Seminar: Sam COLEMAN

30 January 2020

LLC Seminar


16.00 – 18.00


Aula di Antica

Palazzo Nuovo (piano II)

via Sant'Ottavio 20, Torino



Sam COLEMAN (University of Hertfordshire)


Unconscious belief, unconscious qualia, and Freud


It has been argued (e.g. by Tim Crane, Michael Tye and Briggs Wright, Declan Smithies) that beliefs cannot figure in consciousness because beliefs are by nature unconscious states. At the same time, many philosophers who make this kind of argument accept that conscious thinking is associated with, or even consists of, phenomenology. I criticise the Searle-inspired model of unconscious beliefs as mere dispositions to conscious thought-phenomenology, and rebut the argument that unconscious belief states cannot figure in the stream of consciousness. If we have a picture on which unconscious belief states can become conscious, through being the objects of episodes of awareness, and we believe that conscious thought content is a matter of phenomenology, the natural conclusion is that unconscious belief states, too, are a matter of qualia - unconscious qualia. I defend this picture against objections, and end by connecting it to a neo-Freudian conception of mental life in general as consisting, in essence, of unconscious qualia.