The argument against mind-‐body identity theory in Naming and Necessity is directed against a theory advocated in Place (1956), Smart (1963), Lewis (1966), and Armstrong (1968). Their psycho-‐physical identity theory attempted to vindicate the reality of mental processes by identifying pains, sensations, and consciousness itself with brain states and processes. It arose in reaction to phenomenalism and behaviorism, the latter in both its scientific form, illustrated by B.F. Skinner, and its philosophical or “logical” form, illustrated by Gilbert Ryle. Early versions didn’t specify which brain states and processes were identical with pain states, sensation states, or consciousness. That was a job for neuroscientists. The philosophical job was to defeat conceptual objections to the possibility that any such identification could be correct and to articulate the explanatory advantages of incorporating the mental into physical science.
Some vegetative state patients show fMRI responses similar to those of healthy controls when instructed to perform mental imagery tasks. Many authors have argued that this provides evidence that such patients are in fact conscious, as response to commands requires intentional agency. I argue for an alternative reading, on which responsive patients have a deficit similar to that seen in severe forms of akinetic mutism. Akinetic mutism is marked by the inability to form and maintain intentions to act. Responsive patients are likely still conscious. However, the route to this conclusion does not support attributions of intentional agency. I argue that aspects of consciousness, rather than broad diagnostic categories, are the more appropriate target of empirical investigation. Investigating aspects of consciousness provides a better method for investigating profound disorders of consciousness.
The aim of the paper is to understand what is involved in the claim that a mental state in general and love in particular, is based on reasons. Love, like many other mental states, can be evaluated in various ways: it can be considered appropriate, deserved, enriching, perverse, destructive etc. but this does not mean that love is based on reasons. In this paper I present and defend a test that a mental state has to satisfy if it is to count as based on reasons. This test will be used to construct a new argument in favour of Frankfurt's position that love is not based on reasons.
Charlie Dunbar Broad (1887–1971) was an English philosopher who for
the most part of his life was associated with Trinity College,
Cambridge. Broad’s early interests were in science and
mathematics. Despite being successful in these he came to believe that
he would never be a first-rate scientist, and turned to philosophy. Broad’s interests were exceptionally wide-ranging. He devoted his
philosophical acuity to the mind-body problem, the nature of
perception, memory, introspection, and the unconscious, to the nature
of space, time and causation. He also wrote extensively on the
philosophy of probability and induction, ethics, the history of
philosophy and the philosophy of religion.
Some proponents of ‘experimental philosophy’ criticize philosophers’ use of thought experiments on the basis of evidence that the verdicts vary with truth-independent factors. However, their data concern the verdicts of philosophically untrained subjects. According to the expertise defence, what matters are the verdicts of trained philosophers, who are more likely to pay careful attention to the details of the scenario and track their relevance. In a recent paper, Jonathan Weinberg and others reply to the expertise defence that there is no evidence for such expertise. I reply to them in this paper, arguing that they have misconstrued the dialectical situation. Since they have produced no evidence that philosophical training is less efficacious for thought experimentation than for other cognitive tasks for which they acknowledge that it produces genuine expertise, such as informal argumentation, they have produced no evidence for treating the former more sceptically than the latter.
I give an account of proof terms for derivations in a sequent calculus for classical propositional logic. The term for a derivation δ of a sequent Σ ∆ encodes how the premises Σ and conclusions ∆ are related in δ. This encoding is many–to–one in the sense that different derivations can have the same proof term, since different derivations may be different ways of representing the same underlying connection between premises and conclusions. However, not all proof terms for a sequent Σ ∆ are the same. There may be different ways to connect those premises and conclusions.
Computational complexity theory is a branch of computer science that is dedicated to classifying computational problems in terms of their difficulty. Unlike computability theory, whose object is to determine what we can compute in principle, the object of complexity theory is to inform us with regards to our practical limits. It thus serves as a natural conceptual bridge between the study of mathematics and the study of technology, in the sense that computational complexity theory
As its title indicates, this book is about two kinds of properties of perceiving subjects: their phenomenal properties, and their representational properties. In particular, it focuses on three questions: What are phenomenal properties? What are representational properties? What is the relationship between phenomenal and representational properties? My answers to these questions are guided by two ideas, which have both been around for a long time. The first is that experience is transparent, in the sense that attention to one’s perceptual experiences is, or is intimately involved with, attention to the objects and properties those experiences present as in one’s environment. Though the label is due to Moore, versions of this idea can be found in earlier philosophers as well, and it has played a central role in recent work in the philosophy of perception.
It is not news that we often make discoveries or find reasons for a mathematical proposition by thinking alone. But does any of this thinking count as conducting a thought experiment? The answer to that question is “yes”, but without refinement the question is uninteresting. Suppose you want to know whether the equation [ 8x + 12y = 6 ] has a solution in the integers. You might mentally substitute some integer values for the variables and calculate. In that case you would be mentally trying something out, experimenting with particular integer values, in order to test the hypothesis that the equation has no solution in the integers. Not getting a solution first time, you might repeat the thought experiment with different integer inputs.
In this paper we argue that the different positions taken by Dyson and Feynman on Feynman diagrams’ representational role depend on different styles of scientific thinking. We begin by criticizing 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.
– According to pancomputationalism, all physical systems – atoms, rocks, hurricanes, and toasters – perform computations. Pancomputationalism seems to be increasingly popular among some philosophers and physicists. In this paper, we interpret pancomputationalism in terms of computational descriptions of varying strength—computational interpretations of physical microstates and dynamics that vary in their restrictiveness. We distinguish several types of pancomputationalism and identify essential features of the computational descriptions required to support them. By tying various pancomputationalist theses directly to notions of what counts as computation in a physical system, we clarify the meaning, strength, and plausibility of pancomputationalist claims. We show that the force of these claims is diminished when weaknesses in their supporting computational descriptions are laid bare. Specifically, once computation is meaningfully distinguished from ordinary dynamics, the most sensational pancomputationalist claims are unwarranted, whereas the more modest claims offer little more than recognition of causal similarities between physical processes and the most primitive computing processes.
This chapter examines some aspects of the influence of the sorites paradox in psychology. Section 1 starts out with a brief discussion of the analysis of slippery slope arguments in the psychology of reasoning, to introduce the relevance of probabilistic considerations in that domain. We then devote most of this chapter to the analysis in psychophysics and in the psychology of concepts of the complex relationship between discrimination and categorization for items that differ very little. Section 2 emphasizes the centrality of probabilistic modeling to represent the way in which small differences between stimuli affect decisions of membership under a common category. Section 3 focuses on experimental data concerning unordered transitions between prototypes, then section 4 looks at data concerning ordered transitions between prototypes (dynamic sorites).
Multiverse theories like David Lewis’s or Donald Turner’s populate reality with a multitude of universes containing strange things like unicorns and witches riding broomsticks. One might think that positing unicorns and witches makes a theory untenable, but the theorists try to do justice to common sense by saying that the unicorns and witches aren’t here. …
Much of the discussion of Kant’s account of theoretical ‘cognition [Erkenntnis]’ and ‘knowledge [Wissen]’ over the past several centuries has (understandably) focused on the nature and significance of his distinction within ‘representations [Vorstellungen]’ between ‘intuitions [Anschauungen]’ and ‘concepts [Begriffe]’, in order to specify their relevant contributions to ‘experience [Erfahrung]’ and to cognition more broadly. Recently, however, it is becoming more widely recognized that Kant’s account of theoretical cognition in general involves a much wider suite of representations than merely intuitions and concepts, and that many of these are involved in essential ways in the constitution of experience in particular. More specifically, closer attention is being paid to the distinctive role played in the constitution of experience by ‘the power of imagination [Einbildungskraft]’, ‘apprehension’, ‘perception [Wahrnehmung]’, ‘consciousness [Bewußtsein]’, ‘images [Bilder]’, ‘schemata’, and even ‘appearances [Erscheinun-gen]’ themselves as the immediate though undetermined ‘objects’ of intuition (cf. KrV, B 33) – as all providing their own distinct, if complementary, contributions to experience and cognition, related to but separate from those provided by intuitions and concepts themselves. All of these representations are singled out at key points (some even in the very section headings) in Kant’s discussion of cognition in the first Critique for the separate contribution that they make in the process of allowing cognition itself to ‘arise [entspringen]’ from the ‘unification [Vereinigung]’ of intuitions with concepts (cf. B75-6). At the same time, however, these are all representations that Kant contrasts both with intuitions and concepts, on the one hand, but also with cognition itself and experience as well, on the other. Rather, these representations all function as intermediate steps on the ‘progression [Stufenleiter]’ that transpires within our mind as it moves from the receptivity of intuitions by our ‘sensibility [Sinnlichkeit]’ to the cognition of objects through concepts by our ‘understanding [Verstand]’ (cf. KrV, B 355; B 730; B 376-77).
Chapter 8 of The Given discusses the topic of cognitive phenomenology. My view of the matter is simple: either accept cognitive phenomenology or deny that there is such a thing as conscious thought. How can you deny the existence of conscious thought?! …
Strikes a line through text and opens up a text box where replacement text can be entered. How to use it • Highlight a word or sentence. • Click on the Replace (Ins) icon in the Annotations section. • Type the replacement text into the blue box that appears.
In earlier work on so-called moderate relativism, I distinguished three semantic levels: (i) the meaning of the sentence, (ii) the lekton (a typically ‘relativized’ proposition, true at some situations and false at others), and (iii) the Austinian proposition (the lekton together with a topic situation serving as circumstance of evaluation). The lekton can be construed as a property of situations or a type of situation. The Austinian proposition is true iff the topic situation is of the type corresponding to the lekton.
What makes the Sleeping Beauty problem non-trivial is Beauty's
potential memory loss on Monday night. In my view, this means that
Sleeping Beauty should be modeled as a case of potential epistemic
fission: if the coin lands tails, any update Beauty makes to her
beliefs in the transition from Sunday to Monday will also fix her
beliefs on Tuesday, and so the Sunday state effectively has two
epistemic successors, one on Monday one on Tuesday. …
In the final chapter of The Given, I describe the rich complexity involved in experiencing emotions. I restrict my attention to occurrent emotional episodes that are not only conscious, but are also intentional. …
This week’s Virtual Colloquium paper is “The Shattered Spiritual Self” by Michelle Panchuk. Dr. Panchuk received her PhD from the University of South Carolina in 2016, and is currently a research fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Philosophy of Religion. …
In “Perceptual Confidence,” I argue that our perceptual experiences assign degrees of confidence. In “Precision, not Confidence, Describes the Uncertainty of Perceptual Experience,” Rachel Denison disagrees. I believe that most of our disagreements are merely terminological, because they just reflect differences in how we use the terms ‘perceptual experiences’, ‘assign’ and ‘confidence’. If I’m right, only two of our disagreements are substantive, in particular whether perception involves automatic categorization, and whether there is an intrinsic difference between a blurry perception of a sharp image and a sharp perception of a blurry image.
What one finds intuitive changes--propositions initially found intuitive, counterintuitive, or neither intuitive nor counterintuitive can shift their status. In this paper I develop a puzzle about changes in what one finds intuitive: (1) Changes in what one finds intuitive partly consist in learning new facts; (2) If changes in what one finds intuitive partly consist in learning new facts, then these changes are changes in inferences not intuitions; (3) But changes in what one finds intuitive are changes in intuitions. I argue that changes in what one finds intuitive are changes in the contents of one’s intuition experiences due to a form of restructuring familiar from the literature on problem solving, and that this provides grounds for denying step (2) in the puzzle. I consider and reject alternatives that target steps (1) or (3). And I explore the significance my view of changes in what one finds intuitive has for recent controversies about philosophical methodology.
I want to pick up a thread from my second post, where I wrote that mindfulness practices should be understood as skillful ways of enacting certain kinds of embodied states and behaviors in the world, not as inner observation of an observer-independent mental stream. …
I called my book The Given (Oxford University Press, 2016) because I set out to answer the question, What is given in experience? What does one have to do in order to give an adequate characterization of how the world is given to us, an adequate characterization of how we sense, feel, and think about—live in—the world? …
Although mathematicians often use it, mathematical beauty is a philosophically challenging concept. How can abstract objects be evaluated as beautiful? Is this related to the way we visualise them? Using a case study from graph theory (the highly symmetric Petersen graph), this paper tries to analyse aesthetic preferences in mathematical practice and to distinguish genuine aesthetic from epistemic or practical judgements. It argues that, in making aesthetic judgements, mathematicians may be responding to a combination of perceptual properties of visual representations and mathematical properties of abstract structures; the latter seem to carry greater weight. Mathematical beauty thus primarily involves mathematicians’ sensitivity to aesthetics of the abstract.
It can seem incoherent to fully characterize fundamentality in terms of grounding, given that the fundamental is precisely that which cannot be fully characterized independently. I argue that there is no such incoherence.
In previous work, I have suggested a doxastic account of perceptual experience according to which experiences form a (peculiar) kind of belief: Beliefs with what I have called “phenomenal” or “looks-content”. I have argued that this account can not only accommodate the intuitive reason providing role of experience, but also its justificatory role. I have also argued that, in general, construing experience and perceptual beliefs, i.e. the beliefs most directly based on experience, as having different contents best accounts for the defeasibility of experiential reasons. In this paper, I shall have a closer look at the evidential or inferential relation between looks-propositions and the contents of perceptual beliefs and argue for a form of what I shall call “Pollockian-ism” about experiential reasons: such reasons are good unless defeated. Questions to be investigated include: Does the resulting picture of perceptual justification contain an externalist element? Is it compatible with Bayesianism? And how does it do with respect to problems that have been raised for other forms of Pollockianism such as dogmatism or phenomenal conservatism?
This paper centers around the notion that internal, mental representations are grounded in structural similarity, i.e., that they are so-called S-representations. We show how S-representations may be causally relevant and argue that they are distinct from mere detectors. First, using the neomechanist theory of explanation and the interventionist account of causal relevance, we provide a precise interpretation of the claim that in S-representations, structural similarity serves as a “fuel of success”, i.e., a relation that is exploitable for the representation using system. Then, we discuss crucial differences between S-representations and indicators or detectors, showing that—contrary to claims made in the literature—there is an important theoretical distinction to be drawn between the two.
This paper addresses a famous objection against David Lewis’ Best System Analysis (BSA) of laws of nature. The objection—anticipated and discussed by Lewis (1994)—focuses on the standards of simplicity and strength being (in part) a matter of psychology. Lewis’ answer to the objection relies on his metaphysics of natural properties and its ability to single out the robustly best system, a system that is expected to come out far ahead of its rivals under any standard of simplicity and strength. The main task of this paper is to argue that Lewis’ reply to the objection in terms of nature being kind to us does not succeed, if nature’s kindness is understood in terms of the naturalness of the properties composing the Humean mosaic. For epistemic access to natural properties is downstream to any previous identification of the best system. A possible Lewisian rejoinder in terms of cross-world Humean mosaic of natural properties is considered and rebutted. The paper concludes by suggesting that Lewis could instead avail himself of a better answer to the objection, if the standards of simplicity and strength were reinterpreted along perspectivalist lines.
We can classify theories of consciousness along two dimensions. The first dimension is a theory’s answer to the question of whether consciousness is “something over and above” the physical. Physicalism, dualism, and Russellian monism are the three possible positions on this dimension. The second dimension is a theory’s answer to the question of how conscious states causally interact with physical states. The three possible answers to this question are nomism (the two interact through laws or necessary principles), acausalism (they do not causally interact), and anomalism (they interact but not through laws or necessary principles). This paper explores the potential and viability of anomalous dualism, a combination of views that has not been explored. I suggest that a specific version of anomalous dualism, emergent anomalous panpsychism, can address the two most pressing issues for dualist views, the problem of mental causation and the mapping problem (the problem of predicting mind-body associations). There is no positive evidence for emergent anomalous panpsychism, but it seems to be the only theory that can reconcile all the evidence that has been offered by dualists and physicalists.