Course: The Philosophical Aspects of the Science of Consciousness

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Course title The Philosophical Aspects of the Science of Consciousness
Course code KFI/FVOD
Organizational form of instruction Lecture
Level of course Doctoral
Year of study not specified
Semester Winter and summer
Number of ECTS credits 5
Language of instruction Czech
Status of course Compulsory-optional
Form of instruction Face-to-face
Work placements This is not an internship
Recommended optional programme components None
  • Demjančuk Nikolaj, Doc. PhDr. CSc.
  • Marvan Tomáš, Doc. Mgr. Ph.D.
Course content
Types of consciousness (phenomenal, access, intransitive, reflexive etc.); relationship between philosophy and cognitive disciplines that study consciousness (neuroscience, cognitive psychology); conceptual analysis vs. "Empirically informed philosophy"; introspection as a method of insight into the mind; the existence of qualia; epifenomenalism and its naturalistic alternatives; barriers to scientific research consciousness; issue of neural correlates of consciousness: supervenience, identity theory or another kind of relationship?; experimental approaches to phenomenal consciousness (fMRI, EEG, behavioral tests). Topics for exam: 1. Types of consciousness 2. Philosophical and empirical theory of consciousness: rivality, or cooperation 3. Methods of "empirical informed philosophy of consciousness 4. Limits of conceptual analysis in the study of consciousness 5. Possibilities and limits of introspection in the study of consciousness 6. Postulation of qualia and their possible reduction and elimination 7. Is subjectivity barrier to the scientific research of consciousness? 8. Metaphysical anchoring of the debate of neural correlates of conscioussnes 9. Practices of displaying brain and the problem of phenomenal consciousness

Learning activities and teaching methods
Lecture supplemented with a discussion, Group discussion, Self-study of literature
  • Preparation for an examination (30-60) - 64 hours per semester
  • Individual project (40) - 40 hours per semester
  • Contact hours - 26 hours per semester
professional knowledge
Course requires no special prior knowledge and skills.
learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to describe the basic philosophical problems that arise in contemporary science of consciousness. They will distinguish basic methodological positions and will be able to explain the specifics of scientific and philosophical approaches to consciousness. They will be able to assess the extent to which a theory is suitable to describe the nature of consciousness and, in particular, the extent to which it complies with the idea of an empirically informed theory. Thanks to this, the students will also be able to formulate critical objections to the theories presented. Last but not least, they will learn to solve the current problems of science of consciousness that can have not only theoretical but also practical significance.
teaching methods
Lecture supplemented with a discussion
Group discussion
Self-study of literature
assessment methods
Oral exam
Recommended literature
  • Baars, B. In the Theatre of Consciousness. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Blackmore, Susan. Conversations on consciousness : what the best minds think about the brain, free will, and what it means to be human. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-19-517959-5.
  • Butler, J. Rethinking Introspection. London : Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
  • Dahaene, S. Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts. New York : Viking, 2014.
  • Dennett, D. Sweat Dreams. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 2005.
  • Flanagan, Owen. Consciousness reconsidered. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.] : MIT Press, 1992. ISBN 0-262-56077-1.
  • Flanagan, Owen; Güzeldere, Güven; Block, Ned. The Nature of Consciousness : philosophical debates. [1st ed.]. Cambridge : MIT Press, 1997. ISBN 0-262-52210-1.
  • Gennaro, R. Counsciousness Paradox. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 2012.
  • Churchland, P. S. Brainwise. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 2002.
  • Prinz, J. The Conscious Brain. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Revonsuo, A. Consciousness: The Science of Subjectivity. Hove : Psychology Press, 2010.
  • Seager, W. Theories of Consciousness: An Introduction. London : Routledge, 1999.
  • Shear, J. (ed.). Explaining Cousciousness: Tha Hard Problem. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 1998.

Study plans that include the course
Faculty Study plan (Version) Branch of study Category Recommended year of study Recommended semester
Faculty of Philosophy and Arts Theory and History of Science and Technology (11-1,2,3,4) Philosophy, theology 1 -
Faculty of Philosophy and Arts Theory and History of Science and Technology (11-1,2,3,4) Philosophy, theology 1 -