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Here is an overview of output produced by the project.


The Human Mind Conference

27-29 June 2017

These are exciting times to be studying the mind. The Human Mind Conference was an international, interdisciplinary event brought together a wide range of experts from across the humanities and the cognitive sciences to discuss key aspects of mental life and experience. The event provided a major statement of the current state of knowledge in the study of the mind, and it will identify future directions of research for the years to come. It was a collaboration between the New Directions in the Study of the Mind The Human Mind Project, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Go here for more information. Videos of the talks will also be uploaded there soon.


Is the Mind a Physical Thing?

17 May 2017

A public lecture by Tim Crane, Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy.

To answer the question of whether the mind is a physical thing requires us first to understand what is meant by ‘physical’ and ‘thing’. The traditional debate over the mind-body problem tends to take it for granted that these terms should be understood in the way they have been since the 17th century: those who these days assert the doctrine of physicalism or materialism take themselves to be disagreeing, for example, with Descartes. I argue that unless we accept the metaphysical assumptions behind this 17th century debate, the contemporary debate between dualists and physicalists/materialists loses a lot of its point; and that once we explicitly abandon these assumptions, we can see the way to the conclusion that there is no interesting sense in which the mind a physical thing.

Intentionality: New Directions

21-23 March 2017

Philosophical theorising about intentionality - the mind’s capacity to represent the world - has been dominated by attempts to reduce intentionality to physical or causal relations between thinkers and objects. This focus on reduction has led to a number of philosophically interesting features of intentionality being ignored. This workshop offered a reorientation of the study of intentionality away from the reductive project, instead focusing on the phenomenon of intentionality itself and the role it plays in our mental life.

Go here for more information, as well as audio and slides from the talks


  • Peter Hanks: The Classificatory Conception of Propositional Content
  • Laura Gow: Perceptual Experience: Non-relationalism without Adverbialism
  • Maja Spener: Experiential Pluralism and Mental Kinds
  • Sacha Golob: Kant, Perception and Disjunctivism
  • Paul Livingston: Presentation and the Ontology of Consciousness
  • Michelle Montague: What is the Attitude/Content Distinction?
  • Dan Brigham: New Directions on the Narrow Direction Problem
  • Matthew Soteriou: Absence made Present: The Representation of Time in Perceptual Imagination

Non-physicalist Views of Consciousness

24-26 May 2016

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 took a different turn, by investigating non-physicalist approaches to the mind. We addressed 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 opened up the discussion by exploring alternatives to physicalism in the philosophical and scientific study of consciousness.



18 February 2016

Suppose that immaterial things exist. Could they have causal powers? A spatial location? Could they think? In this conference we will investigate the condition of immateriality, and its relation to the self and cognition.


Sub-Project Initiatives

New Directions has funded a number of research projects, which take philosophical and scientific approaches to the study of the mind which do not make the physicalist and reductionist assumptions familiar in these disciplines. Go here for information about all the of our funded projects


In the weekly project seminar, Tim Crane worked through the difficulties of physicalist approaches to the mind, and lays out the available non-physicalist alternatives. For the 2015-2016 project year, the focus was on consciousness. In 2016-2017 we focused on intentionality.

Go here for slides and audio from all of the seminars across the two years of the project.

Written work

All project publications can also be found on PhilPapers.

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