1. What is consciousness?
We will begin (Lecture 1) with discussion of three basic ideas: information, representation and explanation. We will look at neural representations and think about how we can connect them to consciousness. We then introduce the topic of consciousness as discussed by Anglo-American (analytic) philosophers and try to come up with a clear set of questions that science can address (Lecture 2). Scientists have attempted to address the question of consciousness, and we will consider a major neural theory of consciousness and ask what questions about consciousness they address (Lecture 3). Attention is also thought to play an important role as a gate for consciousness, so we shall explore what attention is and whether it determines consciousness (Lecture 4). Finally, we will consider an interesting explanation of auditory consciousness that appeals to a specific neural mechanism of self-monitoring, namely auditory hallucination in schizophrenia (Day 5).
LECTURE 1: Information, Representation, and Explanation
How do neurons represent? What are representations? How do we use representations to explain the mind?
LECTURE 2: The Problem of Consciousness
What is consciousness? Are there different kinds of consciousness? What makes consciousness difficult to explain?
LECTURE 3: Neural Theories of Consciousness
Since the brain must produce consciousness, what about the brain allows us to explain it? What properties of the brain give rise to consciousness? What questions should neuroscientists ask about consciousness?
LECTURE 4: Attention and Consciousness
What is attention? Does attention play a central role in consciousness? What is this role and is there evidence for it?
LECTURE 5: Hallucination, Schizophrenia, and the Self
How do we explain conscious perceptual experience? What about when such experience goes wrong?
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