•  152
    Knowing What It's Like
    Philosophical Perspectives. forthcoming.
    David Lewis—famously—never tasted vegemite. Did he have any knowledge of what it's like to taste vegemite? Most say 'no'; I say 'yes'. I argue that knowledge of what it’s like varies along a spectrum from more exact to more approximate, and that phenomenal concepts vary along a spectrum in how precisely they characterize what it’s like to undergo their target experiences. This degreed picture contrasts with the standard all-or-nothing picture, where phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge l…Read more
  •  752
    Objective Phenomenology
    Erkenntnis 87 (5). 2022.
    This paper examines the idea of objective phenomenology, or a way of understanding the phenomenal character of conscious experiences that doesn’t require one to have had the kinds of experiences under consideration. My central thesis is that structural facts about experience—facts that characterize purely how conscious experiences are structured—are objective phenomenal facts. I begin by precisifying the idea of objective phenomenology and diagnosing what makes any given phenomenal fact subjecti…Read more
  •  737
    How Should We Study Animal Consciousness Scientifically?
    with Jonathan Birch, Donald M. Broom, Heather Browning, Andrew Crump, Simona Ginsburg, Marta Halina, David Harrison, Eva Jablonka, François Kammerer, Colin Klein, Victor Lamme, Matthias Michel, Françoise Wemelsfelder, and Oryan Zacks
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4): 8-28. 2022.
    This editorial introduces the Journal of Consciousness Studies special issue on "Animal Consciousness". The 15 contributors and co-editors answer the question "How should we study animal consciousness scientifically?" in 500 words or fewer.
  •  779
    Degrees of Consciousness
    Noûs. forthcoming.
    Is a human more conscious than an octopus? In the science of consciousness, it’s oftentimes assumed that some creatures (or mental states) are more conscious than others. But in recent years, a number of philosophers have argued that the notion of degrees of consciousness is conceptually confused. This paper (1) argues that the most prominent objections to degrees of consciousness are unsustainable, (2) examines the semantics of ‘more conscious than’ expressions, (3) develops an analysis of what…Read more
  •  453
    The Neutrality of Life
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 1-19. forthcoming.
    Some think that life is worth living not merely because of the goods and the bads within it, but also because life itself is good. I explain how this idea can be formalized by associating each version of the view with a function from length of life to the value generated by life itself. Then I argue that every version of the view that life itself is good faces some version of the following dilemma: either (1) good human lives are worse than very long lives wholly devoid of pleasure, desire-satis…Read more
  •  736
    Speciesism and Sentientism
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4): 205-228. 2022.
    Many philosophers accept both of the following claims: (1) consciousness matters morally, and (2) species membership doesn’t matter morally. In other words, many reject speciesism but accept what we might call 'sentientism'. But do the reasons against speciesism yield analogous reasons against sentientism, just as the reasons against racism and sexism are thought to yield analogous reasons against speciesism? This paper argues that speciesism is disanalogous to sentientism (as well as racism and…Read more
  •  434
    The Structure of Analog Representation
    Noûs 57 (1): 209-237. 2023.
    This paper develops a theory of analog representation. We first argue that the mark of the analog is to be found in the nature of a representational system’s interpretation function, rather than in its vehicles or contents alone. We then develop the rulebound structure theory of analog representation, according to which analog systems are those that use interpretive rules to map syntactic structural features onto semantic structural features. The theory involves three degree-theoretic measures t…Read more
  •  422
    Does sentience come in degrees?
    Animal Sentience 29 (20). 2020.
    I discuss whether "sentience" (i.e., phenomenal consciousness) comes in degrees.
  •  1176
    Is consciousness intrinsically valuable?
    Philosophical Studies 175 (1). 2018.
    Is consciousness intrinsically valuable? Some theorists favor the positive view, according to which consciousness itself accrues intrinsic value, independent of the particular kind of experience instantiated. In contrast, I favor the neutral view, according to which consciousness is neither intrinsically valuable nor disvaluable. The primary purpose of this paper is to clarify what is at stake when we ask whether consciousness is intrinsically valuable, to carve out the theoretical space, and to…Read more
  •  1071
    Modeling Mental Qualities
    The Philosophical Review 130 (2): 263-209. 2021.
    Conscious experiences are characterized by mental qualities, such as those involved in seeing red, feeling pain, or smelling cinnamon. The standard framework for modeling mental qualities represents them via points in geometrical spaces, where distances between points inversely correspond to degrees of phenomenal similarity. This paper argues that the standard framework is structurally inadequate and develops a new framework that is more powerful and flexible. The core problem for the standard f…Read more
  •  719
    The Microstructure of Experience
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (3): 286-305. 2019.
    I argue that experiences can have microphenomenal structures, where the macrophenomenal properties we introspect are realized by non-introspectible microphenomenal properties. After explaining what it means to ascribe a microstructure to experience, I defend the thesis against its principal philosophical challenge, discuss how the thesis interacts with other philosophical issues about experience, and consider our prospects for investigating the microphenomenal realm.