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The Meta-Problem of Consciousness

This is a call for papers for a symposium in the Journal of Consciousness Studies on David Chalmers’ new paper “The Meta-Problem of Consciousness”.

More than twenty years ago, David Chalmers published “Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness” in the Journal of Consciousness Studies. He distinguished between the “easy problems” of consciousness, and the “hard problem”: the problem of explaining how physical processes in the brain give rise to conscious experience.

The meta-problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining why we think and say there is a hard problem of consciousness.  The meta-problem of consciousness is in principle one of the easy problems, but it bears a special relation to the hard problem, which suggests that finding a solution to it could shed light on the hard problem itself.  Chalmers’ new paper introduces the meta-problem, lays out an interdisciplinary research program for addressing the meta-problem, and evaluates possible solutions.  Chalmers also uses the meta-problem to pose a challenge for many popular scientific and philosophical theories of consciousness, and discusses whether it can be used to “debunk” our beliefs in consciousness and to support a sort of illusionism.

We welcome submissions for this symposium from all fields of consciousness studies (philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, etc.). The symposium will be published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies in 2019 and 2020 and will feature a reply to commentators by David Chalmers.

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