Call for papers: The Meta-Problem of Consciousness

This is a call for papers for a symposium in the Journal of Consciousness Studies on David Chalmers’ new paper “The Meta-Problem of Consciousness”.

 

More than twenty years ago, David Chalmers published “Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness” in the Journal of Consciousness Studies. He distinguished between the “easy problems” of consciousness, and the “hard problem”: the problem of explaining how physical processes in the brain give rise to conscious experience.

 

The meta-problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining why we think and say there is a hard problem of consciousness.  The meta-problem of consciousness is in principle one of the easy problems, but it bears a special relation to the hard problem, which suggests that finding a solution to it could shed light on the hard problem itself.  Chalmers’ new paper introduces the meta-problem, lays out an interdisciplinary research program for addressing the meta-problem, and evaluates possible solutions.  Chalmers also uses the meta-problem to pose a challenge for many popular scientific and philosophical theories of consciousness, and discusses whether it can be used to “debunk” our beliefs in consciousness and to support a sort of illusionism.

 

We welcome submissions for this symposium from all fields of consciousness studies (philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, etc.). The symposium will be published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies in 2019 and 2020 and will feature a reply to commentators by David Chalmers.

 

Contributions should not exceed 4,000 words, including notes and references (and should include an abstract of not more than 150 words) and should directly engage with Chalmers’ paper (which will be published in the September/October 2018 issue of JCS and is already available at http://consc.net/papers/metaproblem.pdf ) They should be submitted by email as a PDF file attachment without any identifying information included in the file (contact information should be included only in the body of the email). All submissions will be subject to review.

 

Please send your submission to the following address: jcs.metaproblem(at)gmail.com.

 

All submissions should be sent before January 31, 2019.

 

If you have any questions, please contact the guest editor: kammerer.francois(at)gmail.com

JCS is aimed at an educated multi-disciplinary readership. Authors should not assume prior knowledge in a subject specialty and should provide background information for their research. The use of technical terms should be avoided or made explicit. Where technical details are essential (for example in laboratory experiments), include them in footnotes or appendices, leaving the text accessible to the non- specialist reader. The same principle should also apply to non-essential mathematics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments 3

  1. >He distinguished between the “easy problems” of consciousness, and
    > the “hard problem”: the problem of explaining how physical processes
    >in the brain give rise to conscious experience.

    [S.P.] And, thereby, he has channeled the investigation of consciousness in the wrong direction.

    >The meta-problem of consciousness… The meta-problem of
    >consciousness is in principle one of the easy problems,…

    [S.P.] There is a problem of constructing a theory of consciousness, and there is a problem of constructing a meta-theory which would serve as an epistemological (conceptual) basis for the theory of consciousness. So, these are two different problems. Moreover, the problem of constructing a meta-theory has nothing to do with easy/hard problems of consciousness.

    >The meta-problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining
    > why we think…

    [S.P.] I am astonished by naivety and inaccurateness of formulating the question. The case is that there are two different questions here. For example, there is a question of why I possess a car, and why I am driving my car right now. So, I possess a car because I have enough money to buy it. But, I am driving my car right now because I have to buy some goods in the distant supermarket.

    Similarly, there are two different questions: 1) why I possess an ability to think; and 2) why I am thinking right now.

  2. A category for Esoteric would be nice…”esoteric is effort to be conscious”…Wikipedia has a very good update about esoteric influence, last 3,000 years, and western thought…

    We are a planet now, everything we need is here, all old ways all new ways are here in front of us, each step we take directly influences everything and everyone here, “to become conscious in this world is to become conscious of one’s own life here”…

    I thought Meta-Problem of Consciousness had suffered a model shift from philosophy to philology years ago…

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