Phil 239: Introspection and Phenomenality. Thursdays, 2-4pm.

Susanna Siegel, Emerson 317.



In this seminar we will consider the following questions. What is phenomenal consciousness? What is its relation to perception? Is it possible for a creature to have phenomenal consciousness, yet to lack any special first-person access to its phenomenal states? Are there asymmetries between our first-person and third- (or second-) person access to phenomenal states? What is the relation between the phenomenal aspects of perceptual experience and its intentional aspects? What does introspection tell us about this relation? What is introspection? What kinds of concepts may we form of phenomenal properties?



List of topics and readings (texts will be in Robbins).


1. Introduction. Is any kind of first-person access built in to the very notion of the phenomenal?


Sept. 18             Introduction



Ned Block, “Concepts of Consciousness”, in D. Chalmers, ed., Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, OUP 2002.



2. What is conscious perceptual experience? How is it related to first-person warrant?


Sept. 25             Disjunctivism 1 The epistemic motivation


M. G. F. Martin, “The Limits of Self-Awareness”, forthcoming in Philosophical Studies, sections 1-4.  Link to Kluwer site from:

(prepublication date: 7/23/03. You’ll have to scroll down a bit.)


Oct. 2               Disjunctivism 2 The epistemic characterization of hallucinations


            M. G. hF. Martin, “The Limits of Self-Awareness”, section 5-end


Oct. 9               Explicating phenomenal consciousness by contrast with blindsight


Charles Siewert, The Significance of Consciousness, chapter 3, chapter 6, and pp. 10-27 of chapter 1.


Recommended: Siewert’s Precis, Commentaries by Dretske, Lycan, and Thomasson, and Siewert’s replies, all in Psyche: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Consciousness, vol. 7-9, Symposium on The Significance of Consciousness. Available at




2. What is introspection?


Oct. 16             Various kinds of awareness


Fred Dretske, “The Mind’s Awareness of Itself”, in Perception, Knowledge and Belief. New York: Cambridge 2000. Also in Philosophical Studies 1999, 1-22.


Oct. 23             Various kinds of privileged access


William Alston, “The Varieties of Privileged Access”, in his Epistemic Justification, 1989, Cornell Univ. Press. Also in American Philosophical Quarterly 8, no. 3, 1971.



[Oct. 30: no class]



3. Transparency: What is the relation between the phenomenal and the intentional aspects of visual experience? What does introspection reveal about this relation?


Nov. 6              The transparency argument for intentionalism


Daniel Stoljar, “The Argument from Diaphanousness”, forthcoming in Language, Mind and World: Special Issue of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy. Eds. M. Escurdia, R. Stainton and C. Viger.


Nov. 13                        The oblique perspective


Brian Loar, “Transparent Experience and the Availability of Qualia” in Consciousness, eds. A. Jokic and Q. Smith, OUP 2002.



4. Phenomenal concepts


Nov. 20                        Various kinds of phenomenal concepts


David Chalmers, “The Content and Epistemology of Phenomenal Belief” Appendix and 1-3., and in Smith and Jokic, Consciousness.


Dec. 4              The epistemic role of phenomenal concepts


Chalmers, “The Content and Epistemology of Phenomenal Belief”, section 4-end


Dec. 11                        The role of recognition in phenomenal concepts


Janet Levin, “What is a Phenomenal Concept?”, forthcoming from OUP in T. Alter and S. Walter, Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness.


Requirements: One term paper and eight ‘weeklies’, due Wed noon