Our Upcoming Schedule!

Wednesday, October 30th: Zeke Goggin, University of Chicago

Ontotheodicy- Realism, Historicism, and Sacrifice in the works of Hegel. (Email me for a copy of the paper in advance at dtomlinson@uchicago.edu)

Wednesday, November 6th: Christian Coseru, College of Charleston

The Ineliminable Character of Reflexivity: What is at Stake in a Debate on Consciousness?

“Every consciousness upon whatever object it is primarily directed, is constantly directed upon itself,” wrote Franz Brentano in 1874 in his seminal work, Psychology From an Empirical Standpoint. This assertion of the unity of consciousness as reflexive awareness, which in the West finds its roots in Aristotle, and in India is best articulated by the influential seventh century Indian Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti, has been both criticized and vigorously defended. What is significant about the work of Dharmakīrti and his successors on this topic is a striking combination of descriptive accounts of experience with causal theories of reference, and the notion that linguistic and inferential relations do not straightforwardly capture experiential content. In this presentation, I first consider various alternatives to the reflexivist theory of consciousness, specifically representationalist, higher-order, and token-physicalist theories. I then review phenomenological evidence that highlights various problems these theories face in accounting for the character of consciousness. Finally, I entertain the question whether this sort of evidence provides sufficient ground for claiming that something like a pre-reflective self-awareness is prior to the types of consciousness that presuppose conceptual and narrative competence.

Wednesday, November 20th: Joy Brennan, University of Chicago


Persons with a disability who believe they may need assistance, please call Davey Tomlinson in advance at 610-585-2018.