Professor Tim Crane

Tim Crane is Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge. Before coming to Cambridge he taught at UCL and founded the Institute of Philosophy in the University of London in 2005. He is the philosophy consultant editor of the TLS and the general editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. He is author The Meaning of Belief (Harvard UP 2017). From 2017 Tim will be moving to Budapest to take up a position at the Central European University.

Tim Crane has attempted to understand the nature of the human mind in the most general, abstract and comprehensive way. He has addressed questions such as: what does it mean to have a mind? What is it to think? What is it to be conscious? How are thought and consciousness related? Are there any deep and essential differences between human minds and the minds of other animals? What is the relationship between the knowledge which we all have of our own minds and the knowledge that we get from neuroscience and psychology? What does it mean for the mind to be physical or material?

Crane has defended a conception of the mind which rejects both scientistic reductionism and the idea that philosophy should be insulated from science. To understand ourselves we need a proper understanding of what science has told us about ourselves; but the idea that science is the only source of knowledge has no basis in science, philosophy or anything else. He has argued that the essential feature of the mind is what the phenomenologists called ‘intentionality’: the mind’s direction on the world, or its representational power. Consciousness should be understood in terms of intentionality. The mind-body problem, as Crane conceives is, is the empirical-philosophical problem of understanding how our mental, intentional capacities are embodied in our brains and bodies.

Related Sessions
Sunday 19 October 2014, 17.30 Milton Court

Publications

Aspects of Psychologism (Harvard University Press, 2014)
The Objects of Thought (OUP Oxford, 2013)
‘Fraught with Ought’, London Review of Books 30 no. 12, 19 June 2008: 33-35
Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2004)
The Mechanical Mind: A Philosophical Introduction to Minds, Machines and Mental Representation(Second edition, London: Routledge 2003)

In conversation: Israel

"Five debates a day sounds a bit daunting beforehand, but I really loved it. The speakers are so knowledgeable and passionate about their chosen topic, and the amount of time dedicated to questions from the audience was great as it really brought in alternative views."
Exeter University student

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