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)
It is a great pleasure to introduce this collection of papers on the use of introspective evidence in cognitive science. Our task as guest editors has been tremendously stimulating. We have received an outstanding number of contributions, in terms of quantity and quality, from academics across a wide disciplinary span, both from younger researchers and from the most experienced scholars in the field. We therefore had to redraw the plans for this project a number of times. It quickly became clear (...) to us that the collection would expand beyond the scheduled double issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies. A triple issue was then drafted, but the number of excellent contributions continued to grow. We therefore had to reconsider the publication plans again, and the decision was made to publish an extended collection of papers in discrete instalments. At present substantial progress has been made towards determining the content of a second double issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, due summer 2004. A third instalment now appears to be a real possibility. We welcome enquiries from authors interested in submitting to later instalments, especially those offering a novel perspective that is not otherwise represented. However, we do not intend continue this collection indefinitely. In putting together the first major interdisciplinary collection on this topic, we view our task as that of providing a starting point. Sufficient outlets exist to support ongoing debate.1 The idea for this collection first took shape when we proposed it to the managing editor of JCS, Anthony Freeman, at the ‘Towards a Science of Consciousness’ conference in Skovde, Sweden, August 2001. Since then, he has been involved in every stage of its development and construction. His editorial experience and his patient assistance have been invaluable to us and to the collection. (shrink)
Most ?theories of consciousness? are based on vague speculations about the properties of conscious experience. We aim to provide a more solid basis for a science of consciousness. We argue that a theory of consciousness should provide an account of the very processes that allow us to acquire and use information about our own mental states ? the processes underlying introspection. This can be achieved through the construction of information processing models that can account for ?Type-C? processes. Type-C processes can (...) be specified experimentally by identifying paradigms in which awareness of the stimulus is necessary for an intentional action. The Shallice (1988b) framework is put forward as providing an initial account of Type-C processes, which can relate perceptual consciousness to consciously performed actions. Further, we suggest that this framework may be refined through the investigation of the functions of prefrontal cortex. The formulation of our approach requires us to consider fundamental conceptual and methodological issues associated with consciousness. The most significant of these issues concerns the scientific use of introspective evidence. We outline and justify a conservative methodological approach to the use of introspective evidence, with attention to the difficulties historically associated with its use in psychology. (shrink)
This paper argues that ross's theory is an unsatisfactory compromise between moore's ideal utilitarianism and prichard's intuitionism. by including an 'optimific' principle, ross is exposed like moore to such difficulties as having to grant that we never know our duty and that logically we have a duty to pursue our own pleasure. in addition, this paper attributes to moore's influence ross's very inadequate treatment of justice; difficulties in his basic distinction of prima facie versus actual duties; and his unsatisfactory treatments (...) of the deontological/teleological issue. (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.
For thirty years, Lawrence Weiskrantz has been at the forefront of experimental research into neurological patients who have ‘lost’ awareness. This book provides a history and an overview of that research; which has focused on ‘blindsight’ patients, who report no visual awareness in part of their visual field, and ‘amnesic’ patients, who have no experience of remembering past events. Yet, the book aims to be much more than a review. Using findings from his patients, and taking in a great deal (...) of other research along the way, Weiskrantz addresses some fundamental issues. He calls these the ‘What?’, ‘Whether?’, ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’ of consciousness. What is consciousness? When, if at all, can we attribute it to animals? Why did it evolve? How does the brain accomplish it? The book is an empirical enquiry into the nature of consciousness, and it is written in a consistently engaging and accessible style. Neuropsychological research has clearly had a major impact on thinking about consciousness. Largely because of this work, few now regard the topic as an issue beyond scientific enquiry (McGinn, 1989; Nagel, 1974). This research also paved the way for the recent proliferation of ‘bold’ scientific hypotheses, most of which presently offer far less insight into the phenomenon. Perhaps the best indicator of this is that philosophers with widely varying theoretical approaches to consciousness, including those that remain sceptical about current scientific approaches, choose neuropsychological research to frame and illustrate the arguments they wish to present (e.g. Block, 1995; Dennett, 1991). (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)
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.
Professor S. F. Barker has recently argued that the theory of the status of theoretical concepts in natural science put forward by Hempel and Braithwaite is mistaken. Essentially this "formalistic" theory says that these concepts "take on" meaning from their place in a total theoretical system which as a whole implies testable observation statements. In the paper it is argued that Barker's criticism of the Hempel-Braithwaite theory is mistaken because (a) he does not sufficiently consider the operative empirical restrictions on (...) concept formation in scientific theorizing, and (b) his criticisms are based on an acceptance of a narrow empiricism which would reject most existing theoretical natural science as empirically meaningless. (shrink)
This essay, and the special issue it introduces, sets out to reignite ethical interrogations of the theory and practice of Human Resource Management (HRM). To cultivate greater levels of boundary-spanning debate about the ethics of HRM, we develop a framework of four tenors for scholarly work: the ethical-declarative, the ethical-subjunctive, the ethical-ethnographic, the ethical-systemic. Each of these tenors denotes particular grounds for ethical critique and encourages scholars to consider the subjects and objects of their enquiry, the disciplinary scope of their (...) work and the limits to subsequent claims about ethics and HRM. We provisionally locate each of the papers comprising the special issue with regard to one, or more, of these tenors. (shrink)
Those who are optimistic about the prospects of a science of consciousness, and those who believe that it lies beyond the reach of standard scientific methods, have something in common: both groups view consciousness as posing a special challenge for science. In this paper, we take a close look at the nature of this challenge. We show that popular conceptions of the problem of consciousness, epitomized by David Chalmers’ formulation of the ‘hard problem’, can be best explained as a cognitive (...) illusion, which arises as a by-product of our cognitive architecture. We present evidence from numerous sources to support our claim that we have a specialized system for thinking about phenomenal states, and that an inhibitory relationship exists between this system and the system we use to think about physical mechanisms. Even though the ‘hard problem’ is an illusion, unfortunately it appears that our cognitive architecture forces a closely related problem upon us. The ‘genuine problem’ of consciousness shares many features with the hard problem, and it also represents a special challenge for psychology. Nonetheless, researchers should be careful not to mistake the hard problem for the genuine problem, since the strategies appropriate for dealing with these problems differ in important respects. (shrink)
Phenomenal intentionality and the evidential role of perceptual experience: comments on Jack Lyons, Perception and Basic Beliefs Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9604-2 Authors Terry Horgan, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.