Philosophy of Mind


Search forums
Subscribe to this forum      feed for this page

 1 - 20 / 94 
(From Author) Sadly enough, this article has badly edited parts. Although I asked Editor to correct them many times, it seems that he did not have enough time to do that. I would like to apologize to readers for that.Editor, who sent me a letter afterwards, said as follows:

September 10, 2012


This is to apologize for the typographical errors in the article published by Yusuke Kaneko in our journal, 
the International Journal of Arts and Sciences.
The mistakes were few but they were committed at the printing phase and should not be held against Dr. Kaneko.
We profusely apologize to Dr. Kaneko about the above.


Mark Bridge
Conferences Department

Hi Jack,

Nice paper!. However, if I may, I wasn't convinced by your response to objection five. The objection, I take it, is that the intuitions you are marshaling about incoherence derive from a non-moral standpoint, that is, they are intuitions that arise when one is doing metaethics and not when one is actually moralizing.  And it seems undeniable that Moore paradoxical sentences are straightforwardly bizarre when uttered by persons in the context of actual moralizing (just imagine actually having the relevant conversation). At the outset of your paper, you correctly note that expressivism is a theory about actual moralizing, so it seems like this is one objection to which you should be very sensitive.  You respond:

This is not really a rejection of C3, but a rejection of C1, since it admits that it is not always the case that affective or conative attitudes are expressed by moral assertions. If non-cognitive mental states are only sometimes expressed by moral assertions, then the clai ... (read more)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply


Methodologically speaking, I wonder why Matilal and S's article has not been enough for  further studies of this sort to be the rule on Mind (and other philosophical journals). Does this failure depend on their style? (Or should we just start working as a task-force and submit many articles of this kind?)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply


Can there be linguistics without ontology?

The context principle and some Indian controversies over Meaning is a milestone in Indian studies, and in the history of their interaction with mainstream (i.e. Western) philosophy. Since it was published in 1988 on Mind (one of the top-5 journals in Philosophy, inaccessible for most authors), virtually everyone (in Indian philosophy) has read it.

Have you also re-read it?

I re-read it after some years this Summer and I have to admit that it was again a surprise. The article starts with a discussion of the Context principle in Frege and Quine (does the principle mean that words HAVE no meaning outside a sentence, or that their meaning can only be UNDERSTOOD within a sentence?). In this connection, Matilal and Sen discuss a strong and a weak interpretation of the Context principle (according to whether it should answer the first or the second question). They end up saying that the strong interpretation clashes with Frege's later work (see belo ... (read more)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

All comments are welcome!
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Here's the place to be critical!  Anything that can help me develop this argument is much appreciated.  This is something I develop a bit in my dissertation and the hope is to develop it more here and eventually have something worthy of publication.
Latest replies:
  • Jim Stone, 2013-06-23 : Here are some comments. Thanks for t 1. It will help your reader to say early on what nonreductive physicalism is, and w... (read more)
  • John Altmann, 2013-06-24 : I just wanted to say first and foremost before I go any further that I am not a Professor of Philosophy nor have I ever... (read more)
  • Andrew Russo, 2013-06-24 : First of all, thanks for taking the time to read my paper and provide me with comments.  This is what I hoped would... (read more)
  • Andrew Russo, 2013-06-24 : Thank you for reading my paper and commenting on it.  Whatever comments you give, whether or not they are from some... (read more)
  • Jim Stone, 2013-06-24 : Thanks for answering. The dialectic between us is for me now a little complicated. I follow this protocol in commenting... (read more)
Permanent link: Reply

Hi Matt,

This is a very interesting paper.  I am in agreement with the basic premise, namely, that we should be suspicious of moral intuitions which are highly contingent or "flippable".  However, I have one or two questions about the argument.

In one section, you're dealing with the problem of "typing" mechanisms.  The point, as I understand it, is to show that your argument defeats demandingness intuitions but does not defeat other moral intuitions (such as those concerning the wrongness of slavery).  You say:

Given these considerations, how generally should we type the testimonial process behind my moral belief that slavery is wrong? The reliability of (say) my mother’s anti-racist moral testimony in the actual world should not necessarily be impugned by the unreliability of her moral testimony were she a racist bigot, for her epistemic situation (i.e., her foundational moral beliefs) in the latter case would be radically mistaken. The two types of testimonial processes, then, are plausibl ... (read more)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Hi Professor Demetriou,

I've just read the draft of your paper, and I really enjoyed it, especially the bits where you complicate the somewhat simplistic just-so cultural-evolutionary story provided by Ross and Nisbett.  One rarely sees such deep engagement with actual anthropological data in moral-philosophical papers about disagreement, and I think your reflections here are a valuable contribution to this literature.

However, I have a question about the "pluralism" that is on offer, which is "a view urging the moral correctness of  multiple and mutually irreducible comprehensive ethical  outlooks , each suited to  its own dimension  of social life ."  A familiar worry emerges here, which is that you are covertly drawing on a kind of monism which serves to make each of the competing moral systems appear attractive.  The trouble begins with the word "suited": what does it mean to say that a moral outlook is "suited" t ... (read more)
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

This was a solid paper guys I really must commend you for the excellent work. With that said, I do agree with you about Raz's arguments. They seemed to possess little to no substance whatsoever and his argument of self-interest towards the end seemed to be more of a forfeiture of his premise than anything else. I will at least credit him for attempting to untangle the knots in this complex field we call moral philosophy but I had some major objections while reading. Please do correct me if I speak ignorantly or from a misinformed position.

1. Raz says to be moral is to see value in others and one's self. This value is derived from the virtue of being a person. Are we to take it that the recognition of this value disregards how we cultivate that value through action which subsequently has consequences? If I see value in someone, but still decide to take away their life because I perceive myself to be more valuable, am I moral or not.

2. A refutation of point 1 would be that to see value ... (read more)
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply



Commentary on Dan Dennett on:

 "On a Phenomenal Confusion about Access and Consciousness"

Dan Dennett: "Many researchers on consciousness have adopted Ned Block's purported distinction between "access" consciousness and 'phenomenal' consciousness (Block, 1995, 2005, 2007), but in spite of its evident appeal, it is not a defensible distinction. Earlier critiques (Dennett, 1994, 1995, Cohen and Dennett, 2012) have not deterred those who favor the distinction, but perhaps one more exposition of the problems will break through"

Yes, there was a phenomenal confusion in doubling our mind-body-problems by doubling our consciousnesses.

No, organisms don't have both an "access consciousness" and a "phenomenal consciousness."

Organisms' brains (like robots' brains) have access to information (data). 

Access to data can be unconscious (in organisms and robots) or conscious (in organisms, sometimes, but probably not at all in robots, so far).

And organisms feel. Feeling c ... (read more)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply


Is this an answer to Chalmers’s fading qualia thought experiment?  (2110, The Character of Consciousness, Oxford University Press p. 25 ff).
He puts forward a principle of organizational invariance: “This principle states that any two systems with the same fine-grained functional organization will have qualitatively identical experiences. If the causal patterns of neural organization were duplicated in silicon, for example, with a silicon chip for every neuron and the same patterns of interaction, then the same experiences would arise. According to this principle, what matters for the emergence of experience is not the specific physical makeup of a system but the abstract pattern of causal interaction between its components.” He supports this principle by the use of thought experiments about “fading”  qualias. The analysis, claiming to show that the contrary position would be absurd, is based on the fact that the creature whose causal patterns in its cognitive system are identical t ... (read more)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Greetings,    I've put together a short paper (3,400 words) on the Hard Problem, and I would appreciate any comments interested parties may wish to offer.

ABSTRACT: This paper analyzes David Chalmers’s “Hard Problem” and his argument against natural selection in the formation of human consciousness. It explores specific weaknesses in Chalmers’s reasoning and evidence from his published articles over the years.  Keywords: consciousness, psychology, mind, evolution, natural selection, duality.


Thanks in advance!

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

You are definitely right in your skepticism about the possibility of the unification of many micro-consciousnesses into macro-consciousness. However, it is surprising for me that overhelming majority of philosophers ignore the possibility that human consciousness is among these micro-consciousnesses. In my paper I argue that even a single electron might contain the whole current human experience (without long- and mid-term memory). I suggest a hypothesis, where such electrons might be located in a real brain

Here at The Luventicus Academy (Rosario, Argentine Republic), we began this year to publish a collection of articles on the philosophy of mind. The current release is No. 3. We hope to complete the project of publishing the first 10 numbers before the end of 2013. Happy New Year!
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

First, thank you to the authors for providing their paper online!

            The problem with most forms of representationalism is that they do not actually close the explanatory gap. “Tracking representationalism” does not seem to be an exception. Beside the various possible objections explored in the paper, there remains the further objection that tracking representationalism, like its cousins, simply does not do what it aims to. It does not explain phenomenal consciousness, or why there is anything it is like to be in a mental state. The reason for this is that “what it is like” is a first-person experience, whereas talk of mental states, intentionality, tracking, etc., are third-person descriptions of events in the world, not of the phenomenal experience to which they correspond. What is missing is some strategy that can bridge the gap from third to first-person accounts—some way to “walk in the shoes of the brain”. To explain ... (read more)

First of all, I want to say I am sorry if I am being impertinent by trying to post here at all. I am just an MFA grad student in poetry with an interest in philosophy, so I may have no grounds to engage in the discourse of people as deeply engaged in the field as I am sure are here. The only credential I suppose I can offer is that I teach introductory Composition and Rhetoric, which surprisingly has about as much to do with logic and epistemology as with grammar and other stylistic issues. So if this does not make it through the vetting process, I will not be surprised - but I still want to try to ask this question rather than let it gnaw at me.

I came up with this when I was considering Daniel Dennett's argument against the Mary's Room proof of qualia - that, if we replace Mary with a RoboMary who knows everything about color and optics down to how the neurons in the brain fire upon seeing red, this RoboMary could simply create a simulation of how it feels to be a human having ... (read more)

I am delighted that someone of Kitcher's ability has tackled the meta-ethical implications of understanding morality as an evolutionary adaptation. Further, Christine Clavien has advanced that good cause by providing an inspiringly insightful and clear review of important implications of his work. 

However, the science of the matter actually supports a much stronger hypothesis than Kitcher's "morality evolved to overcome altruism failures".That stronger hypothesis may have different meta-ethical implications.

Relevant criteria for scientific truth regarding morality as an evolutionary adaptation Include explanatory power for descriptive facts and puzzles, no contradiction with known facts, simplicity, and integration with the rest of science. By these criteria, a superior hypothesis can be stated as "morality overcomes a universal cooperation-exploitation dilemma by motivating or advocating altruistic cooperation strategies". That is, morality is composed of assemblies of biolog ... (read more)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply


What is the relationship between representationalsim, functionalism, and more specific theories, such as higher order theories of consciousness?

Is weak representationalism a base assumption of both functionalism and higher-order theories? As I understand it, representationalism is not a theory of consciousness in itself (it does not differentiate between conscious and unconscious states) but is a theory of qualitative character. It needs an add-on (perhaps functionalism) to account for consciousness. What is the relationship of strong representationalism to functionalism and higher-order theories?

What is the relationship between functionalism and higher-order theories? These are not typically mentioned in the same articles as competitors, so are they compatible, and do higher-order theories pressupose some sort of functionalism, or would they also be compatible with psychophysical identity theories?

If representationalism explains the difference between mental states, and higher-order t ... (read more)

I have recently been struggling with the multiple aspects of the meaning of "mental representation", in the contemporary literature. In particular, I can't seem to sharply distinguish the way intentionalists use the term, as contrasted to the way a representation is conceived by the computational theory of the mind, or by cognitive neuroscience.
     I will try to be a bit more clear. It seems to me that intentionalists (such as Tye and Dretske) employ a very thin notion of mental representation, when, for instance, saying that a certain experience "represents the world as being such and such". Thus, as it is usually claimed, "the experience represents a red apple" should not mean anything beyond "the experience is about a red apple". Now my concern is the following:  does this way of employing the concept of "mental representation" commit intentionalists to claiming that, when I see a red apple, certain information bearing str ... (read more)
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

So here I am teaching yet another version of my senior undergrad Phil. of Mind course. In past years I've had students read two books (as well as a bunch of mostly predictable historical material) - Churchland's MATTER&CONSCIOUSNESS and McGinn's THE MYSTERIOUS FLAME. The kids usually respond well to both of these, and attempts to give them anything much longer or more demanding (E.g. Chalmers' THE CONSCIOUS MIND) have gone over like a lead balloon. But I'm starting to feel a bit like yesterday's man.

Anyone out there able to recommend something more recent than either of the two volumes I mentioned that's about as long, about as digestible for undergrads, and that defends a position rather than merely describing the available options?
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

 1 - 20 / 94