Non-physicalist Views of Consciousness

May 24, 2016 - May 26, 2016
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge, University of Cambridge

Graham Storey Room
Trinity Hall
Cambridge CB2 1TJ
United Kingdom

View the Call For Papers


  • John Templeton Foundation

All speakers:

Derek Lam
University of Virginia
Clare Mac Cumhaill
Durham University
Hedda Hassel Mørch
New York University
Adam Pautz
Brown University
David Pitt
California State University, Los Angeles
Howard Robinson
Central European University
John Roman
McMaster University
Charles Siewert
Rice University
Bram Vaassen
Umeå University
University of Miami

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Consciousness has been one of the stumbling blocks for physicalist theories of the mind. Much effort has been dedicated to finding the physical basis of consciousness. But how does our knowledge of the mind connect with our knowledge of the brain? Physicalist theories have struggled to give satisfactory answers to this question. In this conference we will take a different turn, by investigating non-physicalist approaches to the mind. We will address questions such as: What ontological categories do conscious phenomena belong to? Does the consciousness of sensory experience differ from that involved in thought? How is it possible to investigate consciousness without assuming physicalism? We aim to open up the discussion by exploring alternatives to physicalism in the philosophical and scientific study of consciousness.


Tuesday 24 May

1:30pm    Arrival

2:00pm    David Pitt: Acquaintance as Knowledge

3:30pm    Tea

4:30pm     Helen Yetter Chappell: There Is No Paradox of Phenomenal Judgment

6:00pm     Reception

Wednesday 25 May

8:30am      Arrival

9:00am      Bram Vaassen: Mental Causation for Naturalist Dualists
10:00am    John Roman: What is Synesthetic Color?

11:00am    Coffee

11:30am    Charles Siewert: Experienced Thought and Self-Knowledge

1:00pm     Lunch

2:00pm    Hedda Hassel Mørch: IIT, Russellian Monism and the Combination Problem

3:00pm     Tea

3:30pm    Derek Lam: The Magnitudes Beyond Our Mind
4:30pm    Clare MacCumhaill: BIVS: Space and the Neglected Letter

6:00pm     Pub

Thursday 26 May

9:00am     Arrival

9.30am     Howard Robinson: Why Naturalism Without Physicalism Does Not Work For Consciousness

11.00am    Coffee

11.30am    Adam Pautz: A Dilemma for Russellian Monists About Consciousness

1:00pm     Conference ends


Trinity Hall provides access information here. Some core points:

  • Parking on Central Site is extremely difficult, especially due to bollard restrictions in town centre. Several disabled parking bays on King's Parade.
  • Graham Storey Room (where the conference will be held): Ground floor and accessible.
  • College grounds and buildings: Level access to main entrance, with bell at gate. Level throughout. Front court has fairly even slabbed paving, and cobbles can be avoided. Surfaces further inside are concrete, paved or gravel. Almost all public areas accessible to wheelchair users. Small gardens on site. Gravel paths and level lawn. Two benches overlooking river.
  • Accessible toilets located on ground floor of staircase close to porters' lodge.
  • Assistance dogs welcome.
  • Large print information on request.
  • Lights around college grounds turn on automatically at dusk. Public areas generally well lit.
  • Induction loop installed in porters' lodge. Loops can be acquired if needed. Little traffic noise, as the college is off the main street. Generally quiet around college.

If you have any questions relating to access or other special considerations, contact Trinity Hall's Disability Liaison Officer, Rosie Ince, [email protected] or 01223 332564.

The New Directions community is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.

Any questions? Get in touch with the organizers.

Event hashtag: #nonphysicalism

Twitter: @studyofthemind
Facebook: newdirectionsmindproject
Instagram: newdirectionsproject

New Directions in the Study of the Mind is a research project based at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Cambridge, supported by the John Templeton Foundation.

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May 24, 2016, 5:00am BST

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University College London

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#NewDirections, #nonphysicalism, #newdirectionsproject