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Speaker Series: Heather Demarest (Boulder)

Event Information

Date & Time

Oct 21, 2022 | 3:30 pm

Professor Heather Demarest (CU Boulder)

Professor Heather Demarest (CU Boulder) will be giving a talk as part of our 2022-23 Speaker Series.

"Persisting in Spite of the (Relativistic) Odds"

Abstract: There is a popular view in metaphysics: a mental state exists at a time and depends on a brain state at that time. This is difficult to reconcile with a central claim from special and general relativity: what exists at a time depends on an arbitrary foliation of spacetime. Together, these seem to suggest that brain states and their accompanying mental states depend on arbitrary foliations of spacetime. As a consequence, there could be (perhaps infinitely many) “rogue” mental states and “rogue” persons that overlap with a “normal” person. However, the “normal” person would have no introspective access to such rogues. I argue that functional and intelligibility requirements allow us to privilege a person’s rest foliation and thereby conclude that there are not likely to be many rogue mental states or persons.