Andrew Lee (postdoc, UiO, website)
Degrees of Consciousness
17. September 2021, 14:00-16:00
(40 min talk + Q&A)
Meeting ID: 668 8680 5387
Andrew Lee is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Oslo, affiliated with the ConsciousBrainConcepts project. His research is on philosophical questions about conscious experiences. He’s particularly interested in questions about (1) how conscious experiences are structured and how to formally model that structure, and (2) the ethical significance of consciousness. In addition to philosophizing about consciousness, Andrew sometimes even has some conscious experiences of his own.
Does consciousness come in degrees? If the answer is ‘yes’, then some creatures (or mental states) are more conscious than others. If the answer is ‘no’, then such claims are either false or incoherent. In this talk, I'll (1) argue that the most prominent philosophical objection to degrees of consciousness doesn’t work, (2) develop an analysis of what it is for consciousness to come in degrees, and (3) apply the analysis to various theories of consciousness. I’ll argue that most theories yield the result that consciousness comes in degrees, though what exactly degrees of consciousness are varies across different theories. This means that claims about degrees of consciousness should be treated as substantive hypotheses open to confirmation and falsification, rather than as obvious truths or conceptual confusions.