Ned Joel Block (born 1942) is an American philosopher working in philosophy of mind who has made important contributions to the understanding of consciousness and the philosophy of cognitive science. He has been professor of philosophy and psychology at New York University since 1996.
|Philosophy of mind|
Education and careerEdit
Block obtained his PhD from Harvard University in 1971 under the direction of Hilary Putnam. He joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as an assistant professor of philosophy (1971–1977), and then served as associate professor of philosophy (1977–1983), professor of philosophy (1983–1996) and as chair of the philosophy section (1989–1995). He has, since 1996, been a professor in the departments of philosophy and psychology at New York University (NYU).
He is married to the developmental psychologist Susan Carey.
Block is noted for presenting the Blockhead argument against the Turing test as a test of intelligence in a paper titled "Psychologism and Behaviorism" (1981). He is also known for his criticism of functionalism, arguing that a system with the same functional states as a human is not necessarily conscious. In his more recent work on consciousness, he has made a distinction between phenomenal consciousness and access consciousness, where phenomenal consciousness consists of subjective experience and feelings and access consciousness consists of that information globally available in the cognitive system for the purposes of reasoning, speech and high-level action control. He has argued that access consciousness and phenomenal consciousness might not always coincide in human beings.