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Profile: David Chalmers (Australian National University, New York University)
  1. David J. Chalmers (unknown). Realms of Cognitive Science. Philosophical Explorations.
    B Chandrasekaran writes: It appears that there are three realms: the realm of matter, the realm of representations, and the realm of qualia/intentions/consciousness, not just two: matter and consciousness. I like this distinction, although I think there might more naturally be four realms to distinguish.
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  2. David J. Chalmers, A Taxonomy of Cognitive Jokes.
    This is just a beginning categorization. I claim no 'objective correctness' for it. And of course the categories can be fluid, and the same joke can be a member of more than one category (and perhaps it will be funnier if it is). But thinking about the jokes which I can recall from the Humour Weekend, most seem to fall squarely into one or another category, indicating that perhaps this is a useful way of dividing jokes. It seems to me (...)
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  3. David J. Chalmers, Analog Vs. Digital Computation.
    It is fairly well-known that certain hard computational problems (that is, 'difficult' problems for a digital processor to solve) can in fact be solved much more easily with an analog machine. This raises questions about the true nature of the distinction between analog and digital computation (if such a distinction exists). I try to analyze the source of the observed difference in terms of (1) expanding parallelism and (2) more generally, infinite-state Turing machines. The issue of discreteness vs continuity will (...)
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  4. David J. Chalmers, Determining the Moment of Consciousness?
    It's very interesting to see neurophysiological evidence brought to bear on the puzzling question of conscious experience. Many have observed that information-processing models of cognition seem to leave consciousness untouched; it is natural to hope that turning to neurophysiology might lead us to the Holy Grail. Still, I think there are reasons to be skeptical. There are good reasons to suppose that neurophysiological investigation contributes to cognitive explanation at best in virtue of constraining the information-processing structure of cognition. Of course (...)
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  5. David J. Chalmers, How Cartesian Dualism Might Have Been True.
    We could have been characters in a huge computer simulation. It is a familiar idea that the whole world might be simulated on a computer, and things would seem exactly the same to us (and indeed, who is to say that we are not).
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  6. David J. Chalmers, Is the Continuum Hypothesis True, False, or Neither?
    Thanks to all the people who responded to my enquiry about the status of the Continuum Hypothesis. This is a really fascinating subject, which I could waste far too much time on. The following is a summary of some aspects of the feeling I got for the problems. This will be old hat to set theorists, and no doubt there are a couple of embarrassing misunderstandings, but it might be of some interest to non professionals.
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  7. David J. Chalmers, Mind and Modality.
    What follows are compressed versions of three lectures on the subject of "Mind and Modality", given at Princeton University the week of October 12-16, 1998. The first two form a series; the third stands alone to some extent. All are philosophically technical, and probably of interest mainly to philosophers. I hope that they make sense, at least to those familiar with my book _The Conscious Mind_ . Lecture 1 recapitulates some of the material in the book in a somewhat different (...)
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  8. David J. Chalmers, Pick a Number Between Zero and Infinity.
    In article <18311.25b44848@merrimack.edu> ain14924@merrimack.edu writes: Reminds me of a friend of mine who claims that the number 17 is "the most random" number. His proof ran as follows: pick a number. It's not really as good a random number as 17, is it? (Invariable Answer: "Umm, well, no...") This reminds me of a little experiment I did a couple of years ago. I stood on a busy street corner in Oxford, and asked passers by to "name a random number between (...)
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  9. David J. Chalmers, The First Person and Third Person Views (Part I).
    Intro to what "first person" and "third person" mean. (outline the probs of the first person) (convenience of third person vs absoluteness of first person) (explain terminology) Dominance of third person, reasons. (embarassment with first person) (division of reactions) (natural selection - those who can make the most noise) (analogy with behaviourism) Reductionism, hard line and soft line Appropriation of first person terms by reductionists.
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  10. David J. Chalmers, The Tyranny of the Subjunctive.
    (1a) If Prince Albert Victor killed those people, he is Jack the Ripper (and Jack the Ripper killed those people). (1b) If Prince Albert Victor had killed those people, Jack the Ripper wouldn't have (and Prince Albert wouldn't have been Jack the Ripper).
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  11. David J. Chalmers, The Two-Envelope Paradox: A Complete Analysis?
    A wealthy eccentric places two envelopes in front of you. She tells you that both envelopes contain money, and that one contains twice as much as the other, but she does not tell you which is which. You are allowed to choose one envelope, and to keep all the money you find inside.
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  12. David J. Chalmers, What is It Like to Be a Thermostat? (Commentary on Dan Lloyd, "What is It Like to Be a Net?&Quot;).
    The project that Dan Lloyd has undertaken is admirable and audacious. He has tried to boil down the substrate of information-processing that underlies conscious experience to some very simple elements, in order to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon. Some people will suspect that by considering a model as simple as a connectionist network, Dan has thrown away everything that is interesting about consciousness. Perhaps there is something to that complaint, but I will take a different tack. It seems (...)
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  13. David J. Chalmers (forthcoming). Intuitions in Philosophy: A Minimal Defense. Philosophical Studies:1-10.
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  14. David J. Chalmers (2014). Frontloading and Fregean Sense: Reply to Neta, Schroeter and Stanley. Analysis 74 (4):676-697.
  15. David J. Chalmers (2014). Intensions and Indeterminacy: Reply to Soames, Turner, and Wilson. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):249-269.
  16. David J. Chalmers (2014). Précis of Constructing the World. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):217-219.
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  17. David J. Chalmers (2014). Précis of The Character of Consciousness. Philosophical Studies 167 (3):747-748.
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  18. David J. Chalmers (2014). Summary. Analysis 74 (4):635-637.
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  19. David J. Chalmers (2014). Strong Necessities and the Mind–Body Problem: A Reply. Philosophical Studies 167 (3):785-800.
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  20. David J. Chalmers & Brian Rabern (2014). Two-Dimensional Semantics and the Nesting Problem. Analysis 74 (2):210-224.
    Graeme Forbes (2011) raises some problems for two-dimensional semantic theories. The problems concern nested environments: linguistic environments where sentences are nested under both modal and epistemic operators. Closely related problems involving nested environments have been raised by Scott Soames (2005) and Josh Dever (2007). Soames goes so far as to say that nested environments pose the “chief technical problem” for strong two-dimensionalism. We call the problem of handling nested environments within two-dimensional semantics “the nesting problem”. We show that the two-dimensional (...)
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  21. David Bourget & David J. Chalmers (2013). What Do Philosophers Believe? Philosophical Studies (3):1-36.
    What are the philosophical views of contemporary professional philosophers? We surveyed many professional philosophers in order to help determine their views on 30 central philosophical issues. This article documents the results. It also reveals correlations among philosophical views and between these views and factors such as age, gender, and nationality. A factor analysis suggests that an individual’s views on these issues factor into a few underlying components that predict much of the variation in those views. The results of a metasurvey (...)
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  22. David J. Chalmers (2013). Summary of The Character of Consciousness. Analysis 73 (2):303-304.
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  23. David J. Chalmers (2013). The Contents of Consciousness: Reply to Hellie, Peacocke and Siegel. Analysis 73 (2):345-368.
    This is a reply to commentaries on my book, The Character of Consciousness, by Benj Hellie, Christopher Peacocke, and Susanna Siegel. The reply to Hellie focuses on issues about acquaintance and transparency. The reply to Peacocke focuses on externalism about spatial experience. The reply to Siegel focuses on whether there can be Frege cases in perceptual experience.
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  24. David J. Chalmers (2012). The Singularity: A Reply to Commentators. Journal of Consciousness Studies.
    I would like to thank the authors of the 26 contributions to this symposium on my article “The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis”. I learned a great deal from the reading their commentaries. Some of the commentaries engaged my article in detail, while others developed ideas about the singularity in other directions. In this reply I will concentrate mainly on those in the first group, with occasional comments on those in the second. A singularity (or an intelligence explosion) is a rapid (...)
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  25. David J. Chalmers (2011). Actuality and Knowability. Analysis 71 (3):411-419.
    It is widely believed that for all p, or at least for all entertainable p, it is knowable a priori that (p iff actually p). It is even more widely believed that for all such p, it is knowable that (p iff actually p). There is a simple argument against these claims from four antecedently plausible premises.
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  26. David J. Chalmers (2011). A Computational Foundation for the Study of Cognition. Journal of Cognitive Science 12 (4):323-357.
    Computation is central to the foundations of modern cognitive science, but its role is controversial. Questions about computation abound: What is it for a physical system to implement a computation? Is computation sufficient for thought? What is the role of computation in a theory of cognition? What is the relation between different sorts of computational theory, such as connectionism and symbolic computation? In this paper I develop a systematic framework that addresses all of these questions. Justifying the role of computation (...)
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  27. David J. Chalmers (2011). Frege's Puzzle and the Objects of Credence. Mind 120 (479):587 - 635.
    The objects of credence are the entities to which credences are assigned for the purposes of a successful theory of credence. I use cases akin to Frege's puzzle to argue against referentialism about credence: the view that objects of credence are determined by the objects and properties at which one's credence is directed. I go on to develop a non-referential account of the objects of credence in terms of sets of epistemically possible scenarios.
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  28. David J. Chalmers (2011). Propositions and Attitude Ascriptions: A Fregean Account. Noûs 45 (4):595-639.
    When I say ‘Hesperus is Phosphorus’, I seem to express a proposition. And when I say ‘Joan believes that Hesperus is Phosphorus’, I seem to ascribe to Joan an attitude to the same proposition. But what are propositions? And what is involved in ascribing propositional attitudes?
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  29. David J. Chalmers (2011). Revisability and Conceptual Change in "Two Dogmas of Empiricism". Journal of Philosophy 108 (8):387-415.
    W.V. Quine’s article “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” is one of the most influential works in 20thcentury philosophy. The article is cast most explicitly as an argument against logical empiricists such as Carnap, arguing against the analytic/synthetic distinction that they appeal to along with their verificationism. But the article has been read much more broadly as an attack on the notion..
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  30. David J. Chalmers (2011). The Nature of Epistemic Space. In Andy Egan & Brian Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    There are many ways the world might be, for all I know. For all I know, it might be that there is life on Jupiter, and it might be that there is not. It might be that Australia will win the next Ashes series, and it might be that they will not. It might be that my great-grandfather was my great-grandmother's second cousin, and it might be that he was not. It might be that copper is a compound, and it (...)
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  31. David J. Chalmers (2011). Verbal Disputes. Philosophical Review 120 (4):515-566.
    The philosophical interest of verbal disputes is twofold. First, they play a key role in philosophical method. Many philosophical disagreements are at least partly verbal, and almost every philosophical dispute has been diagnosed as verbal at some point. Here we can see the diagnosis of verbal disputes as a tool for philosophical progress. Second, they are interesting as a subject matter for first-order philosophy. Reflection on the existence and nature of verbal disputes can reveal something about the nature of concepts, (...)
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  32. David J. Chalmers (2010). The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (9-10):9 - 10.
    What happens when machines become more intelligent than humans? One view is that this event will be followed by an explosion to ever-greater levels of intelligence, as each generation of machines creates more intelligent machines in turn. This intelligence explosion is now often known as the “singularity”. The basic argument here was set out by the statistician I.J. Good in his 1965 article “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine”: Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far (...)
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  33. David John Chalmers (2010). The Character of Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
    What is consciousness? How does the subjective character of consciousness fit into an objective world? How can there be a science of consciousness? In this sequel to his groundbreaking and controversial The Conscious Mind, David Chalmers develops a unified framework that addresses these questions and many others. Starting with a statement of the "hard problem" of consciousness, Chalmers builds a positive framework for the science of consciousness and a nonreductive vision of the metaphysics of consciousness. He replies to many critics (...)
     
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  34. David J. Chalmers (2009). Ontological Anti-Realism. In David John Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press.
    The basic question of ontology is “What exists?”. The basic question of metaontology is: are there objective answers to the basic question of ontology? Here ontological realists say yes, and ontological anti-realists say no. (Compare: The basic question of ethics is “What is right?”. The basic question of metaethics is: are there objective answers to the basic question of ethics? Here moral realists say yes, and moral anti-realists say no.) For example, the ontologist may ask: Do numbers exist? The Platonist (...)
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  35. David J. Chalmers (2009). The Two-Dimensional Argument Against Materialism. In Brian P. McLaughlin & Sven Walter (eds.), Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press.
    A number of popular arguments for dualism start from a premise about an epistemic gap between physical truths about truths about consciousness, and infer an ontological gap between physical processes and consciousness. Arguments of this sort include the conceivability argument, the knowledge argument, the explanatory-gap argument, and the property dualism argument. Such arguments are often resisted on the grounds that epistemic premises do not entail ontological conclusion. My view is that one can legitimately infer ontological conclusions from epistemic premises, if (...)
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  36. David John Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.) (2009). Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press.
    This volume concerns the status and ambitions of metaphysics as a discipline.
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  37. David J. Chalmers (2008). Foreword to Andy Clark's Supersizing the Mind. In Andy Clark (ed.), Supersizing the Mind. Oxford University Press.
    A month ago, I bought an iPhone. The iPhone has already taken over some of the central functions of my brain. It has replaced part of my memory, storing phone numbers and addresses that I once would have taxed my brain with. It harbors my desires: I call up a memo with the names of my favorite dishes when I need to order at a local restaurant. I use it to calculate, when I need to figure out bills and tips. (...)
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  38. David J. Chalmers (2008). Mind and Consciousness: Five Questions. In Patrick Grim (ed.), Mind and Consciousness: Five Questions. Automatic Press.
    Growing up, I was a mathematics and science geek. I read everything I could in these areas. Every now and then, something would point in a philosophical direction. Perhaps my most important influence was reading Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach as a teenager. I read it initially for the mathematical parts, but it planted a seed for thinking about the mind. Later, Hofstadter and Dennett’s The Mind’s I got me thinking more about the mind–body problem in particular.
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  39. David J. Chalmers (2007). Phenomenal Concepts and the Explanatory Gap. In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.
    Confronted with the apparent explanatory gap between physical processes and consciousness, there are many possible reactions. Some deny that any explanatory gap exists at all. Some hold that there is an explanatory gap for now, but that it will eventually be closed. Some hold that the explanatory gap corresponds to an ontological gap in nature.
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  40. David J. Chalmers (2007). The Hard Problem of Consciousness. In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell.
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  41. David J. Chalmers & Alan Hájek (2007). Ramsey + Moore = God. Analysis 67 (294):170–172.
    Frank Ramsey (1931) wrote: If two people are arguing 'if p will q?' and both are in doubt as to p, they are adding p hypothetically to their stock of knowledge and arguing on that basis about q. We can say that they are fixing their degrees of belief in q given p. Let us take the first sentence the way it is often taken, as proposing the following test for the acceptability of an indicative conditional: ‘If p then q’ (...)
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  42. David J. Chalmers (2006). Perception and the Fall From Eden. In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press. 49--125.
    In the Garden of Eden, we had unmediated contact with the world. We were directly acquainted with objects in the world and with their properties. Objects were simply presented to us without causal mediation, and properties were revealed to us in their true intrinsic glory.
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  43. David J. Chalmers, Response to Scott Soames on Two-Dimensionalism.
    At the April 2006 meeting of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association, in an author-meets-critics session on Scott Soames' book _Reference and Description: The Case Against Two-Dimensionalism_ , I presented a comment on Soames' book, "Scott Soames' Two-Dimensionalism" . The other critic was Robert Stalnaker. Soames presented his response to critics . Below is a reply to Soames' response to me, for those who were at the session and interested others. Note that this response was mostly written before (...)
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  44. David J. Chalmers (2006). Strong and Weak Emergence. In P. Davies & P. Clayton (eds.), The Re-Emergence of Emergence. Oxford University Press.
    The term ‘emergence’ often causes confusion in science and philosophy, as it is used to express at least two quite different concepts. We can label these concepts _strong_ _emergence_ and _weak emergence_. Both of these concepts are important, but it is vital to keep them separate.
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  45. David J. Chalmers, Scott Soames' Two-Dimensionalism.
    Scott Soames’ Reference and Description contains arguments against a number of different versions of two-dimensional semantics. After early chapters on descriptivism and on Kripke’s anti-descriptivist arguments, a chapter each is devoted to the roots of twodimensionalism in “slips, errors, or misleading suggestions” by Kripke and Kaplan, and to the two-dimensional approaches developed by Stalnaker (1978) and by Davies and Humberstone (1981). The bulk of the book (about 200 pages) is devoted to “ambitious twodimensionalism”, attributed to Frank Jackson, David Lewis, and (...)
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  46. David J. Chalmers (2006). The Foundations of Two-Dimensional Semantics. In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Josep Macia (eds.), Two-Dimensional Semantics: Foundations and Applications. Oxford University Press. 55-140.
    Why is two-dimensional semantics important? One can think of it as the most recent act in a drama involving three of the central concepts of philosophy: meaning, reason, and modality. First, Kant linked reason and modality, by suggesting that what is necessary is knowable a priori, and vice versa. Second, Frege linked reason and meaning, by proposing an aspect of meaning (sense) that is constitutively tied to cognitive signi?cance. Third, Carnap linked meaning and modality, by proposing an aspect of meaning (...)
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  47. David J. Chalmers (2006). Two-Dimensional Semantics. In E. Lepore & B. Smith (eds.), Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press.
    Two-dimensional approaches to semantics, broadly understood, recognize two "dimensions" of the meaning or content of linguistic items. On these approaches, expressions and their utterances are associated with two different sorts of semantic values, which play different explanatory roles. Typically, one semantic value is associated with reference and ordinary truth-conditions, while the other is associated with the way that reference and truth-conditions depend on the external world. The second sort of semantic value is often held to play a distinctive role in (...)
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  48. David J. Chalmers (2005). The Matrix as Metaphysics. In Christopher Grau (ed.), Philosophers Explore the Matrix. Oxford University Press. 132.
    The Matrix presents a version of an old philosophical fable: the brain in a vat. A disembodied brain is floating in a vat, inside a scientist’s laboratory. The scientist has arranged that the brain will be stimulated with the same sort of inputs that a normal embodied brain receives. To do this, the brain is connected to a giant computer simulation of a world. The simulation determines which inputs the brain receives. When the brain produces outputs, these are fed back (...)
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  49. David J. Chalmers (2004). A matrix enquanto hipótese metafísica. Critica.
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  50. David J. Chalmers (2004). Epistemic Two-Dimensional Semantics. Philosophical Studies 118 (1-2):153-226.
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