Philosophy of Cognitive Science


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Studies aimed at understanding the construction and probable location of the consciousness (or self) from the biofield emissions at a dying condition?

Are there any recent investigations carried out in connection with biophoton emissions from a dying person? or, at least, do we have investigations on various bio-emissions (which includes EM spectral emissions over various bandwidths) associated with a dying condition? Also, any recent Gas Discharge Visualization (GDV) studies on a dying person?

Suppose, if we are able to detect certain bio-emissions (having the specific bandwidth) other than in the Infra-red (IR) region (which is usually connected to the metabolic activity), then we can associate these emission frequencies to the fundamental oscillations or modes at which communication (both inter- and intra-) happens. These modes can then act as the interface between mind (non-material aspect), body (material aspect) and the environment.

If we want to understand how a material brain coul ... (read more)

I'm a student learning about both Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence. A lot of theories about the cognitive processing of the mind are used as inspiration for models in AI. This got me thinking: is the scenario of AI taking over the world possible? Our intelligence is very complex, and I believe it has co-evolved with ethics and self-consciousness, leading me to believe these too would be characteristics if AI were ever created. This is a rudimentary blog I've written, but I'd definitely like feedback on what you guys think. This will help me evolve my argument and learn as well!
Link to blog:
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I have written a short paper on an issue that I have not come across before. In it I attempt to argue that light waves are an opaque barrier between the eye of the observer and the objective world. And, that light waves prevent direct knowledge of objects in the world. I would be grateful for criticism and responses. Bert

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If you come across this paper while researching philosophy of love, you should watch this:
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Tarski’s convention T: condition beta. South American Journal of Logic. 1, 3–32.

John Corcoran and Leonardo Weber


HISTORICAL NOTE: This paper is the culmination of a years-long joint effort by the two authors. A preliminary report appeared in 2013: Corcoran-Weber, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, 19 (2013) 510–11. Their co-operative work was conducted by email dialogue in which each author’s work was developed and corrected by the other. Each section went through several iterations. The final version was the result of dozens of reciprocal exchanges; it is impossible to allocate credit. Each author learned from and taught the other. During this time they consulted several other scholars including the Tarski experts David Hitchcock, James Smith, and Albert Visser.

The senior author expresses his deep gratitude to the junior author. Moreover the senior author acknowledges publicly what he has already said privately, viz. that without the junior author’s help and mastery of ... (read more)

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)

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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?)

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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)

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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

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)

Excellent paper first and foremost Mr. MacLeod! As I was reading your thoughts on plurality and the nature of the individual conscious, it made me think of the ideal of Solipsism. For those who don't know, Solipsism is defined as: The view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist. Would you say that your case for a plurality of consciousness "immediately present." defeats the ideal of a Solipsistic Philosophy? 
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Another point that I brought up and then discussed later with Mohan had to do with the multiple senses of space and time that might be relevant to the discussion. It is normally thought that space and time serve as a sort of matrix for experience, but it would not be true to say that this matrix serves as the glue to all experience since we sometimes have experiences outside of a space-time matrix. That is, experiences may be "here" and "now" without being experienced as at a particular time or at a particular spatial location. They have extension in space and time but not location. If we are talking about this second sense of space and time then I might agree that experience is held together by such extension. However, I did not get the sense that this difference was appreciated by the discussants. I suspect that the "here-ness" and "now-ness" of experience will be best defined with respect to the experiencer, or subject of experience, rather th ... (read more)
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I couldn't find Tim's email so am instead posting here a link to my critical discussion of his paper (which may also be of interest to other readers):
Moral Judgments, 2Dism, and Attitudinal Commitments.


What DSM seems to show is that sensation is non epistemic and that perception is a cognitive process. The sensory as non-epistemic, merely bare,
non-conscious occurrences, represent nothing until some perceiving, useful
or mistaken, has gone on.

What is the role of memory in the dancing qualia scenario?

It strikes me that i cannot perform direct comparisons between my conscious experiences at different points in time - no more than i can directly compare my experiences to those of others.

In claiming that my experience of a red apple has remained the same "redness" over time, i must be comparing a perceptual experience *now* against the experience *now* of a memory of a previous experience.

The reductio asks us to imagine there being a difference in experience just due to differences in the material substrate of cognition. It seems plausible to me that when an experience is serialized while running on one substrate and deserialized while on another, the difference should go unnoticed. For example, the red experience of a neural system could be remembered as a blue experience when invoked on a silicon circuit, so that the comparison always succeeds.

Put differently, i wonder in what way the following scenario is not analogous to da ... (read more)
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This is awesome. Tractatus power!
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We have many framing devices in the arts, and one thing that is consistent in their use is a metacognitive process which they seem to stimulate. We see the contents of a picture, and while we are occupied with processing these details we might come across another picture inside it, or we might see an artist painting a picture (as we do in Velazquez's Las Meninas); or there might be a mirror in the depicted space, all of these framing devices allow us to step out of our current thought process, and become aware of it, or self aware of our viewing. How fair is it to say that visual experience can be ordered in the form of HOTs as framing devices in the visual field, or that HOTs can be visualised in this way? 
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Perhaps we could begin with Hitchcock and Husserl/Sartre?
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In "On Denoting" (1905), Russell presents a theory of denotation which relies on the notion of a variable.  Russell says very little about variables in this paper.  He says only that they are "fundamental," and that they are "essentially and wholly undetermined" constituents of propositional functions.  I think I understand the role of this notion in Russell's theory, and why Russell says what he does about it,  He appeals to non-denoting elements in propositions in order to avoid having to interpret "a=b" as "a=a."  By using variables, he can claim that no elements in a propositional function serve the role of the denoting phrase.  For example, in the fully explicit presentation of "Scott is the author of Waverley," we do not find anything for which we could substitute the phrase "the author of Waverley."  The meaning of the denoting phrase is only found when we interpret the proposition as a whole, and cannot be found in any of its parts. 

My problem is, I don't know what it means to say ... (read more)
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Hello Everyone!

I have been working on a generalised description of the algorithmic function of "consciousness" that takes logical foundation in biology and the relative ontology of Heidegger in Being and Time.  Though not finished, and lacking in lots of detail at the sharp end (where the algorithm has to be described computationally), the overall structure is present and comprehensible, I hope, and presents itself for criticism.

The site describing this is here.

In summary, I attempt to describe functional similarities between the philosophy of relative ontology and what the human brain does functionally.  Ultimately, though very simple premises are held to begin with, the model is able to describe all observable functions of "consciousness" through emergent behaviour.  Key to this description of the problem of the mind is the idea that what has been missing from traditional scientific treatments is an understanding of ontological systems, and more specifically, how a ... (read more)
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