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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
The complexity of crisis situations allows for corporate responses to create multiple interpretations for organizational stakeholders concerning crisis evidence, the organization's intentions, and the locus of responsibility. Hence, organizations have the ability to emphasize an interpretation where the organization is viewed most favorably. Using Jack in the Box as a case study, we apply stakeholder theory to ascertain the ethical implications of employing strategic ambiguity in organizational crisis communication. We conclude that the crisis response provided by Jack in (...) the Box's leaders was ethically questionable in the areas of evidence, intent, and locus because the ambiguity they introduced privileged their financial stakeholders over others. Ultimately, this strategic use of ambiguity diminished the deliberative ability of Jack in the Box's publics. (shrink)
The nationally-famous advocate of physician-assisted suicide did not die by his own hand. Dr. Jack Kevorkian died the old-fashioned way in America: in a hospital, with multiple disorders undercutting his life. Kevorkian took up interest in assisted suicide early in his medical career, and he wanted prisoners on death row to volunteer for experiments just before their execution. Kevorkian saw individual consent as the wheel, axle, and grease for all decisions in these matters. He helped many people die, but (...) it is unclear what moral principle guided his decisions to say yes and no to requests for help in dying. His spree in helping people die came to an end, when he himself injected a man with a lethal substance. Because of his single-minded focus on the value of assisted suicide and experimentation before execution, he had little impact on the broader ethical analysis of assisted-suicide and the rights of prisoners. He leaves little legacy in ethics for the analysis of assisted-suicide or in vivo experimentation. (shrink)
In this comment I consider Jack Balkin’s general argument for his method of constitutional interpretation – the question of why interpret (the United States Constitution) in this way (as presented in his book Living Originalism). I contrast this question with the way in which the conclusion of this argument should be implemented with regard to specific clauses – the question of how to interpret (the United States Constitution). While the former question is concerned with the general form of the (...) argument, the latter is concerned with a substantiation of one premise in the argument. (shrink)
I first thank Jack Caputo for his superb summary of my position, then call attention to sin as an epistemological category in Aquinas, the (largely undeveloped) resource for a Pauline hermeneutics of suspicion. There follow clarifications of my understanding of Derrida‘s atheism and of my suggestion that he is a natural law theorist. Finally, I argue that my own position of a faith that cannot convert itself into sight a) places no a priori constraints on what we can say (...) about God, however traditional or bizarre, but only on the metaclaims we make about our beliefs, and b) that we do not become more radical by diminishing the substantive content of our belief. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to explore the proper content of a formal semantic theory in two respects: first, clarifying which uses of expressions a formal theory should seek to accommodate, and, second, how much information the theory should contain. I explore these two questions with respect to occurrences of demonstratives and pronouns – the so- called ‘deferred’ uses – which are often classified as non-standard or figurative. I argue that, contrary to initial impressions, they must be treated as (...) semantically identical to ordinary, perceptual uses of these expression-types, and that this finding has important repercussions for our view of the scope and limits of a semantic theory. (shrink)
I give a brief precis of Lyons' book. I discuss the problem of delineating basic from non-basic beliefs. I argue that one of Lyons' possible solutions doesn't work - his definition of a perceptual module does not allow us to decide which beliefs are basic. And I argue that another possible solution undermines some of Lyons' motivation. The intuitive understanding of belief may not generate the Clairvoyancy troubles he fears.
This essay is concerned with the problems of justice created by spillovers. After characterizing such spillovers more precisely and relating the concept to the economist's notion of an externality, I shall then consider the moral conclusions concerning spillovers that issue from a natural rights perspective and from the perspective of welfare economics supplemented with theories of distributive justice. I shall argue that these perspectives go badly awry in taking spillovers to be the exception rather than the rule in human interactions.
There is reason to believe that people of different gender, race or age differ in spectra that are shifted relative to one another. Shifted spectra are not as dramatic as inverted spectra, but they can be used to make some of the same philosophical points.
Your classic Jaguar XK 120 stands useless by the roadside. Why? Because you gave priority to the admittedly gorgeous 6 cylinder straight six engine; because you privileged the highest value part. Rubber pipes perish, though, and now thanks to a leak in a cheap hose the head gasket has blown. You are stranded and facing a costly bill. More seriously, your mechanical gaffe is a sign of your misunderstanding of Deleuze. Like Sir William Lyons, he engineers systems where the concept (...) of priority must not be confused with independence, separateness, abstraction or ethical superiority. As a good engineer, Deleuze's constructions are holistic and opposed to abstract hierarchies: if a crucial small, actual part perishes in a particular practical situation where it has a role to play, then it does not matter how much virtual power you have in reserve. Your feet are still in a pool of hot water as you survey the wasted potential of actual motion and ideal expressions, hand made in Coventry. (shrink)
"This question, and others, asking about the number of predicates, or of the predicables, or of the categories, or of natural principles, or the elements, etc. are rather difficult and tedious, especially for youngsters, for whom one should explain the logical and sophistic cavils which the more advanced students [need] no longer care about. Therefore, for the sake of freshmen, I posit some easy and [somewhat] facetious conclusions". (p. 183, ll. 2203-2209.).