3rd NfPR Conference - Inner Awareness: Past and Present
University of Liège, Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, 2021
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Famously, Brentano argued that consciousness constitutively requires some (special) form of self-consciousness—let us
call it “inner awareness.” How to account for inner awareness has been a matter of huge debate, not only among
early phenomenologists (Brentano, Stumpf, Husserl, Scheler, Hildebrand, etc.) and early analytic philosophers (G.E.
Moore, the early Russell, C.D. Broad, etc.), but also among contemporary philosophers of mind. Indeed, a very lively
discussion is currently going on about the very existence of inner awareness, its nature, and its epistemic value. In recent
analytic philosophy of mind, meta-representationalist approaches that construe inner awareness as a representation relation of
some sort have been dominant. But they are not without difficulties and are far from being the only option available.
The primary goal of this conference is to explore alternatives to meta-representationalism. We
welcome contributions that connect past and present conceptions of inner awareness, as well as new and original accounts of
Here are some of the issues we would like to cover:
- Existence: Many extant arguments for IA have been challenged
in recent literature. How can we effectively defend the idea that inner awareness is real and that it is
a fundamental aspect of conscious experience?
- Distinctiveness: Since the inception of the phenomenological
research program, inner awareness has often been described as a distinctive kind of awareness, one that is
importantly and perhaps even fundamentally different from “outer” awareness. Is it so? If inner
awareness is distinctive, how and in what respects is it so?
- Nature: How to account for the nature of inner awareness? Meta-representationalist theories have been
deeply dug into. Alternative theories may be equally or even more promising, and at least worth exploring. Among these
are acquaintance accounts and non-standard versions of representationalism, as well as other kinds of
account which might have been held by early phenomenologists and analytic philosophers. We also encourage contributions
that explore new or underrepresented
- Naturalization: One of the primary motivations for meta-representationalism about inner awareness is its
potential for naturalization. Can alternative accounts compete with meta-representationalism in this respect? For
example, are there any prospects for naturalizing acquaintance?
- Epistemic value: It has been maintained that inner awareness is crucial to explain the first-person privileged
access and self-knowledge more generally. But is that true? What is the relation between inner awareness and reflective
knowledge of our own conscious states? And how should we construe inner awareness to have it play the epistemic role it is
supposed to play? For example, is a representationalist construal of inner awareness required or satisfying?
- Guillaume Fréchette (University of Salzburg)
- Marie Guillot (University of Essex)
- Uriah Kriegel (Rice University)
- Tom McClelland (University of Cambridge)
- Kristina Musholt (University of Leipzig)
- Donnchadh O'Conaill (University of Fribourg)
Commentators: Frank Hofmann (Luxembourg) and Gianfranco Soldati (Fribourg).
Attendance & registration
We aim for an in-person event. However, given the still ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we might be forced to move the conference
partly or totally online. Participants will be informed in due time.
Attendance is free but pre-registration is required. To register, please, send an email with the heading 'Pre-registration IA
conference' to email@example.com by November 23. In the
email, please, specify: your current affiliation, position, and whether you are interested in attending the conference in person or online.
Unfortunately, due to limited seating capacity and the ongoing COVID restrictions, we might not be able to accept every request of in-person
attendance and might be forced to propose online attendance instead.
Venue: University of Liège • Place du 20-Août, 7 • 4000 Liège (Belgium)
Updated info will be regularly posted here and on the
conference website. Stay tuned!
Any Questions? All inquiries should be addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This conference is one of the events organized within the framework of the FNRS/FNS research
Phenomenology of Mental States.
With the support of: