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International Workshop : Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Consciousness
International Workshop : Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Consciousness: Epistemic Approaches to the Problem of Conscious Experience
Location: Maison de la Recherche. 28, rue Serpente, 75006, Paris, room D040
Senior participants :
Joseph Levine (UMass, Amherst)
Pascal Ludwig (Université Paris IV Paris-Sorbonne)
David Papineau (King’s College, London)
Junior participants (students/post-docs):
Reinaldo Bernal Velasquez (Institut Jean-Nicod)
François Kammerer (Université Paris IV Paris-Sorbonne)
Matthias Michel (Université Paris IV Paris-Sorbonne)
Olof Söderlind (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)
Program (December 2):
09 : 30 – 10 : 30 : David Papineau (King’s College): “Transparency and Phenomenal Concepts”
10 : 30 – 11 : 00 : Coffee break
11 : 00 – 12 : 00 : Olof Söderlind (IHPST, Paris 1): “Knowing how to avoid zombies – anti-intellectualism, the ability hypothesis and the hard problem”
12 : 00 – 13 : 00 : François Kammerer (SND, Paris IV) : “Unbelievable but true : the illusory character of phenomenal consciousness”
13 : 00 – 15 : 00 : Lunch break
15 : 00 – 16 : 00 : Pascal Ludwig (SND, Paris IV) and Matthias Michel (SND, Paris IV) : “Attention and phenomenal knowledge”
16 : 00 – 17 : 00 : Reinaldo Bernal Velasquez (Institut Jean Nicod) : “The character of cognitive phenomenology”
17 : 00 – 17 : 30 : Coffee break
17 : 30 – 18 : 30 : Joseph Levine (UMass Amherst): “Acquaintance is Consciousness and Consciousness is Acquaintance”
Organizers : Daniel Andler (Paris IV), François Kammerer (Paris IV), Max Kistler (Paris 1)
The workshop is co-funded by the IHPST (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) and by SND (Université Paris IV Paris-Sorbonne)
People who want to attend the workshop but are not members of the Université Paris-Sorbonne and do not have access to the Maison de la Recherche must send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Levine: “Acquaintance is Consciousness and Consciousness is Acquaintance”
I identify various features of the acquaintance relation that philosophers have tried to capture in naturalistic models and conclude that though some of them can be explained in naturalistic terms, others cannot. I conclude that conscious awareness, as a sui generis relation, just is acquaintance, and, conversely, that acquaintance just is conscious awareness.
Pascal Ludwig and Matthias Michel: “Attention and phenomenal knowledge”
There seems to be an intimate connection between gaining knowledge by applying phenomenal concepts and attending to external objects and to their perceptible properties. This may seem paradoxical: the cognitive function of top-down attention is to select relevant informations in a perceived scene; phenomenal knowledge, on the other hand, is a kind of self-knowledge, since it is knowledge bearing on the phenomenal character of our conscious experiences. Still, it seems to be necessary to attend to external objects in order to gain this kind of self-knowledge. Our aim in this paper will be to explain why this is the case. Our main claim will be the following: focusing one’s attention toward an object of experience may lead not only to the encoding in working memory of the first-order sensory properties of the object, but also to the encoding of phenomenal representations of the effect that attending to the object has on the agent. We will give some empirical support for this claim, and show that it is consistent with our main intuitions about phenomenal knowledge.
David Papineau: “Transparency and Phenomenal Concepts”
The so-called ‘transparency of perception’ figures centrally in contemporary debates about the nature of perception. On my favoured view of perception, transparency signifies little more than the independence of sensory processing from thought. In this talk I shall consider how far this analysis of transparency is consistent with standard accounts of phenomenal concepts.
Reinaldo Bernal Velasquez: “The Character of Cognitive Phenomenology”
There is ‘cognitive phenomenology’ if thought, or some types of thoughts, or some components of some types of thoughts, have phenomenal character. When some thought P with a phenomenal character Q is proposed as evidence for the existence of cognitive phenomenology, three main questions arise: (i) if P is a genuine case; (ii) if a subject can have the Q experience without thinking P, but merely in virtue of perceiving something in some modality (including proprioception); (iii) if a subject can think P without having the Q experience. If (ii) is the case we have an example of cognitive phenomenology that is not ‘proprietary’, and if (iii) is the case we can say that we have an example of one that is not ‘constitutive’.
I will argue that noetic feelings are examples of constitutive and proprietary cognitive phenomenology, and particularly interesting ones. In fact, they are experienced as cognitive phenomena, and comply with cognitive functions, even though they are grounded in the activity of sensory mechanisms. It is not possible for a subject to experience a noetic feeling P without undergoing a characteristic sensory activity. I will argue for these claims with the Tip of the Tongue phenomenon as a case study.
I will thus conclude that the ‘proprietary’ category should not be understood by contrast with the ‘sensory’ category. At least in some cases, some sensory activity is necessary for there being a cognitive phenomenology, but this is not a good reason to deny that it is proprietary.
François Kammerer: “Unbelievable but true: the illusory character of phenomenal consciousness”
One of the main metaphysical problems of philosophy of mind would disappear if we could admit that phenomenal consciousness simply is an illusion (that it does not exist, but simply appears to exist). However, it seems to many of us that consciousness cannot be an illusion, because it has a peculiar epistemology. My goal is to make hypotheses concerning the way in which we represent phenomenal consciousness, in order to understand how it is possible that the existence of phenomenal consciousness is an illusion, while we face such deep conceptual difficulties when we try to accept the illusory character of phenomenality.
Olof Söderlind: “Knowing how to avoid zombies - anti-intellectualism, the ability hypothesis and the hard problem”
I will present two reasons why I believe one should adopt a dualist epistemology along the know-how/know-that divide. 1) A variation on an argument from [Fridland 2015] against Jason Stanley's  intellectualism, trying to show that intellectualism is possible, but quite improbable. 2) The idea that the conclusion of 1) and the ability hypothesis of Lawrence and Lewis might help us understand the possibility of Chalmers' zombies; the zombie-world is a real possibility, but it might not be a material copy of our world since our world might be a place where the ability hypothesis is true and intellectualism is false.