Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy
- Twilight Hall 313
- (802) 443-5704
- Office Hours
- Spring 2023: Wednesday 12-1, or by appointment
- Additional Programs
Professor Wager earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Rutgers University (January 2004). He received his M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Iowa (May 1996). His B.A. is in Philosophy from Haverford College (May 1992).
Professor Wager’s primary research and teaching interests are in Philosophy of Mind, Epistemology, and Metaphysics. In particular, his work is concerned with a cluster of questions concerning perception.
Is there a connection between what it is like for a person to undergo a perceptual experience and the way that experience represents the world as being? What should we make of the body of psychological data concerning synaesthetes - people who “see” sounds as swirls of color or “smell” colors as odors? What are the standards for knowledge (particularly perceptual knowledge)? Does knowing require absolute certainty or merely that I could not have easily been mistaken? Do these standards for knowledge shift in response to the conversational context of those who are attributing knowledge? Of what are we directly or immediately aware in perception? Of what are we aware when we hallucinate? Are colors, sounds, tastes, etc. physical properties of the objects that appear to have them?
In this course we will focus on recent philosophical issues in the study of consciousness: What is the nature of our conscious subjective experience? What is the function of conscious states? Can we find neural correlates of consciousness, and if so, can consciousness simply be reduced to them? If not, how does consciousness relate to the physical? Is there something irreducible about the qualitative features of consciousness (qualia)? Could computers ever be conscious? Are animals conscious? We will consider such questions through the writings of contemporary philosophers and neuroscientists such as Dennett, Chalmers, Churchland, Nagel, Damasio, and Searle. (PHIL 0352 is strongly recommended but not required). 3 hrs. lect.