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AHRB Project on Consciousness and Self-Consciousness

Project Director: Naomi Eilan

 

Steering Committee

Bill Brewer (Philosophy, Oxford); John Campbell (Philosophy, Oxford); Jon Driver (Psychology, University College London); Glyn Humphreys (Psychology, Birmingham); Anthony Marcel, (Psychology, MRC-CBU, Cambridge); Michael Martin (Philosophy, University College London); Tim Shallice (Psychology, University College London).

Core members

Christoph Hoerl (Philosophy, Warwick); Johannes Roessler (Philosophy, Warwick), Teresa McCormack (Psychology, Queen's University Belfast)

Brief Description

The problem of explaining consciousness and self consciousness is the central problem that any account of the relation between the brain and the mind must address. In recent years there have been a great number of books in the sciences and in philosophy claiming to have solved the mystery of consciousness and self consciousness by giving them a naturalistic explanation, and an equal number of books and articles, mainly by philosophers, claiming that consciousness and self consciousness necessarily elude such naturalistic explanation. The Project on Consciousness and Self Consciousness has been set up in the belief that global claims can only get us so far. What is needed for genuine understanding of the nature of consciousness and self consciousness is detailed work on issues that can actually serve to integrate work in philosophy on the subjective phenomenological and epistemological aspects of consciousness and self consciousness with experimental and theoretical work in developmental psychology, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology.

The central idea on which the project is built is this. Philosophy and psychology share a number of central concepts, which in philosophy point towards epistemology and phenomenology, and in psychology towards information processing accounts of brain mechanism. The project has identified those key concepts, joint philosophical and psychological work on which is essential for, and will take us a long way forward in, understanding the nature of consciousness and self consciousness.

The project is based at, and directed from, the Philosophy Department in Warwick, where its core members are located. The main focus of work are seminars, one-day workshops and yearly conferences on specific problems, interdisciplinary work on which is essential for making progress in understanding consciousness and self consciousness. Meetings are held in Warwick, London and Oxford, rotating on a termly basis. Topics addressed in past seminars, workshops and conferences include: Time, Memory and Self Consciousness; First-person Access to one's Own States and Pathologies of Self Knowledge; Spatial and Temporal Perspective Taking and its Relation to Self Consciousness; Joint Attention and Self Awareness; Attention and Consciousness; Visual Awareness and Action. The project also runs an inter-institutional graduate research and discussion group, in which graduates from various universities who work on project-related problems participate.

The project is closely associated with the '1+3 Doctoral Programme in Mind and Metaphysics'. We very much welcome interest from doctoral students interested in pursuing their PhD work within the framework of the project, as well as interest from people on post-doctoral fellowships.

See also the project on causal understanding which is an extension of our work on Consciousness and Self Consciousness.

 

Project on Consciousness and Self Consciousness
Department of Philosophy
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
Tel. +44 (0)24 7652 3421
Fax +44 (0)24 7652 3019