Consciousness is humanity’s most primary and fundamental experience yet it is also its most elusive. Just What is consciousness? This question has plagued history’s greatest philosophers and scientists. Subsequently this has produced the most polarised views that include dualism and the soul (that mind and brain are distinct) to the most reductive elements of naturalistic materialism where some even argue that what we experience as consciousness is merely an illusion that arises from modal brain states
John Heil is Professor of philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis and Honorary Research Associate at Monash University. He works primarily in metaphysics and philosophy of mind. He is the author of The Universe as We Find It, Oxford University Press, 2012 and Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction, Routledge, 2012 as well as the forthcoming The Mystery of the Mystery of Consciousness. In M. P. Guta, ed. Consciousness and the Ontology of Properties, Routledge. He is listed among the 50 Most Influential Living Philosophers by thebestschools.org
Professor Heil’s Institute of Art and Ideas lectures on The Universe as We Find It, delivered at Hay-on-Wye in 2014 at the ‘HOWTHELIGHTGETSIN’ festival, and a recent piece on the Secrets of Experience can be found on the Institute’s Philosophy for Our Times website.