So-called “Wide Psychological Reductionism”, and similar neo-Lockean views of personal identity, are both important and popular. Yet they seem to demand of their adherents commitment to controversial views both in ontology and in philosophical methodology. The consequent debates interweave methodological, ontological, and evaluative issues in interesting ways. We will examine some of these issues, and explore some of the more recent developments and transformations which Psychological views have led to. The focus will be selective and we will look only at (...) a small selection from the prolific literature which has grown up around this topic. (shrink)
Once scoffed at as a luxury major, philosophy is being embraced at Rutgers and other universities by a new generation of college students who are drawing modern-day lessons from the age-old discipline as they try to make sense of their world, from the morality of the war in Iraq to the latest political scandal. The economic downturn has done little, if anything, to dampen this enthusiasm among students, who say that what they learn in class can translate into practical skills (...) and careers. On many campuses, debate over modern issues like war and technology is emphasized over the study of classic ancient texts. (shrink)
The objects of attention can be located anywhere along the causal link from the source of stimuli to the final output of the vision system. As causes, they attract and control attention, and as products, they constitute targets of analysis and explicit comments. Stimulus-driven indexing creates pointers that support fast and frugal cognition.
We trace the difference between the ways in which apes and humans co–operate to differences in communicative abilities, claiming that the pressure for future–directed co–operation was a major force behind the evolution of language. Competitive co–operation concerns goals that are present in the environment and have stable values. It relies on either signalling or joint attention. Future–directed co–operation concerns new goals that lack fixed values. It requires symbolic communication and context–independent representations of means and goals. We analyse these ways of (...) co–operating in game–theoretic terms and submit that the co–operative strategy of games that involve shared representations of future goals may provide new equilibrium solutions. (shrink)
The notion of nonconceptual content in Dienes & Perner's theory is examined. A subject may be in a state with nonconceptual content without having the concepts that would be used to describe the state. Nonconceptual content does not seem to be a clear-cut case of either implicit or explicit knowledge. It underlies a kind of practical knowledge, which is not reducible to procedural knowledge, but is accessible to the subject and under voluntary control.
Several conditions for being an intrinsically intentional agent are put forward. On a first level of intentionality the agent has representations. Two kinds are described: cued and detached. An agent with both kinds is able to represent both what is prompted by the context and what is absent from it. An intermediate level of intentionality is achieved by having an inner world, that is, a coherent system of detached representations that model the world. The inner world is used, e.g., for (...) conditional and counterfactual thinking. Contextual or indexical representations are necessary in order that the inner world relates to the actual external world and thus can be used as a basis for action. To have full-blown intentionality, the agent should also have a detached self-awareness, that is, be able to entertain self-representations that are independent of the context. (shrink)
 To know who one is, and also know whether one's experiences really belong to oneself, do not normally present any problem. It nevertheless happens that people do not recognise themselves as they walk by a mirror or do not understand that they fit some particular description. But there are situations in which it really seems impossible to be wrong about oneself. Of that, Ludwig Wittgenstein once wrote:
It is possible that, say in an accident, I should feel pain (...) in my arm, see a broken arm at my side, and think it is mine, when really it is my neighbour's. And I could, looking into a mirror, mistake a bump on his forehead for one on mine. On the other hand there is no question of recognising a person when I say I have toothache.... it is as impossible that in making the statement "I have toothache" I should have mistaken another person for myself, as it is to moan with pain by mistake, having mistaken someone else for me. (1958: 67)
In the passage in which this remark is found, Wittgenstein distinguishes between two kinds of use of "I". The first use, as object, as in "I have broken my arm" or "The wind is blowing in my hair", he holds, involves the recognition of a particular person, and there is the possibility of error as concerns the identity of the person. In the other use, as subject, as in "I think it will rain" or "I am trying to lift my arm", no person is recognised. No mistake can be made about who the subject is. (shrink)