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Profile: John Schwenkler (Florida State University)
  1. Robert Briscoe & John Schwenkler (forthcoming). Conscious Vision in Action. Cognitive Science.
    Conscious visual experience is a source of fine-grained and highly accurate information about the spatial properties of nearby objects. It is thus natural to assume that the spatial information present in visual experience is often used for purposes of intentional, object-directed visuomotor control. Yet this assumption, which we here call the Control Thesis, has been criticized on empirical grounds by proponents of the Two Visual Systems Hypothesis (TVSH) [Clark 2007, 2009; Goodale & Milner 1992, 2004a, 2008; Milner & Goodale 1995/2006]. (...)
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  2. John Schwenkler (forthcoming). On Doing and Knowing. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.
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  3. John Schwenkler (forthcoming). Rational Causation, by Eric Marcus. [REVIEW] Journal of Moral Philosophy.
    This is an excellent book that deserves careful attention from anyone whose work touches on issues in the philosophy of mind and action. In it, Marcus challenges the dominant philosophical conception of the mind’s place in nature, according to which mentalistic explanations hold true only when mental states or events cause things to happen in the same way as physical states and events do. Against this conception, Marcus argues that mental causation is utterly dissimilar to most of the causation we (...)
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  4. John Schwenkler (forthcoming). Tradition as Transmission: A Partial Defence. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 6 (4).
    This paper is part of a symposium on Linda Zagzebski's EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY (Oxford, 2012).
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  5. John Schwenkler (forthcoming). Understanding 'Practical Knowledge'. Philosophers' Imprint.
    The concept of practical knowledge is central to G.E.M. Anscombe's argument in Intention, yet its meaning is little understood. There are several reasons for this, including a lack of attention to Anscombe's ancient and medieval sources for the concept, and an emphasis on the (supposedly) more straightforward concept of knowledge "without observation" in the interpretation of Anscombe's position. This paper remedies the situation, first by appealing to the writings of Thomas Aquinas to develop an account of practical knowledge as a (...)
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  6. John Schwenkler (2014). The First Sense, by Matthew Fulkerson. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 7.
  7. John Schwenkler (2014). Vision, Self‐Location, and the Phenomenology of the 'Point of View'. Noûs 48 (1):137-155.
    According to the Self-Location Thesis, one’s own location can be among the things that visual experience represents, even when one’s body is entirely out of view. By contrast, the Minimal View denies this, and says that visual experience represents things only as "to the right", etc., and never as "to the right of me". But the Minimal View is phenomenologically inadequate: it cannot explain the difference between a visual experience of self-motion and one of an oppositely moving world. To show (...)
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  8. John Schwenkler (2013). Do Things Look the Way They Feel? Analysis 73 (1):86-96.
    Do spatial features appear the same whether they are perceived through vision or touch? This question is at stake in the puzzle that William Molyneux posed to John Locke, concerning whether a man born blind whose sight was restored would be able immediately to identify the shapes of the things he saw. A recent study purports to answer the question negatively, but I argue here that the subjects of the study likely could not see well enough for the result to (...)
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  9. John Schwenkler (2013). A. Ford, J. Hornsby, and F. Stoutland, Eds., Essays on Anscombe's Intention. Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (2):241-243.
  10. John Schwenkler (2013). The Objects of Bodily Awareness. Philosophical Studies 162 (2):465-472.
    Is it possible to misidentify the object of an episode of bodily awareness? I argue that it is, on the grounds that a person can reasonably be unsure or mistaken as to which part of his or her body he or she is aware of at a given moment. This requires discussing the phenomenon of body ownership, and defending the claim that the proper parts of one’s body are at least no less ‘principal’ among the objects of bodily awareness than (...)
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  11. John Schwenkler (2012). Does Visual Spatial Awareness Require the Visual Awareness of Space? Mind and Language 27 (3):308-329.
    Many philosophers have held that it is not possible to experience a spatial object, property, or relation except against the background of an intact awareness of a space that is somehow ‘absolute’. This paper challenges that claim, by analyzing in detail the case of a brain-damaged subject whose visual experiences seem to have violated this condition: spatial objects and properties were present in his visual experience, but space itself was not. I go on to suggest that phenomenological argumentation can give (...)
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  12. John Schwenkler (2012). Non-Observational Knowledge of Action. Philosophy Compass 7 (10):731-740.
    Intuitively, the knowledge of one’s own intentional actions is different from the knowledge of actions of other sorts, including those of other people and unintentional actions of one's own. But how are we to understand this phenomenon? Does it pertain to all actions, under every description under which they are known? If so, then how is this possible? If not, then how should we think about cases that are exceptions to this principle? This paper is a critical survey of recent (...)
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  13. John Schwenkler (2012). Objectivity and the Parochial. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 86 (1):173-175.
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  14. John Schwenkler (2012). On the Matching of Seen and Felt Shape by Newly Sighted Subjects. I-Perception 3 (3):186-188.
    How do we recognize identities between seen shapes and felt ones? Is this due to associative learning, or to intrinsic connections these sensory modalities? We can address this question by testing the capacities of newly sighted subjects to match seen and felt shapes, but only if it is shown that the subjects can see the objects well enough to form adequate visual representations of their shapes. In light of this, a recent study by R. Held and colleagues fails to demonstrate (...)
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  15. John Schwenkler (2011). Perception and Practical Knowledge. Philosophical Explorations 14 (2):137-152.
    According to G.E.M. Anscombe, an agent’s knowledge of his own intentional actions differs from his knowledge of his unintended behaviors as well as the knowledge others can have of what he intentionally does, in being secured “without observation”. I begin by posing a problem for any conception of this theory according to which non-observational knowledge must be independent of sense-perception, and criticize several recent attempts to get around the problem. Having done this, I develop an alternative account of non-observational knowledge (...)
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  16. John Schwenkler (2010). Michael Dummett on the Morality of Contraception. Heythrop Journal 53 (5):763-767.
    In his recent writings, Sir Michael Dummett has reflected twice on the Catholic position on the morality of contraception, focusing his attention especially on Humanae Vitae’s prohibition of the contraceptive use of the birth control pill. On examination, Dummett finds this prohibition ‘incoherent’, arguing that its promulgation ‘greatly damaged the respect of the faithful for the Catholic Church’s moral teaching in general’, as well as ‘the integrity of Catholic moral theology’. Given Dummett’s earlier defense of Paul VI’s reaffirmation of the (...)
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  17. John Louis Schwenkler (2009). Space and Self-Awareness. Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
    How should we think about the role of visual spatial awareness in perception and perceptual knowledge? A common view, which finds a characteristic expression in Kant but has an intellectual heritage reaching back farther than that, is that an account of spatial awareness is fundamental to a theory of experience because spatiality is the defining characteristic of “outer sense”, of our perceptual awareness of how things are in the parts of the world that surround us. A natural counterpart to this (...)
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  18. John L. Schwenkler (2008). Mental Vs. Embodied Models of Mirrored Self-Recognition: Some Preliminary Considerations. In B. Hardy-Valeé & N. Payette (eds.), Beyond the Brain: Embodied, Situated, and Distributed Cognition. Cambridge Scholars Press.
    A considerable body of recent work in developmental psychology and animal behavior has addressed the cognitive processes required to recognize oneself in a mirror. Most models of such "mirrored self-recognition" (MSR) treat it as the result of inferential processes drawing on the subject’s possession of some sort of mature "self-awareness". The present chapter argues that such an approach to MSR is not obligatory, and suggests some empirical grounds for rejecting it. We also sketch the outlines of an alternative, "embodied" theory (...)
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