SSP Forum: Joshua O'Rourke

Joshua O'Rourke photo
Building 460, Room 126 (Margaret Jacks Hall)
Stanford University
Monday, January 13, 2020 12:30 PM
Monday, January 13, 2020 1:20 PM

Symbolic Systems Forum

Can Consciousness Be Vague?
Joshua O'Rourke
Symbolic Systems Program

Monday, January 13, 2020
12:30-1:20 pm
Building 460, Room 126 (Margaret Jacks Hall)


Is a mosquito (phenomenally) conscious? This is a difficult question, but given our concept of consciousness, it seems that the answer must be determinately yes or no. There can be no vague cases of consciousness. This makes trouble for many of the leading theories of consciousness. In this talk, I will argue for the thesis that consciousness cannot be vague. I will then argue that functionalist theories and neurobiological theories imply, at least in their current forms, that consciousness can be vague. This shows that, although these theories could be pointing us in the right direction, they cannot be fully accurate theories of consciousness. I will then discuss some theories that might escape the net of this argument.