Among the phenomena that make up the mind, cognitive psychologists and philosophers have postulated a puzzling one that they have called ?epistemic feelings.? This paper aims to (1) characterize these experiences according to their intentional content and phenomenal character, and (2) describe the nature of these mental states as nonconceptual in the cases of animals and infants, and as conceptual mental states in the case of adult human beings. Finally, (3) the paper will contrast three accounts of the causes and (...) mechanisms of epistemic feelings: the doxastic account; the mental scanner account; and the heuristic mechanism account. The paper will argue in favor of the heuristic mechanism account. (shrink)
We propose a distinction between precategorial, acategorial and categorial states within a scientiﬁcally oriented understanding of mental processes. This distinction can be speciﬁed by approaches developed in cognitive neuroscience and the analytical philosophy of mind. On the basis of a representational theory of mental processes, acategoriality refers to a form of knowledge that presumes fully developed categorial mental representations, yet refers to nonconceptual experiences in mental states beyond categorial states. It relies on a simultaneous experience of potential individual representations and (...) their actual “representational ground”, an undiﬀerentiated precategorial state. This simultaneity is possible if the mental state does not reside in a representation but in between representations. Acategoriality can be formally modeled as an unstable state of a dynamical mental system that is subject to particular stability criteria. (shrink)
This study follows upon Steven Brown's 2006 article in The Journal of Consciousness Studies about the ‘perpetual music track', a form of constant musical imagery. With Brown's assistance, a Musical Imagery Questionnaire was developed. The questionnaire was then administered to 67 participants with the intention of establishing relevant scales for quantifying the presence and extent of spontaneous musical imagery in individuals. In addition to the Musical Imagery Questionnaire, the Six Factor Personality Questionnaire, as well as the Transliminality Scale, which is (...) a measure of openness to psychological material, was used in order to explore the correlations of spontaneous musical imagery to personality constructs. Factor analysis of the responses to the Musical Imagery Questionnaire revealed six meaningful dimensions of spontaneous musical imagery that were labeled as Unconscious, Persistent, Entertainment, Completeness, Musicianship, and Distraction. Participants who scored high on Transliminality also tended to have more persistent, distracting, and unconscious musical imagery. There were also some smaller correlations with other personality variables. (shrink)
We evaluate the role of embodiment in ordinary mental state ascriptions. Presented are five experiments on phenomenal state ascriptions to disembodied entities such as ghosts and spirits. Results suggest that biological embodiment is not a central principle of folk psychology guiding ascriptions of phenomenal consciousness. By contrast, results continue to support the important role of functional considerations in theory of mind judgments.
Students of perception have long puzzled over a range of cases in which perception seems to tell us distinct, and in some sense conflicting, things about the world. In the cases at issue, the perceptual system is capable of responding to a single stimulus — say, as manifested in the ways in which subjects sort that stimulus — in different ways. This paper is about these puzzling cases, and about how they should be characterized and accounted for within a general (...) theory of perception. After rehearsing the sort of case at issue (§1), I’ll examine critically some of the strategies by which philosophers and perceptual psychologists have attempted to account for them (§2). Finally, I’ll present an alternative computational account of the puzzle cases, argue that this view is superior to its competitors, and examine some of its implications (§3). (shrink)
The paper contrasts Robert Brandom’s account of rationality with that of Daniel Dennett. It argues that neither of them is tenable, and sketches an alternative outlook that avoids the problems. In spite of their fundamental differences, both Brandom and Dennett employ a robust, i.e. explanatory and predictive notion of rationality, and for different reasons they both fail to offer a plausible theory supporting it. The lesson offered here is that rationality should not be treated alongside other norms prescribing behaviour, as (...) it cannot be accounted for in the same terms. Instead of ascribing rationality a robust role in a philosophical understanding of behaviour, it should be assigned a more modest one: its function should be located not in the context of explaining and predicting behaviour, but in the context of narratives folk psychological interpretation offers. (shrink)
If it is possible to think that human life is temporal as a whole, and we can make sense of Wittgenstein’s claim that the psychological phenomena called ‘dispositions’ do not have genuine temporal duration on the basis of a distinction between dispositions and other mental processes, we need a compelling account of how time applies to these dispositions. I undertake this here by examining the concept of expectation, a disposition with a clear nexus to time by the temporal point at (...) which the expectation is satisfied. However, it seems that we cannot always identify the beginning of an expectation, and in a few cases, its end. If so, the reduction of expectations to neural events or accompanying feelings which spread over time in the usual way seems a hard enterprise, because these processes, much as other physical processes, have a definite and largely measurable time span. Only at a higher level, that is, as part of human life, expectation can be said to be temporal. (shrink)
There seems to be a special relationship between belief and truth that can be metaphorically expressed by saying that belief “aims” at truth or that belief’s “direction of fit” is “to fit the world.” There is an Aristotelian thesis, according to which the special relationship between belief and truth is the same as the special relationship between desire and goodness. Assuming that belief “aims” at truth, then, desire “aims” at goodness. This contrasts with a Humean thesis, on which, while belief (...) “aims” at truth, desire has no analogous “aim.” This paper defends the Aristotelian thesis. (shrink)
Especially since the discovery of mirror neurons, scholars in a variety of disciplines have made empathy a central focus of research. Yet despite this recent flurry of interest and activity, the cross-cultural study of empathy in context, as part of ongoing, naturally occurring behavior, remains in its infancy. In the present article, I review some of this recent work on the ethnography of empathy. I focus especially on the new issues and questions about empathy that the ethnographic approach raises and (...) the implication of these for the study of empathy more generally. (shrink)
This paper advocates a dispositional account of innate cognitive capacities, which has an illustrious history from Plato to Chomsky. The ?triggering model? of innateness, first made explicit by Stich (), explicates the notion in terms of the relative informational content of the stimulus (input) and the competence (output). The advantage of this model of innateness is that it does not make a problematic reference to normal conditions and avoids relativizing innate traits to specific populations, as biological models of innateness are (...) forced to do. Relativization can be avoided in the case of cognitive capacities precisely because informational content is involved. Even though one cannot measure output relative to input in a precise way, there are indirect and approximate ways of assessing the degree of innateness of a specific cognitive capacity. 1 Introduction 2 Two models of innateness 3 Discarding the disease model 4 Impoverishment and implasticity 5 Measuring poverty 6 Assessing innateness. (shrink)
Behaviourism is the view that preferences, beliefs, and other mental states in social-scientific theories are nothing but constructs re-describing people's behavioural dispositions. Mentalism is the view that they capture real phenomena, no less existent than the unobservable entities and properties in the natural sciences, such as electrons and electromagnetic fields. While behaviourism has long gone out of fashion in psychology and linguistics, it remains influential in economics, especially in `revealed preference' theory. We aim to (i) clear up some common confusions (...) about the two views, (ii) situate the debate in a historical context, and (iii) defend a mentalist approach to economics. Setting aside normative concerns about behaviourism, we show that mentalism is in line with best scientific practice even if economics is treated as a purely positive science of economic behaviour. We distinguish mentalism from, and reject, the radical neuroeconomic view that behaviour should be explained in terms of people's brain processes, as distinct from their mental states. (shrink)
Internalists have criticised reliabilism for overlooking the importance of the subject's point of view in the generation of knowledge. This paper argues that there is a troubling ambiguity in the intuitive examples that internalists have used to make their case, and on either way of resolving this ambiguity, reliabilism is untouched. However, the argument used to defend reliabilism against the internalist cases could also be used to defend a more radical form of externalism in epistemology.
In the philosophical literature on mental states, the paradigmatic examples of mental states are beliefs, desires, intentions, and phenomenal states such as being in pain. The corresponding list in the psychological literature on mental state attribution includes one further member: the state of knowledge. This article examines the reasons why developmental, comparative and social psychologists have classified knowledge as a mental state, while most recent philosophers--with the notable exception of Timothy Williamson-- have not. The disagreement is traced back to a (...) difference in how each side understands the relationship between the concepts of knowledge and belief, concepts which are understood in both disciplines to be closely linked. Psychologists and philosophers other than Williamson have generally have disagreed about which of the pair is prior and which is derivative. The rival claims of priority are examined both in the light of philosophical arguments by Williamson and others, and in the light of empirical work on mental state attribution. (shrink)
Intuitively, there is a difference between knowledge and mere belief. Contemporary philosophical work on the nature of this difference has focused on scenarios known as “Gettier cases.” Designed as counterexamples to the classical theory that knowledge is justified true belief, these cases feature agents who arrive at true beliefs in ways which seem reasonable or justified, while nevertheless seeming to lack knowledge. Prior empirical investigation of these cases has raised questions about whether lay people generally share philosophers’ intuitions about these (...) cases, or whether lay intuitions vary depending on individual factors (e.g. ethnicity) or factors related to specific types of Gettier cases (e.g. cases that include apparent evidence). We report an experiment on lay attributions of knowledge and justification for a wide range of Gettier Cases and for a related class of controversial cases known as Skeptical Pressure cases, which are also thought by philosophers to elicit intuitive denials of knowledge. Although participants rated true beliefs in Gettier and Skeptical Pressure cases as being justified, they were significantly less likely to attribute knowledge for these cases than for matched true belief cases. This pattern of response was consistent across different variations of Gettier cases and did not vary by ethnicity or gender, although attributions of justification were found to be positively related to measures of empathy. These findings therefore suggest that across demographic groups, laypeople share similar epistemic concepts with philosophers, recognizing a difference between knowledge and justified true belief. (shrink)
This paper evaluates the Natural-Kinds Argument for cognitive extension, which purports to show that the kinds presupposed by our best cognitive science have instances external to human organism. Various interpretations of the argument are articulated and evaluated, using the overarching categories of memory and cognition as test cases. Particular emphasis is placed on criteria for the scientific legitimacy of generic kinds, that is, kinds characterized in very broad terms rather than in terms of their fine-grained causal roles. Given the current (...) state of cognitive science, I conclude that we have no reason to think memory or cognition are generic natural kinds that can ground an argument for cognitive extension. (shrink)
This is an excellent book that deserves careful attention from anyone whose work touches on issues in the philosophy of mind and action. In it, Marcus challenges the dominant philosophical conception of the mind’s place in nature, according to which mentalistic explanations hold true only when mental states or events cause things to happen in the same way as physical states and events do. Against this conception, Marcus argues that mental causation is utterly dissimilar to most of the causation we (...) find in the physical realm, and that psychological achievements like believing and acting for reasons should be understood as manifestations of the rational ability self-consciously to represent good-making relations as holding between propositions and actions. (shrink)
Paradoxes have played an important role both in philosophy and in mathematics and paradox resolution is an important topic in both fields. Paradox resolution is deeply important because if such resolution cannot be achieved, we are threatened with the charge of debilitating irrationality. This is supposed to be the case for the following reason. Paradoxes consist of jointly contradictory sets of statements that are individually plausible or believable. These facts about paradoxes then give rise to a deeply troubling epistemic problem. (...) Specifically, if one believes all of the constitutive propositions that make up a paradox, then one is apparently committed to belief in every proposition. This is the result of the principle of classical logical known as ex contradictione (sequitur) quodlibetthat anything and everything follows from a contradiction, and the plausible idea that belief is closed under logical or material implication (i.e. the epistemic closure principle). But, it is manifestly and profoundly irrational to believe every proposition and so the presence of even one contradiction in one’s doxa appears to result in what seems to be total irrationality. This problem is the problem of paradox-induced explosion. In this paper it will be argued that in many cases this problem can plausibly be avoided in a purely epistemic manner, without having either to resort to non-classical logics for belief (e.g. paraconsistent logics) or to the denial of the standard closure principle for beliefs. The manner in which this result can be achieved depends on drawing an important distinction between the propositional attitude of belief and the weaker attitude of acceptance such that paradox constituting propositions are accepted but not believed. Paradox-induced explosion is then avoided by noting that while belief may well be closed under material implication or even under logical implication, these sorts of weaker commitments are not subject to closure principles of those sorts. So, this possibility provides us with a less radical way to deal with the existence of paradoxes and it preserves the idea that intelligent agents can actually entertain paradoxes. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to defend the view that the processes underlying early vision are informationally encapsulated. Following Marr (1982) and Pylyshyn (1999) I take early vision to be a cognitive process that takes sensory information as its input and produces the so-called primal sketches or shallow visual outputs: informational states that represent visual objects in terms of their shape, location, size, colour and luminosity. Recently, some researchers (Schirillo 1999, Macpherson 2012) have attempted to undermine the idea of (...) the informational encapsulation of early vision by referring to experiments that seem to show that colour recognition is affected by the subject's beliefs about the typical colour of objects. In my view, however, one can reconcile the results of these experiments with the position that early vision is informationally encapsulated. Namely, I put fort a hypothesis according to which the early vision system has access to a local database that I call the mental palette and define as a network of associative links whose nodes stands for shapes and colours. The function of the palette is to facilitate colour recognition without employing central processes. I also describe two experiments by which the mental palette hypothesis can be tested. (shrink)
Sleep onset is associated with marked changes in behavioral, physiological, and subjective phenomena. In daily life though subjective experience is the main criterion in terms of which we identify it. But very few studies have focused on these experiences. This study seeks to identify the subjective variables that reflect sleep onset. Twenty young subjects took an afternoon nap in the laboratory while polysomnographic recordings were made. They were awakened four times in order to assess subjective experiences that correlate with the (...) (1) appearance of slow eye movement, (2) initiation of stage 1 sleep, (3) initiation of stage 2 sleep, and (4) 5 min after the start of stage 2 sleep. A logistic regression identified control over and logic of thought as the two variables that predict the perception of having fallen asleep. For sleep perception, these two variables accurately classified 91.7% of the cases; for the waking state, 84.1%. (shrink)
Richard Scheer has recently argued against what he calls the 'mental state' theory of intentions. He argues that versions of this theory fail to account for various characteristics of intention. In this essay we reply to Scheer's criticisms and argue that intentions are mental states.