14)

This talk discusses the nature of pain, conceived as a certain kind of feeling. It is argued that pains have representational content and that the way pains feel is intimately tied up with what they represent. The theory developed stresses the need for the inclusion of an evaluative property in the content (felt badness, as it might be called). Along the way, the view that the content of a pain is imperative is discussed and criticized. The talk concludes with some comments on the neurophysiological basis of pain.