Gualtiero kindly gave me an account here, so I am left with the problem of what to post. A brief introduction. I have a background in analytic philosophy, first in the philosophy of perception, mostly studying nineteenth century theories of perception and consciousness, and then in philosophy of language, focusing particularly on medieval theories of language, and to some extent medieval theories of intentionality and consciousness. I recently completed a translation of an early work by Duns Scotus with Jack Zupko of Winnipeg university.
I am not sure what the medieval word for ‘consciousness’ would be. They wrote in Latin, and the word ‘conscious’ derives from the Latin ‘conscio’, which does mean to be conscious, but in the general sense of joint knowledge, being privy to some fact etc. It is closely related to ‘conscientia’, which means something like our word ‘conscience’. Augustine says Nulla enim definitionum illarum timenda est, cum bene sibi conscius est animus, using the word ‘conscius’, but what he probably means by ‘bene sibi conscius est animus’ is that the soul (or mind) has a good conscience. This reminds me of the distinction between ‘mind’ and ‘soul’ which the scholastic philosophers were careful to draw, and I wonder if the modern ‘consciousness’ means something like what they meant by ‘soul’. We tend to avoid ‘soul’, of course, perhaps because of the religious implications.
The medievals also frequently used the word ‘intellectus’ which translates loosely as ‘understanding’, but can also be translated as ‘concept’ or ‘conception’.
Anyway, enough rambling. To bring me up to date from the medieval period and the early nineteenth century where I got stuck, could the readers of this blog give me a few signposts about some very general questions. What are the current ‘canonical problems’ in the philosophy of mind? Who are the main writers in this area? Do we distinguish the philosophy of mind from sciences like pychology, psychiatry, neuroscience and so on?