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Western Philosophy
20th-century philosophy
Name: Ned Block
Birth: 1942
School/tradition: Analytic philosophy
Main interests
Philosophy of mind
Notable ideas
Influences Influenced
Alan Turing |

Ned Block (born 1942) is a philosopher of mind who has made important contributions to matters of consciousness and cognitive science. He obtained his Ph.D. from Harvard University, and was a student of Hilary Putnam. Block was for many years professor of philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and now teaches at New York University (NYU).

Block is noted for presenting the Blockhead argument against the Turing Test as a test of intelligence in a paper entitled Psychologism and Behaviourism (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.

He has been a judge at the Loebner Prize contest, to determine if a conversant is a computer or human, in the tradition of the Turing Test.

Block is married to the developmental psychologist Susan Carey.


  1. Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at New York University (NYU) 1996 - Current
  2. Chair of the Philosophy Program At Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - ?.....- 1996
  3. Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  4. Guggenheim Fellow
  5. Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of Language and Information
  6. Sloan Foundation Fellow
  7. Recipient of Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies
  8. Recipient of Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.
  9. Past President of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology
  10. Past Chair of the MIT Press Cognitive Science Board of Syndics
  11. Past President of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness
  12. Co-editor of The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates (MIT Press, 1997).

External links

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