CUNY philosophy PhD candidate Liam Ryan will lead.
The alleged hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining the difference between conscious mental states and non-conscious mental states, and how conscious mental states can be accounted for on a physicalist ontology. We might think there is 'something it is like' to have a conscious experience. Yet even after we explain all the physical mechanics of the brain, we still are confronted with the question: why are certain mental qualitative states conscious at all?
This week we shall address the hard problem, and discuss what consciousness is. We will read Thomas Nagel's famous paper on the subjectivity of conscious mental states, 'What it is like to be a bat,' to guide our investigation. We will use Nagel to spring into discussion on various theoretical explanations, such as dualism, physicalism, idealism, higher-order thought theories, and monisms.
Nagel's paper is available here: