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Taking aim at the idea that consciousness is an illusion, as claimed by Daniel Dennett


Durham University A friend writes to draw our attention to this lecture, assuming you are in England now that April’s there:


Durham Castle Lecture – Professor Markus Gabriel

25th April 2018, 20:00 to 21:30, Senate Room, Durham Castle, University College

‘Are We Real? Consciousness and Fiction’

It is a widespread believe in our contemporary natural scientific culture that central features of our mind are fictions or illusions of sorts. The prominent philosopher Daniel Dennett even claims that illusionism about phenomenal consciousness (our qualitative experience of reality as rich with colors, sounds, tastes, smells, etc.) should be “the obvious default theory of consciousness.” Remarkably, illusionists about consciousness typically do not offer actual error theories that tell us in what precise sense consciousness counts as a fiction or an illusion. I will argue that this blind spot is not a coincidence, but rather a consequence of theoretical deficiencies in the hypothesis of illusionism itself.

In my talk, I will dismantle the assumptions motivating views about ourselves as minded agents that claim that we are subject to some kind of user-illusion created by the brain (or some better specified subsystem of our organism). In this context, I will distinguish various forms of illusion about ourselves and argue that illusionism and fictionalism about the mental lives of humans (and other minded animals) are themselves cases of a thoroughgoing ideological delusion. They serve the function of denying facts that would otherwise lead to an insight into the normative dimension of the human being.

Biography: Markus Gabriel is Chair in Epistemology, Modern and Contemporary Philosophy at the University of Bonn where he is also the director of the International Centre for Philosophy. He received his Dr. (2005) and his Habilitation (2008) from the University of Heidelberg. He has been a Visiting Scholar and (Visiting) Professor at many institutions (including NYU, the New School for Social Research, UC Berkeley, the University of Lisbon, the University of Palermo and the Catholic University in Rio de de Janeiro). He primarily works in epistemology, metaphysics/ontology and the history of philosophy (Ancient Philosophy, Post-Kantian Idealism). He is the author of more than 10 books, among which his recent Why the World does not Exist (Polity Press).

This lecture is free, and open to all.

No tickets or registration are required. Seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Doors open 7.30pm, lecture commences 8pm.

Contact castle.lectures@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.

More. The video will probably be archived.

Daniel Dennett.

See also: Philosopher exposes neo-Darwinian Daniel Dennett: Claims “so preposterous as to verge on the deranged”


The illusion of consciousness sees through itself.


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