[SydPhil] CFP: The Hard Problem of Consciousness, Special Issue of Topoi

Glenn Carruthers glenn.carruthers at mq.edu.au
Tue Apr 16 12:55:43 AEST 2013

*CFP: The Hard Problem of Consciousness, Special Issue of Topoi*

* *

*In addition to the below CFP we are also seeking to expand our pool of
reviewers for this issue. If you are available to review a paper please
contact the guest editors named below.*

* *

Much work in the philosophy of consciousness begins with the premise that
consciousness offers a uniquely Hard Problem. This premise can lead to
radical speculative metaphysics such as pan-protopsychism (Chalmers) or
epiphenomenal property dualism (early Jackson). It can also be used by
researchers to justify ignoring advances in consciousness studies from
other disciplines. However, not everyone agrees that consciousness poses a
Hard Problem and instead offer explanations of consciousness in general
(Clark, Dennett, Irvine, O'Brien and Opie, Prinz) or particular conscious
experiences (G.Carruthers, de Vignemont, Frith and Hohwy). Given that the
existence of a Hard Problem is controversial and that it is supposed to
lead to radical metaphysical conclusions we would expect that advocates of
the existence of a Hard Problem would have considerable arguments in favour
of their view. Often, however, the nature of problem is treated as
self-evident and not argued for, despite the controversy. In this issue we
wish to ask what arguments, if any, can be put forward that consciousness
really does pose a uniquely hard problem and how they fare in the face of
conceptual and empirical scrutiny.

Additionally work in developing theories of consciousness has led to a
proliferation of hypotheses regarding the nature of consciousness. These
hypotheses are motivated by empirical discoveries in numerous fields such
as attention (Prinz), psychophysics (Dennett, Clark) and delusions research
or psychiatry more broadly (Frith and Hohwy). As these hypotheses are
developed implications for how consciousness is to be characterised emerge.

These considerations suggest a variety of questions to be posed regarding
the existence of a Hard Problem. Here are some (non-prescriptive examples):

Are there good *a priori* reasons to believe that consciousness offers a
uniquely “Hard Problem” and so demands a radically different explanation to
other mental phenomena?

Is the characterisation of consciousness as ‘Hard’ plausible in light of
theoretical advances? If not how is the problem of consciousness to be
characterised; i.e. what is the explanatory target of a theory of

What do various empirical discoveries about consciousness tell us about the
nature of the problem we are investigating? Is it plausible that
consciousness poses a hard problem in light of discoveries in attention,
psychophysics or any other research?

For this issue we are interested in papers which address the status of the
Hard Problem as a characterisation of consciousness from a rigorous
multi-disciplinary perspective. Contributions should be accessible to
anyone within the broad (multi-disciplinary) field of consciousness
studies. We are open to new empirical and theoretical advances that
specially address the status of the Hard problem. The guiding question for
the issue is only: is the characterisation of consciousness as posing a
uniquely Hard Problem reasonable?

Deadline for initial submission of papers *February 28 2014*

*Submissions must be made using Topoi’s online submission system at: *

When submitting your paper, please make sure to select “S.I.: Hard problem
of consciousness (Carruthers/Schier)” in the scroll-down menu for Article
Type. In preparing your article for submission, follow the guidelines
available from the journal website,
http://www.springer.com/philosophy/journal/11245 , under Information for
Guest Editors and Authors –> Manuscript Preparation.

If you have any questions please contact the guest editors:

Glenn Carruthers: glenn.rj.carruthers at gmail.com
Elizabeth Schier: lizschier at gmail.com

Glenn Carruthers
ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders
Macquarie University

glenn.rj.carruthers at gmail.com
glenn.carruthers at mq.edu.au
<glenn.carruthers at maccs.mq.edu.au><carruthg at hu-berlin.de>

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