William Herbert Perry Faunce Professor of Philosophy
Corliss Brackett 207
Spring 2018 office hours:
Tuesdays, 3:00-4:00pm; Thursdays 1:00-2:00pm
Brown Research Page
Chris Hill has been at Brown since 2002. He previously taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Case Western Reserve University, and (for many years) at the University of Arkansas and has been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan and MIT. He mainly teaches courses in philosophy of mind but occasionally strays into other areas, including epistemology, logic, philosophy of cognitive science, and philosophy of language. He enjoys teaching and takes great pleasure in the many achievements of his students, past and present.
Hill is the author of numerous papers and four books.
- Sensations (Cambridge University Press, 1991) argues for a radical physicalism concerning qualitative mental states (like pain), specifically, for the view that qualitative states are type-identical with high level brain states. He no longer holds this version of physicalism, having converted to a form of representationalism several years ago, but continues to write about it from time to time, seeking ways of improving upon the earlier exposition.
- Thought and World (Cambridge University Press, 2002) defends a deflationary account of semantic properties and relations. The foundation of Hill's approach is a family of logical operators that are known as substitutional quantifiers. According to the theory, truth and relational semantic concepts such as reference and denotation can be explicitly defined in terms of these logical operators, and therefore count as a priori concepts. The correspondence relation that links thoughts to states of affairs is also given a deflationary analysis.
- Consciousness (Cambridge University Press, 2009) offers explanations of six forms of consciousness: agent consciousness, propositional consciousness (the form that is expressed by the conscious that construction), introspective consciousness (the form that is possessed by mental states that are objects of introspective awareness), relational consciousness (the form that is expressed by the conscious of construction), phenomenal consciousness, and experiential consciousness (the form that is common to all mental states that count as experiences). Among other things, it argues that all awareness involves representations, including even awareness of qualitative states like pain, and that it is therefore possible to extend the appearance/reality distinction to qualia: There is the way that qualia are represented as being, and the way that they are in themselves. Hill then uses this doctrine to undercut the case for property dualism.
- Meaning, Mind, and Knowledge (Oxford University Press, 2014) is a collection of papers, half previously published and half new. Some of the papers are concerned with truth and reference; others explore the pros and cons of type-physicalism; the members of a third group develop the aforementioned representationalist account of phenomenal consciousness; and the rest explore topics in epistemology.
Hill was the editor of Philosophical Topics for a number of years, and he has co-edited two free-standing volumes: New Perspectives on Type Identity (Cambridge University Press, 2012), with Simone Gozzano, and Sensory Integration and the Unity of Consciousness (MIT Press, 2014), with David Bennett.