The Budapest Mind Society aims to bring together researchers in Hungary with interests in philosophy of mind. The Society organises monthly talks and will sponsor reading groups to examine the latest monographs in philosophy of mind. Queries: contact András Simonyi at bms@philosophy.elte.hu.

Upcoming talks

Past talks

Professor Andrew Brook, Institute of Cognitive Science, Carleton University, Ottawa

The representational base of consciousness (doc, ppt)

May 3, Tuesday, 2005, 5 PM, Dept. of Philosophy, CEU, Zrínyi utca 14, 4th floor, room 412.


Everyone agrees, no matter what else they think about con­sciousness, that it has a representational base. However, there have been relatively few worked-out at­tempts to say what this base might be like. The two best developed are perhaps the higher-order thought (HOT) model of David Rosenthal and the transparency ap­proach of Fred Dretske and others. As we will show, both face serious problems. Our alternative to these models starts from the notion of a self-presenting representation, a representation that presents not only what it is about (if it is about anything; not all representations have an object) but also itself to the representing subject.


Zsófia Zvolenszky, Philosophy, New York University, ELTE-MTA Philosophy of Language Research Group

Analytic Truths and Kripke's Semantic Turn (pdf, doc)

April 15, Friday, 2005, 4 PM, Dept. of Philosophy, CEU, Zrínyi utca 14, 4th floor, room 412.


My aim is to get a better handle on the most prominent turn in the philosophy of language over the past half century, a contribution that continues to be widely misunderstood: Saul Kripke's Naming and Necessity lectures held in 1970. The presumed metaphysical consequences of these lectures mostly turn out to be illusory. In fact, by ushering in rigid designation and metaphysical necessity, Kripke has introduced what is at bottom a semantic rather than a metaphysical innovation. In discerning this, the notion of analytic or meaning-based truth will come in handy.


Professor John Bickle, Philosophy & Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati

Who says you can't do a molecular biology of consciousness?

December 3, Friday, 2004, 3.30 PM, Dept. of Philosophy, CEU, Zrínyi utca 14, 4th floor, room 412.


That talk applies my account of reduction to consciousness studies and talks about some recent work in molecular neuroscience that is beginning to imping on reductions of some features of conscious experience.


Hong Yu Wong, Philosophy, University College London

"Supervenience emergentism"

November 12, Friday, 2004, 2 PM, Dept. of Philosophy, CEU, Zrínyi utca 14, 4th floor, room 412.


I will present and discuss the classical supervenience model of emergence that was first articulated by C.D. Broad (1925) and recently resurrected by Kim and others in discussions of nonreductive physicalism. I will look at the motivations behind the doctrine and its logical coherence, especially the ways in which emergent causation might work, the sense in which emergents supervene on basal properties, and certain limitations of the classical model by contrasting it with nonclassical models of emergence (e.g. ones on which emergence is a causal relation, rather than a purely modal one).


Professor Tim Crane, Philosophy, University College London

"The efficacy of colour, shape and size"

November 10, Wednesday, 2004, 5 PM, Dept. of Philosophy, CEU, Zrínyi utca 14, 4th floor, room 412.


This paper presents an antinomy about the role of properties in causation. If we think of causation in terms of counterfactual dependence, then there is a persuasive case (made, for example, by Stephen Yablo) for thinking that determinable properties (like redness) can be causes. But on the other hand, if we think of properties as the 'truth-makers' for predications, then it is arguable that only determinate properties (maximally specific shades of colour) are causes. But these claims cannot both be true; which should we deny?


Dr. Zoltán Jakab, Cognitive Science, Budapesti Műszaki és Gazdaságtudományi Egyetem (Technical University Budapest)

"Perceptual content: an objection to externalism"

October 20, 2004, 5 PM, Department of Philosophy, CEU, Zrínyi utca 14, 4th floor, room 412.


I start by arguing for one important difference between visual perception of shape and that of color. Visual representation of shapes is compositional, whereas that of colors is representationally atomic. This difference explains a few other features of visual perception. The first is that shape is absolute whereas color is relative, even though both shapes and colors are reasonably taken to be physical properties. The second is that vision is revelatory with respect to shape and space but it is not revelatory with respect to color. Finally, there is one way in which shape perception is normative, and color perception is not. Shape percepts encode the structure of the corresponding stimuli, and this imposes constraints on which percept can correctly track which stimulus. There is no such constraint in color perception, due to the fact that color percepts are representationally atomic.This picture in turn gives rise to an anti-externalist argument about perceptual content which, in my opinion, is quite compelling.


István Aranyosi, Philosophy, Central European University

"Why Property Dualism drives me Out of My Mind"

September 22, 2004, 5 PM, Department of Philosophy, CEU, Zrínyi utca 14, 4th floor, room 412.


Property Dualism has become a more popular doctrine than substance dualism. I will analyze the coherence of the property dualist view about disembodiment, according to which the conceivability of disembodiment can coexist with its impossibility. Since the argument for such a view draws largely on Saul Kripke's idea of a posteriori necessity, I will also appeal to it, but in order to show that such a view is incoherent. The puzzle that I find can be solved only by rejecting property dualism and adopting either substance dualism or a certain kind of materialism.

Chalmers, D. J. 2002. Does Conceivability Entail Possibility? In T. Gendler and J. Hawthorne (eds.) Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press, pp.145-200.
Kripke, S. 1972. Naming and Necessity. In D. Davidson and G. Harman, (eds.) Semantics of Natural Language, Reidel, Dordrecht, pp. 253--355.

Inaugural talk

Professor Howard Robinson, Philosophy, Central European University

September 17, 2004, 2 PM, Department of Philosophy, CEU, Zrínyi utca 14, 4th floor, room 412.


This talk might have either of two titles. It might be called 'Theknowledge argument and the conceivability of zombies' or, alternatively,'Reduction, supervenience and the a priori sufficiency of the base'.The common factor is the question of what kind of relation a physicalist must think there to be between physical and mental states, and whether, and in what way, he could accept the knowledge argument and still hold on to his physicalism. I shall look at the issue of whether the base should entail states that supervene on it (as Chalmers and Jackson 2001 claim) or whether the relation can be contingent. Those who defend the latter view include Block and Stalnaker 1999, and Balog 1999, in their respective Philosophical Review articles. I shall try also to bring out what I take to be features common to the debates on different kinds of physicalism.

Balog, K. 1999. Conceivability, possibility, and the mind-body problem. Philosophical Review 108:497-528.
Block, N. and Stalnaker, R. 1999. Conceptual analysis, dualism, and the explanatory gap. Philosophical Review 108:1-46.
Chalmers, D. J. and Frank Jackson. 2001. Conceptual Analysis and Reductive Explanation. Philosophical Review 110:315-61.