Philosophy of Mind

[PHIL0214-2] Master en philosophie (5 ECTS), 30 h., 1er quadrimestre.

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» Syllabus (updated 10 Nov. 2022): EN [124 Kb] - FR [126 Kb]

Course Description

This course is about consciousness and its relationship with value.

Consciousness. Consciousness is one of the most puzzling and fascinating phenomena in nature. Each conscious creature experiences the world from its own, unique and unshareable, point of view-its subjective perspective. Conscious creatures perceive, think, want, feel, suffer, are moved. These and other states of mind are experiences that are phenomenally conscious: having them implies a peculiar subjective feeling-there is "something it is like" for a conscious creature to have such experiences.

Value. In the world, there seem to be good things and bad things, things that are good for someone or bad for someone else, or things that are experienced as good or bad. Questions around goodness and badness are questions of value. Value plays a crucial role in guiding our actions: we aim to pursue, preserve, and promote what we take to be valuable (for us), and avoid, extinguish, and prevent what we take to be disvaluable (for us).

Here are some of the questions we are going to address:

Course organization and modality

The course will feature the presence of two leading figures in the philosophy of consciousness, who have played a crucial role in shaping the debate about the value of consciousness: Uriah Kriegel and Charles Siewert, both professors at Rice University (Houston TX, USA).

The first part of the course will be around the work of Charles Siewert, who will guest-teach four classes to discuss with students his recent and ongoing work on consciousness, self-consciousness and reflection, affective experience, and the relationship consciousness and value.

The second part of the course will be around the work of Uriah Kriegel, who will guest-teach three or four classes to discuss with students his recent and ongoing work on the value of consciousness, and in particular its epistemic value, its prudential value, its moral value, and its aesthetic value.

There will be a total of eleven classes, organized as per "Schedule and reading" below. The modality is in-person.

The course will be taught partly in English and partly in French. Understanding of written and spoken English is required. However, speaking English is not required: you can ask your questions and express your thoughts in French (both visiting instructors understand French).


1. Consciousness, subjectivity, value (A. Giustina).
Part I. Consciousness, Self-Consciousness, and Value (with Charles Siewert)
2. Consciousness: search for a basic conception (C. Siewert).
3. Self-consciousness and reflection (C. Siewert).
4. Affective experience (C. Siewert).
5. Consciousness and value (C. Siewert).
6. Recap, sum-up, discussion (A. Giustina).
Part II. The Value of Consciousness (with Uriah Kriegel)
7. The value of consciousness (A. Giustina).
8. The prudential value of consciousness (A. Giustina).
9. The moral value of consciousness (U. Kriegel).
10. The epistemic value of consciousness (U. Kriegel).
11. The aesthetic value of consciousness (U. Kriegel).