Non-physicalist Views of Consciousness

Location: Trinity Hall, Cambridge | 24 May, 2016 - 26 May, 2016

Watch the livestream of the talks here: NewDirectionsTube

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

1:30 Arrival
2:00 David Pitt: Acquaintance as Knowledge
3:30 Tea
4:30 Helen Yetter Chappell: There Is No Paradox of Phenomenal Judgment (handout)
6:00 Reception

Wednesday 25 May

8:30 Arrival
9:00 Bram Vaassen: Mental Causation for Naturalist Dualists (handout, slides)
10:00 John Roman: What is Synesthetic Color? (slides)
11:00 Coffee
11:30 Charles Siewert: Experienced Thought and Self-Knowledge
1:00 Lunch
2:00 Hedda Hassel Mørch: IIT, Russellian Monism and the Combination Problem (slides)
3:00 Tea
3:30 Derek Lam: The Magnitudes Beyond Our Mind (handout)
4:30 Clare MacCumhaill: BIVS: Space and the Neglected Letter (handout)
6:00 Pub

Thursday 26 May

9:00 Arrival
9.30 Howard Robinson: Why Naturalism Without Physicalism Does Not Work For Consciousness (handout)
11.00 Coffee
11.30 Adam Pautz: A Dilemma for Russellian Monists About Consciousness
1:00 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 questions relating to access or other special considerations, contact Trinity Hall’s Disability Liaison Officer, Rosie Ince, 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

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.

Image: Tapes (2006), Slave Unit