•  112388
    What do philosophers believe?
    Philosophical Studies 170 (3): 465-500. 2014.
    What are the philosophical views of contemporary professional philosophers? We surveyed many professional philosophers in order to help determine their views on 30 central philosophical issues. This article documents the results. It also reveals correlations among philosophical views and between these views and factors such as age, gender, and nationality. A factor analysis suggests that an individual's views on these issues factor into a few underlying components that predict much of the variat…Read more
  •  43972
    The Meta-Problem of Consciousness
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 25 (9-10): 6-61. 2018.
  •  19444
  •  4839
    The extended mind
    with Andy Clark
    Analysis 58 (1): 7-19. 1998.
    Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin? The question invites two standard replies. Some accept the demarcations of skin and skull, and say that what is outside the body is outside the mind. Others are impressed by arguments suggesting that the meaning of our words "just ain't in the head", and hold that this externalism about meaning carries over into an externalism about mind. We propose to pursue a third position. We advocate a very different sort of externalism: an _active e…Read more
  •  3918
    Structuralism as a Response to Skepticism
    Journal of Philosophy 115 (12): 625-660. 2018.
    Cartesian arguments for global skepticism about the external world start from the premise that we cannot know that we are not in a Cartesian scenario such as an evil-demon scenario, and infer that because most of our empirical beliefs are false in such a scenario, these beliefs do not constitute knowledge. Veridicalist responses to global skepticism respond that arguments fail because in Cartesian scenarios, many or most of our empirical beliefs are true. Some veridicalist responses have been mo…Read more
  •  3027
    Facing up to the problem of consciousness
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3): 200-19. 1995.
    To make progress on the problem of consciousness, we have to confront it directly. In this paper, I first isolate the truly hard part of the problem, separating it from more tractable parts and giving an account of why it is so difficult to explain. I critique some recent work that uses reductive methods to address consciousness, and argue that such methods inevitably fail to come to grips with the hardest part of the problem. Once this failure is recognized, the door to further progress is open…Read more
  •  2350
    Does consciousness collapse the quantum wave function? This idea was taken seriously by John von Neumann and Eugene Wigner but is now widely dismissed. We develop the idea by combining a mathematical theory of consciousness (integrated information theory) with an account of quantum collapse dynamics (continuous spontaneous localization). Simple versions of the theory are falsified by the quantum Zeno effect, but more complex versions remain compatible with empirical evidence. In principle, versi…Read more
  •  2182
    Does conceivability entail possibility
    In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility, Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200. 2002.
    There is a long tradition in philosophy of using a priori methods to draw conclusions about what is possible and what is necessary, and often in turn to draw conclusions about matters of substantive metaphysics. Arguments like this typically have three steps: first an epistemic claim , from there to a modal claim , and from there to a metaphysical claim.
  •  2141
    Constructing the World
    Oxford University Press. 2012.
    Inspired by Rudolf Carnap's Der Logische Aufbau Der Welt, David J. Chalmers argues that the world can be constructed from a few basic elements. He develops a scrutability thesis saying that all truths about the world can be derived from basic truths and ideal reasoning. This thesis leads to many philosophical consequences: a broadly Fregean approach to meaning, an internalist approach to the contents of thought, and a reply to W. V. Quine's arguments against the analytic and the a priori. Chalme…Read more
  •  1925
    Consciousness and its place in nature
    In Stephen P. Stich & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Mind, Blackwell. pp. 102--142. 2003.
    Consciousness fits uneasily into our conception of the natural world. On the most common conception of nature, the natural world is the physical world. But on the most common conception of consciousness, it is not easy to see how it could be part of the physical world. So it seems that to find a place for consciousness within the natural order, we must either revise our conception of consciousness, or revise our conception of nature. In twentieth-century philosophy, this dilemma is posed most ac…Read more
  •  1888
    The singularity: A philosophical analysis
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (9-10). 2010.
    What happens when machines become more intelligent than humans? One view is that this event will be followed by an explosion to ever-greater levels of intelligence, as each generation of machines creates more intelligent machines in turn. This intelligence explosion is now often known as the “singularity”. The basic argument here was set out by the statistician I.J. Good in his 1965 article “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine”: Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined a…Read more
  •  1704
    Conceptual analysis and reductive explanation
    Philosophical Review 110 (3): 315-61. 2001.
    Is conceptual analysis required for reductive explanation? If there is no a priori entailment from microphysical truths to phenomenal truths, does reductive explanation of the phenomenal fail? We say yes . Ned Block and Robert Stalnaker say no
  •  1431
    Verbal Disputes
    Philosophical Review 120 (4): 515-566. 2011.
    The philosophical interest of verbal disputes is twofold. First, they play a key role in philosophical method. Many philosophical disagreements are at least partly verbal, and almost every philosophical dispute has been diagnosed as verbal at some point. Here we can see the diagnosis of verbal disputes as a tool for philosophical progress. Second, they are interesting as a subject matter for first-order philosophy. Reflection on the existence and nature of verbal disputes can reveal something ab…Read more
  •  1318
    The book is an extended study of the problem of consciousness. After setting up the problem, I argue that reductive explanation of consciousness is impossible , and that if one takes consciousness seriously, one has to go beyond a strict materialist framework. In the second half of the book, I move toward a positive theory of consciousness with fundamental laws linking the physical and the experiential in a systematic way. Finally, I use the ideas and arguments developed earlier to defend a form…Read more
  •  1230
    What is Conceptual Engineering and What Should it Be?
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    Conceptual engineering is the design, implementation, and evaluation of concepts. Conceptual engineering includes or should include de novo conceptual engineering (designing a new concept) as well as conceptual re-engineering (fixing an old concept). It should also include heteronymous (different-word) as well as homonymous (same-word) conceptual engineering. I discuss the importance and the difficulty of these sorts of conceptual engineering in philosophy and elsewhere.
  •  1206
    Zombies are hypothetical creatures of the sort that philosophers have been known to cherish. A zombie is physically identical to a normal human being, but completely lacks conscious experience. Zombies look and behave like the conscious beings that we know and love, but "all is dark inside." There is nothing it is like to be a zombie.
  •  1179
    Confronted with the apparent explanatory gap between physical processes and consciousness, there are many possible reactions. Some deny that any explanatory gap exists at all. Some hold that there is an explanatory gap for now, but that it will eventually be closed. Some hold that the explanatory gap corresponds to an ontological gap in nature.
  •  1174
    The matrix as metaphysics
    In Christopher Grau (ed.), Philosophers Explore the Matrix, Oxford University Press. pp. 132. 2005.
    The Matrix presents a version of an old philosophical fable: the brain in a vat. A disembodied brain is floating in a vat, inside a scientist’s laboratory. The scientist has arranged that the brain will be stimulated with the same sort of inputs that a normal embodied brain receives. To do this, the brain is connected to a giant computer simulation of a world. The simulation determines which inputs the brain receives. When the brain produces outputs, these are fed back into the simulation. The i…Read more
  •  1088
    The Two-Dimensional Argument Against Materialism
    In Brian P. McLaughlin & Sven Walter (eds.), Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Mind, Oxford University Press. 2009.
    A number of popular arguments for dualism start from a premise about an epistemic gap between physical truths about truths about consciousness, and infer an ontological gap between physical processes and consciousness. Arguments of this sort include the conceivability argument, the knowledge argument, the explanatory-gap argument, and the property dualism argument. Such arguments are often resisted on the grounds that epistemic premises do not entail ontological conclusion. My view is that one c…Read more
  •  1069
    The Virtual and the Real
    Disputatio 9 (46): 309-352. 2017.
    I argue that virtual reality is a sort of genuine reality. In particular, I argue for virtual digitalism, on which virtual objects are real digital objects, and against virtual fictionalism, on which virtual objects are fictional objects. I also argue that perception in virtual reality need not be illusory, and that life in virtual worlds can have roughly the same sort of value as life in non-virtual worlds.
  •  1064
    Is experience ubiquitous?
    In The Conscious Mind, Oxford University Press. 1996.
  •  1060
    The representational character of experience
    In Brian Leiter (ed.), The Future for Philosophy, Oxford University Press. pp. 153--181. 2004.
    Consciousness and intentionality are perhaps the two central phenomena in the philosophy of mind. Human beings are conscious beings: there is something it is like to be us. Human beings are intentional beings: we represent what is going on in the world.Correspondingly, our specific mental states, such as perceptions and thoughts, very often have a phenomenal character: there is something it is like to be in them. And these mental states very often have intentional content: they serve to represen…Read more
  •  966
    Absent qualia, fading qualia, dancing qualia
    In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Conscious Experience, Ferdinand Schoningh. pp. 309--328. 1995.
    It is widely accepted that conscious experience has a physical basis. That is, the properties of experience (phenomenal properties, or qualia) systematically depend on physical properties according to some lawful relation. There are two key questions about this relation. The first concerns the strength of the laws: are they logically or metaphysically necessary, so that consciousness is nothing "over and above" the underlying physical process, or are they merely contingent laws like the law of g…Read more
  •  931
    The components of content
    In David J. Chalmers (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, Oxford University Press. 2002.
    [[This paper appears in my anthology _Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings_ (Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 608-633. It is a heavily revised version of a paper first written in 1994 and revised in 1995. Sections 1, 7, 8, and 10 are similar to the old version, but the other sections are quite different. Because the old version has been widely cited, I have made it available (in its 1995 version) at http://consc.net/papers/content95.html.
  •  900
    When I say ‘Hesperus is Phosphorus’, I seem to express a proposition. And when I say ‘Joan believes that Hesperus is Phosphorus’, I seem to ascribe to Joan an attitude to the same proposition. But what are propositions? And what is involved in ascribing propositional attitudes?
  •  897
    Revisability and Conceptual Change in "Two Dogmas of Empiricism"
    Journal of Philosophy 108 (8): 387-415. 2011.
    W.V. Quine’s article “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” is one of the most influential works in 20thcentury philosophy. The article is cast most explicitly as an argument against logical empiricists such as Carnap, arguing against the analytic/synthetic distinction that they appeal to along with their verificationism. But the article has been read much more broadly as an attack on the notion..