1. 17547.9805
    These responses are replies to the contributions to a book symposium devoted to my book Knowing and Seeing. Groundwork for a New Empiricism (2019), held at the University of Vienna in February 2020.
    Found 4 hours, 52 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  2. 56237.980556
    We have various everyday measures for identifying the presence of consciousness, such as the capacity for verbal report and the intentional control of behaviour. However, there are many contexts in which these measures are difficult (if not impossible) to apply, and even when they can be applied one might have doubts as to their validity in determining the presence/absence of consciousness. Everyday measures for identifying consciousness are particularly problematic when it comes to ‘challenging cases’—human infants, people with brain damage, non-human animals, and AI systems. There is a pressing need to identify measures of consciousness that can be applied to challenging cases. This paper explores one of the most promising strategies for identifying and validating such measures—the natural kind strategy. The paper is in two broad parts. Part I introduces the natural kind strategy, and contrasts it with other influential approaches in the field. Part II considers a number of objections to the approach, arguing that none succeeds.
    Found 15 hours, 37 minutes ago on Nicholas Shea's site
  3. 134387.980574
    Recent years have seen growing interest in modifying interventionist accounts of causal explanation in order to characterise noncausal explanation. However, one surprising element of such accounts is that they have typically jettisoned the core feature of interventionism: interventions. Indeed, the prevailing opinion within the philosophy of science literature suggests that interventions exclusively demarcate causal relationships. This position is so prevalent that, until now, no one has even thought to name it. We call it “intervention puritanism”. In this paper, we mount the first sustained defence of the idea that there are distinctively noncausal explanations which can be characterized in terms of possible interventions; and thus, argue that I-puritanism is false. We call the resultant position “intervention liberalism” (I-liberalism, for short). While many have followed Woodward (Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003) in committing to I-pluralism, we trace support for I-liberalism back to the work of Kim (in: Kim (ed) Supervenience and mind, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1974/1993). Furthermore, we analyse two recent sources of scepticism regarding I-liberalism: debate surrounding mechanistic constitution; and attempts to provide a monistic account of explanation. We show that neither literature provides compelling reasons for adopting I-puritanism. Finally, we present a novel taxonomy of available positions upon the role of possible interventions in explanation: weak causal imperialism; strong causal imperialism; monist intervention puritanism; pluralist intervention puritanism; monist intervention liberalism; and finally, the specific position defended in this paper, pluralist intervention liberalism.
    Found 1 day, 13 hours ago on PhilPapers
  4. 182801.980589
    This paper aims to clarify Merleau-Ponty’s contribution to an embodied-enactive account of mathematical cognition. I first identify the main points of interest in the current discussions of embodied higher cognition and explain how they relate to Merleau-Ponty and his sources, in particular Husserl’s late works. Subsequently, I explain these convergences in greater detail by more specifically discussing the domains of geometry and algebra and by clarifying the role of gestalt psychology in Merleau-Ponty’s account. Beyond that, I explain how, for Merleau-Ponty, mathematical cognition requires not only the presence and actual manipulation of some concrete perceptible symbols but, more strongly, how it is fundamentally linked to the structural transformation of the concrete configurations of symbolic systems to which these symbols appertain. Furthermore, I fill a gap in the literature by explaining Merleau-Ponty’s claim that these structural transformations are operated through motor intentionality. This makes it possible, in turn, to contrast Merleau-Ponty’s approach to ontologically idealistic and realistic views on mathematical objects. On Merleau-Ponty’s account, mathematical objects are relational entities, that is, gestalts that necessarily imply situated cognizers to whom they afford a specific type of engagement in the world and on whom they depend in their eventual structural transformations. I argue that, by attributing a strongly constitutive role to phenomenal configurations and their motor transformation in mathematical thinking, Merleau-Ponty contributes to clarifying the worldly, historical, and socio-cultural aspects of mathematical truths without compromising what we perceive as their universality, certainty, and necessity.
    Found 2 days, 2 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  5. 182880.980604
    In this essay, I discuss what can be the underlying principle to the philosophy of cognitive science that is useful for us to understand human nature. Reviewing the principles of science as already presented by Noam Chomsky, I expand the discussion by briefly discussing the computational aspect of the human mind, the key I argued, to unify the mental and physical aspects of the human brain/mind. The discussion led to Aristotelian psychology (or epistemology) as the suggestion for a way forward in the understanding of the nature of human mind from the mysteriousness of its nature as understood by the rationalists started by René Descartes.
    Found 2 days, 2 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  6. 259690.980618
    Taking perceptual experience to consist in a relation of acquaintance with the sensible qualities, I argue that the state of being acquainted with a sensible quality is intrinsically a form of knowledge, and not merely a means to more familiar kinds of knowledge, such as propositional or dispositional knowledge. We should accept the epistemic claim for its explanatory power and theoretical usefulness. That acquaintance is knowledge best explains the intuitive epistemic appeal of ‘Edenic’ counterfactuals involving unmediated perceptual contact with reality (cf. Chalmers, in: Gendler, Hawthorne (eds) Perceptual experience, Oxford University Press, 2006). It explains the elusiveness of knowledge gained through new acquaintances. It coheres with the knowledge-like functional role of acquaintance in the special context of evaluative beliefs and evaluative reasoning, where the objects of acquaintance serve as evidence and inferential basis. And, finally, taking acquaintance to be knowledge is theoretically fruitful: it helps vindicate claims about the relationship between knowledge and concern for others we already find intuitive or outright accept. After developing a novel case for the epistemic claim, I respond to two familiar objections against it: namely, (1) that there are no pre-propositional, pre-conceptual cases of perceptual experience that remain epistemically relevant (Sellars in Empiricism and the philosophy of mind, Routledge, 1968, McDowell, in: Lindgard (ed) John McDowell: Experience, norm, and nature, Blackwell, 2008); and (2) that the category of knowledge appears gerrymandered once we add ‘object’ knowledge to the epistemological mix (Farkas, in: Knowles, Raleigh (eds), Acquaintance: new essays, Oxford University Press, 2019).
    Found 3 days ago on Emad H. Atiq's site
  7. 319903.980632
    A phenomenon resulting from a computationally irreducible (or computationally incompressible) process is supposedly unpredictable except via simulation. This notion of unpredictability has been deployed to formulate some recent accounts of computational emergence. Via a technical analysis of computational irreducibility, I show that computationally irreducibility can establish the impossibility of prediction only with respect to maximum standards of precision. By articulating the graded nature of prediction, I show that unpredictability to maximum standards is not equivalent to being unpredictable in general. I conclude that computational irreducibility fails to fulfill its assigned philosophical roles in theories of computational emergence.
    Found 3 days, 16 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  8. 358917.980651
    This paper examines an ancient debate over the rationality of perception. What leads the Stoics to affirm, and the Epicureans to deny, that to form a sense-impression is an activity of reason? The answer, we argue, lies in a disagreement over what is required for epistemic success. For the Stoics, epistemic success consists in believing the right propositions, and only rational states, in virtue of their predicational structure, put us in touch with propositions. Since they identify some sense-impressions as criteria of truth and thus as the basis for epistemic success, the Stoics maintain that sense-impressions must be rational. The Epicureans agree with the Stoics that sense-impressions function as criteria of truth, and also agree broadly on what it means for a state to be rational, but deny that sense-impressions are rational because (1) they think that epistemic success must be supported by a state that is necessarily error-free and (2) accept that rational states can be false. In reconstructing this debate, we refine the standard interpretation of the fundamental difference between Epicurean and Stoic epistemology and also develop parallels with epistemological debates today. One upshot is a more nuanced appreciation of the merits of Epicurean epistemology vis-à-vis the Stoics.
    Found 4 days, 3 hours ago on Whitney Schwab's site
  9. 368023.980671
    This article examines the question ‘what is humour?’ In section 1, we set out default realist presuppositions about the question. In section 2, we characterize a broadly Moorean approach to answering the question. In section 3, we introduce popular response-dependence assumptions about humour and express puzzlement about their popularity. In section 4, we present extant answers to our question: superiority theory; relief theory; play theory; laughter-dispositional theory; and incongruity theory. We find each wanting, subjecting incongruity theory, in particular, to sustained scrutiny, and offer a novel critique of the approach. In section 5, we introduce precedents for primitivism from metaphysics, epistemology and action theory. In section 6, we present several primitivist theses about humour. In section 7, we conclude with some remarks about the methodological role primitivist theses can play in adjudicating answers to our question.
    Found 4 days, 6 hours ago on PhilPapers
  10. 415272.980685
    Many issues in metaphysics and philosophy of science concern the status, significance, or theoretical role of properties such as charge and mass. This paper is about the surprising differences in metaphysical character between mass and charge properties. It develops a novel, three-fold analysis of color charge, and it shows that the same analysis for electric charge is degenerate. Additionally, the formalism for mass raises a different set of considerations for its metaphysical status. Since mass, color charge, and electric charge have these differences, metaphysicians and philosophers of science must reevaluate the ways in which they are accustomed to appealing to these properties.
    Found 4 days, 19 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  11. 415465.980699
    We present an empirically supported theoretical and methodological framework for quantifying the system-level properties of person-plus-tool interactions in order to answer the question: “Are person-plus-tool-systems extended cognitive systems?” Nineteen participants provided perceptual judgments regarding their ability to pass through apertures of various widths while using visual information, blindfolded wielding a rod, or blindfolded wielding an Enactive Torch—a vibrotactile sensory-substitution device for detecting distance. Monofractal, multifractal, and recurrence quantification analyses were conducted to assess features of person-plus-tool movement dynamics. Trials where people utilized the rod or Enactive Torch demonstrated stable “self-similarity,” or indices of healthy and adaptive single systems, regardless of aperture width, trial order, features of the participants’ judgments, and participant characteristics. Enactive Torch trials exhibited a somewhat greater range of dynamic fluctuations than the rod trials, as well as less movement recurrence, suggesting that the Enactive Torch allowed for more exploratory movements. Findings provide support for the notion that person-plus-tool systems can be classified as extended cognitive systems and a framework for quantifying system-level properties of these systems. Implications concerning future research on extended cognition are discussed.
    Found 4 days, 19 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  12. 471997.980716
    A wide range of problems of the relationship between consciousness and matter are discussed. Particular attention is paid to the analysis of the structure and properties of consciousness in the framework of information evolution. The role of specific (non-computational) properties of consciousness in the procedure of classical and quantum measurements is analyzed. In particular, the issue of "cloning" of consciousness (the possibility of copying its properties onto a new material carrier) is discussed in detail. We hope that the generalized principle of complementarity formulated by us will open up new ways for studying the problems of consciousness within the framework of the fundamental physical picture of the world.
    Found 5 days, 11 hours ago on PhilPapers
  13. 531415.98073
    Capgras delusion is generally defined as the belief that close relatives have been replaced by strangers. But such replacement beliefs have also been reported to occur in response to encountering an acquaintance, or the voice of a familiar person, or a pet, or some personal possession. All five scenarios involve believing something familiar has been replaced by something unfamiliar. So should these five kinds of delusional belief all count as subtypes of the same delusion – that is, should all be referred to as Capgras delusion? We argue in favour of this position.
    Found 6 days, 3 hours ago on Martin Davies's site
  14. 535131.980747
    The contemporary view of the relationship between conscious and unconscious intentionality consists in two claims: (i) unconscious propositional attitudes represent the world the same way conscious ones do, and (ii) both sets of attitudes represent by having determinate propositional content. Crane (2017) has challenged both claims, proposing instead that unconscious propositional attitudes differ from conscious ones in being less determinate in nature. This paper aims to evaluate Crane’s proposal. In particular, I make explicit and critique certain assumptions Crane makes in support of his asymmetry, and argue for a conditional claim: if Crane is right that unconscious intentional states are (relatively) indeterminate, this suggests that conscious intentional states are indeterminate in a similar fashion as well.
    Found 6 days, 4 hours ago on Raamy Majeed's site
  15. 637519.980761
    I define two metaphysical positions that anti-physicalists can take in response to Jonathan Schaffer’s ground functionalism. Ground functionalism is a version of physicalism where explanatory gaps are everywhere. If ground functionalism is true, arguments against physicalism based on the explanatory gap between the physical and experiential facts fail. In response, first, I argue that some anti-physicalists are already safe from Schaffer’s challenge. These anti-physicalists reject an underlying assumption of ground functionalism: the assumption that macrophysical entities are something over and above the fundamental entities. I call their position “lightweight anti-physicalism.” Second, I go on to argue that even if anti-physicalists accept Schaffer’s underlying assumption, they can still argue that the consciousness explanatory gap is especially mysterious and thus requires a special explanation. I call the resulting position “heavyweight anti-physicalism.” In both cases, the consciousness explanatory gap is a good way to argue against physicalism.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilPapers
  16. 743107.980775
    GPT-3 is a computer program trained on a huge database of internet text and designed to produce language outputs that look human. Given the right prompts, it can produce strikingly humanlike outputs, as I've discussed in previous posts here and here. …
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on The Splintered Mind
  17. 753052.98079
    Discussion of cognitive scaffolding is dominated by attention to ways that external structure can support cognitive activity or augment an agent’s cognitive capacities. We call instances where the interests of the user are served benign and argue for the possibility of hostile scaffolding. This is scaffolding which depends on the same capacities of an agent to rely on external structure, but that undermines or exploits that agent while serving the interests of another. We offer one defence of hostile scaffolding by developing an account of a neglected complementarity between extended phenotype thinking and extended functionalism. We support this with a second defence, an account of design features of electronic gambling machines and casino management systems that show how they exemplify hostile scaffolding.
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on PhilPapers
  18. 856845.980804
    I argue that high level causal relationships are often more fundamental than low level causal relationships. My argument is based on some general principles governing when one causal relationship will metaphysically ground another—a phenomenon I term derivative causation. These principles are in turn based partly on our intuitive judgments concerning derivative causation in a series of representative examples, and partly on some powerful theoretical considerations in their favour. I show how these principles entail that low level causation can derive from high level causation, and in particular that neural causation can derive from mental causation. I then draw out several important consequences of this result. Most immediate among these are the implications the result has for aspirations to reduce high level causation to its low level counterpart. But the result also bears on the possibility of downward causation, the relationship between counterfactuals and causation, and the idea—familiar from both the literature on the exclusion problem and the literature on proportionality constraints on causation—that causal relationships at different levels compete for their existence.
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  19. 904925.980819
    This paper introduces the Cummins Functions Approach to neural representations (CFA), which aims to capture the notion of representation that is relevant to contemporary neuroscientific practice. CFA shares the common view that 'to be a representation of X' amounts to 'having the function of tracking X', but maintains that the relevant notion of function is defined by Robert Cummins's account. Thus, CFA offers a notion of neural representation that is dependent on explanatory context. I argue that CFA can account for the normativity of neural representations, and defend its dependence on explanations.
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  20. 1029815.980835
    Predictive processing framework (PP) has found wide applications in cognitive science and philosophy. It is an attractive candidate for a unified account of the mind in which perception, action, and cognition fit together in a single model. However, PP cannot claim this role if it fails to accommodate an essential part of cognition—conceptual thought. Recently, Daniel Williams (2018) argued that PP struggles to address at least two of thought’s core properties — generality and rich compositionality. In this paper, I show that neither necessarily presents a problem for PP. In particular, I argue that because we do not have access to cognitive processes but only to their conscious manifestations, compositionality may be a manifest property of thought, rather than a feature of the thinking process, and result from the interplay of thinking and language. Pace Williams, both of these capacities, constituting parts of a complex and multifarious cognitive system, may be fully based on the architectural principles of PP. Under the assumption that language presents a subsystem separate from conceptual thought, I sketch out one possible way for PP to accommodate both generality and rich compositionality.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  21. 1029931.980849
    The notion of fitness has traditionally played two roles in evolutionary biology: As an ecological descriptor and as a mathematical predictor (Sober [2001]). The orthodox notion of fitness fails to account for the role of the notion as an ecological descriptor. The propensity interpretation of fitness (PIF) aims at explaining the reproductive success of organisms by relying on the notion of disposition. If successful, it can account for the organism-environment relation through the stimulus conditions for the disposition to reproduce successfully, hence fulfilling the role of ecological descriptor. In this paper I will show that the PIF fails to do so. In order to fulfill the role of ecological descriptor, a new approach is needed.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  22. 1163097.980865
    Galen Strawson (2006) thinks it is ‘obviously’ false that ‘the terms of physics can fully capture the nature or essence of experience’ (p. 4). He also describes this view as ‘crazy’ (p. 7). I think that he has been carried away by first impressions. It is certainly true that ‘physicSalism’, as he dubs this view, is strongly counterintuitive. But at the same time there are compelling arguments in its favour. I think that these arguments are sound and that the contrary intuitions are misbegotten.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on David Papineau's site
  23. 1186058.98088
    On J586, a planet peopled by sentient vegetation, seven blobs of color, stacked high like scoops of ice cream, float in a test tube-like container. The super-powered guardian of J586 sits opposite the hovering cyan and magenta patches and tentatively addresses something that looks more like a traffic light than an organism. The guardian slowly asks these blobs about who and what they are. Remarkably, the blobs explain that they have been exiled from their homeworld and express their deep regret for the chaos they have just wrought on J586.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Sam Cowling's site
  24. 1186129.980893
    Recent work in experimental semantics has found that some remember -reports fail to give rise to theoretically predicted factivity-inferences (see e.g. White and Rawlins; de Marneffe, Simons, & Tonhauser). Our paper accounts for one domain of such failures, viz. factivity variation in experiential remember -reports. The latter are reports like John remembers a woman dancing that require the agent’s personal experience of a past event or scene. We argue that, in experiential memory reports, the factivity inference (if any) is not triggered by the verb remember or its complement, but by the veridicality of the underlying experience: if the experience is veridical (as is often the case in perception), the factivity inference arises. If the experience is counterfactual (as is the case in hallucination and dreaming), the inference does not arise. We give a compositional semantics for experiential remember -reports that captures this dependence.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Markus Werning's site
  25. 1563717.98091
    A compositional theory of perceptual representations would explain how the accuracy conditions of a given type of perceptual state depend on the contents of constituent perceptual representations and the way those constituents are structurally related. Such a theory would offer a basic framework for understanding the nature, grounds, and epistemic significance of perception. But an adequate semantics of perceptual representations must accommodate the holistic nature of perception. In particular, perception is replete with context effects, in which the way one perceptually represents one aspect of a scene (including the position, size, orientation, shape, color, motion, or even unity of an object) normally depends on how one represents many other aspects of the scene. The ability of existing accounts of the semantics of perception to analyze context effects is at best unclear. Context effects have even been thought to call into question the very feasibility of a systematic semantics of perception. After outlining a compositional semantics for a rudimentary set of percepts, I draw on empirical models from perceptual psychology to show how such a theory must be modified to analyze context effects.
    Found 2 weeks, 4 days ago on PhilPapers
  26. 1693317.980923
    A standard dualist theory of perception goes like this: You sense stuff physically, the data goes to the brain, the brain processes the data, and out of the processed data produces qualia. There is a lot of discussion of the “causal closure” of the physical. …
    Found 2 weeks, 5 days ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  27. 1782046.980938
    The potential for scalable quantum computing depends on the viability of fault tolerance and quantum error correction, by which the entropy of environmental noise is removed during a quantum computation to maintain the physical reversibility of the computer’s logical qubits. However, the theory underlying quantum error correction applies a linguistic double standard to the words “noise” and “measurement” by treating environmental interactions during a quantum computation as inherently reversible, and environmental interactions at the end of a quantum computation as irreversible measurements. Specifically, quantum error correction theory models noise as interactions that are uncorrelated or that result in correlations that decay in space and/or time, thus embedding no permanent information to the environment. I challenge this assumption both on logical grounds and by discussing a hypothetical quantum computer based on “position qubits.” The technological difficulties of producing a useful scalable position-qubit quantum computer parallel the overwhelming difficulties in performing a double-slit interference experiment on an object comprising a million to a billion fermions.
    Found 2 weeks, 6 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  28. 1782097.980952
    Several approaches to quantum gravity (QG) signal the loss of spacetime at some level. According to spacetime functionalism, spacetime is functionally realised by a more fundamental structure. According to one version of spacetime functionalism, the spacetime role is specified by Ramsifying general relativity (GR). In some approaches to QG, however, there does not appear to be anything that exactly realises the functional role defined by a Ramsey sentence for GR. The spacetime role is approximately realised. It is open to the spacetime functionalist to adopt a ‘near enough is good enough’ attitude to functional realisation, and maintain that spacetime is functionally realised nonetheless. In this paper I present a challenge for such an ‘approximate’ spacetime functionalism. The challenge, in brief, is to provide an account of how ‘close’ is close enough for approximate realisation to occur. I canvass a range of options for spelling out a similarity relation of the relevant kind, and argue that none are successful. In light of the challenge, I recommend giving up on the functional realisation of spacetime. I argue, however, that even if spacetime as a whole is not functionally realised, some of the functions of spacetime may still be performed.
    Found 2 weeks, 6 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  29. 1782158.980965
    This paper aims to bridge philosophical and psychological research on causation, counterfactual thought, and the problem of backtracking. Counterfactual approaches to causation such as that by Lewis have ruled out backtracking, while on prominent models of causal inference interventionist counterfactuals do not backtrack. However, on various formal models, certain backtracking counterfactuals end up being true, and psychological evidence shows that people do sometimes backtrack when answering counterfactual questions in causal contexts. On the basis of psychological research, I argue that while ordinarily both kinds of counterfactuals may be employed, non-backtracking counterfactuals are more easily used in causal inference because they are consistent with temporal order information embedded in the mental simulation heuristic, and they match reasoners’ experience of causation. While this approach is incompatible with the ambitions of counterfactual theories that seek to establish the non-backtracking interpretation as the only legitimate one, it can provide support for perspectival views on causation and open further inquiry on the functions of causal and counterfactual thought in the context of causal models.
    Found 2 weeks, 6 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  30. 1854505.98098
    Conciliatory views of disagreement say, roughly, that it’s rational for you to become less confident in your take on an issue in case you find out that an epistemic peer’s take on it is the opposite. Their intuitive appeal notwithstanding, there are well-known worries about the behavior of conciliatory views in scenarios involving higher-order disagreements, which include disagreements over these views themselves and disagreements over the peer status of alleged epistemic peers. This paper does two things. First, it explains how the core idea behind conciliatory views can be expressed in a defeasible logic framework. The result is a formal model that’s particularly useful for thinking about the behavior of conciliatory views in cases involving higher-order disagreements. And second, the paper uses this model to resolve three paradoxes associated with disagreements over epistemic peerhood.
    Found 3 weeks ago on PhilPapers