As standardly conceived, an illusion is an experience of an object o appearing F where o is not in fact F. Paradigm examples of color illusion, however, do not fit this pattern. A diagnosis of this uncovers different sense of appearance talk that is the basis of a dilemma for the standard conception. The dilemma is only a challenge. But if the challenge cannot be met, then any conception of experience, such as representationalism, that is committed to the (...) standard conception is false. Perhaps surprisingly, naïve realism provides a better account of color illusion.An apparence ymaad by som Magyk. Chaucer. (shrink)
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterised by differences in unimodal and multimodal sensory and proprioceptive processing, with complex biases towards local over global processing. Many of these elements are implicated in versions of the rubber hand illusion (RHI), which were therefore studied in high-functioning individuals with ASD and a typically developing control group. Both groups experienced the illusion. A number of differences were found, related to proprioception and sensorimotor processes. The ASD group showed reduced sensitivity to visuotactile-proprioceptive discrepancy (...) but more accurate proprioception. This group also differed on acceleration in subsequent reach trials. Results are discussed in terms of weak top-down integration and precision-accuracy trade-offs. The RHI appears to be a useful tool for investigating multisensory processing in ASD. (shrink)
Saul Smilansky presents an original new approach to the problem of free will, which lies at the heart of morality and self-understanding. He maintains that the key to the problem is the role played by illusion. Smilansky boldly claims that we could not live adequately with a complete awareness of the truth about human freedom and that illusion lies at the center of the human condition.
Sir Peter Strawson’s ‘Freedom and Resentment’ was a landmark in the philosophical understanding of the free will problem. Building upon it, I attempt to defend a novel position, which purports to provide, in outline, the next step forward. The position presented is based on the descriptively central and normatively crucial role of illusion in the issue of free will. Illusion, I claim, is the vital but neglected key to the free will problem. The proposed position, which may be (...) called ‘Illusionism’, is shown to follow both from the strengths and from the weaknesses of Strawson’s position. (shrink)
In recent years, a pair of intriguing phenomena has caused researchers working on vision and visual attention to reevaluate many of their assumptions. These phenomena, which have come to be called change blindness (CB) and inattentional blindness (IB), have led many to the conclusion that ordinary perceivers labor under a ``grand illusion'' concerning perception - an illusion that is..
In The illusion of conscious will , Daniel Wegner offers an exciting, informative, and potentially threatening treatise on the psychology of action. I offer several interpretations of the thesis that conscious will is an illusion. The one Wegner seems to suggest is "modular epiphenomenalism": conscious experience of will is produced by a brain system distinct from the system that produces action; it interprets our behavior but does not, as it seems to us, cause it. I argue that the (...) evidence Wegner presents to support this theory, though fascinating, is inconclusive and, in any case, he has not shown that conscious will does not play a crucial causal role in planning, forming intentions, etc. This theory's potential blow to our self-conception turns out to be a glancing one. (shrink)
Firth argues that austin's criticisms of the argument from illusion do not destroy the argument. We can reformulate it in two ways so that it succeeds as a method of ostensibly defining terms denoting the sensory constituent of perceptual experience. One way maintains the act-Object distinction of the cartesian tradition and the other uses the language of "looks." (staff).
In an attempt to revive discussion of the argument from illusion this paper amends the classic version of the argument to avoid Austin's main objection. It then develops and defends a version of the intentional object reply to the argument, arguing that an "unendorsed story" account of reports of dreams and hallucinations avoids commitment to nonexistent objects.
The belief that conscious will is merely "an illusion created by the brain" appears to be gaining in popularity among cognitive neuroscientists. Its main adherents usually refer to the classic, but controversial 'Libet-experiments', as the empirical evidence that vindicates this illusion-claim. However, based on recent work that provides other interpretations of the Libet-experiments, we argue that the illusion-claim is not only empirically invalid, but also theoretically incoherent, as it is rooted in a category mistake; namely, the presupposition (...) that neuronal activity causes conscious will. We show that the illusion-claim is based on the behaviorist 'input-output' paradigm, and discuss the notions of 'self-organization' and 'self-steering' to provide an alternative perspective on the causal efficacy of conscious will. In the final sections, a tentative theoretical picture is sketched of conscious will as an instance of self-steered self-organization. We conclude that the subjective experience of conscious will is not a misguided one, but rather that the mechanisms supporting conscious will are considerably more complex than mainstream cognitive neuroscience currently acknowledges. (shrink)
This major study of Kant provides a detailed examination of the development and function of the doctrine of transcendental illusion in his theoretical philosophy. The author shows that a theory of 'illusion' plays a central role in Kant's arguments about metaphysical speculation and scientific theory. Indeed, she argues that we cannot understand Kant unless we take seriously his claim that the mind inevitably acts in accordance with ideas and principles that are 'illusory'. Taking this claim seriously, we can (...) make much better sense of Kant's arguments and reach a deeper understanding of the role he allots human reason in science. (shrink)
In this paper we introduce a paradigm of experiment which, we believe, is of interest both in psychology and philosophy. There the subject wears an HMD (head-mount display), and a camera is set up at the upper corner of the room, in which the subject is. As a result, the subject observes his own body through the HMD. We will mainly focus on the philosophical relevance of this experiment, especially to the thesis of so-called 'immunity to error through misidentification relative (...) to the first-person pronoun'. We will argue that one experiment conducted in this setting, which we call the bodily illusion experiment, provides a counterexample to that thesis. (shrink)
The Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic of Kant's first Critique is notorious for two reasons. First, it appears to contradict itself in saying that the idea of the systematic unity of nature is and is not transcendental. Second, in the passages in which Kant appears to espouse the former alternative, he appears to be making a significant amendment to his account of the conditions of the possibility of experience in the Transcendental Analytic. I propose a solution to both of these (...) difficulties. With regard to the first, I argue that Kant does not contradict himself. With regard to the second, I argue that Kant is not making any change to his view of the conditions of the possibility of experience espoused in the Transcendental Analytic. The underlying cause of these apparent problems is also their solution: the transcendental illusion that nature is necessarily systematic. (shrink)
Why does cinema exert such power over our emotions? Many have wanted to answer by appeal to the idea that film sustains some illusion concerning the events it narrates. I compare three such views: that film sustains the illusion that those events are before us; that it sustains that illusion, but only partially; and that, though viewers are always fully aware of seeing pictures, those pictures are experienced as the moving photographic record of the narrated events. I (...) identify these positions’ successes and failures in explaining film’s emotional power, and various ways in which the issue between them might be tested further. (shrink)
The paper's first four sections give a taxonomy and criticism of three classes of objections to the argument from illusion. the last section raises the question whether its main premise does not misclassify perceptual accusatives (e.g. 'sensation of bentness') as individuatives that imply the existence of, say, bent particulars.
The psychological concept of illusion is defined as a process involving an interaction of logical and empirical considerations. Common usage suggests that an illusion is a discrepancy between one's awareness and some stimulus. Following preliminary definitions of classes of stimuli, five definitions of illusion are considered, based upon the possible discrepancies between awareness and a stimulus. It is found that each of these definitions fails to make important distinctions, even to the point of equating all illusory and (...) perceptual phenomena. This dilemma is resolved by redefining illusion without reference to truth or falsity, but relative to the functioning of a given perceptual system under different conditions. The definition accepted as best is 'a discrepancy between one's perceptions of an object or event observed under different conditions'. Conditions may differ in terms of stimulus exposure, stimulus context, or experiental context. The philosophical and psychological implications are discussed of accepting a definition of illusion not based on a discrepancy between awareness and a stimulus. (shrink)
This paper resurrects two discredited ideas in the philosophy of mind. The first: the idea that perceptual illusion might have something metaphysically significant to tell us about the nature of phenomenal consciousness. The second: that the colours and other qualities that ‘fill’ our sensory fields are occurrent properties (rather than representations of properties) that are, nevertheless, to be distinguished from the ‘objective’ properties of things in the external world. Theories of consciousness must recognize the existence of what Daniel Dennett (...) mockingly labels ‘figment,’ but this result—though metaphysically and epistemologically significant—is not incompatible with either physicalism or naturalized semantics. (shrink)
The Müller-Lyer illusion is the natural consequence of the construction of the vertebrate eye, retina and visual processing system. Due to imperfections in the vertebrate eye and retina and due to the subsequent processing in the system by ever increasing receptive fields, the visual information becomes less and less precise with respect to exact location and size. The consequence of this is that eventually the brain has to calculate a weighted mean value of the information, which is spread out (...) over a population of neurons. In the case of the Müller-Lyer illusion this inevitably leads to extension of one and reduction of the other line. The arguments presented explain several published experimental results concerning the Müller-Lyer illusion and shed new light upon the philosophical neutrality of observation sentences. (shrink)
Experimental phenomenology has demonstrated that perception is much richer than stimulus. As is seen in color perception, one and the same stimulus provides more than several modes of appearance or perceptual dimensions. Similarly, there are various perceptual dimensions in form perception. Even a simple geometrical figure inducing visual illusion gives not only perceptual impressions of size, shape, slant, depth, and orientation, but also affective or aesthetic impressions. The present study reviews our experimental phenomenological work on visual illusion and (...) experimental aesthetics, and examines how aesthetic preference is influenced by stimulus factors determining visual illusions including anomalous surface and transparency as well as geometrical illusion. Along with line figures producing geometrical illusions, illusory surface figures inducing neon color spreading and transparency effects were used as test patterns. Participants made both of psychophysical judgments and of aesthetic judgments for the same test pattern. Both of geometrical illusions and aesthetic preferences were found to change similarly as a function of stimulus variables such as the number of filling lines and the size ratio of the inner and outer figural components. Also, following specific stimulus variables such as lightness contrast ratio and spatial interval between inducing figural elements (so called ``packmen''), strong effects of color spreading and transparency were accompanied with strong preferences. It seems that the paradigm to investigate aesthetic phenomena along with perceptual dimensions is useful to bridge the gap between experimental phenomenology and experimental aesthetics. (shrink)
In rubber hand illusions and full body illusions, touch sensations are projected to non-body objects such as rubber hands, dolls or virtual bodies. The robustness, limits and further perceptual consequences of such illusions are not yet fully explored or understood. A number of experiments are reported that test the limits of a variant of the rubber hand illusion. Methodology/Principal Findings -/- A variant of the rubber hand illusion is explored, in which the real and foreign hands are aligned (...) in personal space. The presence of the illusion is ascertained with participants' scores and temperature changes of the real arm. This generates a basic illusion of touch projected to a foreign arm. Participants are presented with further, unusual visuotactile stimuli subsequent to onset of the basic illusion. Such further visuotactile stimulation is found to generate very unusual experiences of supernatural touch and touch on a non-hand object. The finding of touch on a non-hand object conflicts with prior findings, and to resolve this conflict a further hypothesis is successfully tested: that without prior onset of the basic illusion this unusual experience does not occur. Conclusions/Significance -/- A rubber hand illusion is found that can arise when the real and the foreign arm are aligned in personal space. This illusion persists through periods of no tactile stimulation and is strong enough to allow very unusual experiences of touch felt on a cardboard box and experiences of touch produced at a distance, as if by supernatural causation. These findings suggest that one's visual body image is explained away during experience of the illusion and they may be of further importance to understanding the role of experience in delusion formation. The findings of touch on non-hand objects may help reconcile conflicting results in this area of research. In addition, new evidence is provided that relates to the recently discovered psychologically induced temperature changes that occur during the illusion. (shrink)
Here, we assess the usefulness of first-person methods for the study of embodiment during the rubber hand illusion (RHI). Participants observed a rubber hand being stroked synchronously and asynchronously with their concealed hand after which they made proprioceptive judgments about the location of their hand and completed a self-report questionnaire. A randomly selected cohort was further interviewed during the illusion and their transcripts analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Results showed that the IPA group experienced a more intense (...) embodied experience during the RHI, measured by proprioceptive distortion and self-report. IPA revealed four main themes of embodied experience: recalibration of the body schema; violation of the body schema; multisensory integration; and illusory experience over time. The report of agency was a significant predictor of proprioceptive distortion. This study shows how first-person methodologies can be empirically rigorous and how the introspective interview provides a rich, detailed account of embodied experience. (shrink)
Tibetan Buddhist writings frequently state that many of the things we perceive in the world are in fact illusory, as illusory as echoes or mirages. In Twelve Examples of Illusion , Jan Westerhoff offers an engaging look at a dozen illusions--including magic tricks, dreams, rainbows, and reflections in a mirror--showing how these phenomena can give us insight into reality. For instance, he offers a fascinating discussion of optical illusions, such as the wheel of fire (the "wheel" seen when a (...) torch is swung rapidly in a circle), discussing Tibetan explanations of this phenomenon as well as the findings of modern psychology, and significantly clarifying the idea that most phenomena--from chairs to trees--are similar illusions. The book uses a variety of crystal-clear examples drawn from a wide variety of fields, including contemporary philosophy and cognitive science, as well as the history of science, optics, artificial intelligence, geometry, economics, and literary theory. Throughout, Westerhoff makes both Buddhist philosophical ideas and the latest theories of mind and brain come alive for the general reader. -/- "This delightful book offers a rich and satisfying philosophical feast to anyone interested in the phenomenon of illusion itself or in the Buddhist analysis of the human condition. Westerhoff draws together classical Buddhist scholarship, contemporary cognitive science and his own judicious philosophical reflection in a serious but refreshingly accessible engagement with the Buddhist tradition in the exploration of the role of illusion in our cognitive and emotional lives." Jay L. Garfield, author of Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika -/- "Jan Westerhoff creatively juxtaposes an important Buddhist study of illusion with fascinating modern researches on illusory experiences, using the latter to illuminate the former. The result is a revealing account of the pervasiveness of illusion in our cognitive experience and the very structure of our cognitive apparatus. It brings to life the Buddhist discussion of illusion, making it relevant to our everyday experience instead of being high-minded intellectual exercises only." -/- Tao Jiang, author of Contexts and Dialogue: Yogacara Buddhism and Modern Psychology on the Subliminal Mind -/- "The twelve similes for the illusory nature of this world are very profound, and Westerhoff does them wonderful justice in this excellent book." -/- Robert Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Buddhist Studies, Columbia University. (shrink)
In the absence of an objective contingency, psychological studies have shown that people nevertheless attribute outcomes to their own actions. Thus, by wrongly inferring control in chance situations people appear to hold false beliefs concerning their agency, and are said to succumb to an illusion of control (IoC). In the current article, we challenge traditional conceptualizations of the illusion by examining the thesis that the IoC reflects rational and adaptive decision making. Firstly, we propose that the IoC is (...) a by-product of a rational uncertain judgment (“the likelihood that I have control over a particular outcome”). We adopt a Bayesian perspective to demonstrate that, given their past experience, people should be prone to ascribing skill to chance outcomes in certain situations where objectively control does not exist. Moreover, existing empirical evidence from the IoC literature is shown to support such an account. Secondly, from a decision-theoretic perspective, in many consequential situations, underestimating the chance of controlling a situation carries more costs than overestimating that chance. Thus, situations will arise in which people will incorrectly assign control to events in which outcomes result from chance, but the attribution is based on rational processes. (shrink)
In the following essay, I attempt to defend a novel position on ‘the free will problem’. In particular, I intend to provide (in outline) a position based on the descriptively central and normatively crucial role of illusion in the free will issue. Illusion, I claim, is the vital but neglected key to the free will problem. The proposed position, which can be called ‘Illusionism’, can be defended independently from its derivation from P. F. Strawson’s ‘reactive-naturalism’. However, since the (...) role of illusion emerges only at a late stage of the train of arguments pertaining to free will, we will get to our destination by ‘free-riding’ most of the way on Strawson’s train, and then continue a bit further by ourselves, into the uncharted and dangerous Land Of Illusion. (shrink)
The article shows the "Appendix" to Søren Kierkegaard's "Philosophical Fragments" to be a response to Ludwig Feuerbach's critique of Christianity. While previous studies have detected some influence by Feuerbach on Kierkegaard, they have so far discovered little in the way of specific responses to Feuerbach's ideas in Kierkegaard's published works. The article first makes the historical argument that Kierkegaard was very likely reading Feuerbach's "Essence of Christianity" while he was writing "Philosophical Fragments", as several of Kierkegaard's journal entries from that (...) period discuss Feuerbach in relation to central ideas in "Fragments". The article then shows how Kierkegaard's pseudonym Johannes Climacus inverts Feuerbach's projection theory, turning it against critics like Feuerbach. At the heart of Feuerbach's critique of Christianity is the claim that religion is a conceptual illusion, whereby the individual projects his or her personal limits onto the species and then projects the unlimited onto a supposed divine being. Furthermore, Feuerbach sees Christianity as rife with absurdities that tell against its reasonableness. In exploring a hypothetical transcendent avenue toward the truth, Climacus inverts both of these philosophical moves. He argues that on the transcendent hypothesis, the immanentist critic is himself a victim of an "acoustical illusion": the absolute paradox of the appearance of the god in time is in fact not judged by, but rather judges, the critic as absurd. In inverting and not repudiating Feuerbach's critique, Climacus reveals the critic as a Socratic figure who displays the heights—and ultimately, the limits—of secular philosophy's capabilities. (shrink)
Previous work has reported that it is not difficult to give people the illusion of ownership over an artificial body, providing a powerful tool for the investigation of the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying body perception and self consciousness. We present an experimental study that uses immersive virtual reality focused on identifying the perceptual building blocks of this illusion. We systematically manipulated visuotactile and visual sensorimotor contingencies, visual perspective, and the appearance of the virtual body in order to (...) assess their relative role and mutual interaction. Consistent results from subjective reports and physiological measures showed that a first person perspective over a fake humanoid body is essential for eliciting a body ownership illusion. We found that the level of realism of the virtual body, in particular the realism of skin tone, plays a critical role: when high enough, the illusion can be triggered by the sole effect of the spatial overlap between the real and virtual bodies, providing congruent visuoproprioceptive information, with no need for the additional contribution of congruent visuotactile and/or visual sensorimotor cues. Additionally, we found that the processing of incongruent perceptual cues can be modulated by the level of the illusion: when the illusion is strong, incongruent cues are not experienced as incorrect. Participants exposed to asynchronous visuotactile stimulation can experience the ownership illusion and perceive touch as originating from an object seen to contact the virtual body. Analogously, when the level of realism of the virtual body and/or the spatial overlap of the two bodies is not high enough, the contribution of congruent multisensory and/or sensorimotor cues is required for evoking the illusion. On the basis of these results and inspired by findings from neurophysiological recordings in the monkey, we propose a model that accounts for many of the results reported in the literature. (shrink)
Phantom limbs refer to the sensation that an amputated or missing limb is still attached to the body. Phantom limbs may be perceived as continuous with the stump so as to resemble a normal limb, or as “telescoped” with the more distal portion of the phantom being perceived as having withdrawn within the stump. Telescoping tends to be related to increased levels of phantom pain, making it a clinically relevant phenomenon to investigate. In the current study we show that a (...) full-body illusion can be used to induce the sensation of a telescoped limb in healthy individuals. For the induction of the full-body illusion, participants saw the body of a mannequin from a first person perspective while being subjected to synchronized visuo-tactile stimulation through stroking. Crucially, the mannequin was missing its left hand so as to resemble an amputee. By manipulating the positioning of the strokes applied to the mannequin’s stump with respect to the participants’ hand we were able to evoke the sensation of the participants’ hand being located either below the stump or, more crucially, “inside” the stump, i.e. telescoped. In three separate experiments these effects were supported by complementary subjective data from questionnaires, verbally reported perceived location of the hand, and manual pointing movements indicating hand position (proprioceptive drift). Taken together our results show that healthy individuals can experience the body of an upper limb amputee as their own, and that this can be associated with telescoping sensations. This is a theoretically important observation as it shows that ownership of an entire body can be evoked in the context of gross anatomical incongruence for a single limb, and that telescoping sensations occur as a consequence of the body representation system trying to reduce this incongruence. Furthermore, the present study might provide a new platform for future studies of the relationship between telescoping and phantom pain in amputees. (shrink)
Most amputees experience phantom limbs, or the sensation that their amputated limb is still attached to the body. Phantom limbs can be perceived in the location previously occupied by the intact limb, or they can gradually retract inside the stump, a phenomenon referred to as “telescoping”. Telescoping is relevant from a clinical point of view, as it tends to be related to increased levels of phantom pain. In the current study we demonstrate how a full-body illusion can be used (...) to temporarily revoke telescoping sensations in upper limb amputees. During this illusion participants view the body of a mannequin from a first person perspective while being subjected to synchronized visuo-tactile stimulation through stroking, which makes them experience the mannequin’s body as their own. In Experiment 1 we used an intact mannequin, and showed that amputees can experience ownership of an intact body as well as referral of touch from both hands of the mannequin. In Experiment 2 and 3 we used an amputated mannequin, and demonstrated that depending on the spatial location of the strokes applied to the mannequin, participants experienced their phantom hand to either remain telescoped, or to actually be located below the stump. The effects were supported by subjective data from questionnaires, as well as verbal reports of the perceived location of the phantom hand in a visual judgment task. These findings are of particular interest, as they show that the temporary revoking of telescoping sensations does not necessarily have to involve the visualization of an intact hand or illusory movement of the phantom (as in the rubber hand illusion or mirror visual feedback therapy), but that it can also be obtained through mere referral of touch from the stump to the spatial location corresponding to that previously occupied by the intact hand. Moreover, our study also provides preliminary evidence for the fact that these manipulations can have an effect on phantom pain sensations. (shrink)
L’auteur cherche à montrer que les passages dans lesquels le poète des Acharniens semble rompre l’illusion et conférer un statut privilégié au public en lui donnant des informations sur la fiction, sont en fait ambigus : le public de la comédie est en réalité, même et surtout à ces moments-là, traité par le poète comme un public crédule. Dès lors, c’est la mission politique que s’arroge la comédie, en prétendant éduquer les citoyens et les rendre lucides, qui est en (...) question. (shrink)
The sense of body ownership represents a fundamental aspect of our self-consciousness. Influential experimental paradigms, such as the rubber hand illusion (RHI), in which a seen rubber hand is experienced as part of one’s body when one’s own unseen hand receives congruent tactile stimulation, have extensively examined the role of exteroceptive, multisensory integration on body ownership. However, remarkably, despite the more general current interest in the nature and role of interoception in emotion and consciousness, no study has investigated how (...) the illusion may be affected by interoceptive bodily signals, such as affective touch. Here, we recruited 52 healthy, adult participants and we investigated for the first time, whether applying slow velocity, light tactile stimuli, known to elicit interoceptive feelings of pleasantness, would influence the illusion more than faster, emotionally-neutral, tactile stimuli. We also examined whether seeing another person’s hand versus a rubber hand would reduce the illusion in slow versus fast stroking conditions, as interoceptive signals are used to represent one’s own body from within and it is unclear how they would be integrated with visual signals from another person’s hand. We found that slow velocity touch was perceived as more pleasant and it produced higher levels of subjective embodiment during the RHI compared with fast touch. Moreover, this effect applied irrespective of whether the seen hand was a rubber or a confederate’s hand. These findings provide support for the idea that affective touch, and more generally interoception, may have a unique contribution to the sense of body ownership, and by implication to our embodied psychological “self”. (shrink)
Illusion und Aufklärung: 1. Apologie der Illusion in Kants Opponenten-Rede gegen Johann Gottlieb Kreutzfeld. 2. Eine heilsame Illusion: wie die Kultur aus der Natur entsteht. 3. Acedia und das radikal Böse -- Praktiken der Illusion in der Moderne: 1. Nietzsches Tanz um die Philosophie. 2. Erzeugung von Zukunft. Sprachformen der Apokalypse bei Hermann Cohen. 3. Zu Benjamins Kritik des Scheins im Wahlverwandtschaftenaufsatz mit einem Exkurs zu Cohens Behandlung des Empfindungsproblems. 4. Heilsame Illusion und auratische Wahrnehmung. (...) 5. Antigenealogische Revolte und Reproduktion -- Nachspiel: Diffraktion Statt Reflexion. Die Fadenspiele von Donna J. Haraway: eine Methode mit kleinem "m.". (shrink)
It is pretended to show the influence Cervantes had on Freud. Freud was worried about the psychic disorders. He was also disappointed by the methods of psychiatry had at that time. Freud was very interested in the plays of Cervantes, especially in El coloquio de los perros and El Quixote, where reality and illusion, and the relationship between sanity and insanity are their central axes. One of the possible readings of the great play is the one where limits between (...) reason and unreason are not clear, to the point of achieving “the reason of the unreasonableness”, which would make it understandable and explicable. Real fantasy, fantastic reality, the demarcation between them was one of the topics that worried Freud. Freud is not a simple lawyer of the irrationality, but he also tries to find “the reason of the unreasonableness” that neurotics show in the symptoms he tried to explain in detail. (shrink)
The integration of the human brain with computers is an interesting new area of applied neuroscience, where one application is replacement of a person’s real body by a virtual representation. Here we demonstrate that a virtual limb can be made to feel part of your body if appropriate multisensory correlations are provided. We report an illusion that is invoked through tactile stimulation on a person’s hidden real right hand with synchronous virtual visual stimulation on an aligned 3D stereo virtual (...) arm projecting horizontally out of their shoulder. An experiment with 21 male participants showed displacement of ownership towards the virtual hand, as illustrated by questionnaire responses and proprioceptive drift. A control experiment with asynchronous tapping was carried out with a different set of 20 male participants who did not experience the illusion. After 5 minutes of stimulation the virtual arm rotated. Evidence suggests that the extent of the illusion was also correlated with the degree of muscle activity onset in the right arm as measured by EMG during this period that the arm was rotating, for the synchronous but not the asynchronous condition. A completely virtual object can therefore be experienced as part of one’s self, which opens up the possibility that an entire virtual body could be felt as one’s own in future virtual reality applications or online games, and be an invaluable tool for the understanding of the brain mechanisms underlying body ownership. (shrink)
Since the publication of Oneself as Another , many sociologists have referred to the work of Paul Ricœur, some of them considering his notion of narrative identity to be a useful means of analyzing some aspects individual identity left unresolved by Bourdieu’s notion of habitus . Bourdieu had, however, already discredited the sociological relevance of the notion of narrative in his 1986 article “The Biographical Illusion.” Through a careful re-reading of both texts, this article will determine to what extent (...) the sociological use of Ricœur’s notions can escape the confines of Bourdieu’s analysis and, moreover, the different conceptions of the human being and of ethics underlying the two distinct frameworks of analysis.  . (shrink)
Recent debates between representational and relational theories of perceptual experience sometimes fail to clarify in what respect the two views differ. In this essay, I explain that the relational view rejects two related claims endorsed by most representationalists: the claim that perceptual experiences can be erroneous, and the claim that having the same representational content is what explains the indiscriminability of veridical perceptions and phenomenally matching illusions or hallucinations. I then show how the relational view can claim that errors associated (...) with perception should be explained in terms of false judgments, and develop a theory of illusions based on the idea that appearances are properties of objects in the surrounding environment. I provide an account of why appearances are sometimes misleading, and conclude by showing how the availability of this view undermines one of the most common ways of motivating representationalist theories of perception. (shrink)
Philosophers of mind have recently sought to establish a theoret- ical use for nonconceptual content. Although there is disagreement about what nonconceptual content is supposed to be, this much is clear. A state with nonconceptual content is mental. Hence, while one may deny that refrigerators and messy rooms have conceptual capacities, their states, as physical and not mental, do not have nonconceptual content. A state with nonconceptual content is also intentional, which is to say that it represents a feature of (...) the world for a subject. It may be tempting to think of qualitative states as having nonconceptual content since they can be experienced by indi- viduals independently of their possession of the requisite concepts, e.g. someone could experience pains, itches or tingles without possessing the concept pain, itch or tingle. But on such a view, one would have to assume that qualitative states are representational since mental states cannot be candidates for nonconceptuality unless they have intentional properties.2. (shrink)
There is a widespread, popular view—and one I basically endorse—that Nietzsche is, in one sense of the word, a nihilist. As Arthur Danto put it some time ago, according to Nietzsche, “there is nothing in [the world] which might sensibly be supposed to have value.” As interpreters of Nietzsche, though, we cannot simply stop here. Nietzsche's higher men, Übermenschen, “genuine philosophers”, free spirits—the types Nietzsche wants to bring forth from the human, all-too-human herds he sees around him with the fish (...) hooks, as he says, of his books—seem to engage in what looks like valuing. These free spirits are supposed to revalue the old values—revaluing, as is clear from the texts, is not simply to remove the old values from circulation (Nietzsche uses “umwerten” and not “entwerten”)—and they are supposed to create new values. And, of course, Nietzsche himself, free spirit that he is, takes on the task of revaluing all values and seems to assert many a strident evaluation. So we need to say more here. What are Nietzsche and his free spirits up to when they engage in what looks, for all the world, like a practice of valuing? What is the practice of valuing Nietzsche is recommending for his free spirits? I argue for two claims: (i) First, we end up facing an interpretive puzzle when we attempt to explain how Nietzsche's free spirits are supposed to engage in a practice of valuing. (ii) Second, we can solve the interpretive puzzle by taking Nietzsche's free spirits to be engaged in a fictionalist simulacrum of valuing. (shrink)
The millionaire’s idle, talentless and self-centered daughter inherits a large sum of money that she does not really deserve. The victim of kidnapping rots in a cell in 1980s Beirut in a captivity that springs not from any wrong he has done but from his ill-fortune in being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The hard-working, brilliant and self-denying Nobel Prize-winning scientist receives a large cheque for his extraordinarily productive labours. The murderer spends decades in jail for the (...) terrible crimes he has freely committed. The first two cases are cases where justice seems ill-served, where someone’s good or ill-fortune reflects not what they deserve but mere luck. The second two are cases where justice seems to be honoured: what befalls Scientist and Murderer reflects not their good or bad luck but their merits and deserts. (shrink)