Michael Tye

Department of Philosophy
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas 78750
Tel: (512) 471-6789
E-mail: mtye@austin.utexas.edu

photograph of Michael Tye

I’m a philosopher at the University of Texas at Austin (formally, I am the Dallas TACA Centennial Professor in Liberal Arts). My interest in philosophy was awakened at Oxford while an undergraduate. I went up to Oxford to study physics, but after finding out that a physics degree would require a day a week in the laboratory, I switched to physics and philosophy (which involved no lab work at all). By the time I had finished my undergraduate degree, I had decided to focus upon philosophy alone (for more here, see the interview for Mind and Consciousness below). Subsequently, I came to the USA, though I’ve been back to the UK as a visiting professor at King’s College, London for some ten consecutive years and briefly as the occupant of a chair at the University of St. Andrews.

I work mainly in the philosophy of mind and the foundations of cognitive science, but I also have interests in metaphysics. I’ve published seven books, five with MIT Press, Bradford Books, one with Cambridge University Press, and one with Oxford University Press. Four books were on consciousness, one on the imagery debate in cognitive psychology, one on the metaphysics of mind, and the most recent on concepts. My first book on consciousness (Ten Problems of Consciousness) was an alternate selection of the Library of Science Book Club; it was published in 1995. The follow up (Consciousness, Color, and Content) came out in 2000. Both books defend what has come to be known as the representationalist approach to phenomenal consciousness. There is a web symposium on my views on consciousness (see On-line Papers below). My fifth book, Consciousness and Persons, is on the unity of consciousness and was published by MIT Press, Bradford Books, in November 2003. My last book on consciousness, entitled Consciousness Revisited: Materialism without Phenomenal Concepts, also with MIT Press, was published in Spring 2009. Here are the cover design and cover blurbs.

book cover

“This marvelously informed, powerfully argued book is Michael Tye’s latest contribution to the task of finding a naturalistic understanding of consciousness. It is an agenda setter.” —Frank Jackson, Department of Philosophy, Princeton University

“In opposing dualism, and defending the view that mind is a form of matter, modern materialists often substitute a dualism of their own—a dualism of concepts rather than properties. Tye has been a leading advocate of this materialist strategy, in his classic Consciousness, Color, and Content and elsewhere. Consciousness Revisited marks a radical intellectual break: Tye offers powerful arguments against his previous position, and a new way to defend materialism, leaning on Bertrand Russell’s notion of knowledge by acquaintance. This book is terrific—the many admirers of the early Tye may be reassured that the later Tye is just as good.” —Alex Byrne, Department of Philosophy, MIT and coeditor of Disjunctivism

My latest book, co-written with Mark Sainsbury, entitled Seven Puzzles of Thought (and How to Solve Them): An Originalist Theory of Concepts, has just been published by Oxford University Press (Spring 2012).

book cover

There was a workshop on the book with presentations by myself and Mark, David Papineau, Francois Recanati and Asa Wikforss at the Institute of Philosophy in London in February 2012. A podcast of the presentations and question and answer sessions is available at this URL:
http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2012/03/originalism-about-concep18:24 22-May-12ts.

On-line Papers

This is an Adobe PDF file“What is the Content of a Hallucinatory Experience?” in Does Perception have Content?, a collection of essays ed. by B. Brogarde, Oxford University Press, forthcoming

This links to an audio fileInterview for Philosophy Bites on Pain, August 2012

This is an Adobe PDF file“Homunculi Heads and Silicon Chips: The Importance of History to Phenomenology”, forthcoming in a collection of essays in honor of Ned Block, edited by A. Pautz and D. Stoljar, the MIT Press

Interview for 3:AM Magazine, September 2012

A symposium on my Consciousness Revisited in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, January 2012:

This is an Adobe PDF filePrecis of Consciousness Revisited

This is an Adobe PDF fileTim Crane, “Tye on Acquaintance and the Problem of Consciousness”

This is an Adobe PDF file“Reply to Crane”

This is an Adobe PDF fileFrank Jackson, “Michael Tye on Perceptual Content”

This is an Adobe PDF file“Reply to Jackson”

This is an Adobe PDF fileBrian McLaughlin, “Phenomenal Concepts and the Defense of Materialism”

This is an Adobe PDF file“Reply to McLaughlin”

This is an Adobe PDF file“References for Replies”

This is an Adobe PDF file“Cohen on Color Relationism,” in a symposium on Jonathan Cohen’s book, The Red and the Real, Analytic Philosophy, forthcoming

This is an Adobe PDF file“Tracking Representationalism and the Painfulness of Pain” (with Brian Cutter) in Philosophical Issues 2011

This is an Adobe PDF file“An Originalist Theory of Concepts” (with Mark Sainsbury) in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 2011

This is an Adobe PDF file“The Puzzle of Transparency,” The Norton Introduction to Philosophy, ed. A. Byrne, J. Cohen, G. Rosen, and S. Shiffrin. Norton, 2010. Draft only. (NOTE: this is an essay intended for undergraduates who have not taken prior philosophy courses)

This is an Adobe PDF file“Attention, Seeing and Change Blindness,” Philosophical Issues, 2010

This is an Adobe PDF file“Is There a Phenomenology of Thought?” (with Briggs Wright) in Cognitive Phenomenology, a collection of essays edited by Tim Bayne and Michelle Montague, Oxford University Press, 2010

This is an Adobe PDF file“Knowing What it is Like,” in Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action, ed. John Bengson and Mark Moffett, Oxford University Press, 2010

This is an Adobe PDF file“Phenomenal Externalism, Lolita and the Planet Xenon,” forthcoming in a collection of essays in honor of Jaegwon Kim, ed. D. Sosa and T. Horgan, MIT Press

This is an Adobe PDF file“Up Close with the Speckled Hen,” Analysis, April 2010

This is an Adobe PDF file“A New Look at the Speckled Hen,” Analysis, 2009

This is an Adobe PDF fileInterview for Mind and Consciousness: 5 Questions, ed. Patrick Grim, 2009

This is an Adobe PDF file“The Experience of Emotion: An Intentionalist Theory,” Revue Internationale de Philosophie, special issue edited by Joelle Prouste, 2008

This is an Adobe PDF file“Intentionalism and the Argument from No Common Content,” Philosophical Perspectives, 2007

This is an Adobe PDF file“Absent Qualia and the Mind-Body Problem,” Philosophical Review, April 2006

This is an Adobe PDF file“New Troubles for the Qualia Freak,” in Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Mind, ed. B. McLaughlin and J. Cohen, Blackwell, 2008

This is an Adobe PDF file“The Puzzle of True Blue,” Analysis July 2006

This is an Adobe PDF fileJonathan Cohen, C. L. Hardin, & Brian P. McLaughlin, “True Colors,” Analysis, October 2006

This is an Adobe PDF fileTye, “The Truth about True Blue,” Analysis, October 2006

This is an Adobe PDF fileAlex Byrne & David R. Hilbert, “Truest Blue,” Analysis, January 2007

This is an Adobe PDF fileTye, “True Blue Redux,” Analysis, January 2007

This is an Adobe PDF file “Qualia ain’t in the Head” (with Alex Byrne), Nous 2006

This is an Adobe PDF file“The Problem of Common Sensibles,” Erkenntnis 2008, also in Perception and Status of Secondary Qualities, ed. R. Schumacher, Kluwer, 2005

This is an Adobe PDF file “The Nature of Nonconceptual Content”, in Experience and Analysis, Proceedings of 2004 Kirchberg Philosophy Conference, ed. M. Reicher and J. Marek

This is an Adobe PDF file “Representationalist Theories of Consciousness,” in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind, ed. by B. McLaughlin and A. Beckermann, Oxford University Press, 2009

This is an Adobe PDF file “Another Look at Representationalism about Pain,” in Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study, ed. Murat Aydede (with comments by M. Aydede, N. Block, B. Maund, and P. Noordhof), M. I. T. Press, Bradford Books, 2006

This is an Adobe PDF file Murat Aydede, “The Main Difficulty with Pain: Commentary on Tye,” in Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study, ed. Murat Aydede, M. I. T. Press, Bradford Books, 2006

This is an Adobe PDF file Ned Block, “Bodily Sensations as an Obstacle for Representationalism,” in Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study, ed. Murat Aydede, M. I. T. Press, Bradford Books, 2006

This is an Adobe PDF file Barry Maund, “Michael Tye on Pain and Representational Content,” in Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study, ed. Murat Aydede, M. I. T. Press, Bradford Books, 2006

This is an Adobe PDF file Paul Noordhof, “In a State of Pain,” in Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study, ed. Murat Aydede, M. I. T. Press, Bradford Books, 2006

This is an Adobe PDF file “In Defense of Representationalism: Reply to Commentaries” in Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study, ed. Murat Aydede, M. I. T. Press, Bradford Books, 2006

This is an Adobe PDF file “Nonconceptual Content, Richness, and Fineness of Grain,” in Perceptual Experience, ed. T. Gendler and J. Hawthorne, Oxford University Press, 2005

This is an Adobe PDF file “A Theory of Phenomenal Concepts,” Philosophy 2003

This is an Adobe PDF file “Visual Qualia and Visual Content Revisited,” in an OUP collection on the philosophy of mind, edited by David Chalmers, 2003

This is an Adobe PDF file “Representationalism and the Transparency of Experience,” Noûs, 2002 (also published in Privileged Access: Philosophical Accounts of Self-knowledge, edited by Brie Gertler)

Web symposium on Consciousness, Color, and Content, 2002

This is an Adobe PDF file “Of Colors, Kestrels, Caterpillars, and Leaves,” (with Peter Bradley) Journal of Philosophy, September 2001

“Qualia,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (revised 31 July 2007)

“Knowing What It Is Like: The Ability Hypothesis and the Knowledge Argument,” in Reality and Humean Supervenience, ed. G. Preyer and F. Siebert, Rowman and Littlefield, 2000; reprinted in There’s Something about Mary, ed. Ludlow, Nagasawa, and Stoljar, MIT Press, 2004

“Phenomenal Consciousness: the Explanatory Gap as Cognitive Illusion” Mind 1999

“Response to Discussants”
(from a Philosophy and Phenomenological Research book symposium on Ten Problems of Consciousness)

“Inverted Earth, Swampman, and Representationism”, Philosophical Perspectives 1998

“Externalism and Memory,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, 1998

“Is Content-Externalism Compatible with Privileged Access?” (with Brian McLaughlin), Philosophical Review July 1998

Some Other Papers (not on-line)

“Fuzzy Realism and the Problem of the Many,” Philosophical Studies, 1996

“Orgasms Again,” Philosophical Issues, Vol. 7, ed. by E. Villenueva, 1996

“The Function of Consciousness,” Noûs, Vol. 30, 1996.

“The Problem of Simple Minds: Is There Anything it is Like to be a Honey Bee?” Philosophical Studies 1997

“Externalism, Twin Earth, and Self-Knowledge,” (with B. McLaughlin), in Knowing Our Own Minds: Essays on Self-knowledge, ed. by B. Smith and C. Macdonald, Oxford University Press, 1998

“Oh Yes It Is,” Mind, 2001

“Vagueness and Reality,” Philosophical Topics, 28, 2001

“Blurry Image, Double Vision and Other Oddities: New Problems for Representationalism?” Consciousness: New Philosophical Perspectives, edited by Q. Smith and A. Josic, Oxford University Press, 2003.

Some University of Texas Philosophers (in uncharacteristically formal garb)

photograph of Jonathan Dancy, Mark Sainsbury, Michael Tye, Ian Proops, Hans Kamp

From left to right: Jonathan Dancy, Mark Sainsbury, Michael Tye, Ian Proops, Hans Kamp

Pictures at Meetings

2002 Tucson consciousness conference

2002 Tucson consciousness conference party

2004 NYU philosophy conference in Florence

2005 SPAWN consciousness conference at Syracuse photos

2005 SPAWN consciousness conference at Syracuse movie (QuickTime)