Davidson’s anomalous monism, his argument for the identity between mental and physical event tokens, has been frequently attacked, usually demanding a higher degree of physicalist commitment. My objection runs in the opposite direction: the identities inferred by Davidson from mental causation, the nomological character of causality and the anomaly of the mental are philosophically problematic and, more dramatically, incompatible with his famous argument against the third dogma of empiricism, the separation of content from conceptual scheme. Given the anomaly of (...) the mental and the absence of psychophysical laws, there are no conceptual resources to relate mental and physical predicates. We fall in the third dogma if we claim that the very same token event is mental and physical. One of the premises must be rejected: I will claim that we do not need a law to subsume cause and effect to be entitled to speak of causation. Davidson has never offered an argument to back this premise. Against such a dogma I will sketch some ideas pointing towards a different conception of causality, singularist and undetachable from explanatory practices. (shrink)
Anomalous Monism is a type of property dualism in the philosophy of mind. Property dualism combines the thesis that mental phenomena are strictly irreducible to physical phenomena with the denial that mind and body are discrete substances. For the anomalous monist, the plausibility of property dualism derives from the fact that although mental states, events and processes have genuine causal powers, the causal relationships that they enter into with physical entities cannot be explained by appeal to fundamental laws (...) of nature. This doctrine about the relationship between mind and body was first explicitly defended by Donald Davidson in his paper “Mental Events,” though its root in the Western philosophical tradition go back at least as far as Spinoza. It was a topic of energetic debate and disagreement among English-speaking philosophers for the last thirty years of the twentieth century. (shrink)
The Logical Reconstruction of the World (Aufbau) is oneof the major works of Rudolf Carnap in which he attempts to put an end to some of the traditional disputes in epistemology by using what he calls 'construction theory'. According to this theory, one or more constructional systems can be designed in which all the scientific and pre-scientific objects are logically made out of a limited number of basic elements. Carnap introduces some options for the basis of this system and chooses (...) the domain of the autopsychological, i.e., the domain of private elementary experiences, among them and tries to construct all the concepts out of them. This phenomenalistic reduction sometimes is seen as embracing a Cartesian dualism of mind and body or even a mentalistic monism. However, in this paper, I shall try to show that the traditional dualist-monist debates are among those disputes that the construction theory aims to get rid of. I will show that Carnap's position on the mind-body problem is really close to what Davidson later termed as 'Anomalous Monism' and that this is why Carnap fails to complete his logical construction at a crucial step. Whenever possible, logical constructions are to be substituted for inferred entities. (shrink)
I argue that, on plausible assumptions, anomalous entails monism epiphenomenalism of the mental. The plausible assumptions are (1) events are particulars; (2) causal relations are extensional; (3) mental properties are epiphrastic. A principle defender of anomalous monism, Donald Davidson, acknowledges that anomalous monism is committed to (1) and (2). I argue that it is committed to (3) as well. Given (1), (2), and (3), epiphenomenalism of the mental falls out immediately. Three attempts to salvage anomalous monism (...) from epiphenomenalism of the mental are examined and rejected. I conclude with reflections on the status of non-reductive physicalism. (shrink)
In his paper "Supervenience Revisisted", Simon Blackburn redeployed his novel modal argument against moral realism as an argument against Donald Davidson's position of 'anomalous monism' in the philosophy of mind (Blackburn 1985).' I shall assess this redeployment. In the first part of this paper, I shall lay out Blackburn's argument. In the second and longer part I shall examine Davidson's denial of psychophysical laws in the light of this argument.
Ervin Laszlo has used the ancient concept of the Akashic Records for the basis of his "Akashic Field" (A-field) model, one that has obvious implications for parapsychology, the scientific study of anomalous human-human and human-environment interactions, that is, "psi." Experiments with "telepathic" and "precognitive" dreams are one example of parapsychological research that may fit the A-field model because of its information-carrying potential. Psi appears to be a complex system, one that may reflect the connective "web" posited by the A-field (...) model. In other words, the "universal knowledge" implicit in the old descriptions of the Akashic Records may have a modern-day counterpart. (shrink)
The essay discusses Donald Davidson’s concept of anomalous monism in the framework of Husserlian phenomenology. It develops in four stages. Section 1 is devoted to a critical presentation of the argument for anomalous monism. Section 2 succinctly examines those Husserlian notions that best provide the ground for a discussion parallel to Davidson’s. In Sect. 3, the aporetic status of “mental causation” is analyzed by providing a genetic-phenomenological account of efficient causation. Section 4 draws some general conclusions concerning the (...) kind of efficaciousness that must be attributed to consciousness and discusses the sense in which anomalous monism can be defended in a phenomenological framework, but not in a naturalistic one. (shrink)
Professor Jessica Utts and I were given the task of evaluating the program on "Anomalous Mental Phenomena" carried out at SRI International (formerly the Stanford Research Institute) from 1973 through 1989 and continued at SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) from 1992 through 1994. We were asked to evaluate this research in terms of its scientific value. We were also asked to comment on its potential utility for intelligence applications.
This paper presents an analysis of the forms of response that scientists make when confronted with anomalous data. We postulate that there are seven ways in which an individual who currently holds a theory can respond to anomalous data: (1) ignore the data; (2) reject the data; (3) exclude the data from the domain of the current theory; (4) hold the data in abeyance; (5) reinterpret the data; (6) make peripheral changes to the current theory; or (7) change (...) the theory. We analyze psychological experiments and cases from the history of science to support this proposal. Implications for the philosophy of science are discussed. (shrink)
Disabled people frequently find themselves in situations where their quality of life and wellbeing is being measured or judged by others, whether in decisions about health care provision or assessments for social supports. Recent debates about wellbeing and how it might be assessed (through subjective and/or objective measures) have prompted a renewed focus on disabled people’s wellbeing because of its seemingly ‘anomalous’ nature; that is, whilst to external (objective) observers the wellbeing of disabled people appears poor, based on subjective (...) assessments, people with disabilities report a good quality of life. In this paper, I examine an article by the philosopher Dan Moller in which he seeks to explain this ‘disability paradox’. Despite agreeing with his analysis that there is more to what people value than happiness, his explanation reflects some of the difficulties presented in philosophical accounts which seek to understand the lives of disabled people: this includes an analysis which fails to problematise definitions of wellbeing and who has the ‘voice’ to do the defining; which negates the multiple identities and subject positions that disabled people occupy; and which lacks recognition of the social contexts which mediate disabled people’s lives. I suggest that there is a need to incorporate disabled people’s voices into research which deepens our empirical knowledge about the relationship between impairment and wellbeing, including the social circumstances that shape disabled people’s agency. (shrink)
Davidson's anomalous monism, his argument for the identity between mental and physical event tokens, has been frequently attacked, usually demanding a higher degree of physicalist commitment. My objection runs in the opposite direction: the identities inferred by Davidson from mental causation, the nomological character of causality and the anomaly of the mental are philosophically problematic and, more dramatically, incompatible with his famous argument against the third dogma of empiricism, the separation of content from conceptual scheme. Given the anomaly of (...) the mental and the absence of psychophysical laws, there are no conceptual resources to relate mental and physical predicates. We fall in the third dogma if we claim that the very same token event is mental and physical. One of the premises must be rejected: I will claim that we do not need a law to subsume cause and effect to be entitled to speak of causation. Davidson has never offered an argument to back this premise. Against such a dogma I will sketch some ideas pointing towards a different conception of causality, singularist and undetachable from explanatory practices. (shrink)
Collinearity or correspondence between the contours of the inducing figure to allow `contour continuation' or `figure completion' were, according to G. Kanizsa, the necessary conditions for producing anomalous surfaces or contours. Since Kanizsa's early work various hypotheses have been advanced to explain the phenomenon, but very few examples of anomalous contours that do not satisfy the above conditions have been reported. When two small white discs (1 cm in diameter) are set on a larger black disc in slow (...) rotation, the two discs, after some observation time, will appear as the extremities of a rigid cylinder displaced in depth. The surface of the cylinder, under dim illumination, appears as a whitish transparent surface. However, when the two discs are substituted by a circle and a semicircle of the same size, a clear anomalous contour appears to form the cylinder, even under clear light conditions and when the colours are reversed; i.e., black circles on white disc. The anomalous contours are not apparent when the configuration is stationary. I will demonstrate how the anomalous contours of a stereokinetic cylinder can be obtained even without the “interruption” of the lines in the semicircle. (shrink)
The principle of the anomalousness of the mental (PAM) is one of the most controversial principles in Donald Davidson’s argument for anomalous monism (AM). It states that there cannot be any laws (psychophysical or psychological) on the basis of which mental events can be predicted and explained. The argument against such psychological laws rests on the claim that psychology is not a comprehensive closed system (though physics is). Here I sketch the argument for AM, focusing on the role of (...) PAM and the concept of closure. I present characterizations of the notion of closure offered by William Stanton and Brian McLaughlin. McLaughlin argues that Stanton’s characterization makes the argument for AM circular. McLaughlin offers a different characterization, but I argue that given Davidson’s criterion of event identity and individuation, the two are equivalent and thus both are subject to McLaughlin’s objection. If I’m right about this, there are still a couple of options open to Davidson and the defenders of Anomalous Monism. However, I conclude by indicating why neither seems promising to me. (shrink)
This paper describes an abductive process model of anomalous data integration. The model makes use of the entrenchment of the current explanation (amount of data explained) and the probability of alternative explanations. It is hypothesised that increasing confirmation of the anom-aly itself increases the probability of alternative explanations. In an experimental study we found that both the entrenchment of an existing explanation and confirmation of the anomaly clearly influence how people resolve anomalous data. These results are in agreement (...) with the predic-tions of the model. (shrink)
Recently, Colin McGinn has argued that Kripke's Cartesian argument against the mind-body identity thesis is not effective against anomalous monism. This paper attempts to show that the Cartesian has at his disposal an argument that is stronger than that formulated by Kripke, and one that cannot be rebutted by the anomalous monist in the way suggested by McGinn. The paper concludes with a suggestion as to the sort of identity theory one would have to subscribe to in order (...) to resist the stronger Cartesian argument. (shrink)
Within recent discussions in the Philosophy of Mind, the nature of conscious phenomenal states or qualia (also called ‘raw feels’ or the feel of ‘what it is like to be’) has been an important focus of interest. Proponents of Mind-Body Type-Identity theories have claimed that mental states can be reduced to neurophysiological states of the brain. Others have denied that such a reduction is possible; for them, there remains an explanatory gap. In this paper, functionalist, physicalist, epiphenomenalist, and biological models (...) of the mind are discussed and compared. Donald Davidson’s Anomalous Monism is proposed as a unifying framework for a non-reductive theory of qualia and consciousness. Downward Causation, Emergence through Symmetry-breaking, and Dynamical Systems Theory are used to show how consciousness and qualia emerge from their neural substrate and can also be causally efficacious. (shrink)
identity theory , usually attributed to J.J.C. Smart (Smart, 1959) and U.T. Place (Place, 1956), claimed that kinds of mental states are identical to kinds of brain states. Sensations of pain, for instance, were said to be identical to the firing of C-fibres or some such type of neurological state. According to this view, then, pain, conceived as a _kind_ of mental state, is said to be _reduced_ to a certain kind of neurological state. The reduction envisaged here was modelled (...) on the kind of reduction seen in other areas of the sciences. For instance, lightning can be said to be reduced to a rapid discharge of electrons in the atmosphere. When such a reduction is made scientists are not saying that there are two phenomena that are correlated, but rather that lightning is. (shrink)
Kafka's writings are frequently interpreted as representing the historical period of modernism in which he was writing. Little attention has been paid, however, to the possibility that his writings may reflect neural mechanisms in the processing of self during hypnagogic (i.e., between waking and sleep) states. Kafka suffered from dream-like, hypnagogic hallucinations during a sleep-deprived state while writing. This paper discusses reasons (phenomenological and neurobiological) why the self projects an imaginary double (autoscopy) in its spontaneous hallucinations and how Kafka's writings (...) help to elucidate the underlying cognitive and neural mechanisms. I further discuss how the proposed mechanisms may be relevant to understanding paranoid delusions in schizophrenia. Literature documents and records cognitive and neural processes of self with an intimacy that may be otherwise unavailable to neuroscience. To elucidate this approach, I contrast it with the apparently popularizing view that the symptoms of schizophrenia result from what has been called an operative (i.e., pre-reflective) hyper-reflexivity. The latter approach claims that pre-reflective self-awareness (diminished in schizophrenia) pervades all conscious experience (however, in a manner that remains unverifiable for both phenomenological and experimental methods). This contribution argues the opposite: the "self" informs our hypnagogic imagery precisely to the extent that we are not self-aware. (shrink)
Kim maintains that a physicalist has only two genuine options, eliminativism and reductionism. But physicalists can reject both by using the Strict Implication thesis (SI). Discussing his arguments will help to show what useful work SI can do.(1) His discussion of anomalous monism depends on an unexamined assumption to the effect that SI is false.
Must mental properties figure in psychological causal laws if they are causally efficacious? And do those psychological causal laws give the essence of mental properties? Contrary to the prevailing consensus, I argue that, on the usual conception of laws that is in play in these debates, there are in fact lawless causally efficacious properties both in and out of the philosophy of mind. I argue that this makes a great difference to the philosophical relevance of empirical psychology. I begin by (...) making the case that revolutions and hurricanes are lawless phenomena, before arguing for a similar thesis about creativity, love, courage, dreams, daydreams, and musings. Furthermore, the empirical research on these phenomena suggests that the philosophical issues may be independent of what empirical psychology can tell us. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss Hud Hudson's compatibilistic interpretation of Kant's theory of free will, which is based on Davidson's anomalous monism. I sketch an alternative interpretation of my own, an incompatibilistic interpretation according to which agents qua noumena are responsible for the particular causal laws which determine the actions of agents qua phenomena. Hudson's interpretation should be attractive to philosophers who value Kant's epistemology and ethics, but insist on a deflationary reading of things in themselves. It is in (...) an incompatibilist interpretation of Kant's theory of free will that a "positive" conception of noumena is at its most important. If a compatibilistic interpretation is acceptable, one might suppose that we can do without a "positive" conception of noumena throughout Kant's philosophy. I demonstrate, however, that there are central elements of Kant's theory of free will that cannot be accommodated within Hudson's interpretation. (shrink)
Davidson has argued that there can be no laws linking psychological states with physical states. I stress that this argument depends crucially on there being no purely psychological laws. All of this has to do with the holism and indeterminacy of the psychological domain. I criticize this claim by showing how Davidson misconstrues the role of ceteris paribus clauses in psychological explanation. Using a model of how ceteris paribus clauses operate derived from Lakatos, I argue that if Davidson is correct, (...) then there can be no purely physical laws either. This is illustrated with a case from immunology involving interferons. Since there clearly are physical laws, Davidson cannot be correct. (shrink)
Little sociological attention is directed to dreams and dreaming, and none at all is directed to how people tell one another about dreams. Ordinary settings in which dreams are told mimic the conditions of “breaching” experiments and should produce anomie, but dream telling proceeds without trouble. Foundational orientations of ordinary dream talk assimilate into professional dream studies, where dream narratives are “data” and the analysis of narratives is “dream analysis.” That such practices proceed without trouble poses some interesting problems for (...) sociology in terms of how anyone experiences “constraint” in the telling and hearing of dreams. (shrink)
Ecology has often been characterized as an immature scientific discipline. This paper explores some of the sources of this alleged immaturity. I argue that the perception of immaturity results primarily from the fact that historically ecologists have based their work upon two very different approaches to research.
The integration of perceived events with appropriate action usually requires more flexibility to result in adaptive responses than Hommel et al. report in their selective review. The need for hierarchies of function that can intervene and the existence of diverse mediating brain mechanisms can be illustrated by the non-adaptive expression in psychiatric illness of negative priming, blocking, and affective responses.
The paper argues against the widely accepted assumption that the causal laws of (completed) physics, in contrast to those of the special sciences, are essentially strict. This claim played an important role already in debates about the anomalousness of the mental, and it currently experiences a renaissance in various discussions about mental causation, projectability of special science laws, and the nature of physical laws. By illustrating the distinction with some paradigmatic physical laws, the paper demonstrates that only law schemata are (...) strict whereas causal laws are generally non-strict. Several potential replies to this argument are discussed and rejected as unsound. (shrink)
Two criticisms of Davidson's argument for monism are presented. The first is that there is no obvious way for the anomalism of the mental to do any work in his argument. Certain implicit premises, on the other hand, entail monism independently of the anomalism of the mental, but they are question-begging. The second criticism is that even if Davidson's argument is sound, the variety of monism that emerges is extremely weak at best. I show that by constructing ontologically ``hybrid'' events (...) that are consistent with the premises and assumptions of Davidson's argument, but entail ontological dualism. (shrink)
Referindo-se a alguns aspectos do debate entre Donald Davidson e Jaegwon Kim acerca do problema da eficácia causal do mental no mundo físico, este artigo visa focalizar um ponto de tensão que parece surgir no âmbito do fisicalismo não reducionista davidsoniano, cuja expressão mais conhecida é a tese do monismo anômalo, que pretende conciliar duas alegações dificilmente conciliáveis no âmbito de uma tese fisicalista. São estas, a alegação da anomalia do mental, que afirma a autonomia do mental do sistema das (...) leis que governam os fenômenos físicos, e a alegação de que os eventos mentais e as ações humanas fazem parte do fluxo causal dos eventos da natureza. O Monismo Anômalo parece ser uma tese epifenomenalista, pois, no Monismo Anômalo, a alegação da anomalia do mental exclui que o mental possa ter uma eficácia causal. (shrink)
The Essential Davidson compiles the most celebrated papers of one of the twentieth century's greatest philosophers. It distills Donald Davidson's seminal contributions to our understanding of ourselves, from three decades of essays, into one thematically organized collection. A new, specially written introduction by Ernie Lepore and Kirk Ludwig, two of the world's leading authorities on his work, offers a guide through the ideas and arguments, shows how they interconnect, and reveals the systematic coherence of Davidson's worldview. Davidson's philosophical program is (...) organized around two connected projects. The first is that of understanding the nature of human agency. The second is that of understanding the nature and function of language, and its relation to the world. Accordingly, the first part of the book presents Davidson's investigation of reasons, causes, and intentions, which revolutionized the philosophy of action. This leads to his notable doctrine of anomalous monism, the view that all mental events are physical events, but that the mental cannot be reduced to the physical. The second part of the book presents the famous essays in which Davidson set out his highly original and influential philosophy of language, which founds the theory of meaning on the theory of truth. These fifteen classic essays will be invaluable for anyone interested in the study of mind and language. Fascinating though they are individually, it is only when drawn together that there emerges a compelling picture of man as a rational linguistic animal whose thoughts, though not reducible to the material, are part of the fabric of the world, and whose knowledge of his own mind, the minds of others, and the world around him is as fundamental to his nature as the power of thought and speech itself. (shrink)
This paper defends an idealist form of non-reductivism in the philosophy of mind. I refer to it as a kind of conceptual dualism without substance dualism. I contrast this idealist alternative with the two most widespread forms of non-reductivism: multiple realisability functionalism and anomalous monism. I argue first, that functionalism fails to challenge seriously the claim for methodological unity since it is quite comfortable with the idea that it is possible to articulate a descriptive theory of the mind. Second, (...) that as an attempt to graft conceptual mind-body dualism onto a monistic metaphysics, the idealist alternative bears some similarities to anomalous monism, but that it is superior to it because it is not vulnerable to the charge of epiphenomenalism. I conclude that this idealist alternative should be given serious consideration by those who remain unconvinced that a successful defence of the non-reducibility of the mental is compatible with the pursuit of a naturalistic agenda. (shrink)
Since 1989 we have witnessed a proliferation of efforts to develop international norms of the rights of ethnocultural minorities, such as the UN's 1992 Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, the Council of Europe's 1995 Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, and the Organization of American States' 1997 draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This activity at the level of international law is reflected in a comparable explosion (...) of interest in minority rights among normative political theorists. In this context, Michael Walzer's work occupies an important but somewhat anomalous role. On the one hand, he was arguably the first political theorist, at least in the postwar era, to take seriously the issue of minority rights. Nonetheless, Walzer's work has had surprisingly little enduring impact on multiculturalism debates in either academic political theory or international law. One explanation for this puzzle is that Walzer's substantive discussion of minority rights seems to sit uneasily with his more foundational theory of justice, laid out in Spheres of Justice . I want to suggest a distinct (but complementary) explanation for why Walzer's work has not permeated the debate, focusing less on metaethical worries about his account of common meanings, and more on the practicalities of how he categorizes ethnic diversity. Walzer's state-differentiated but minority-undifferentiated approach simply does not connect to the governing premises of the larger academic and public debate, which treat minorities as differentiated and states as undifferentiated. I believe it is Walzer's idiosyncratic approach to categorization—more than his controversial theory of justice-as-common-meanings—which explains his relatively marginal role in the multiculturalism debate. (shrink)
Category mistakes are sentences such as ‘Colourless green ideas sleep furiously’ or ‘The theory of relativity is eating breakfast’. Such sentences are highly anomalous, and this has led a large number of linguists and philosophers to conclude that they are meaningless (call this ‘the meaninglessness view’). In this paper I argue that the meaninglessness view is incorrect and category mistakes are meaningful. I provide four arguments against the meaninglessness view: in Sect. 2, an argument concerning compositionality with respect to (...) category mistakes; in Sect. 3 an argument concerning synonymy facts of category mistakes; in Sect. 4 concerning embeddings of category mistakes in propositional attitude ascriptions; and in Sect. 5 concerning the uses of category mistakes in metaphors. Having presented these arguments, in Sect. 6 I briefly discuss some of the positive motivations for accepting the meaninglessness view and argue that they are unconvincing. I conclude that the meaninglessness view ought to be rejected. (shrink)
This paper investigates the nature of scientific realism. I begin by considering the anomalous fact that Bas van Fraassen’s account of scientific realism is strikingly similar to Arthur Fine’s account of scientific non-realism. To resolve this puzzle, I demonstrate how the two theorists understand the nature of truth and its connection to ontology, and how that informs their conception of the realism debate. I then argue that the debate is much better captured by the theory of truthmaking, and not (...) by any particular theory of truth. To be a scientific realist is to adopt a realism-relevant account of what makes true the scientific theories one accepts. The truthmaking approach restores realism’s metaphysical core—distancing itself from linguistic conceptions of the debate—and thereby offers a better characterization of what is at stake in the question of scientific realism. (shrink)
Despite the fact that Davidson's theory of the causal relata is crucial to his response to the problem of mental causation - that of anomalous monism - it is commonly overlooked within discussions of his position. Anomalous monism is accused of entailing property epiphenomenalism, but given Davidson's understanding of the causal relata, such accusations are wholly misguided. There are, I suggest, two different forms of property epiphenomenalism. The first understands the term 'property' in an ontological sense, the second (...) in a linguistic sense. Anomalous monism cannot plausibly be accused of either. The first cannot legitimately be applied to anomalous monism as it is incompatible with Davidson's ontology. And accusations of predicate epiphenomenalism, although consistent with Davidson's ontology, are ungrounded regarding Davidson's anomalous monism. Philosophers of mind have mislocated the problem with Davidson's anomalous monism, which in fact lies with the implausible theory of the causal relata upon which it rests. (shrink)
(Note: this is now a working pdf of the final version, March 2010) It is uncontroversial that psychological verbs like ‘believe’, ‘think’, or ‘suspect’ have first person present tense uses that are transparent in the sense that they convey information about the world rather than about the speaker’s psychological states, as in ‘I believe it’s about to rain’. One explanation for these transparent belief reports or avowals, mainly coming from the Wittgensteinian tradition, is that the verbs in question are systematically ambiguous, (...) or that they have an expressive rather than descriptive function in the first-personal case. I maintain, in contrast, that there is no asymmetry between transparent and other uses of psychological verbs at the level of literal meaning. Instead, belief reports convey information about the world in virtue of standard Gricean conversational principles, which also serve to predict when they fail to be transparent. Thus, semantic continuity is maintained and the anomalous behaviour of the verbs explained by a simple pragmatic story. (shrink)
Cognitive neuropsychiatry (CN) is the explanation of psychiatric disorder by the methods of cognitive neuropsychology. Within CN there are, broadly speaking, two approaches to delusion. The first uses a one-stage model, in which delusions are explained as rationalizations of anomalous experiences via reasoning strategies that are not, in themselves, abnormal. Two-stage models invoke additional hypotheses about abnormalities of reasoning. In this paper, I examine what appears to be a very strong argument, developed within CN, in favor of a twostage (...) explanation of the difference in content between the Capgras and Cotard delusions. That explanation treats them as alternative rationalizations of essentially the same phenomenology. I show, however, that once we distinguish the phenomenology (and the neuroetiology), a one-stage model is adequate. In the final section I make some more general remarks on the oneand two-stage models. (shrink)
The Hurvich-Jameson (H-J) opponent-process network offers a familiar account of the empirical structure of the phenomenological color space for humans, an account with a number of predictive and explanatory virtues. Its successes form the bulk of the existing reasons for suggesting a strict identity between our various color sensations on the one hand, and our various coding vectors across the color-opponent neurons in our primary visual pathways on the other. But anti-reductionists standardly complain that the systematic parallels discovered by the (...) H-J network are just empirical correspondences, constructed post facto, with no predictive or explanatory purchase on the intrinsic characters of qualia proper. The present paper disputes that complaint, by illustrating that the H-J model yields some novel and unappreciated predictions, and some novel and unappreciated explanations, concerning the qualitative characters of a considerable variety of color sensations possible for human experience, color sensations that normal people have almost certainly never had before, color sensations whose accurate descriptions in ordinary language appear semantically ill-formed or even self-contradictory. Specifically, these "impossible" color sensations are activation-vectors (across our opponent-process neurons) that lie inside the space of neuronally possible activation-vectors, but outside the central 'color spindle' that confines the familiar range of sensations for possible objective colors. These extra-spindle chimerical-color sensations correspond to no reflective color that you will ever see objectively displayed on a physical object. But the H-J model both predicts their existence and explains their highly anomalous qualitative characters in some detail. It also suggests how to produce these rogue sensations by a simple procedure made available in the latter half of this paper. The relevant color plates will allow you to savor these sensations for yourself. (shrink)
[Why Davidson's Anomalous Monism Would Lead to Type Epiphenomenalism]: 1. According to Davidson, events can cause other events only in virtue of falling under physical types cited in strict laws; 2. But no mental event-type is a physical event-type cited in a strict law, since the mental is anomalous. 3. Therefore, under Davidson's theory, type epiphenomenalism is true.
The psychological study of ethical reasoning tends to concentrate on a few specific issues, with the bulk of the research going to the study of people's attitudes toward moral rules or the welfare of others. But people's ethical reasoning is also shaped by a wide range of other concerns. Here I focus on the importance that people attach to the ideal of being yourself. It is shown that certain experimental results - results that seemed anomalous and inexplicable to researchers (...) who focused on moral rules and concern for the welfare of others - can be explained quite elegantly as the product of people's attachment to the ideal of 'being yourself'. The success of this explanation then points to the need for a more general inquiry into the role that the ideal of 'being yourself ' plays in people's ethical reasoning. (shrink)
I am interested in fear of non-existence, which is often discussed in terms of fear one’s own death, or as it is sometimes called, fear of death as such. This form of fear has been denied by some philosophers. Cognitive theories of the emotions have particular trouble in dealing with it, granting it a status that is simultaneously paradigmatic yet anomalous with respect to fear in general. My paper documents these matters, and considers a number of responses. I provide (...) examples from philosophy and literature of fear of non-existence, and distinguish it from other death-related fears. I then look at the success that cognitive theories of the emotions have had in dealing with other “problematic” fears, such as phobias, and examine how the solutions here fail to apply to fear of non-existence. The problem lies with the perceptual-centred model of fear that is typically called upon. Against this I recommend a retreat to a belief-centred model for fear of non-existence. I argue that there are other fears that are better explained by a belief-centred rather a perceptual-based approach. This reinforces the plausibility of the belief-centred model, and goes some way to alleviating the anomalous and problematic status of the fear of non-existence. (shrink)
Circumscribed delusional beliefs can follow brain injury. We suggest that these involve anomalous perceptual experiences created by a deficit to the person's perceptual system, and misinterpretation of these experiences due to biased reasoning. We use the Capgras delusion (the claim that one or more of one's close relatives has been replaced by an exact replica or impostor) to illustrate this argument. Our account maintains that people voicing this delusion suffer an impairment that leads to faces being perceived as drained (...) of their normal affective significance, and an additional reasoning bias that leads them to put greater weight on forming beliefs that are observationally adequate rather than beliefs that are a conservative extension of their existing stock. We show how this position can integrate issues involved in the philosophy and psychology of belief, and examine the scope for mutually beneficial interaction. (shrink)
Much social theory takes for granted the core conceit of modern culture, that modern actors-individuals, organizations, nation states-are autochthonous and natural entities, no longer really embedded in culture. Accordingly, while there is much abstract metatheory about "actors" and their "agency," there is arguably little theory about the topic. This article offers direct arguments about how the modern (European, now global) cultural system constructs the modern actor as an authorized agent for various interests via an ongoing relocation into society of agency (...) originally located in transcendental authority or in natural forces environing the social system. We see this authorized agentic capability as an essential feature of what modern theory and culture call an "actor," and one that, when analyzed, helps greatly in explaining a number of otherwise anomalous or little analyzed features of modern individuals, organizations, and states. These features include their isomorphism and standardization, their internal decoupling, their extraordinarily complex structuration, and their capacity for prolific collective action. (shrink)
1. Consider the basic outlines of the mind-body debate as it is found in contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy. The central question is “whether mental phenomena are physical phenomena, and if not, how they relate to physical phenomena.”1 Over the centuries, a wide range of possible solutions to this problem have emerged. These are the various “isms” familiar to any student of the debate: Cartesian dualism, idealism, epiphenomenalism, central state materialism, non- reductive physicalism, anomalous monism, and so forth. Each (...) purports to specify, among other things, the metaphysical relationship between the mental and the physical. They do so by specifying whether, or in what way, mental entities are identical to, reducible to, realized by, supervenient upon, or in causal interaction with physical entities. Thus, a convenient way to survey the range of positions is to enter them in a table (see Table 1). Rows correspond to the major kinds of metaphysical relation which might obtain between mental and physical entities. Each columns corresponds to one of the generic positions available in the debate. The particular theories defended by individual philosophers are usually just specific versions of generic positions. Thus Malebranche’s occasionalism is a version of causal dualism, distinguished by a peculiar account of the way in which causal interaction between mental and physical is actually effected. The central philosophical challenge is to determine which of these positions correctly describes the mental/physical relationship. Positions are evaluated for internal consistency, their fit with “intuitions,” their compatibility with scientific developments, and so forth. The mind-body debate, in this simple form, is set out in any number of.. (shrink)
I respond to an argument presented by Daniel Povinelli and Jennifer Vonk that the current generation of experiments on chimpanzee theory of mind cannot decide whether chimpanzees have the ability to reason about mental states. I argue that Povinelli and Vonk’s proposed experiment is subject to their own criticisms and that there should be a more radical shift away from experiments that ask subjects to predict behavior. Further, I argue that Povinelli and Vonk’s theoretical commitments should lead them to accept (...) this new approach, and that experiments which offer subjects the opportunity to look for explanations for anomalous behavior should be explored. (shrink)
We provide a battery of examples of delusions against which theoretical accounts can be tested. Then, we identify neuropsychological anomalies that could produce the unusual experiences that may lead, in turn, to the delusions in our battery. However, we argue against Maher’s view that delusions are false beliefs that arise as normal responses to anomalous experiences. We propose, instead, that a second factor is required to account for the transition from unusual experience to delusional belief. The second factor in (...) the aetiology of delusions can be described superficially as a loss of the ability to reject a candidate for belief on the grounds of its implausibility and its inconsistency with everything else that the patient knows. But we point out some problems that confront any attempt to say more about the nature of this second factor. (shrink)
In this reply, I raise some questions about the account of "normativity" given by Joseph Rouse. I discuss the historical form of disputes over normativity in such thinkers as Kelsen and show that the standard issue with these accounts is over the question of whether there is anything added to the normal stream of explanation by the problem of normativity. I suggest that Rouses attempt to avoid the issues that arise with substantive explanatory theories of practices of the kind criticized (...) in The Social Theory of Practices leads to a result that is uninformative, and the strategy raises the question of whether there is anything there to explain and thus whether there is any necessity to appeal to the kind of anomalous explanations the normativist offers. Key Words: Kelsen normativity Mauss naturalism practices. (shrink)
An elegant theory in cognitive neuropsychiatry explains the Capgras and Cotard delusions as resulting from the same type of anomalous phenomenal experience explained in different ways by different sufferers. ‘Although the Capgras and Cotard delusions are phenomenally distinct, we thus think that they represent patients’ attempts to make sense of fundamentally similar experiences’ (Young and Leafhead, 1996, p. 168). On the theory proposed by Young and Leafhead, the anomalous experience results from damage to an information processing subsystem which (...) associates an affect of ‘familiarity’ with overt recognition of faces, and, sometimes, scenes and objects. When the normal affect of familiarity is absent the subject experiences an unusual feeling of derealization or depersonalization. The Cotard and Capgras patients adopt different, delusional, explanations of this unusual qualitative state, for reasons to do with ‘attributional style’. It is part of this attribution hypothesis that delusional subjects, like normal people, interpret perceptual phenomena in the light of a set of background beliefs whose structure is a product of social/contextual influences and individual psychological dispositions. That structure predisposes people to reason in certain ways, to discount or reinterpret evidence and to favour certain hypoth-. (shrink)
Believing in God requires not only a leap of faith but also an extension of people’s normal capacity to perceive the minds of others. Usually, people perceive minds of all kinds by trying to understand their conscious experience (what it is like to be them) and their agency (what they can do). Although humans are perceived to have both agency and experience, humans appear to see God as possessing agency, but not experience. God’s unique mind is due, the authors suggest, (...) to the uniquely moral role He occupies. In this article, the authors propose that God is seen as the ultimate moral agent, the entity people blame and praise when they receive anomalous harm and help. Support for this proposition comes from research on mind perception, morality, and moral typecasting. Interestingly, although people perceive God as the author of salvation, suffering seems to evoke even more attributions to the divine. (shrink)