[SydPhil] USyd Philosophy Postgraduate Colloquium August 11: Andy McGuinness, "Does presentism have the resources to support consciousness"

Elena Walsh elenawalsh at gmail.com
Thu Aug 7 16:26:16 AEST 2014

Dear all,

The next USyd Postgraduate Colloquium will be held this Monday, August 11 @
2pm in the Muniment room, Quadrangle building.  All welcome!

As usual, we will have an afternoon tea immediately after the talk at 3pm.

*Speaker:  Andy McGuinness*

Title:  Does presentism have the resources to support consciousness?

According to McKinnon (2003) presentism cannot support consciousness
without resorting to mind-body dualism. McKinnon’s argument relies on the
hypothesis that consciousness can be identified with the elevation of the
firing rate of some neuron(s) above a threshold. Since ‘rate’ can have no
meaning at a given metaphysical instant (which is all that exists, in the
Presentist view), then Presentism cannot account for consciousness. I show
that a tenseless theory of time cannot account for consciousness identified
with firing rate without falling into a fatal paradox. I suggest a
conception of the neural basis of consciousness which is not identified
with a time-varying process and which resolves the difficulty for both
Presentism and the tenseless theory.
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