Preprint of Cole, Sacks, and Waterman. 2000. "On the immunity principle: A view from a robot." Trends in Cognitive Science 4 (5): 167, a response to Shaun Gallagher, S. 2000. "Philosophical conceptions of the self: implications for cognitive science," Trends in Cognitive Science 4 (1):14-21. Also see Shaun Gallagher, Reply to Cole, Sacks, and Waterman Trends in Cognitive Science 4, No. 5 (2000): 167-68.
In a majority of situations the normal adult maintains posture or moves without consciously monitoring motor activity. Posture and movement are usually close to automatic; they tend to take care of themselves, outside of attentive regard. One's body, in such cases, effaces itself as one is geared into a particular intentional goal. This effacement is possible because of the normal functioning of a body schema. Body schema can be defined as a system of preconscious, subpersonal processes that play a dynamic (...) role in governing posture and movement (Head, 1920). There is an important and often overlooked conceptual difference between the subpersonal body schema and what is usually called body image . The latter is most often defined as a conscious idea or mental representation that one has of one's own body (for example, Adame, Radell, Johnson, and Cole, 1991; Gardner and Moncrieff, 1988; Schilder, 1935). Despite the conceptual difference many researchers use the terms interchangeably, leading to both a terminological and conceptual confusion. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor, LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited , New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, x+228, $37.95, ISBN 978-0-119-954877-4 Content Type Journal Article Pages 439-443 DOI 10.1007/s11023-009-9164-4 Authors David Cole, University of Minnesota-Duluth Department of Philosophy 369 A B Anderson Hall Duluth MN 55812 USA Journal Minds and Machines Online ISSN 1572-8641 Print ISSN 0924-6495 Journal Volume Volume 19 Journal Issue Volume 19, Number 3.
Welcome to the world of cutting-edge math, physics, and neuroscience, where the search for the ultimate vacuum, the point of nothingness, ground zero of theory, has rendered the universe deep, rich, and juicy. "Modern physics has animated the void," says K. C. Cole in her entrancing journey into the heart of Nothing. Every time scientists and mathematicians think they have reached the ultimate void, new stuff appears: a black hole, an undulating string, an additional dimension of space or time, (...) repulsive anti-gravity, universes that breed like bunnies. Cole's exploration at the edge of everything is as animated and exciting as the void itself. Take Cole's hand on this adventure into the unknown, and you'll come back informed, amused, and excited. (shrink)
Do states have the right to prevent potential immigrants from crossing their borders, or should people have the freedom to migrate and settle wherever they wish? Christopher Heath Wellman and Phillip Cole develop and defend opposing answers to this timely and important question. Appealing to the right to freedom of association, Wellman contends that legitimate states have broad discretion to exclude potential immigrants, even those who desperately seek to enter. Against this, Cole argues that the commitment to the (...) moral equality of all human beings - which legitimate states can be expected to hold - means national borders must be open: equal respect requires equal access, both to territory and membership; and that the idea of open borders is less radical than it seems when we consider how many territorial and community boundaries have this open nature. In addition to engaging with each other's arguments, Wellman and Cole address a range of central questions and prominent positions on this topic. The authors therefore provide a critical overview of the major contributions to the ethics of migration, as well as developing original, provocative positions of their own. (shrink)
Bryan S. Turner: Can We Live Forever? A Social and Moral Inquiry Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 301-303 DOI 10.1007/s12376-009-0024-6 Authors Thomas R. Cole, University of Texas-Houston School of Medicine McGovern Center for Health, Humanities, and the Human Spirit Houston TX 77030 USA Journal Medicine Studies Online ISSN 1876-4541 Print ISSN 1876-4533 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 3.
Considerations of personal identity bear on John Searle's Chinese Room argument, and on the opposed position that a computer itself could really understand a natural language. In this paper I develop the notion of a virtual person, modelled on the concept of virtual machines familiar in computer science. I show how Searle's argument, and J. Maloney's attempt to defend it, fail. I conclude that Searle is correct in holding that no digital machine could understand language, but wrong in holding that (...) artificial minds are impossible: minds and persons are not the same as the machines, biological or electronic, that realize them. (shrink)
Formerly a spectral apparition that haunted behaviorism and provided a puzzle about our knowledge of other minds, the inverted spectrum possibility has emerged as an important challenge to functionalist accounts of qualia. The inverted spectrum hypothesis raises the possibility that two individuals might think and behave in the same way yet have different qualia. The traditional supposition is of an individual who has a subjective color spectrum that is inverted with regard to that had by other individuals. When he looks (...) at red objects, this individual has the qualia normally produced in others by blue objects. And when presented with a blue object, this individual experiences qualia that most persons experience only when presented with red objects. And so forth - the Invert's color spectrum is the inverse of normal; there are systematic inter-subjective differences in qualia. (shrink)
Two topics figure prominently in recent discussions of mathematical structuralism: challenges to the purported metaphysical insight provided by sui generis structuralism and the significance of category theory for understanding and articulating mathematical structuralism. This article presents an overview of central themes related to these topics.
I present a theory of the nature and basis of the conscious experience characteristic of occurent propositional attitudes: thinking this or that. As a preliminary I offer an extended criticism of Paul Schweizer's treatment of such consciousness as unexplained secondary qualities of neural events. I also attempt to rebut arguments against the possibility of functionalist accounts of conscious experience and qualia.
Thought experiments have been used by philosophers for centuries, especially in the study of personal identity where they appear to have been used extensively and indiscriminately. Despite their prevalence, the use of thought experiments in this area of philosophy has been criticized in recent times. Bernard Williams criticizes the conclusions that are drawn from some experiments, and retells one of these experiments from a different perspective, a retelling which leads to a seemingly opposing result. Wilkes criticizes the method of thought (...) experimentation itself, suggesting that the results drawn from the experiments are tainted by a faulty method. This paper examines both these types of objection, and concludes that neither can be sustained. (shrink)
There’s a possibly more interesting general question: does technology transform and extend the mind and our mental powers? In a widely discussed 1998 paper titled “The Extended Mind”, Andy Clark and David Chalmers argue that mind and cognition can extend outside the head and can include items and processes in the world. In their thought experiment, Otto has alzheimer’s syndrome but does not lose his ability to function because he records information he learns in a notebook that he always carries. (...) Thus, C&C claim, Otto continues to have beliefs. The notebooks function as his memory. C&C propose a "parity principle": a part of the world is part of a cognitive process if it "functions as a process which, were it done in the head, we would have no hesitation in recognizing [it] as part of the cognitive process .... Cognitive processes ain't (all) in the head!" (in Menary p. 29, original emphasis). (shrink)
Intentionality is a property of an important class of things: things that represent, or are about something. Thus a belief or sentence or story is about something, a painting or photo is of something, a sign is a sign of something, and a desire is a desire for something. These disparate things all display intentionality. They have content; they represent some state of affairs beyond themselves. The represented state of affairs need not be actual, and is not in the cases (...) of false belief, unfulfilled desire, or Salvadore Dali painting. (shrink)
Functionalism, a philosophical theory, has empirical consequences. Functionalism predicts that where systematic transformations of sensory input occur and are followed by behavioral accommodation in which normal function of the organism is restored such that the causes and effects of the subject's psychological states return to those of the period prior to the transformation, there will be a return of qualia or subjective experiences to those present prior to the transform. A transformation of this type that has long been of philosophical (...) interest is the possibility of an inverted spectrum. Hilary Putnam argues that the physical possibility of acquired spectrum inversion refutes functionalism. I argue, however, that in the absence of empirical results no a priori arguments against functionalism, such as Putnam's, can be cogent. I sketch an experimental situation which would produce acquired spectrum inversion. The mere existence of qualia inversion would constitute no refutation of functionalism; only its persistence after behavioral accommodation to the inversion would properly count against functionalism. The cumulative empirical evidence from experiments on image inversion suggests that the results of actual spectrum inversion would confirm rather than refute functionalism. (shrink)
Dretske’s Naturalizing the Mind sets out the case for holding that mental states in general are natural representers of reality. Mental states have functions; for many states the function is to indicate what is going on in the world. Among such indicator states are beliefs. The content of these states is given by what they are supposed to represent. So if a state is supposed to indicate that it’s dark, then “it’s dark” is the content of the state. Thus we (...) can characterize how the organism takes things to be, its subjectivity, by noting first what physical (neural) state it is in, and second what the biological indicator function of that state is. Thus the mind and meaning are naturalized. (shrink)
Stephen Pinker sets out over a dozen arguments in The language instinct (Morrow, New York, 1994) for his widely shared view that natural language is inadequate as a medium for thought. Thus he argues we must suppose that the primary medium of thought and inference is an innate propositional representation system, mentalese. I reply to the various arguments and so defend the view that some thought essentially involves natural language. I argue mentalese doesn't solve any of the problems Pinker cites (...) for the view that we think in natural language. So I don't think I think the way he thinks I think. (shrink)
The Way of Ideas died an ignoble death, committed to the flames by behaviorist empiricists. Ideas, pictures in the head, perished with the Way. By the time those empiricists were supplanted at the helm by functionalists and causal theorists, a revolution had taken place in linguistics and the last thing anyone wanted to do was revive images as the medium of thought. Currently, some but not all cognitive scientists think that there probably are mental images - experiments in cognitive psychology (...) (e.g. Shepard and Metzler 1971) have shown it to be plausible to posit mental images. Even so, the phenomenon of mental imagery has been largely regarded as peripheral in cognition, perhaps even epiphenomenal. Images cannot fix the content of thought (intentions, rules), the Wittgenstein story went. The central processes of thought, so the post-Wittgenstein story goes, require a propositional representation system, a language of thought, universal and modeled on the machine languages of computers. The language of thought is compositional, productive, and, leading advocates argue, has a causal semantics. Images lack all of these essential qualities and so are hopeless as key players in thinking. (shrink)
This paper considers the importance of the body for self-esteem, communication, and emotional expression and experience, through the reflections of those who live with various neurological impairments of movement and sensation; sensory deafferentation, spinal cord injury and Möbius Syndrome (the congenital absence of facial expression). People with severe sensory loss, who require conscious attention and visual feedback for movement, describe the imperative to use the same strategies to reacquire gesture, to appear normal and have embodied expression. Those paralysed after spinal (...) cord injury struggle to have others see them as people rather than as people in wheelchairs and have been active in the disability movement, distinguishing between their medical impairment and the social induced disability others project onto them. Lastly those with Möbius reveal the importance of the face for emotional expression and communication and indeed for emotional experience itself. All these examples explore the crucial role of the body as agent for social and personal expression and self-esteem. (shrink)
"Mantras were not viewed as the only means of expressing truth, however. Thought, which was defined as internalized speech, offered yet another aspect of truth. And if words and thoughts designated different aspects of truth, or reality, then there had to be an underlying unity behind all phenomena" (S. A. Nigosian 1994: World Faiths, p. 84).
Terrorism, torture, and the problems of evil -- Diabolical evil, searching for Satan -- Philosophies of evil -- Communities of fear -- The enemy within -- Bad seeds -- The character of evil -- Facing the Holocaust -- Twenty-first-century mythologies.
In Book II of the _Essay_, at the beginning of his discussion of language in Chapter II ("Of the Signification of Words"), John Locke writes that we humans have a variety of thoughts which might profit others, but that unfortunately these thoughts lie invisible and hidden from others. And so we use language to communicate these thoughts. As a result, "words, in their primary or immediate signification,stand for nothing but _the ideas in the mind of him that uses them_.
Empirical studies of gesture in a subject who has lost proprioception and the sense of touch from the neck down show that specific aspects of gesture remain normal despite abnormal motor processes for instrumental movement. The experiments suggest that gesture, as a linguistic phenomenon, is not reducible to instrumental movement. They also support and extend claims made by Merleau-Ponty concerning the relationship between language and cognition. Gesture, as language, contributes to the accomplishment of thought.
thought and problem solving in persons lacking natural language altogether would be a decisive challenge, but there is no clear evidence of any abstract thinking capabilities similar to those evinced by the scientists. Pinker cites languageless persons rebuilding broken locks - this is evidence of perhaps visual imagery, but not mentalese (at least not without quite a bit more detail and argument than we are given). Spiders, e.g., build marvelous things, but no inference to spiderese appears to be warranted. There (...) simply is much we don. (shrink)
Descartes refuted skepticism in 1641. George Berkeley refuted skepticism in 1710. O.K. Bouwsma refuted skepticism in 1949. Hilary Putnam refuted skepticism in 1981. The locus classicus for the form of skepticism refuted is Descartes' Meditations -- which also goes on to set out a famous realist refutation of skepticism. Indeed, Descartes is the principal inventor of the philosophic enterprise of skepticism refutation so central to Modern philosophy and its epistemic preoccupations. What the cited successors of Descartes and many others have (...) in common is a rejection of both skepticism and Descartes' refutation of it. Berkeley, Bouwsma and Putnam offer a sophisticated, undercutting, refutation which undermines the very coherence of skepticism. And for all, issues of language and meaning rise to the fore, determining the coherence of any skeptical doubts and constraining the possibilities of systematic error and deception (for Berkeley, these appear as issues about the objects of thought, which in turn are the foundation of the meaning of language). (shrink)
Those who have a brief against the analytic-synthetic distinction raise problems for what seem to supporters of the distinction to be some of the clearest cases. That bachelors are unmarried seems to many to be analytically true. But to hold this seems to imply that there is a definition of "bachelor" that includes being unmarried. But critics of the analytic-synthetic distinction, such as Jerry Fodor, deny that there are true definitions (reportive, not stipulative). So there can be no definition of (...) "bachelor". And many have noted that defining "bachelor" is not as easy as appears at first blush. (shrink)
Studies of perception have focussed on sensation, though more recently the perception of action has, once more, become the subject of investigation. These studies have looked at acute experimental situations. The present paper discusses the subjective experience of those with either clinical syndromes of loss of movement or sensation (spinal cord injury, sensory neuronopathy syndrome or motor stroke), or with experimental paralysis or sensory loss. The differing phenomenology of these is explored and their effects on intention and agency discussed. It (...) is shown that sensory loss can have effects on the focussing of motor command and that for some a sense of agency can return despite paralysis. (shrink)
Surely one of the most interesting problems in the study of mind concerns the nature of sentience. How is it that there are sensations, rather than merely sensings? What is it like to be a bat -- or why is it like anything at all? Why aren't we automata or responding but unfeeling Zombies? How does neural activity give rise to subjective experience? As Leibniz put the problem (Monadology section 17):
_It must be confessed, however, that Perception_ [consciousness?]_, and (...) that which depends upon it, are_ _inexplicable by mechanical means, that is to say, by figures and motions. Supposing that there were a_ _machine whose structure produced thought, sensation, and perceptions, we could conceive of it as increased_ _in its interior size with the same proportions until one was able to enter into its interior, as he would into a_ _mill. Now, on going into it he would find only pieces working upon one another, but never would he find_
_anything to explain Perception._ [Montgomery trans.]. (shrink)
The actions of affect are prominent in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and can be broken down for the purposes of education into two roles. The first alludes to the history of philosophy and the ways in which affect has been used by Spinoza (Deleuze, 1992) Nietzsche (Deleuze, 1983) or Bergson (Deleuze, 1991). In this role, Deleuze reinvigorates and challenges definitions of affect that would place them into systems of understanding that could take paths to metaphysics or to becoming paradigms (...) for capture in any further theorisation of affect. For example, scholars might attest to the use of affect as defined by Spinoza in the Ethics. Deleuze (1983, 1991, 1992) attends to the ways in which scholarly understanding of affect has been broached in order to free the idea up for empirical studies and also to show that the power of didactic language may be subsumed and subverted. The second role of affect in the work of Deleuze comes about in his first two co-authored books that he produced with Félix Guattari (Deleuze & Guattari, 1984, 1988). These publications have a distinct purpose from the scholarly work, which this article shall examine in terms of educational activism, group identities and the sociology of education. This level imbues the use of language in pedagogic acts with an intense affective resonance and the multiple traces of becoming that might be present in any teaching and learning context. (shrink)
This is a well-behaved concept in Newtonian physics. But a center of gravity is not an atom or a subatomic particle or any other physical item in the world. It has no mass; it has no color; it has no physical properties at all, except for spatio-temporal location. It is a fine example of what Hans Reichenbach would call an abstractum. It is a purely abstract object. It is, if you like , a theorist's fiction. It is not one of (...) the real things in the universe in addition to the atoms. But it is a fiction that has nicely defined, well delineated and well behaved role within physics. (shrink)
I contend that mathematical domains are freestanding institutional entities that, at least typically, are introduced to serve representational functions. In this paper, I outline an account of institutional reality and a supporting metaontological perspective that clarify the content of this thesis. I also argue that a philosophy of mathematics that has this thesis as its central tenet can account for the objectivity, necessity, and atemporality of mathematics.
I offer an argument for why torture, as an act of state-sponsored force to gain information crucial to the well-being of the common good, should be considered as a tactic of war, and therefore scrutinized in terms of just war theory. I argue that, for those committed to the justifiability of the use of force, most of the popular arguments against all acts of torture are unpersuasive because the logic behind them would forbid equally any act of mutilating or killing (...) in battle. I will also argue that looking at torture through the perspective of the just war tradition forces us to place strictures on the practice that make it hard to justify, helps us to see why torture should never be legalized, helps us to clarify when circumstances might justify torture, and suggests what sort of character is required to recognize when those circumstances have occurred. (shrink)