“Aphantasia and the Philosophy of a Blind Mind” by Tufan Kıymaz (Bilkent, Philosophy)
Date: Friday, 20th April, 2018
Time: 1240 – 1330
Organized by the Mind, Brain and Behavior Research Group at Bilkent University.
Abstract: Aphantasia is the inability to form mental images; it is the lack of a mind’s eye, so to speak. Even though fist reported by Francis Galton in the late 19th century, scientific studies specifically focused on aphantasia are published mostly, almost exclusively, in the last decade. In this talk, I will argue that the results of recent scientific research on aphantasia have significant implications on some of the most central issues in the contemporary philosophy of mind. I will focus on two issues: first, the nature of our first-personal knowledge of subjective experiences, especially the cognitive abilities associated with (or constitute) such knowledge and the kind of concepts that we use when we think about our own experiences, and secondly, the epistemology of possibility and necessity in the context of the conceivability arguments against physicalism.
About the Speaker: Tufan Kıymaz received his PhD in Philosophy, with a minor in History and Philosophy of Science, from Indiana University, Bloomington, in 2017. The same year he joined the philosophy department in Bilkent, from where he has received his Bachelor’s degree. His main area of research is philosophy of mind, more specifically our first-personal knowledge of subjective qualities like what it is like to see red or what it is like to be in pain, and the possibility of a fully materialistic and scientific explanation of this type of knowledge. He is also interested in metaphysical questions as to the nature of the physical, especially since one of the most central questions of philosophy of mind is whether our minds are completely physical or not.