According to Dominic Lopes, expressiveness in pictures should be analyzed solely in terms of “expression looks” of various sorts, namely the look of a figure, a scene and/or a design. But, according to this view, it seems puzzling that expressive pictures should have any emotional effect on their audiences. Yet Lopes explicitly ties his “contour theory” of expression in pictures to empathic responses in spectators. Thus, despite his deflationary account of pictorial expression, he claims that pictures can give us practice in various “empathic skills.” I argue that Lopes’s account of empathic responses to pictures, while interesting and enlightening, nevertheless ignores the most important way in which pictures exercise and enhance our empathic skills, namely, by giving us practice in taking the emotional perspective of another person.
I argue that the function attributed to episodic memory by Mahr & Csibra (that is, grounding one’s claims to epistemic authority over past events) fails to support the essentially autonoetic character of such memories. I suggest, in contrast, that episodic event-memories are sometimes purely first-order, sometimes autonoetic, depending on relevance in the context.
You aren’t supposed to talk about it. Not really. And certainly not in front of the kids. But that isn’t why you don’t remember it. That isn’t why you don’t remember the way it feels. You don’t remember the way it feels because it doesn’t leave a memory trace to begin with. The facts are retained, but the feeling disappears. What I’m alluding to is the pain of childbirth—hush, don’t let my kids read this, but it did hurt! Yet although I can remember that labor pains hurt, I can’t remember what they felt like. Although I can remember that they were too traumatic to sleep through and that while standing under the shower trying to alleviate the agony, I tore down the soap dish bolted into the wall, I can’t conjure up the sensory experience itself. Although my memory of the events leading up to the birth is pellucid—I remember how the nurses were impressed that I wanted to suffer through it unmedicated and how, when it came down to the wire, my obstetrician started humming Blue Moon—my memory of the bodily sensations is nonexistent. Introspection, here, reveals an utter blank. Contrary to the adage about experience being the best teacher, experience’s pedagogy was an utter failure.
What is the role of affective experience in explaining how our desires provide us with reasons for action? When we desire that p, we are thereby disposed to feel attracted to the prospect that p, or to feel averse to the prospect that not-p. In this paper, we argue that affective experiences – including feelings of attraction and aversion – provide us with reasons for action in virtue of their phenomenal character. Moreover, we argue that desires provide us with reasons for action only insofar as they are dispositions to have affective experiences. On this account, affective experience has a central role to play in explaining how desires provide reasons for action.
There are various equivalent formulations of the Church-Turing thesis. A common one is that every effective computation can be carried out by
a Turing machine. The Church-Turing thesis is often misunderstood,
particularly in recent writing in the philosophy of mind.
After a brief presentation of Feynman diagrams, we criticizise the idea that Feynman diagrams can be considered to be pictures or depictions of actual physical processes. We then show that the best interpretation of the role they play in quantum field theory and quantum electrodynamics is captured by Hughes' Denotation, Deduction and Interpretation theory of models (DDI), where “models” are to be interpreted as inferential, non-representational devices constructed in given social contexts by the community of physicists.
As Feynman (1982) observed, “we always have had a great deal of difficulty in understanding the world view that quantum mechanics represents” (471). Among the perplexing aspects of quantum mechanics is its seeming, on a wide variety of presently live realist interpretations (including but not limited to the so-called ‘orthodox’ interpretation), to violate the classical supposition of ‘value definiteness’, according to which the properties—a.k.a. ‘observables’—of a given particle or system have precise values at all times. Indeed, value indefiniteness lies at the heart of what is supposed to be distinctive about quantum phenomena, as per the following classic cases:
Parthood is used widely in ontologies across subject domains. Some modelling guidance can be gleaned from Ontology, yet it offers multiple mereological theories, and even more when combined with topology, i.e., mereotopology. To complicate the landscape, decidable languages put restrictions on the language features, so that only fragments of the mereo(topo)logical theories can be represented, yet during modelling, those full features may be needed to check correctness. We address these issues by specifying a structured network of theories formulated in multiple logics that are glued together by the various linking constructs of the Distributed Ontology Language, DOL. For the KGEMT mereotopological theory and five sub-theories, together with the DL-based OWL species and first- and second-order logic, this network in DOL orchestrates 28 ontologies. Further, we propose automated steps toward resolution of language feature conflicts when combining modules, availing of the new ‘OWL classifier’ tool that pinpoints profile violations.
This paper is a contribution to a book symposium on my book Experiencing Time. I reply to comments on the book by Natalja Deng, Geoffrey Lee and Bradford Skow. Although several chapters of the book are discussed, the main focus of my reply is on chapters 2 and 6. In chapter 2 I argue that the putative mind-independent passage of time could not be experienced, and from this I develop an argument against the A-theory of time. In chapter 6 I offer one part of an explanation of why we are disposed to think that time passes, relating to the supposedly ‘dynamic’ quality of experienced change. Deng, Lee, and Skow’s comments help me to clarify several issues, add some new thoughts, and make a new distinction that was needed, and I acknowledge, as I did in the book, that certain arguments in chapter 6 are not conclusive; but I otherwise concede very little regarding the main claims and arguments defended in the book.
The attempt to model the structure of consciousness in split-brain subjects is on-going. This paper concerns the recently proposed switch model of split-brain consciousness, according to which a split-brain subject possesses only a single stream of consciousness, unified at and across time, that shifts from one hemisphere to the other from moment to moment. The paper argues that while the central explanatory element of the switch model may account for some aspects of split-brain consciousness, the best general picture of split-brain consciousness is still offered by some version of the conscious duality model.
Goldman tells us that the "theory theory" and the "simulation theory" are different theories concerning "how ordinary people go about the business of attributing mental states." This phrase is ambiguous in ways that may make a difference, I think, both to the controversy between the theory theorists and the simulation theorists and to the question what imitation might have to do with mind reading.
For a philosopher to speculate about animal cognition is implicitly to engage in theoretical psychology or theoretical neurology at a very high level of abstraction. As with all sciences, research in psychology and neurology need to be guided by speculative hypotheses, in these particular cases, by hypotheses about what kinds of functions, hence structures, it would be sensible to look for. We philosophers may be in a position to help, but we can't expect armchair argument to go very far. In the end, all the questions are rock-bottom empirical.
In this paper we address the question of what determines the content of our conscious episodes of thinking, considering recent claims that phenomenal character individuates thought contents. We present one prominent way for defenders of phenomenal intentionality to develop that view and then examine ‘sensory inner speech views’, which provide an alternative way of accounting for thought-content determinacy. We argue that such views fare well with inner speech thinking but have problems accounting for unsymbolized thinking. Within this dialectic, we present an account of the nature of unsymbolized thinking that accords with and can be seen as a continuation of the activity of inner speech, while offering a way of explaining thought-content determinacy in terms of linguistic structures and representations.
Reflection on talk of reasons for action or belief suggests that reasons serve both normative and explanatory purposes. After all, reasons are cited in answer both to “why should he do it?” and “why is he doing it?”, as well as in answer both to “why should he believe it?” and “why does he believe it?”. These normative and explanatory functions are not distinct. To explain by citing someone’s reason is to state a factor in virtue of whose support the action was performed or the proposition believed. One might think that this normative-explanatory nexus, as Joseph Raz has labeled it, is at the heart of rationality. That will, in any case, be our working hypothesis in this paper. We argue that the aesthetic domain falls inside the scope of rationality and, furthermore, that it does so in its own way.
Davidson’s brilliant account of adverbial modification quantified over events. Here is a sketch of the problem it solved. “John buttered the toast with a knife at midnight” clearly entails “John buttered the toast with something,” “John did something with a knife,” and a variety of other things. If the prepositional clauses are treated as arguments of a single buttering-predicate, there would be two choices: a) An all-purpose buttering predicate would have to have every possible variety of prepositional phrase, so that “John buttered the bread” would actually use the same six-place predicate as in “John buttered the bread with butter, with a knife, in the closet, after midnight” but with three of the places existentially quantified. The inference from “John buttered the bread with fresh butter, with a knife, in the closet, after midnight” to “John buttered the bread,” would then be existential generalization, from B(John, bread, butter, knife, closet, midnight) to ExEyEzEw(John, bread,x,y,z,w).
Callard (2007) argues that it is metaphysically possible that a mathematical object, although abstract, causally affects the brain. I raise the following objections. First, a successful defence of mathematical realism requires not merely the metaphysical possibility but rather the actuality that a mathematical object affects the brain. Second, mathematical realists need to confront a set of three pertinent issues: why a mathematical object does not affect other concrete objects and other mathematical objects, what counts as a mathematical object, and how we can have knowledge about an unchanging object.
Researchers in the cognitive sciences often seek neural correlates of psychological constructs. In this paper, I argue that even when these correlates are discovered, they do not always lead to reductive outcomes. To this end, I examine the psychological construct of a critical period and briefly describe research identifying its neural correlates. Although the critical period is correlated with certain neural mechanisms, this does not imply that there is a reductionist relationship between this psychological construct and its neural correlates. Instead, this case study suggests that there may be many-to-many psychological-neural mappings, not just one-to-one or even one-to-many relations between psychological kinds and types of neural mechanisms.
In Sight and Sensibility Dominic Lopes argues that expressiveness in pictures should be analyzed on the model of the “contour” theory of musical expressiveness, according to which an “expression” need not express anything about the inner psychological states of a person. According to his “contour theory of pictorial expression,” expression by scenes and designs requires “no being to whom the expressed emotion is attributable” (the “missing person problem”). However, on this account expression has lost its fundamental raison d’être, that of manifesting somebody’s actual emotional states. By contrast, I argue that successful works of pictorial expression depict the way the world appears to someone (the artist or his/her persona) when in some emotional state. Moreover, the emotional attitude thus expressed by the work is an important unifying principle for pictures, and hence an important artistic value.
What is the Problem of Universals? In this paper we take up the classic question and proceed as follows. In Sect. 1 we consid er three problem solving settings and define the notion of problem solving accordingly. Basically I say that to solve problems is to eliminate undesirable, unspecified, or apparently incoherent scenarios. In Sect. 2 we apply the general observations from Sect. 1 to the Problem of Universals . M ore specifically, we single out two accounts of the problem w hich are based on the idea of eliminating apparently incoherent scenarios, and then propose mod ifications of those two accounts which, by contrast, are based on the idea of eliminating unspecified scenarios. In Sect. 3 we spell out two interesting ramifications.
Despite the huge practical importance of developments in AI, there have always been researchers (including Alan Turing) less interested in using AI systems to do useful things and more interested in potential of AI as science and philosophy; in particular the potential to advance knowledge by providing new explanations of natural intelligence and new answers to ancient philosophical questions about what minds are. Particularly deep questions ask how biological evolution produced so many different forms of intelligence -- a diverse subset of the space of possible minds, including humans and non-human animals, and humans at different stages of development, in a huge variety of physical and cultural contexts. We don’t seem to be close to discovering how to build machines that can replicate all known forms of natural intelligence. I am not claiming that the task is impossible, though the education of AI researchers (and many others) blinds them to some of the important natural phenomena that current AI cannot model (some of them discussed by Immanuel Kant about 240 years ago). In particular, current AI systems that I know of are not even close to matching the amazing discoveries by ancient mathematicians, including discoveries that remain in widespread use all over this planet by scientists, mathematicians, engineers, architects and others. There are deep, mostly unnoticed, connections between ancient discoveries in geometry and topology, and the intelligence of many non-human animals and pre-verbal human toddlers. The discovery processes required are unlike statistical/probabilistic learning, for reasons spelled out in Kant’s philosophy of mathematics. Perhaps recognising these limitations will inspire more researchers to join a search for extensions to current AI mechanisms. See notes: , .
Theories of judgment, whether cognitive (i.e.,
object-representing, thought-expressing, truth-apt) judgment or
practical (i.e., act-representing, choice-expressing,
evaluation-apt) judgment, bring together fundamental issues in
semantics, logic, cognitive psychology, and epistemology (collectively
providing for what can be called the four “faces” of
cognitive judgment [see also Martin 2006]), as well as action theory,
moral psychology, and ethics (collectively providing for the three
“faces” of practical judgment): indeed, the notion of
judgment is central to any general theory of human rationality.
Philosophical discussions of systems biology have enriched the notion of mechanistic explanation by pointing to the role of mathematical modeling. However, such accounts still focus on explanation in terms of tracking a mechanism’s operation across time (by means of mental or computational simulation). My contention is that there are explanations of molecular systems where the explanatory understanding does not consist in tracking a mechanism’s operation and productive continuity. I make this case by a discussion of bifurcation analysis in dynamical systems, articulating the distinctive way in which explanatory understanding is provided, especially about the reversibility or irreversibility of molecular processes.
Category theory has foundational importance because it provides conceptual lenses to characterize what is important and universal in mathematics - with adjunctions being the primary lens. If adjunctions are so important in mathematics, then perhaps they will isolate concepts of some importance in the empirical sciences. But the applications of adjunctions have been hampered by an overly restrictive formulation that avoids heteromorphisms or hets. By reformulating an adjunction using hets, it is split into two parts, a left and a right semiadjunction. Semiadjunctions (essentially a formulation of universal mapping properties using hets) can then be combined in a new way to define the notion of a brain functor that provides an abstract model of the intentionality of perception and action (as opposed to the passive reception of sense-data or the reflex generation of behavior).
Few would deny that our desires and our evaluations are closely linked. Normally, we desire to achieve or promote the things that we value. Beyond that, it is often the case that our desires lead us to evaluate things one way or another, and that our evaluations, in turn, give rise to novel desires. Suppose, for instance, that you are looking for a new car and desire one with an especially large boot. This will surely have an impact on how you evaluate the alternatives you have. Or suppose you evaluate a movie very positively. This might produce a desire in you to see it again. It thus seems plausible that desires and evaluations do interact in a significant and thoroughgoing way. This much is, we take it, uncontroversial. However, one could advance a much more ambitious thesis about the extent and nature of this patent interaction. One could claim, in particular, that the link between desires and positive evaluations is a matter of conceptual or metaphysical necessity because desires just are, or at least, necessarily involve, evaluations of their object as good – one can desire something only sub specie boni, that is, under the guise of the good, as Scholastic philosophers used to put it. We shall call this view evaluativism about desire.
During my whirlwind tour of the Bay Area, questions started pouring in about a preprint from a group mostly at IBM Yorktown Heights, entitled Breaking the 49-Qubit Barrier in the Simulation of Quantum Circuits. …
I find very persuasive arguments like this:
If theory T is true, then whether I exist now depends on some future events. Facts about what exists now do not depend on future events. So, theory T is not true. …
Introduced into the philosophical lexicon during the Eighteenth
Century, the term ‘aesthetic’ has come to be used to
designate, among other things, a kind of object, a kind of judgment, a
kind of attitude, a kind of experience, and a kind of value. For the
most part, aesthetic theories have divided over
questions particular to one or another of these designations:
whether artworks are necessarily aesthetic objects; how to square the
allegedly perceptual basis of aesthetic judgments with the fact that
we give reasons in support of them; how best to capture the elusive
contrast between an aesthetic attitude and a practical one; whether to
define aesthetic experience according to its phenomenological or
representational content; how best to understand the relation between
aesthetic value and aesthetic experience.
The topic of this paper is the notion of the first person (singular), namely the notion me. Let us begin by distinguishing it from a different notion which is often confused with it, namely the notion self. The notion me applies to me and me alone absolutely, whereas the notion self applies to me relative to me, applies to you relative to you, applies to Jill relative to Jill, applies to Jack relative to Jack, and so on. Everyone is the self relative to her/him; for every x, x is the self to x. But only I am me, period. Of course, you may assert correctly, “Only I am me.” But the content of your assertion when you say this does not deal in the notion me; for your word “me” does not express the notion me. Only my word “me” does. It is not even that your word “me” expresses the notion me to you. To you your word “me” expresses a certain notion, which you call “the notion me.” But what you call “the notion me” is not the notion me, any more than the person you call “me” is me.
A well-known problem, noticed by Meirav, is that it is difficult to distinguish hope from despair. Both the hoper and the despairer are unsure about an outcome and they both have a positive attitude towards it. …
Not long ago, psychologists commonly regarded emotions as disruptions of organized and rational thought and action (Leeper 1948). A functionalist approach, fostered by an adaptationist conception of evolution by natural selection, has in the past few decades led to a very different consensus. Other things being equal, our more enduring capacities must be good for something— though not necessarily for someone: some genes, perhaps, of which organisms are but vehicles (Dawkins 1976); or perhaps for a population or a species as a whole (Gould 2002). That consensus is not, however, committed to the uniformity or universality of our emotional repertoire. The extent to which our emotional potential is malleable remains an open question.