CMU philosophy department hosting University of Colorado professor Friday

Embodiment, consciousness and the massively representational mind.

This intellectual mouthful is the title of Central Michigan University’s upcoming philosophy series by University of Colorado’s Associate Professor of Philosophy Robert Rupert.

“Rupert has a national reputation in philosophy and cognitive science,” said CMU philosophy professor Gary Fuller. “Rupert will argue that his new view undermines a popular argument for dualism.”

Fuller, who organized Rupert’s visit to CMU, met the Colorado professor at a 2006 conference in Norway.

“Gary and I were both invited to talk there from a philosophical standpoint,” Rupert said. “CMU has been on my radar for a while, and since I have more free time to travel this semester, it seemed like a nice time to come up.”

In his visit, Rupert plans to discuss his ideas on mind-body representation.

“Maybe it’s best to think about it in contrast to an alternate view of the mind,” he said. “I want to explore and explain the implications of [conscious thought] and its affect on our views and concepts of representation and the relationship between mind and body.”

While Rupert’s work is on a similar track to philosophers such as Daniel Dennett and Jesse Prinz, he said he feels his ideas separate him from most philosophers.

“Consciousness is more of a concert — a chorus of a bunch of redundant representations in different parts of the brain, working together representing the same thing, and I think that’s a fairly new position," he said.

The Colorado professor received his undergraduate degree at the University of Washington-Seattle before attending the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D in philosophy.

He spent time as a tenure-track professor at Texas Tech University before moving to UC six years ago.

Since starting work in the philosophy field, Rupert published his first book, Cognitive Systems and the Extended Mind, in 2009 and his second is in the works.

He has visited a range of universities to discuss his philosophical views, including Cornell, Pittsburgh, Utah and Missouri. He has also spoken at conferences in Germany, Norway and Denmark.

“This semester I’m on sabbatical and will be traveling to the Australian national university in February, March and April to work on my book manuscript and I’ll be doing some research there," he said. "I’ll give maybe 10 different speeches when I’m there.”

Rupert will speak in front of faculty and students at 2 p.m. Friday in Anspach 154.

“The talk will be of interest to philosophy and psychology faculty and students, as well as the general public, and all are invited,” Fuller said.

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