Oslo Mind Group Seminar: Erlend Owesen, ‘What-It’s-Like’ Talk is Technical Talk

We will be discussing a draft of ‘What-It’s-Like Talk is Technical Talk’ by Erlend Owesen.

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It is common to define or explain ‘phenomenal consciousness’ and its cognates as what it is like to be in a mental state. But philosophers disagree whether the ‘what-it’s-like’ phrase in this context should be understood as a technical phrase, i.e. a phrase the meaning of which is peculiar to a theoretical discipline or community. This paper argues that it is a technical phrase and thus that it does not mean what is meant by the phrase in ‘ordinary’ non-philosophical contexts. This has two important consequences. The first is that theorists should stop defining or explaining phenomenal consciousness in terms of what-it’s-like-ness. The second is that theorists owe us an explanation of what they mean by ‘phenomenal consciousness’ that does not appeal to what-it’s-like-ness.

How to attend

This is a read-ahead seminar and will take place via Zoom. All are welcome to attend (Zoom login required).

Note: This seminar will start at the earlier than usual time of 12.15.

The meeting link, along with a copy of the paper to be discussed, will be made available in advance via the Oslo Mind Group Team, which is open to all University of Oslo members, or upon request from the organizer for non-UiO users (see below).


Keith Wilson
Published May 3, 2021 3:06 PM - Last modified May 6, 2021 9:53 AM