MA-Seminar: Gedanken über Bewusstsein - Thoughts about Consciousness (leh)

Enseignant(s): Bochner Gregory, Nida-Rümelin Martine
Cursus: Master
Type d'enseignement: Séminaire
Langue(s) du cours: Anglais et/ou Allemand
Semestre(s): SA-2023

When we think about our own experiences or those of others we use special concepts, so-called phenomenal concepts, which are formed on the basis of our own acquaintance with the kind of experience at issue. For instance, when you consider whether your friend is sad, then you use in your thought a phenomenal concept of sadness, a concept you could not have formed had you never been sad yourself.

Phenomenal concepts play an important role in the debate about the nature of consciousness. Physicalists argue that phenomenal concepts are isolated from other concepts in a manner which creates the illusion that conscious experience is something over and above the physical. Dualists tend to argue that phenomenal concepts give access to the very nature of conscious experience and they use that claim in their arguments against physicalism.

At least some sessions (perhaps all) will be devoted to the debate around the nature of consciousness and the role of phenomenal concepts in our thought and access to reality. But the seminar is open as well for topics proposed by the participants. Please feel free to propose sessions about themes you would like to work on (e.g. in the context of your MA thesis) if they belong, in a broad sense, to the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, metaphysics or epistemology.

Languages used in the seminar: we will use both languages, English and German. If you consider participating you should, ideally, have a good passive knowledge of English (you can follow a discussion in English) and a good active knowledge of one of the two seminar languages (you are able to contribute to the discussion either in German or in English). Depending on the composition of the group we will decide how we distribute the use of English and German over the various sessions. If your passive knowledge of English is good but you do not trust your active knowledge of neither of the two seminar languages, you can express yourself in French (or Italian) and we will, if necessary, explain or translate your contribution.