Topics (choose one):
Explain the enduring significance of Searle's Chinese Room argument to discussions in cognitive science -- for all the simplicity of the thought experiment -- and describe what for you is the key insight or fault of Searle's original 1980 paper.
Are there auditory objects in the auditory domain, like visual objects in the visual domain? If so, what is an auditory object? Discuss in the light of evidence from philosophical theories of auditory/object perception, empirical work in neuroscience, or both.
If we accept that Mary the colour scientist gains new knowledge when she sees the colour red for the first time must this lead us to a non-physicalist theory of consciousness?
Can consciousness exist without a subject of experience (a self)? Can consciousness be distinguished from self-consciousness?
What kind of experiences are qualia? Qualia are usually described as the redness of red or the painfulness of pain. While most people would agree that qualia refer to the quality of subjective experiences, it is often difficult to judge whether less sensory aspects of experiences should be taken to accompany specific qualia. In order for the concept to be useful for driving neuroscientific research, it is important to determine the fundamental conditions for an experience to count as a quale in a meaningful way. Are there any critical experimental protocols to determine whether a certain experience counts as a quale?
Some philosophers and neuroscientists have called into question the whole traditional separation of senses into the five different modalities and hold that, prior to sensory experience being conceptualized into these different categories, there is only sensory experience undifferentiated by the sensory modalities. Discuss.
Format: 1,500 words maximum. PDFs please!
Deadline: 31 August