Interview with UTSC Professor William Seager

Published: January 5, 2013

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William SeagerUTSC Professor William Seager‘s research has been mostly in the philosophy of mind. He has published many articles in that area and two books, Metaphysics of Consciousness (1989) and Theories of Consciousness (1999). Get to know Prof. Seager in this brief Q&A!

How did you get interested in philosophy?

I stumbled into an introductory philosophy class in my first year of university and had a great time. Professor McGilp rolled his own, put his boots up on the desk and read the Republic (with comments) to the class. We then sort of “enacted” Plato’s work.

What are you working on right now? 

Mostly the question of how, or if it possible that, consciousness emerges from purely physical processes. This problem is hard.

Who is your favorite ‘historical’ philosopher?

Leibniz.

Which teacher had the greatest influence on your philosophical research?

Professor Wes Cooper, a Vietnam war exile who taught philosophy of mind invited me to sit in on his graduate course. We read the then just published Content and Consciousness by Daniel Dennett and I was hooked on Phil of Mind for ever after.

What do you try to bring to your undergraduate students?

The philosophical business of finding and criticizing arguments about inherently interesting fundamental issues should be fun. But it requires a kind of analytic vision which I try to instill in my students.