Study of the Mind Students Attend Science Conference

CONWAY, Ark. (April 12, 2012) - Three Hendrix College students recently presented their research at the 10th biennial Toward a Science of Consciousness Conference in Tucson, Az.

Student presenters and their research abstract titles include:

  • Zack Hausle, a sophomore philosophy major from Newtown Highlands, Mass., "Attention in Empty Higher-Order Thought"  
  • Kendall Lewellen, a junior philosophy major from Little Rock, Ark., "Imaginary Colors and Conceptualist Theories of Color Experience"
  • Jakob Lorsbach, a junior philosophy major from Little Rock, Ark., "A Critical Examination of The Extended Mind"

Alex Dayer, a junior philosophy of cognitive science major from Conway, Ark., also attended the conference.

The students were accompanied by visiting philosophy professor Dr. James Dow, who also presented a paper at the conference. The conference is one of the most significant interdisciplinary conferences on consciousness, Dow said.

Lewellen and Dayer are part of the Study of the Mind Crossings Program, an interdisciplinary course sequence and engaged learning program at Hendrix funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Lorsbach's paper was the final paper written for Dow's Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence class, and Hausle's paper was the final paper for Dow's Philosophy of Mind class, both in the fall 2012.

"It was a completely unprecedented experience in my academic career," said Lorsbach. "Seeing the authors of such famous philosophical articles in the flesh was surreal and getting to talk to them even more so."

"This conference was life changing because it was the first time that I felt such a profound conviction that people other than myself thought of philosophy as something that should be taken very seriously and solidified what my aspirations are within the discipline of philosophy," he added. "This conference was the icing on my philosophical undergraduate cake."

Lewellen and Dayer agreed.

"Speaking to professional philosophers and cognitive scientists about my undergraduate research was an extremely valuable experience," Lewellen said. "Although it certainly has other qualities, philosophy is a process of arguments and responses that is fascinating to see unfold in real time through these conversations. It was extremely constructive and encouraging to see my work taken seriously by professionals in these fields."

"The conference was without a doubt the highlight of my academic career," said Dayer. "I was happy to see philosophers, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists all coming together to exchange ideas. Without interdisciplinary cooperation and events like TSC, I don't think we could get anywhere in our understanding of consciousness."

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. Hendrix was named the country's #1 "Up and Coming" liberal arts college for the third consecutive year by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2011 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country's best 376 colleges and is listed in the 2012 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges as one of 25 "Best Buy" private colleges included. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.