Philosophical interest in introspection has a long and storied history, but only recently – with the 'scientific turn' in philosophy of mind – have philosophers sought to ground their accounts of introspection in psychological data. In particular, there is growing awareness of how evidence from clinical and developmental psychology might be brought to bear on long-standing debates about the architecture of introspection, especially in the form of apparent dissociations between introspection and third-person mental-state attribution. It is less often noticed that (...) this evidence needs to be interpreted with due sensitivity to distinctions between different types of introspection, for example, introspection of propositional attitudes (beliefs, desires) vs. introspection of phenomenally conscious states (pains, emotional feelings). As contemporary debates about the machinery of introspection – and debates about mindreading in general – move forward, these distinctions are likely to figure more prominently. Author Recommends: Peter Carruthers, 'Simulation and Self-Knowledge: A Defense of Theory-Theory', in Theories of Theories of Mind, eds. P. Carruthers and P. K. Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 22–38. Defends a sophisticated form of the theory-theory of introspection, according to which we come to know at least some of our mental states (e.g., propositional attitudes) by reasoning from an innate folk-psychological theory. Fred Dretske, 'Introspection', in Naturalizing the Mind (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995), 39–63. Introduces and defends the idea of introspection as 'displaced perception'. Alvin Goldman, 'Self-Attribution', in Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 223–57. Defends a version of the 'inner sense' view of introspection in which mental state types are classified via their neural properties, and mental contents are classified via 'redeployment'. Alison Gopnik, 'How We Read Our Own Minds: The Illusion of First-Person Knowledge of Intentionality', Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (1993): 1–14. A noted psychologist defends a version of the theory-theory of introspection, citing evidence of developmental symmetries between first-person and third-person mental-state attribution. Robert Gordon, 'Simulation without Introspection or Inference from Me to You', in Mental Simulation: Evaluations and Applications, eds. T. Stone and M. Davies (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995), 53–67. Develops the idea of ascent routines – the rough analog of 'displaced perception' for the introspection of propositional attitudes. Uta Frith and Francesca Happé, 'Theory of Mind and Self-Consciousness: What Is It Like to Be Autistic?'Mind and Language 14 (1999): 1–14. Appeals to evidence from autism to motivate the idea that first-person and third-person mental-state attribution have a common basis. Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich, 'Reading One's Own Mind', in Mindreading: An Integrated Account of Pretence, Self-awareness, and Understanding other Minds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 150–99. Presents a comprehensive critique of leading theories of introspection (especially the theory-theory), then introduces and defends the authors' preferred alternative, the 'monitoring mechanism' account. Jesse Prinz, 'The Fractionation of Introspection', Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (2004): 40–57. Develops the idea that introspection admits of several varieties. Philip Robbins, 'Knowing Me, Knowing You: Theory of Mind and the Machinery of Introspection', Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (2004): 129–43. Defends a hybrid view of introspection for propositional attitudes, according to which both theoretic inference and monitoring play a role. Sample Syllabus: Week 1: Theory-theory Alison Gopnik, 'How We Read Our Own Minds: The Illusion of First-Person Knowledge of Intentionality', Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (1993): 1–14. Peter Carruthers, 'Simulation and Self-Knowledge: A Defense of Theory-Theory', in Theories of Theories of Mind, eds. P. Carruthers and P. K. Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 22–38. Week 2: Displaced perception and semantic ascent Fred Dretske, 'Introspection', in Naturalizing the Mind (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995), 39–63. Robert Gordon, 'Simulation without Introspection or Inference from Me to You', in Mental Simulation: Evaluations and Applications, eds. T. Stone and M. Davies (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995), 53–67. Week 3: Monitoring theory Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich, 'Reading One's Own Mind', in Mindreading: An Integrated Account of Pretence, Self-awareness, and Understanding Other Minds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 150–99. Week 4: Hybrid approaches Alvin Goldman, 'Self-Attribution', in Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 223–57. Philip Robbins, 'Knowing Me, Knowing You: Theory of Mind and the Machinery of Introspection', Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (2004): 129–43. Focus Questions:1. What distinguishes 'inside access' from 'outside access' views of introspection?2. To what extent is the theory-theoretic approach to introspection wedded to the idea that first-person and third-person mindreading are mechanistically symmetric capacities?3. What reasons are there for distinguishing between different types of introspection, and why might those taxonomic distinctions matter for theory construction in this area?4. In what sense, if any, are personality traits introspectible?5. Debates about third-person mindreading have revolved around the relative merits of theory-theory and simulation theory, whereas debates about introspection have taken a slightly different focus. For example, no one has defended a simulation-theoretic account of introspection. Why might that be? (shrink)
Experimental philosophy is a new interdisciplinary field that uses methods normally associated with psychology to investigate questions normally associated with philosophy. The present review focuses on research in experimental philosophy on four central questions. First, why is it that people's moral judgments appear to influence their intuitions about seemingly nonmoral questions? Second, do people think that moral questions have objective answers, or do they see morality as fundamentally relative? Third, do people believe in free will, and do they see free (...) will as compatible with determinism? Fourth, how do people determine whether an entity is conscious? (shrink)
The hatchet and the seed -- A tree with deep roots -- The critical tools -- A field crystallizes -- Destruction of nature -- Construction of nature -- Degradation and marginalization -- Conservation and control -- Environmental conflict -- Environmental identity and social movement -- Where to now?
Cognitive science is shamelessly materialistic. It maintains that human beings are nothing more than complex physical systems, ultimately and completely explicable in mechanistic terms. But this conception of humanity does not ?t well with common sense. To think of the creatures we spend much of our day loving, hating, admiring, resenting, comparing ourselves to, trying to understand, blaming, and thanking -- to think of them as mere mechanisms seems at best counterintuitive and unhelpful. More often it may strike us as (...) ludicrous, or even abhorrent. We are. (shrink)
Bergson’s model of time (1889) is perhaps the proto-phenomenological theory. It is part of a larger model of mind (1896) which can be seen in modern light as describing the brain as supporting a modulated wave within a holographic field, specifying the external image of the world, and wherein subject and object are differentiated not in terms of space, but of time. Bergson’s very concrete model is developed and deepened with Gibson’s ecological model of perception. It is applied to the (...) problems of consciousness, direct realism, qualia and illusions. The model implies an entirely different basis for memory and cognition, and a brief overview is given for the basis of direct memory, compositionality and systematicity. (shrink)
This piece criticizes Fodor's argument (in The Elm and the Expert, 1994) for the claim that Frege cases should be treated as exceptions to (broad) psychological generalizations rather than as counterexamples.
While reading, and thinking about how to respond to, Willem Drees’s Religion, Science and Naturalism, I was reminded of an earlier dispute between George Santayana and John Dewey about, among other things, how to incorporate religion into a naturalistic world view. Dewey described Santayana’s naturalism as "broken backed" because of his dualistic distinction between the mechanism of nature and the life of the mind and his relegation of religion to the latter, epiphenomenal realm.
Some accounts of mental content represent the objects of belief as structured, using entities that formally resemble the sentences used to express and report attitudes in natural language; others adopt a relatively unstructured approach, typically using sets or functions. Currently popular variants of the latter include classical and neo-classical propositionalism, which represent belief contents as sets of possible worlds and sets of centered possible worlds, respectively; and property self-ascriptionism, which employs sets of possible individuals. I argue against their contemporary proponents (...) that all three views are ineluctably plagued by generation gaps: they either overgenerate beliefs, undergenerate them, or both. (shrink)
Bering contends that belief in the afterlife is explained by the simulation constraint hypothesis: the claim that we cannot imagine what it is like to be dead. This explanation suffers from some difficulties. First, it implies the existence of a corresponding belief in the “beforelife.” Second, a simpler explanation will suffice. Rather than appeal to constraints on our thoughts about death, we suggest that belief in the afterlife can be better explained by the lack of such constraints.
In the context of debates about what form a theory of meaning should take, it is sometimes claimed that one cannot understand an intersective modifier-head construction (e.g., ‘pet fish’) without understanding its lexical parts. Neo-Russellians like Fodor and Lepore contend that non-denotationalist theories of meaning, such as prototype theory and theory theory, cannot explain why this is so, because they cannot provide for the ‘reverse compositional’ character of meaning. I argue that reverse compositionality is a red herring in these debates. (...) I begin by setting out some positive arguments for reverse compositionality and showing that they fail. Then I show that the principle of reverse compositionality has two big strikes against it. First, it is incompatible with all theories of meaning on the market, including the denotationalism favored by neo-Russellians. Second, it explains nothing that is not already explained by its venerable predecessor, the principle of (forward) compositionality. (shrink)
Bergson, writing in 1896, anticipated “sensorimotor contingencies” under the concept that perception is “virtual action.” But to explain the external image, he embedded this concept in a holographic framework where time-motion is an indivisible and the relation of subject/object is in terms of time. The target article's account of qualitative visual experience falls short for lack of this larger framework. [Objects] send back, then, to my body, as would a mirror, their eventual influence; they take rank in an order corresponding (...) to the growing or decreasing powers of my body. The objects which surround my body reflect its possible action upon them. – Henri Bergson (1896/1912, pp. 6–7). (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga titles the closing chapter of his book Warrant and Proper Function "Is Naturalism Irrational?" He answers that it is. More precisely, he claims that anyone who is aware of the epistemological argument that he presents in this chapter has an unavoidable reason to doubt the combination of naturalism (according to which there is no God as conceived of in traditional theism) and evolutionary theory (according to which our cognitive capabilities are the products of blind processes operating on genetic (...) variations). But then, he says, anyone who still accepts these propositions is irrational because it is irrational to accept a belief for which one knows there are unavoidable reasons to doubt. (shrink)
It is widely held that individuals who are unable to provide informed consent should be enrolled in clinical research only when the risks are low, or the research offers them the prospect of direct benefit. There is now a rich literature on when the risks of clinical research are low enough to enroll individuals who cannot consent. Much less attention has focused on which benefits of research participation count as ‘direct’, and the few existing accounts disagree over how this crucial (...) concept should be defined. This disagreement raises concern over whether those who cannot consent, including children and adults with severe dementia, are being adequately protected. The present paper attempts to address this concern by considering first what additional protections are needed for these vulnerable individuals. This analysis suggests that the extant definitions of direct benefits either provide insufficient protection for research subjects or pose excessive obstacles to appropriate research. This analysis also points to a modified definition of direct benefits with the potential to avoid these two extremes, protecting individuals who cannot consent without blocking appropriate research. (shrink)
In this article, we present evidence of a bidirectional coupling between moral concern and the attribution of properties and states that are associated with experience (e.g., conscious awareness, feelings). This coupling is also shown to be stronger with experience than for the attribution of properties and states more closely associated with agency (e.g., free will, thoughts). We report the results of four studies. In the first two studies, we vary the description of the mental capacities of a creature, and assess (...) the effects of these manipulations on moral concern. The third and fourth studies examine the effects of variations in moral concern on attributions of mindedness. Results from the first two studies indicate that moral concern depends primarily on the attribution of experience, rather than the attribution of agency. The results of the latter two studies demonstrate that moral concern increases attributions of mindedness, and that this effect is stronger for attributions of experience than for attributions of agency. (shrink)
Carruthers argues that there is no developmental or clinical evidence that metacognition is dissociable from mindreading, and hence there is no reason to think that metacognition is prior to mindreading. A closer look at the evidence, however, reveals that these conclusions are premature at best.
Within Piaget there is an implicit theory of the development of explicit memory. It rests in the dynamical trajectory underlying the development of causality, object, space and time – a complex (COST) supporting a symbolic relationship integral to the explicit. Cassirer noted the same dependency in the phenomena of aphasias, insisting that a symbolic function is being undermined in these deficits. This is particularly critical given the reassessment of Piaget’s stages as the natural bifurcations of a self-organizing dynamic system. The (...) elements of a theoretical framework required to support explicit memory are developed, to include, (1) the complex developmental trajectory supporting the emergence of the explicit in Piaget, (2) the concrete dynamical system and the concept of a non-differentiable time contained in Bergson’s theory required to support a conscious, as opposed to an implicit remembrance, (3) the relation to current theories of amnesia, difficulties posed by certain retrograde amnesic phenomena, the role of the hippocampus and limitations of connectionist models, (4) the fact that nowhere in this overall framework does the loss of explicit memory imply or require the destruction of experience “stored in the brain.”. (shrink)
Wegner's thesis that the experience of will is an illusion is not just wrong, it is an impediment to progress in psychology. We discuss two readings of Wegner's thesis and find that neither can motivate his larger conclusion. Wegner thinks science requires us to dismiss our experiences. Its real promise is to help us to make better sense of them.
This article reports the findings of a one-year project examining British press coverage of the genetically modified (GM) food debate during the first half of 2003, and both expert and non-expert reactions to that coverage. Two pro-GM newspapers and two anti-GM newspapers were selected for analysis, and all articles mentioning GM during the period in question were stored in a machine readable database. This was then analyzed using corpus linguistic and discourse analytic techniques to reveal recurrent wording, themes and content. (...) This text analysis was complemented by 12 interviews with experts involved in the communication of GM issues, and 12 focus-group sessions in which members of the public reacted to selected newspaper texts and other GM material. Both in the press and in public reaction, the issue of GM was found to be intimately associated with other political events of the time, notably the invasion of Iraq. Except among experts, there was little awareness of the official national debate and issues were approached in more general terms. Pro-GM characterization of the issues as primarily scientific, both by newspapers and experts, was rejected by the anti-GM press and campaigners, and by the focus-group participants. They assessed the issues in a more global frame, rejecting scientists and companies as unreliable. In addition, they linked both US and British GM policy to the invasion of Iraq, and, by analogy, rejected pro-GM arguments as untrustworthy. (shrink)
The evidence for a panhuman, cognitively rooted, essence-based concept of basic natural kind and for certain prototypical phenomenal forms is increasingly compelling, but there remain doubts as to whether these two elements combine with a principle of taxonomy to form a unified, domain-specific theory in the way Atran claims. The appropriateness of the notion of meme can also be questioned, as can the assertion that humans are always grouped in ethnobiological classifications in unambiguous contrast to other animals.
OBJECTIVE: Pilot study to characterize treatment differences between patients treated in clinical trials and those treated in a clinical setting. Previous studies have shown higher survival rates for participants in trials of cancer therapy. This difference is observed even after rates are adjusted for important covariates such as age and stage of disease. DESIGN: Retrospective chart review. SETTING: Oncology outpatient department in a tertiary care hospital. PATIENTS: Ninety women 18 to 70 years of age with early-stage breast cancer who were (...) diagnosed in 1990. Fifty-one of the women were treated through clinical trials and 39 were treated outside of clinical trials. OUTCOME MEASURES: Number of blood tests, telephone calls, clinic visits and imaging procedures as well as intensity of chemotherapy and use of radiation therapy. The age of the patient and the stage of disease were important covariates. RESULTS: After the analysis was controlled for patient age and stage of disease, patients treated through a clinical trial were more likely to receive standard-dose chemotherapy (p = 0.020, 95% confidence interval 1.20 to 200.73) and more frequent blood tests (p < 0.001, 95% confidence interval 1.02 to 1.13) than other patients treated in the clinic. CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide a plausible mechanism for the observed survival advantage for participants in clinical trials in oncology. Further study is called for. If these results are confirmed, they have important implications for informed consent to participate in clinical trials and for clinical practice. (shrink)
Debates about new technologies, such as crop and food genetic modification (GM), raise pressing questions about the ways ‘experts’ and ‘ nonexperts’ communicate. These debates are dynamic, characterized by many voices contesting numerous storylines. The discoursal features, including language choices and communication strategies, of the GM debate are in some ways taken for granted and in others actively manipulated by participants. Although there are many voices, some have more influence than others. This study makes use of 50 hours of in-depth (...) interviews with GM scientists, nonexperts, and other stakeholders in the GM debate to examine this phenomenon. We uncover rhetorical devices used by scientists to characterize and ultimately undermine participation by non-experts in areas including rationality, knowledge, understanding and objectivity. Scientists engage with ‘the public’ from their own linguistic and social domain, without reflexive confirmation of their own status as part of the public and the citizenry. This raises a number of interesting ironies and contradictions, which are explored in the article. As such, it provides valuable insights into an increasingly important type of discourse. (shrink)
The philosopher Michael Ruse accounts for the difference between hypothetical and categorical imperatives, and thus the origin of distinctively moral obligations like that of altruism, in genetic terms. This is part of an attempt to develop a philosophy that takes Darwin seriously by substituting respectable scientific entities, specifically those of evolutionary biology, for suspect theological or philosophical ones, like God or the transcendental ego, as a basis for addressing philosophical questions. Pragmatists take Darwin seriously, but in a very different way (...) from that proposed by Ruse. Darwin introduced a "logic" into the study of living things-including human beings, the human mind, and culture-that leads philosophers to ask new and different questions about morality rather than trying to supply new answers to the same old questions. This essay contrasts these two different ways of taking Darwin seriously for purposes of philosophy and claims certain advantages for the pragmatist way over Ruse's. (shrink)