Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference 2009

The Metaphysics of Consciousness

An International conference in honour of
Timothy L. S. Sprigge (1932-2007)

University of Edinburgh, 7-9 July 2009




*The conference will be held in the Informatics Forum in the central area of the University*

Travel Information


What is consciousness? What is its place in the physical universe? How did it arise in the course of cosmic evolution? Can there be a genuine scientific understanding of consciousness? And is there such a thing as consciousness in the first place? These and other questions that immediately arise as soon as one begins to investigate the nature of consciousness and how it fits within a scientific view of reality will be addressed by this major international conference. They occupy a prominent place in contemporary studies in metaphysics and philosophy of mind worldwide, often involving complex interdisciplinary connections between philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence (informatics), biology, and cognitive neuroscience. At the same time, these questions play a fundamental role in the philosophies of great thinkers of the past such as, among others, Descartes, Leibniz, William James, Brentano, Edmund Husserl, and Merleau-Ponty. This conference will bring together systematically oriented historians of philosophy and contemporary philosophers of mind to re-examine inherited views and spark fruitful lines of future inquiry. The conference is held in honour of the late Timothy L.S. Sprigge—one of Edinburgh’s most distinguished metaphysicians and author of insightful writings on the nature of consciousness.





Fred Adams

University of Delaware

Consciousness: Why and Where?


Ken Aizawa

Centenary College of Louisiana

How Consciousness Can Safely Emerge


Brenda Almond

University of Hull

Religious Consciousness: Revisiting the God of the Philosophers


Pierfrancesco Basile

University of Bern

It must be true—but how can it be? Some Remarks on Panpsychism and Mental Composition


Jason Brown

New York University Medical Center

What is a Mental State?


Andy Clark

University of Edinburgh

Locating the Conscious Mind

Stephen Clark

University of Liverpool

How to Become Unconscious


David Cockburn

University of East Anglia

Doubts About "Consciousness”


Tim Crane

University College London

Consciousness as Predicated of Human Beings


Barry Dainton

University of Liverpool

Phenomenal Holism


James Giles

University of Guam

The Metaphysics of Awareness in Taoist philosophy


Alastair Hannay

University of Oslo

Phenomenology versus Metaphysics


Jaegwon Kim

Brown University

Explaining Consciousness: From Emergentism to A Priori Physicalism


Julian Kiverstein

University of Edinburgh

The Metaphysics of Time Consciousness


Geoffrey Madell

University of Edinburgh

Substance Dualism: You Know it Makes Sense


Eduard Marbach

University of Bern

Is there a Metaphysics of Consciousness without a Phenomenology of Consciousness? Some thoughts derived from Husserl's Philosophical Phenomenology


Leemon McHenry

California State University, Northridge

Sprigge’s Ontology of Consciousness


Brian P. McLaughlin

Rutgers University

Consciousness, Identity, and Explanation

Howard Robinson

Central European University, Budapest

Quality, Thought and Consciousness


William Seager

University of Toronto

Concessionary Dualism and Physicalism


Peter Simons

Trinity College Dublin

Consciousness for Four-Dimensionalists

Galen Strawson

University of Reading

Fundamental Singleness: How to Turn the 2nd Paralogism into a Valid Argument




Conference Committee

Pauline Phemister
, Philosophy, Edinburgh (
Leemon McHenry, Philosophy, California State University, Northridge (
Jesper Kallestrup, Philosophy, Edinburgh (
Julian Kiverstein, Philosophy, Edinburgh (
Pierfrancesco Basile, Philosophy, University of Bern (





The conference is sponsored by:

The Royal Institute of Philosophy

Mind Association

Scots Philosophical Club

The British Society for the History of Philosophy