Pete Mandik is professor of philosophy at William Paterson University of New Jersey. He works on topics at the intersection between philosophy of mind and the cognitive sciences and is particularly interested in naturalistic accounts of consciousness and intentionality.
We began by talking about Pete’s background and influences, then dived deep into his views about consciousness, representation, and consciousness. Join us to learn why ‘what it is like’ talk is empty, why colour sensations are a myth, and why introspection is more like recalibration than self-monitoring.
0:01:46 Why Pete became a philosopher
0:12:00 Experiences with LSD
0:24:24 Quine and anti-foundationalism
0:30:25 The relation between philosophy and science
0:38:45 Introduction to Pete’s view of consciousness
0:40:43 Three views of the data for a theory of consciousness
0:46:36 A third-person approach to consciousness
0:50:56 ‘What it is like’ to be a bat
0:54:26 Against phenomenal consciousness
0:58:11 The emptiness of what-it-is-like talk
1:06:21 A problem for representational theories of consciousness
1:13:59 A sense in which consciousness is intrinsic
1:18:30 Can consciousness be indeterminate?
1:21:37 Is there anything special about the first-person perspective?
1:26:32 The case against nonconceptual content
1:41:10 The myth of colour sensations
1:51:39 The nature of introspection
2:09:52 Concerns about illusionism
2:24:42: The future of consciousness studies and what to expect from Pete Mandik
If you would like to explore Pete’s views in more detail, you could start with these three papers, which deal with topics covered in the interview:
‘Beware of the Unicorn: Consciousness as being represented and other things that don’t exist’. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 16(1) (2009): 5–36.
‘The myth of color sensations, or How not to see a yellow banana’. Topics in Cognitive Science 9(1) (2017): 228–40.
‘The introspectibility of brain states as such’. In, edited by Brian L. Keeley (ed.), Paul Churchland (pp 66–87). Cambridge University Press, 2005.
You can find out more about Pete at these webpages