Spring Ahead

The Spring semester is up and running here in nyc! I have been ultra busy and it looks like there is no end in sight…it is getting harder and harder to find time to write substantial posts (frivolous ones too) but I hope that I will be able to do a bit more this Spring. In the meantime here is a round up of what has been going on in the new year.

Besides preparing to teach my super cool class on Cosmology, Consciousness, and Computation for the first time I have been doing a lot of writing and have finished a few papers (it turns out when you don’t teach during the break you can get a lot done!). One is The Two-Dimensional Argument Against Dualism, which is a product of my presentation at Tucson 2012 and the discussions it prompted. As a result of all of this I have come to understand some of the key issues a lot better and I think this is the clearest statement of the issues yet. Any feedback on this is highly appreciated! Another is David Chalmers on Mind and Consciousness which is forthcoming in Philosophy of Mind: The Key Thinkers edited by Andrew Bailey. The goal? Explain Chalmers’ views on mind and consciousness to someone who was unfamiliar with them in 6,000 words or less. I’ll let posterity judge to what extent I succeeded. (btw completing the Chalmers 2013 trifecta is my review of Constructing the World for The Philosopher’s Magazine which should be coming out later in February…1,700 words to review a book that is nearly 500 pages of highly technical philosophy? No Problem…it’s a bit like a word puzzle! Incidentally, I may be the only person on the planet who has now read both The Character of Consciousness and Constructing the World back to back and cover to cover!)

I am also planning on being at the Grad Center more this semester. I am going to be be sitting in on David Rosenthal’s class on Mental Qualities. Believe it or not I have never taken this course and so I am excited for it. I am hoping to do some posts on some of the readings and discussions (for instance I was re-reading Nagel’s paper on Panpsychism which seems to anticipate a lot of the themes of recent discussions). In addition the CUNY Cognitive Science Speaker Series looks fantastic and I am hoping to be able to attend more regularly.

And of course coming up shortly is the Fifth Online Consciousness Conference! I can’t believe that it has been 5 years already! The program is nearly finalized (still looking for commenters if you know anyone who is interested). I would really like to thank David Chalmers, Susanna Siegel, Adam Pautz, and John Schwenkler for helping me put together such an awesome program!

Also coming up quickly are a couple of meat space conferences. Sadly I am not able to make it out to the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology but Pete Mandik will be there presenting our joint paper On Whether the Higher-Order Thought Theory of Consciousness Entails Cognitive Phenomenology Or What is it like to think that One thinks that P? (with comments by David Pitt). I am sad to miss this conference since it looks like it will be the best one ever but even I have limits 🙂

But I will going out to the apa in San Francisco to present my solo version of the above paper The Phenomenology of HOT Or What is it Like to Think that one Thinks That P?. It’s a funny story because I wrote that and submitted it to the apa before Pete and I teamed up for the co-written one above. Jake Berger is going to comment on this version of the paper and so it should be a very interesting session! Afterwards Pete and I will revise the paper which is slated for a special issue of Philosophical Topics so any feedback would be greatly appreciated as well.

Finally my edited book Consciousness Inside and Out: Phenomenology, Neuroscience, and the Nature of Experience is due to be published in March 2013 and is already listed on Amazon.com! After two years of hard work I am very excited to see this finally coming out! It includes rewritten papers, new commentaries, and new responses, from the participants of the Third Online Consciousness Conference held in february 2011.

Looking ahead past the spring my proposed Symposium was accepted by the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness meeting in San Diego. The symposium is titled ‘The Role of Prefrontal Cortex in Conscious Experience” and will feature talks by Rafi Malach, Joe Levine, Doby Rahnev and me. Very exciting!

Shesh, just writing that out is exhausting!

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