Dr. Nole Boyle's primary academic expertise is on the nature of consciousness; he defends the view that phenomenal properties supervene on, but are not ontologically reducible to, fundamental physical properties. For instance, in “Phenomenology and Neurobiology: Towards a Three-Tiered Intertheoretic Model of Explanation,” (The Journal of Consciousness Studies) he argues that the ideas of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Patricia Churchland can usefully collaborate in developing an epistemological strategy for explaining consciousness. In his dissertation on Frank Jackson (Michigan State University, 2008), he argued that Jackson’s knowledge argument fails for reasons that parallel the failure of modal arguments that are generally considered distinct.
Dr. Boyle’s upper-level course offerings have covered a wide range of primarily 20th century philosophy: History of Contemporary Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, Epistemology, Existentialism & Phenomenology, Analytic Philosophy, and Intermediate Logic.
His most recent work is geared toward a wider audience. He has published philosophical and theological reflections on his son’s severe disabilities. He regularly speaks on campus in defense of evolution, against intelligent design creationism. He also wrote the Introduction to the First-Year Seminar anthology, in which he tries to communicate a vision of the nature, value, and purpose of liberal education. Dr. Boyle also currently serves as the director of Belmont’s general education program, the BELL Core.