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Thomas C. Brownell Professor of Philosophy
Professor, Program in Neuroscience
Hartford, CT 06106
Email: Dan.Lloyd trincoll.edu
Human consciousness is a marvelous symphony, worth a full Hamlet of praise:
How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! (Hamlet, 2.2)
In my research and teaching, I seek to understand this wonder of evolution. That is, I’m at work on the science of consciousness. Two questions interact:
- What is it that we are examining, when we examine “consciousness”? The details of the target of explanation fall under the philosophical tradition of phenomenology, with help from perceptual psychology. In my view, a satisfactory science of conscious must fully account for the basic structures of experience, including properties like spatiality, temporality, perceptual transcendence, and others.
- How is it that human phenomenology can arise in the human brain? Or to put it the other way around, What is it about complex brains that make them the sorts of things that can be conscious? This takes me into cognitive neuroscience (especially functional MRI), including novel strategies for data analysis designed to reveal the ubiquitous structures of consciousness described by phenomenology.
A science of consciousness must address both questions at once, but the connection is not easy. Lately I’ve been pursuing conceptual models that fit in the space between the questions, metaphors groping for simultaneous phenomenological and neural realization. Surprisingly, one such metaphor is music.
- Phenomenology (#1 above) is the subject of my online course, The Conscious Mind: A Philosophical Road Trip, which will begin in early February 2016. The course is free, bears no academic credit, and I hope will introduce the curious (anywhere in the world) to some of the mysteries that motivate my research. (Here’s the trailer by itself.)
Hearing, Seeing, and Music in the Middle, in Philosophy of Mind and Phenomenology: Philosophical and Empirical Approaches, D. Dahlstrom, A. Elpidorou, and W. Hopp, eds. (Routledge), 2015, pp. 205-223.
Subjective Time: The philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of temporality (co-edited with Valtteri Arstila, University of Turku, Finland). MIT Press, 2014.
The Music of Consciousness: Can Musical Form Harmonize Phenomenology and the Brain? Constuctivist Foundations, 8(3):330-337, 2013.
Time after Time: temporality in the dynamic brain, in: Being in Time, Eds. Shimon Edelman, Tomer Fekete and Neta Zach (John Benjamins), pp. 1-21, 2012.
Neural correlates of temporality: Default mode variability and temporal awareness, Consiousness and Cognition, 21: 695-703, 2012 (doi:10.1016/j.concog.2011.02.016).
Many times over: A brief reply to Lee and Klincewicz, Consiousness and Cognition, 21: 711-712, 2012.
Through a Glass Darkly: Schizophrenia and Functional Brain Imaging Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology, 18(4):257-275, 2011.
Is “Cognitive Neuroscience” an Oxymoron?, Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology, 18(4):283-287, 2011.
Mind as music, Frontiers in Psychology 2:63. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00063 , 2011.
Grand challenges in theoretical and philosophical psychology: after psychology? Frontiers in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 1:9. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2010.00009.
Lloyd, D., Calhoun, V., Pearlson, G., Astur, R., Functional Brain Imaging and the Problem of Other Minds, in Theory of Mind and Literature, P. Leverage, H. Mancing, R. Schweickert, and J. William, eds. (Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press), pp.259-273, 2011.
Radiant Cool: a novel theory of consciousness (MIT Press, 2003)
- Search inside
- or read about it: Emily Eakin, “Art and Science Meet, with Novel Results.” NYTimes, October 18, 2003.
- Walter Ellis, “A Neuro-noir Journey to the Centre of the Mind.” Times Higher Education Supplement, November 28, 2003.