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Philosophy Speakers: Ground Functionalism, and the Explanation of Conscious Experience

Date & Time:
October 20, 2017 | 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
SS 1253
Jonathan Schaffer, Rutgers University

About the Talk

I offer a conception of the place of the mind in the physical world, which combines the insights of analytic functionalism with a grounding-based approach. On this view, a subject can count as being in a phenomenal state because she is in some physical state, where that physical state occupies a corresponding functional role in the life of the organism. I argue that this way of conceiving of physicalism and invoking functionalism preserves their core insights while avoiding their worst problems.

About the Speaker

Jonathan Schaffer earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Rutgers in 1999, and has since taught at the University of Houston, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and the Australian National University, before returning to Rutgers in 2011, where is now a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy. He is most well know for his work in metaphysics, including his work on grounding, monism, and causation, but he has also contributed in epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophy of science. He has won awards including the American Philosophical Association’s Article Prize in 2008 and the Lebowitz Prize for Philosophical Achievement and Contribution in 2014.

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