Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies

6 May, 2021

This seminar is a discussion of two of the recent provocative essays by Colin McGinn.

The first one, “An Argument Against Materialism,” suggests that “If materialism were true, we should be able to know about matter by introspection; but we don’t, so it isn’t. For materialism is a theory of the nature of mind—what constitutes mental states—and so we ought to know this nature by knowing about the things that have it; but we don’t”—so materialism fails.
The second essay, “Explaining Mental Privacy,” raises the questions: Why do we know our own mental states so well while can be totally ignorant about other’s mental states? What is the reason why I cannot perceive your mental states directly, in a way I perceive my own mental states? And so, how to explain mental privacy?

In the opening speech the author briefly presents his position, and then answers to objections and questions from the participants of the seminar: Anton Kuznetsov (moderator), Dmitry Volkov, Vadim Vasiliev, Artem Besedin, Eugene Loginov, Andrew Mertsalov, Alexey Pavlov, Alexandra Tanyushina and Anna Kostikova.