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  1. Jonathan Opie & Gerard O'Brien (2006). How Do Connectionist Networks Compute? Cognitive Processing 7 (1):30-41.
    Although connectionism is advocated by its proponents as an alternative to the classical computational theory of mind, doubts persist about its _computational_ credentials. Our aim is to dispel these doubts by explaining how connectionist networks compute. We first develop a generic account of computation—no easy task, because computation, like almost every other foundational concept in cognitive science, has resisted canonical definition. We opt for a characterisation that does justice to the explanatory role of computation in cognitive science. Next we examine (...)
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  2. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (2004). Notes Toward a Structuralist Theory of Mental Representation. In Hugh Clapin (ed.), Representation in Mind. Elsevier. 1--20.
    Any creature that must move around in its environment to find nutrients and mates, in order to survive and reproduce, faces the problem of sensorimotor control. A solution to this problem requires an on-board control mechanism that can shape the creature’s behaviour so as to render it “appropriate” to the conditions that obtain. There are at least three ways in which such a control mechanism can work, and Nature has exploited them all. The first and most basic way is for (...)
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  3. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (2004). Vehicle, Process, and Hybrid Theories of Consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (2):303-305.
    Martínez-Manrique contends that we overlook a possible nonconnectionist vehicle theory of consciousness. We argue that the position he develops is better understood as a hybrid vehicle/process theory. We assess this theory and in doing so clarify the commitments of both vehicle and process theories of consciousness.
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  4. Jonathan Opie & Gerard O'Brien (2004). Notes Toward a Structuralist Theory of Mental Representation. In Hugh Clapin, Phillip Staines & Peter Slezak (eds.), Representation in Mind: New Approaches to Mental Representation. Elsevier. 1--20.
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  5. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (2003). The Multiplicity of Consciousness and the Emergence of the Self. In A. S. David & T. T. J. Kircher (eds.), The Self and Schizophrenia: A Neuropsychological Perspective. Cambridge University Press. 107--120.
    I look out the window and I think that the garden looks nice and the grass looks cool, but the
    thoughts of Eammon Andrews come into my mind.
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  6. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (2002). Radical Connectionism: Thinking with (Not in) Language. Language and Communication 22 (3):313-329.
    In this paper we defend a position we call radical connectionism. Radical connectionism claims that cognition _never_ implicates an internal symbolic medium, not even when natural language plays a part in our thought processes. On the face of it, such a position renders the human capacity for abstract thought quite mysterious. However, we argue that connectionism is committed to an analog conception of neural computation, and that representation of the abstract is no more problematic for a system of analog vehicles (...)
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  7. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (2001). Connectionist Vehicles, Structural Resemblance, and the Phenomenal Mind. Communication and Cognition (Special Issue) 34 (1-2):13-38.
    We think the best prospect for a naturalistic explanation of phenomenal consciousness is to be found at the confluence of two influential ideas about the mind. The first is the _computational _ _theory of mind_: the theory that treats human cognitive processes as disciplined operations over neurally realised representing vehicles.1 The second is the _representationalist theory of _ _consciousness_: the theory that takes the phenomenal character of conscious experiences (the “what-it-is-likeness”) to be constituted by their representational content.2 Together these two (...)
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  8. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (2000). Disunity Defended: A Reply to Bayne. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (2):255-263.
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  9. Jonathan Opie (2000). A Defense of Cartesian Materialism, GERARD O'BRIEN And. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (1).
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  10. Jonathan Opie (2000). Could Everything Be True?, Graham Priest. European Journal of Philosophy 8 (2).
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  11. Jonathan Opie (2000). Consciousness in the Loops. Review of Cotterill, Enchanted Looms: Conscious Networks in Brains and Computers. Metascience 9 (2):277-82.
    Consciousness is a pretty sexy topic right now, as the plethora of recent books on the subject demonstrate. Everyone is having a go at it: philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists and physicists, to mention just a few. And for every discipline or sub-discipline that pretends to some insight on the matter we find not only a different explanatory strategy, but a different take on the explanandum – there is widespread disagreement about _what_ a theory of consciousness should actually explain. However, one thing (...)
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  12. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (1999). A Connectionist Theory of Phenomenal Experience. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):127-48.
    When cognitive scientists apply computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, as many of them have been doing recently, there are two fundamentally distinct approaches available. Either consciousness is to be explained in terms of the nature of the representational vehicles the brain deploys; or it is to be explained in terms of the computational processes defined over these vehicles. We call versions of these two approaches vehicle and process theories of consciousness, respectively. However, while there may be space (...)
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  13. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (1999). A Defense of Cartesian Materialism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (4):939-63.
  14. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (1999). Finding a Place for Experience in the Physical-Relational Structure of the Brain. Brain and Behavioral Sciences 22 (6):966-967.
    In restricting his analysis to the causal relations of functionalism, on the one hand, and the neurophysiological realizers of biology, on the other, Palmer has overlooked an alternative conception of the relationship between color experience and the brain - one that liberalises the relation between mental phenomena and their physical implementation, without generating functionalism.
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  15. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (1999). Putting Content Into a Vehicle Theory of Consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):175-196.
    The connectionist vehicle theory of phenomenal experience in the target article identifies consciousness with the brain’s explicit representation of information in the form of stable patterns of neural activity. Commentators raise concerns about both the conceptual and empirical adequacy of this proposal. On the former front they worry about our reliance on vehicles, on representation, on stable patterns of activity, and on our identity claim. On the latter front their concerns range from the general plausibility of a vehicle theory to (...)
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  16. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (1999). What's Doing the Work Here: Knowledge Representation or the HOT Theory? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):778-9.
    Dienes and Perner offer us a theory of explicit and implicit knowledge that promises to systematise a large and diverse body of research in cognitive psychology. Their advertised strategy is to unpack this distinction in terms of explicit and implicit representation. But when one digs deeper one finds the HOT theory of consciousness doing much of the work. This reduces both the plausibility and usefulness of their account. We think their strategy is broadly correct, but that consensus on the explicit/implicit (...)
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  17. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (1999). What's Really Doing the Work Here? Knowledge Representation or the Higher-Order Thought Theory of Consciousness? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):778-779.
    Dienes & Perner offer us a theory of explicit and implicit knowledge that promises to systematise a large and diverse body of research in cognitive psychology. Their advertised strategy is to unpack this distinction in terms of explicit and implicit representation. But when one digs deeper one finds the “Higher-Order Thought” theory of consciousness doing much of the work. This reduces both the plausibility and usefulness of their account. We think their strategy is broadly correct, but that consensus on the (...)
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  18. Jonathan Opie (1999). A Defense of Cartesian Materialism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (4):939 - 963.
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  19. Jonathan Opie & Gerard O'Brien (1999). A Connectionist Theory of Phenomenal Experience. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):127-148.
    When cognitive scientists apply computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, as many of them have been doing recently, there are two fundamentally distinct approaches available. Either consciousness is to be explained in terms of the nature of the representational vehicles the brain deploys; or it is to be explained in terms of the computational processes defined over these vehicles. We call versions of these two approaches _vehicle_ and _process_ theories of consciousness, respectively. However, while there may be space (...)
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  20. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (1998). The Disunity of Consciousness. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (3):378-95.
    It is commonplace for both philosophers and cognitive scientists to express their allegiance to the "unity of consciousness". This is the claim that a subject’s phenomenal consciousness, at any one moment in time, is a single thing. This view has had a major influence on computational theories of consciousness. In particular, what we call single-track theories dominate the literature, theories which contend that our conscious experience is the result of a single consciousness-making process or mechanism in the brain. We argue (...)
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  21. Jonathan Opie (1998). Consciousness: A Connectionist Perspective. Dissertation, University of Adelaide
    To my father, who got me thinking, and to Tricia, who provided the love, support, and encouragement that enabled me to see this through.
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  22. Jonathan Opie (1998). Connectionist Modelling Strategies. Psycoloquy 9 (30).
    Green offers us two options: either connectionist models are literal models of brain activity or they are mere instruments, with little or no ontological significance. According to Green, only the first option renders connectionist models genuinely explanatory. I think there is a third possibility. Connectionist models are not literal models of brain activity, but neither are they mere instruments. They are abstract, IDEALISED models of the brain that are capable of providing genuine explanations of cognitive phenomena.
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  23. Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (1997). Cognitive Science and Phenomenal Consciousness: A Dilemma, and How to Avoid It. Philosophical Psychology 10 (3):269-86.
    When it comes to applying computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, cognitive scientists appear to face a dilemma. The only strategy that seems to be available is one that explains consciousness in terms of special kinds of computational processes. But such theories, while they dominate the field, have counter-intuitive consequences; in particular, they force one to accept that phenomenal experience is composed of information processing effects. For cognitive scientists, therefore, it seems to come down to a choice between (...)
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