I argue that there is a distinction to be drawn between two kinds of mentalrealism, and I draw some lessons for the realism-antirealism debate. Although it is already at hand, the distinction has not yet been drawn clearly. The difference to be shown consists in what realism is about: it may be either about the interpretation of folk psychology, or the ontology of mental entities. I specify the commitment to the fact-stating character of the (...) discourse as the central component of realism about folk psychology, and from this I separate realism about mental entities as an ontological commitment towards them. I point out that the two views are mutually independent, which provides the possibility of considering folk psychology as not being in cognitive competition with scientific psychology. At the end I make a tentative suggestion as to how to interpret the former in order to avoid this conflict. (shrink)
While classifications of mental disorders have existed for over one hundred years, it still remains unspecified what terms such as 'mental disorder', 'disease' and 'illness' might actually denote. While ontologies have been called in aid to address this shortfall since the GALEN project of the early 1990s, most attempts thus far have sought to provide a formal description of the structure of some pre-existing terminology or classification, rather than of the corresponding structures and processes on the side of (...) the patient. We here present a view of mental disease that is based on ontological realism and which follows the principles embodied in Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) and in the application of BFO in the Ontology of General Medical Science (OGMS). We analyzed statements about what counts as a mental disease provided (1) in the research agenda for the DSM-V, and (2) in Pies' model. The results were used to assess whether the representational units of BFO and OGMS were adequate as foundations for a formal representation of the entities in reality that these statements attempt to describe. We then analyzed the representational units specific to mental disease and provided corresponding definitions. Our key contributions lie in the identification of confusions and conflations in the existing terminology of mental disease and in providing what we believe is a framework for the sort of clear and unambiguous reference to entities on the side of the patient that is needed in order to avoid these confusions in the future. (shrink)
The thesis develops solutions to two main problems for mentalrealism. Mentalrealism is the theory that mental properties, events, and objects exist, with their own set of characters and causal powers. The first problem comes from the philosophy of science, where Psillos proposes a notion of scientific realism that contradicts mentalrealism, and consequently, if one is to be a scientific realist in the way Psillos recommends, one must reject mental (...)realism. I propose adaptations to the conception of scientific realism to make it compatible with mentalrealism. In the process, the thesis defends computational cognitive science from a compelling argument Searle can be seen to endorse but has not put forth in an organized logical manner. A new conception of scientific realism emerges out of this inquiry, integrating the mental into the rest of nature. The second problem for mentalrealism arises out of non-reductive physicalism- the view that higher-level properties, and in particular mental properties, are irreducible, physically realized, and that physical properties are sufficient non-overdetermining causes of any effect. Kim’s Problem of Causal Exclusion aims to show that the mental, if unreduced, does no causal work. Consequently, given that we should not believe in the existence of properties that do not participate in causation, we would be forced to drop mentalrealism. A solution is needed. The thesis examines various positions relevant to the debate. Several doctrines of physicalism are explored, rejected, and one is proposed; the thesis shows the way in which Kim’s reductionist position has been constantly inconsistent throughout the years of debate; the thesis argues that trope theory does not compete with a universalist conception of properties to provide a solution; and shows weakness in the Macdonald’s non-reductive monist position and Pereboom’s constitutional coincidence account of mental causation. The thesis suggests that either the premises of Kim’s argument are consistent, and consequently his reductio is logically invalid, or at least one of the premises is false, and therefore the argument is not sound. Consequently, the Problem of Causal Exclusion that Kim claims emerges out of non-reductive physicalism does not force us to reject mentalrealism. Mentalrealism lives on. (shrink)
Abstract This paper explores gender and mental health with particular reference to the emerging philosophical field of critical realism. This philosophy suggests a shared ontology and epistemology for the natural and social sciences. Until recently, most of the debate surrounding gender and mental health has been guided either implicitly or explicitly within a positivist or constructivist philosophy. With this in mind, key areas of critical realism are explored in relation to gender and mental health, and (...) contrasted with the positions of positivism and constructivism. It is argued that critical realism offers an alternative philosophical framework for the exploration of gender issues within mental health care. (shrink)
_metaphysically transparent_: we do not arrive at a better understanding of the realm of facts that make such talk true or false when we abandon ordinary mental concepts in favor of naturalistic concepts—or, for that matter, in favor of supernaturalistic concepts, although _super_naturalism will not be my concern here. Rather, it is ordinary mental concepts themselves that provide the best framework for understanding the metaphysics of mind. In this essay, I will be concerned just with naïve realism (...) about mental _properties_. 1 I will defend naïve realism first in relation to the view that mental properties are (ultimately) realized by fundamental physical properties (property-physicalism), and, second, in relation to the broader view that mental properties are realized by the non- rational properties of some natural science or other (property-naturalism).2 Plainly, the construction of an impenetrable defense of naïve realism would be a foolhardy ambition for a single essay. Ultimately, my aim here is thus significantly more modest: I hope just to show that naïve realism is a legitimate contender in the philosophy of mind, one which is for the most part completely overlooked, but which deserves serious consideration. (shrink)
By deepening Austin’s reflections on the ‘open texture’ of empirical concepts, Frederick L. Will defends an ‘externalist’ account of mental content: as human beings we could not think, were we not in fact cognizant of a natural world structured by events and objects with identifiable and repeatable similarities and differences. I explicate and defend Will’s insight by developing a parallel critique of Kant’s and Carnap’s rejections of realism, both of whom cannot account properly for the content of experience. (...) This critique shows that Will has identified a genuinely transcendental basis for defending common-sense realism, without appeal to any high-level theory of knowledge. I then show how Will’s realism undercuts Simon Blackburn’s quasi-realism, Michael Williams’ partial defense of skepticism, John Haldane’s attempt to rehabilitate Aquinas’ account of concepts, and how it augments Crispin Wright’s defense of realism. (shrink)
This paper argues for psychological realism in the conception of psychiatric disorders. We review the following contemporary ways of understanding the future of psychiatry: (1) psychiatric classification cannot be successfully reduced to neurobiology, and thus psychiatric disorders should not be conceived of as biological kinds; (2) psychiatric classification can be successfully reduced to neurobiology, and thus psychiatric disorders should be conceived of as biological kinds. Position (1) can lead either to instrumentalism or to eliminativism about psychiatry, depending on whether (...) psychiatric classification is regarded as useful. Position (2), which is inspired by the growing interest in neuroscience within scientific psychiatry, leads to biological realism or essentialism. In this paper we endorse a different realist position, which we label psychological realism. Psychiatric disorders are identified and addressed on the basis of their psychological manifestations which are often described as violations of epistemic, moral or social norms. A couple of examples are proposed by reference to the pathological aspects of delusions, and the factors contributing to their formation. (shrink)
According to functionalism, mental state types consist solely in relations to inputs, outputs, and other mental states. I argue that two central claims of a prominent and plausible type of scientific realism conflict with the functionalist position. These claims are that natural kinds in a mature science are not reducible to natural kinds in any other, and that all dispositional features of natural kinds can be explained at the type-level. These claims, when applied to psychology, have the (...) consequence that at least some mental state types consist not merely in relations to inputs, outputs, and other mental states, but also in nonrelational properties that play a role in explaining functional relations. Consequently, a scientific realist of the sort I describe must reject functionalism. (shrink)
Kant’s and Hegel’s transcendental argument for mental-content externalism breaks the deadlock between ‘internal’ and genuine realists. This argument shows that human beings can only be self-conscious in a world that provides a humanly recognizable regularity and variety among the things (or events) we sense. This feature of the world cannot result from human thought or language. Hence semantic arguments against realism can only be developed if realism about the world is true. Some of Putnam’s arguments for internal (...)realism are taken as cases in point, and criticized accordingly. Pragmatic realists can use this transcendental argument, because its strong modal claims are consistent with falliblist accounts of justification. (shrink)
Recently, Kenneth Westphal has presented a highly interesting and innovative reading of Kant's critical philosophy.2 This reading continues a tradition of Kantscholarship of which, e.g., Paul Guyer's work is representative, and in which the antiidealistic potential of Kant's critical philosophy is pitted against its idealistic selfunderstanding. Much of the work in this tradition leaves matters at observing the tensions this introduces in Kant's work. But Westphal's proposed interpretation goes farther. Its attractiveness derives for the most part from the promise that (...) it permits an internal critique of Kant's transcendental idealism (TI), that is, a critique that is based on the very resources of Kantian transcendental philosophy.3 In contrast to these resources, which currently seem to go through a sort of revival in an enormous array of fields, TI is notorious for dismaying even sympathetic interpreters. How attractive and needed such an internal critique of TI would be becomes all the more patent when we place such a promise in the context of some of the contemporary discussions about TI after Allison's famous defense of it. Before directly engaging with Westphal's interpretation, I would therefore like to quickly sketch on what background it acquires its force (I). After characterizing the main features of Westphal's view (II), and supporting it in more detail by an account of Kant's theory of cognitive significance (III), I then want to review the extent of its success to present Kant as issuing an anti-skeptical argument (IV.1), or semantic views that are incompatible with TI (IV.2), or a 'proof of not merely empirical realism' (IV.3). I agree that purely idealist readings of Kant are mistaken. Westphal's.. (shrink)
This critical editorial introduction summarizes and explicates Frederick Will’s pragmatic realism and his account of the nature, assessment, and revision of cognitive and practical norms in connection with: the development of Will’s pragmatic realism, Hume’s problem of induction, the oscillations between foundationalism and coherentism, the nature of philosophical reflection, Kant’s ‘Refutation of Idealism’, the open texture of empirical concepts, the correspondence conception of truth, Putnam’s ‘internal realism’, the redundancy theory of truth, sociology of knowledge, the governance of (...) practice by norms and the assessment and revision of norms in practice, scientific realism, the alleged independence of reason and tradition, rule-following, legal realism, ethical intuitionism and moral relativism, the regress problem (both in epistemology and in moral theory), the paradox of analysis, and culminating in Will’s account of the philosophical governance of norms. These issues are discussed in close consideration of the views of: William Alston, John Dewey, Descartes, Leibniz, Waismann, Austin, Russell, Schlick, Ayer, Richard Rorty, Michael Williams, Hempel, Carnap, Simon Blackburn, Ramsey, Strawson, Kuhn, Wilfrid Sellars, Wittgenstein, Nozick, Dretske, Quine, Barbara Herman, Hardy Jones, Marcus Singer, and Gerd Buchdahl. (shrink)
Embodied and extended cognition is a relatively new paradigm within cognitive science that challenges the basic tenet of classical cognitive science, viz. cognition consists in building and manipulating internal representations. Some of the pioneers of embodied cognitive science have claimed that this new way of conceptualizing cognition puts pressure on epistemological and ontological realism. In this paper I will argue that such anti-realist conclusions do not follow from the basic assumptions of radical embodied cognitive science. Furthermore I will show (...) that one can develop a form of realism that reflects rather than just accommodates the core principles of non-representationalist embodied cognitive science. (shrink)
In this study I am going to present and discuss some of the central themes of Gustav Bergmann's theory of perception. I shall be concerned, however, only with "later Bergmann," that is, with the perceptual theory worked out in a series of essays in which Bergmann shifts from phenomenalism to a form of intentional realism. This label ("intentional realism") indicates the two dominant themes in Bergmann's later thought about perception: perceivings are analyzed as mental acts (thoughts) which (...) are intentionally related to real and mind-independent objects and states of affairs. In a timely essay, " Intentionality" (1955) Bergmann presented an impressive defense of mental acts, and although the framework of that essay was still phenomenalistic, the structural analysis of mental acts and their intentionality presented there has not been significantly altered by Bergmann in later writings. In two subsequent essays, "Acts" (1960) and "Realistic Postscript" (1963) his realistic turn was worked out in detail in the context of giving a satisfactory account of ordinary perceptual experience. These three essays will comprise the core texts of the study that follows. (shrink)
Draft. Berkeley denied the existence of abstract ideas and any faculty of abstraction. At the same time, however, he embraced innate ideas and a faculty of pure intellect. This paper attempts to reconcile the tension between these commitments by offering an interpretation of Berkeley's Platonism.
Standard interpretations of Kant’s transcendental idealism take it as a commitment to the view that the objects of cognition are structured or made by conditions imposed by the mind, and therefore to what Van Cleve calls “honest-to-God idealism”. Against this view, many more recent investigations of Kant’s theory of representation and cognitive significance have been able to show that Kant is committed to a certain form of Mental Content Externalism, and therefore to the realist view that the objects involved (...) in experience and empirical knowledge are mind-independent particulars. Some of these recent interpreters have taken this result to demonstrate an internal incompatibility between Kant‘s transcendental idealism and his own model of cognitive content and the environmental conditions of empirical knowledge. Against this suggestion, this article argues that, while Kant’s theory of content is indeed best construed as externalist, an adequately adjusted form of transcendental idealism is not only compatible with this externalism, but in fact supports it. More generally, the article develops the position that mental content externalism cannot force the adoption of metaphysical realism. (shrink)
Mental and behavioral disorders represent a signiﬁcant portion of the public health burden in all countries. The human cost of these disorders is immense, yet treatment options for sufferers are currently limited, with many patients failing to respond sufﬁciently to available interventions and drugs. High quality ontologies facilitate data aggregation and comparison across different disciplines, and may therefore speed up the translation of primary research into novel therapeutics. Realism-based ontologies describe entities in reality and the relationships between them (...) in such a way that – once formulated in a suitable formal language – the ontologies can be used for sophisticated automated reasoning applications. Reference ontologies can be applied across different contexts in which different, and often mutually incompatible, domain-speciﬁc vocabularies have traditionally been used. In this contribution we describe the Mental Functioning Ontology (MF) and Mental Disease Ontology (MD), two realism-based ontologies currently under development for the description of humanmental functioning and disease. We describe the structure and upper levels of the ontologies and preliminary application scenarios, and identify some open questions. (shrink)
This dissertation examines psychiatry from a philosophy of science perspective, focusing on issues of realism and classification. Questions addressed in the dissertation include: What evidence is there for the reality of mental disorders? Are any mental disorders natural kinds? When are disease explanations of abnormality warranted? How should mental disorders be classified? -/- In addressing issues concerning the reality of mental disorders, I draw on the accounts of realism defended by Ian Hacking and William (...) Wimsatt, arguing that biological research on mental disorders supports the inference that some mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders) are real theoretical entities, and that the evidence supporting this inference is causal and abductive. In explicating the nature of such entities, I argue that real mental disorders are natural kinds insofar as they are natural classes of abnormal behavior whose members share the same causal structure. I present this position in terms of Richard Boyd’s homeostatic cluster property theory of natural kinds, and argue that this perspective reveals limitations of Hacking’s account on the looping effects of human kinds, which suggests that the objects classified by psychiatrists are unstable entities. I subsequently argue that a subset of mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia and Down syndrome) are mental illnesses insofar as they are disorders caused by a dysfunctional biological process that leads to harmful consequences for individuals. I present this analysis against Thomas Szasz’s argument that mental illness is a myth. -/- In addressing issues of psychiatric classification, my analysis focuses on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which has been published regularly by the American Psychiatric Association since 1952, and is currently in its fourth edition. After examining the history of DSM in the twentieth century, and in particular, DSM’s shift to an atheoretical and purely descriptive system in the 1980s, I consider the relative merits of descriptive versus causal systems of classification. Drawing on Carl Hempel’s analysis of taxonomic systems in psychiatry, I argue that a causal classification system would provide a superior approach to psychiatric classification than the descriptive system currently favored by DSM. (shrink)
Working from a naïve-realist perspective, I examine first-person knowledge of one's perceptual experience. I outline a naive-realist theory of how subjects acquire knowledge of the nature of their experiences, and I argue that naive realism is compatible with moderate, substantial forms of first-person privileged access. A more general moral of my paper is that treating “success” states like seeing as genuine mental states does not break up the dynamics that many philosophers expect from the phenomenon of knowledge of (...) the mind. (shrink)
Introduction -- A default position -- Experience -- The character of experience -- Understanding-experience -- A note about dispositional mental states -- Purely experiential content -- An account of four seconds of thought -- Questions -- The mental and the nonmental -- The mental and the publicly observable -- The mental and the behavioral -- Neobehaviorism and reductionism -- Naturalism in the philosophy of mind -- Conclusion: The three questions -- Agnostic materialism, part 1 -- Monism (...) -- The linguistic argument -- Materialism and monism -- A comment on reduction -- The impossibility of an objective phenomenology -- Asymmetry and reduction -- Equal-status monism -- Panpsychism -- The inescapability of metaphysics -- Agnostic materialism, part 2 -- Ignorance -- Sensory spaces -- Experience, explanation, and theoretical integration -- The hard part of the mind-body problem -- Neutral monism and agnostic monism -- A comment on eliminativism, instrumentalism, and so on -- Mentalism, idealism, and immaterialism -- Mentalism -- Strict or pure process idealism -- Active-principle idealism -- Stuff idealism -- Immaterialism -- The positions restated -- The dualist options -- Frege's thesis -- Objections to pure process idealism -- The problem of mental dispositions -- Mental -- Shared abilities -- The sorting ability -- The definition of mental being -- Mental phenomena -- The view that all mental phenomena are experiential phenomena -- Natural intentionality -- E/c intentionality -- The experienceless -- Intentionality and abstract and nonexistent objects -- Experience, purely experiential content, and n/c intentionality -- Concepts in nature -- Intentionality and experience -- Summary with problem -- Pain and pain -- The neo-behaviorist view -- A linguistic argument for the necessary connection between pain and behavior -- A challenge -- The Sirians -- N.N. Novel -- An objection to the Sirians -- The Betelgeuzians -- The point of the Sirians -- Functionalism, naturalism, and realism about pain -- Unpleasantness and qualitative character -- The weather watchers -- The rooting story -- What is it like to be a weather watcher? -- The aptitudes of mental states -- The argument from the conditions for possessing the concept of space -- The argument from the conditions for language ability -- The argument from the nature of desire -- Desire and affect -- The argument from the phenomenology of desire -- Behavior -- A hopeless definition -- Difficulties -- Other-observability -- Neo-behaviorism -- The concept of mind. (shrink)
Abstract: It is generally accepted that the most serious threat to the possibility of mental causation is posed by the causal self-sufficiency of physical causal processes. I argue, however, that this feature of the world, which I articulate in principle I call Completeness, in fact poses no genuine threat to mental causation. Some find Completeness threatening to mental causation because they confuse it with a stronger principle, which I call Closure. Others do not simply conflate Completeness (...) and Closure, but hold that Completeness, together with certain plausible assumptions, _entails_ Closure. I refute the most fully worked-out version of such an argument. Finally, some find Completeness all by itself threatening to mental causation. I argue that one will only find Completeness threatening if one operates with a philosophically distorted conception of mental causation. I thereby defend what I call naïve realism about mental causation. (shrink)
In the present paper, I shall argue that disjunctively construed naïve realism about the nature of perceptual experiences succumbs to the empirically inspired causal argument. The causal argument highlights as a first step that local action necessitates the presence of a type-identical common kind of mental state shared by all perceptual experiences. In a second step, it sets out that the property of being a veridical perception cannot be a mental property. It results that the mental (...) nature of perceptions must be exhausted by the occurrence of inner sensory experiences that narrowly supervene on the perceiver. That is, empirical objects fail directly to determine the perceptual consciousness of the perceiver. The upshot is that not only naïve realism, but also certain further forms of direct realism have to be abandoned. (shrink)
As part of his ongoing critique of metaphysical realism, Hilary Putnam has recently argued that current materialist theories of mind that locate mental phenomena in the brain can make no sense of the proposed identifications of mental states with physical (or physical cum computational) states, or of the supervenience of mental properties with physical properties. The aim of this paper is to undermine Putnam's objections and reassert the intelligibility – and perhaps the plausibility – of some (...) form of mind-body identity and supervenience. (shrink)
Defending a form of naïve realism about visual experiences is quite popular these days. Those naïve realists who I will be concerned with in this paper make a central claim about the subjective aspects of perceptual experiences. They argue that how it is with the perceiver subjectively when she sees worldly objects is literally determined by those objects. This way of thinking leads them to endorse a form of disjunctivism, according to which the fundamental psychological nature of seeings and (...) hallucinations is distinct. I will oppose their central claim by defending a version of the so-called ‘causal argument’, which dwells on ideas about causation and explanation in perception. The aim of this discussion is to highlight that the subjective aspects of perceptual experiences cannot be explained in naïve realist terms. Instead, it will be argued that one needs to appeal to a mental factor which does not involve worldly objects as constituents, and which is common to seeings and hallucinations. (shrink)
Bas van Fraassen endorses both common-sense realism — the view, roughly, that the ordinary macroscopic objects that we take to exist actually do exist — and constructive empiricism — the view, roughly, that the aim of science is truth about the observable world. But what happens if common-sense realism and science come into conflict? I argue that it is reasonable to think that they could come into conflict, by giving some motivation for a mental monist solution to (...) the measurement problem of quantum mechanics. I then consider whether, in a situation where science favors the mental monist interpretation, van Fraassen would want to give up common-sense realism or would want to give up science. 1. The Potential Tension Bas van Fraassen is a common-sense realist: Constructive empiricism. (shrink)
While there is virtually a consensus among contemporary philosophers of perception that some form of direct realism is true, there is less than complete agreement about whether normal, direct perceptions involve mental inferences in any sense. In taking another look at this recurrent question, my aim is twofold: first, to examine some of the arguments and evidences that have been offered in favor of inferences and to see if they can be accommodated within the direct realist framework, and (...) second, to attempt to clarify and defend the insight of direct realism that normal perceptions are noninferential. (shrink)
Until now, a systematic new evaluation of transcendental phenomenology that gives due attention to the analytic philosophy of mind has been lacking, despite several recent studies in this area. With an emphasis on Husserl’s anti-representationalist theory of the intentionality of consciousness, the present study demonstrates phenomenology’s descriptive and explanatory potential and presents it as a serious interlocutor not only for the philosophy of mind and cognition but also for contemporary language philosophy and epistemology.
This unusually accessible account of recent Anglo-American philosophy focuses on how that philosophy has challenged deeply held notions of subjectivity, mind, and language. The book is designed on a broad canvas in which recent arguments are placed in a historical context (in particular they are related to medieval philosophy and German idealism). The author then explores such topics as mental content, moral realism, realism and antirealism, and the character of subjectivity. Much of the book is devoted to (...) an investigation of Donald Davidson's philosophy, and there is also a sustained critique of the position of Richard Rorty. A final chapter defends the realist position against objections from postmodern thought. As a rigorous and historically sensitive account of recent philosophy, this book should enjoy a wide readership among philosophers of many different persuasions, literary theorists, and social scientists who have been influenced by postmodern thought. (shrink)
This article considers a Quine-Dennett style of argument from the indeterminacy of intentional content against the reducibility of mental states to neurological states. The most compelling version of such an argument, I suggest, is one that exploits a semantic anti-realist notion of truth; this holds out the promise of a relatively sophisticated story about the respects in which mental state attributions may be true or false of physical systems, without those states themselves being physical states.
In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant introduced both transcendental idealism and transcendental arguments into philosophy. Transcendental arguments in general aim to establish conditions necessary for our having self-conscious experience at all. Transcendental idealism holds that such conditions do not hold independently of human subjects; those conditions obtain or are satisfied because they are generated or fulfilled by the structure or functioning of the subject’s cognitive capacities. Is transcendental idealism the only possible explanation of such conditions? I pursue this question (...) by exploring a widely neglected issue, the transcendental affinity of the manifold of intuition. I argue the following: (1) This issue remains vital to the second edition of the Critique, even though many passages on the topic were omitted from that edition. (2) Kant’s link between transcendental idealism and transcendental arguments is substantive, not methodological. (3) Kant’s views on transcendental affinity show that there are non-subjective, transcendental material conditions for the possibility of unified self-conscious experience. (4) These conditions and Kant’s arguments for them directly undermine Kant’s own arguments for transcendental idealism. This criticism of Kant’s arguments for transcendental idealism is entirely internal to the first Critique. (5) These points reveal some serious flaws in Henry Allison’s defense of Kant’s idealism. (6) Realists, naturalists, and pragmatists have much to learn and to borrow from Kant’s transcendental analysis of the conditions of unified self-conscious experience. (shrink)
Much of recent philosophy of perception is oriented towards accounting for the phenomenal character of perception—what it is like to perceive—in a non-mentalistic way—that is, without appealing to mental objects or mental qualities. In opposition to such views, I claim that the phenomenal character of perception of a red round object cannot be explained by or reduced to direct awareness of the object, its redness and roundness—or representation of such objects and qualities. Qualities of perception that are not (...) captured by what one is directly aware of or by representational content are instances of what Gilbert Harman has called “mental paint” (Block, 1990; Harman, 1990). The claim of this paper is that empirical facts about attention point in the direction of mental paint. The argument starts with the claim (later modified) that when one moves one's attention around a scene while keeping one's eyes fixed, the phenomenology of perception can change in ways that do not reflect which qualities of objects one is directly aware of or the way the world is represented to be. These changes in the phenomenology of perception cannot be accounted for in terms of awareness of or representation of the focus of attention because they manifest themselves in experience as differences in apparent contrast, apparent color saturation, apparent size, apparent speed, apparent time of occurrence and other appearances. There is a way of coping with these phenomena in terms of vague contents, but vague contents cannot save direct realism or representationism because the kind of vagueness required clashes wth the phenomenology itself. (shrink)
Thomas Reid thought of himself as a critic of the representative theory of perception, of what he called the ‘theory of ideas’ or ‘the ideal theory’.2 He had no kind words for that theory: “The theory of ideas, like the Trojan horse, had a specious appearance both of innocence and beauty; but if those philosophers had known that it carried in its belly death and destruction to all science and common sense, they would not have broken down their walls to (...) give it admittance.”3 Many have supposed that his opposition to the representative theory was grounded in his direct realism.4 A direct realist theory of perception holds that perception of external objects is not mediated by any mental entity whose intrinsic character licenses a move from the mental entity to the external object presented in perception. Reid himself, in an oration of 1759, delivered at graduation ceremonies over which he presided as regent and professor of philosophy at King’s College in Aberdeen, said that he did not “understand what need there is of an intermediate object for thought about something to be possible.”5 Hence, if Reid was not a direct realist, philosophers and historians would have to ask whether and to what degree Reid was what he thought himself to be. (shrink)
My aim is twofold: first, to root out the metaphysical assumptions that generate the problem of mental causation and to show that they preclude its solution; second, to dissolve the problem of mental causation by motivating rejection of one of the metaphysical assumptions that give rise to it. There are three features of this metaphysical background picture that are important for our purposes. The first concerns the nature of reality: all reality depends on physical reality, where physical reality (...) consists of a network of events.1 The second concerns the nature of causation, and the third concerns the conception of behavior. I try to vindicate a robust idea of mental causation. (shrink)
: According to proponents of relational direct realism, veridical perceptual experiences are irreducibly relational mental states that include as constituents perceived physical objects or intrinsic aspects of them. One consequence of the theory is the rejection of the causal theory of perception. This paper defends the relational theory against several objections recently developed by Paul Coates. He argues that the required experiential relation is incoherent and unmotivated. The argument that it is incoherent commits a fallacy. In reply to (...) the argument that it is unmotivated, I suggest that the relational theorist's appeal to transparency provides sufficient motive and, when properly clarified, defeasibly justifies the theory as well. Coates also argues that rejection of the causal theory leaves relational theorists without any way of determining which object is perceived or of accommodating our scientific understanding of perceptual experiences as causally dependent on physical objects. I reply that relational theorists are able to provide the required explanations and discuss how the relational theory is consistent with this scientific understanding of perceptual experience. (shrink)
Throughout the 1990s, Jaegwon Kim developed a line of argument that what purport to be nonreductive forms of physicalism are ultimately untenable, since they cannot accommodate the causal efficacy of mental states. His argument has received a great deal of discussion, much of it critical. We believe that, while the argument needs some tweaking, its basic thrust is sound. In what follows, we will lay out our preferred version of the argument and highlight its essential dependence on a causal-powers (...) metaphysic, a dependence that Kim does not acknowledge in his official presentations of the argument.i We then discuss two recent physicalist strategies for preserving the causal efficacy of the mental in the face of this sort of challenge, strategies that (ostensibly) endorse a causal powers metaphysics of properties while offering distinctive accounts of the physical realization of mental properties. We argue that neither picture can be satisfactorily worked out, and that seeing why they fail strongly suggests that nonreductive physicalism and a causal powers metaphysic are not compatible, as our original argument contends. Since we also believe that robust realism concerning mental causation should not be abandoned, we take the argument of this paper to strongly motivate an account on which the mental is unrealized by and ontologically emergent from the physical. In a final section, we sketch what an ontologically emergentist account of the mental might look like. (shrink)
I argue that mind-independence realism should be characterised in terms of what I call 'essential', rather than 'modal', independence from our mental lives. I explore the connections between the two kinds of independence, and argue that characterizations in terms of essence respect more intuitions about what realism is, harmonize better with standard characterizations of anti-realism, and avert the threat of subversion from Blackburn's quasi-realist.
Non-reductive moral realism is the view that there are moral properties which cannot be reduced to natural properties. If moral properties exist, it is plausible that they strongly supervene on non-moral properties- more specifically, on mental, social, and biological properties. There may also be good reasons for thinking that moral properties are irreducible. However, strong supervenience and irreducibility seem incompatible. Strong supervenience entails that there is an enormous number of modal truths (specifically, truths about exactly which non-moral properties (...) necessitate which moral properties); and all these modal truths must be explained. If these modal truths can all be explained, then it must be a fundamental truth about the essence of each moral property that the moral property is necessarily equivalent to some property that can be specified purely in mental, social and biological terms; and this fundamental truth appears to be a reduction of the moral property in question. The best way to resist this argument is by resorting to the claim that mental and social properties are not, strictly speaking, natural properties, but are instead properties that can only be analysed in partly normative terms. Acceptance of that claim is the price of non-reductive moral realism. (shrink)
I. the view that reasons cannot be causes. II. the view that the explanatory relevance of psychological states such as beliefs and intentions derives from their content, their explanatory role is not causal and we thus have no good reason to ascribe causal power to them. III. the idea that if the mental supervenes on the physical, then what really explains our actions is the physical properties determining our propositional attitudes, and not those attitudes themselves. IV. the thesis that (...) since there are no laws linking (intentional) mental states to actions, those states cannot be genuine causes of action. (shrink)
___ Realism is opposed to idealism, which holds that no such material objects or external realities exist apart from our knowledge or consciousness of them, the whole universe thus being dependent on the mind or in some sense mental.
The so-called problem of mental causation as discussed in the recent literature raises three central challenges for an adequate solution from a physicalist perspective: the threat of epiphenomenalism, the problem of externalism (or the difficulty in accounting for the causal efficacy of extrinsic mental properties) and the problem of causal exclusion (or the threat of over determination). We wish to account for mental causationas a real phenomenon within a physicalistic framework without accepting epiphenomenalism or overdetermination. The key (...) ideas of our proposal are an internal realism of causation combined with a relative notion of individuating events. We are arguing?contra Davidson?tha there is no absolute notion of events (neither as types nor as tokens) but rather one which is relative to explanatory interests and our intuitions concerning a relevant spatial and temporal overlap. Furthermore, we are presupposing a metaphysics of internal realism: We can only characterize entities by means of concepts produced within our epistemological framework. Physical concepts and mental concepts crossclassify the world as it is. Relying on this framework we try to explain how mental causation can be adequately described: Although mental concepts are not reducible to physical concepts and mental event-tokens may be different from "underlying" physical event-tokens, mental events are real phenomena that are realized by physical phenomena in special context conditions. (shrink)
The anti-reductionist who wants to preserve the causal efficacy of mental phenomena faces several problems in regard to mental causation, i.e. mental events which cause other events, arising from her desire to accept the ontological primacy of the physical and at the same time save the special character of the mental. Psychology tries to persuade us of the former, appealing thereby to the results of experiments carried out in neurology; the latter is, however, deeply rooted in (...) our everyday actions and beliefs and despite the constant opposition of science still very much alive. Difficulties, however, arise from a combination of two claims that are widely accepted in philosophy of mind, namely, physical monism and mentalrealism, the acceptance of which leads us to the greatest problem of mental causation: the problem of causal exclusion. Since physical causes alone are always sufficient for physical effects mental properties are excluded from causal explanations of our behaviour, which makes them “epiphenomenal”. The article introduces Van Gulick’s solution to the exclusion problem which tries to prove that physical properties, in contrast to mental properties, do not have as much of a privileged status with respect to event causation as usually ascribed. Therefore, it makes no sense to say that physical properties are causally relevant whereas mental properties are not. This is followed by my objection to his argument for levelling mental and physical properties with respect to causation of events. I try to show that Van Gulick’s argument rests on a premise that no serious physicalist can accept. (shrink)
Behavior analysis emphasizes the study of overt animal (human and nonhuman) behavior as a subject matter in its own right. This paper provides a metaphysical foundation for such an emphasis via an elucidation of a thesis that I generically call "realism about behavior," where by "realism" I mean an assertion of mind-independent existence. The elucidation takes the form of a conceptual framework that combines a property-exemplification account of events with modal realism in the context of three opposing (...) philosophies of mind: property dualism, reductive physicalism, and type behaviorism. Each philosophy leads to the thesis that at least one possible world exists in which counterparts of all actual behavioral events occur and no counterpart of any actual "mental" (either nonphysical, neuro-mental, or behavioro-mental) event occurs. The third thesis is false because it violates the assumption that nothing can exist independently of itself, which leads to a rejection of type behaviorism. The other two theses provide the sought-after foundation through a counterfactual characterization of behavior qua behavior as a scientific subject matter. Its study thus becomes the study of behavior as if the nonphysical and the neural did not exist, even if they may factually exist and play a causal role in behavior. Some implications are discussed. (shrink)
Idealism is an ontological view, a view about what sorts of things there are in the universe. Idealism holds that what there is depends on our own mental structure and activity. Berkeley of course held that everything was mental; Kant held the more complex view that there was an important distinction between the mental and the physical, but that the structure of the empirical world depended on the activities of minds. Despite radical differences, idealists like Berkeley and (...) Kant share what Ralph Barton Perry called "the cardinal principle of idealism," namely, the principle that "being is dependent on the knowing of it."1 I believe that Hilary Putnam intends his "internal realism" to be a version of idealism in this broad sense; although many of his arguments concern semantic notions like truth and reference, he takes these semantic arguments to have ontological consequences. This is strongly suggested, for instance, by his claim that "'objects' themselves are as much made as discovered, as much products of our conceptual invention as of the 'objective' factor in experience."2 Or again there is this rather Kantian metaphor: "the mind and the world jointly make up the mind and the world."3 But just what is Putnam's ontology? (shrink)
Aristotelian, or non-Platonist, realism holds that mathematics is a science of the real world, just as much as biology or sociology are. Where biology studies living things and sociology studies human social relations, mathematics studies the quantitative or structural aspects of things, such as ratios, or patterns, or complexity, or numerosity, or symmetry. Let us start with an example, as Aristotelians always prefer, an example that introduces the essential themes of the Aristotelian view of mathematics. A typical mathematical truth (...) is that there are six different pairs in four objects: Figure 1. There are 6 different pairs in 4 objects The objects may be of any kind, physical, mental or abstract. The mathematical statement does not refer to any properties of the objects, but only to patterning of the parts in the complex of the four objects. If that seems to us less a solid truth about the real world than the causation of flu by viruses, that may be simply due to our blindness about relations, or tendency to regard them as somehow less real than things and properties. But relations (for example, relations of equality between parts of a structure) are as real as colours or causes. (shrink)
It is commonly said of modern philosophy that it introduced a representative theory of perception, a theory that places representative mental items between perceivers and ordinary physical objects. Such a theory, it has been thought, would be a form of indirect realism: we perceive objects only by means of apprehending mental entities that represent them. The moral of the story is that what began with Descartes’s revolution of basing objective truth on subjective certainty ends with Hume’s paroxysms (...) of ambivalence and skepticism in the conclusion of the ﬁrst book of the.. (shrink)
Daniel Dennett and Stephen Stich have independently, but similarly, argued that the contents of mental states cannot be specified precisely enough for the purposes of scientific prediction and explanation. Dennett takes this to support his view that the proper role for mentalistic terms in science is heuristic. Stich takes it to support his view that cognitive science should be done without reference to mental content at all. I defend a realist understanding of mental content against these attacks (...) by Dennett and Stich. I argue that they both mistake the difficulty of making content ascriptions precise for the impossibility of doing so. (shrink)
Conceptual realism begins with a conceptualist theory of the nexus of predication in our speech and mental acts, a theory that explains the unity of those acts in terms of their referential and predicable aspects. This theory also contains as an integral part an intensional realism based on predicate nominalization and a reflexive abstraction in which the intensional contents of our concepts are object -ified, and by which an analysis of predication with intensional verbs can be given. (...) Through a second nominalization of the common names that are part of conceptual realism’s theory of reference (via quantifier phrases), the theory also accounts for both plural reference and predication and mass noun reference and predication. Finally, a separate nexus of predication based on natural kinds and the natural properties and relations nomologically related to those natural kinds, is also an integral part of the framework of conceptual realism. (shrink)
In this Introduction, I situate the underlying project “Autonomy and Mental Disorder” with reference to current debates on autonomy in moral and political philosophy, and the philosophy of action. I then offer an overview of the individual contributions. More specifically, I begin by identifying three points of convergence in the debates at issue, stating that autonomy is: 1) a fundamentally liberal concept; 2) an agency concept and; 3) incompatible with (severe) mental disorder. Next, I explore, in the context (...) of decisional capacity assessments, the difficulties to reconcile 1) and 2) with 3) which they at the same time seem to imply. Having clarified the centrality of a cogent notion of mental disorder for addressing these difficulties, I comment on three promising lines of inquiry about the nature and scope of autonomy that emerge from the following chapters. (shrink)
I. Introduction 1.1 Realism about oneself and one’s circumstances has long been regarded as a hallmark of mental health and authentic happiness by philosophers and psychologists. It has also long invited skepticism from some quarters. Recently, this skepticism has found new support in the work of some social psychologists, who claim that far from being essential for mental health or happiness, realism can be bad for you. Certain positive illusions about yourself, they say, are more conducive (...) to health and happiness than a high degree of realism. I will argue that, properly understood, realism really is good for you. I will begin by showing the importance of realism in psychological, philosophical, and everyday thought about health and happiness. 1.2 Most psychologists and counselors regard healthy individuals as reality-oriented, as “able to take in matters” they wish were different, “without distorting them to fit these wishes.” In a Socratic statement, Gordon Allport declares that “an impartial and objective attitude toward oneself is … a primary virtue, basic to the development of all others. … And so … if any trait of personality is intrinsically desirable, it is the disposition … to see oneself in perspective.”. (shrink)
Originally motivated by a sophism, Pardo's discussion about the unity of mental propositions allows him to elaborate on his ideas about the nature of propositions. His option for a non-composite character of mental propositions is grounded in an original view about syncategorems: propositions have a syncategorematic signification, which allows them to signify aliquid aliqualiter, just by virtue of the mental copula, without the need of any added categorematic element. Pardo's general claim about the simplicity of mental (...) propositions is developed into several specific thesis about mental propositions: a) it is not judgement which gives its unity to mental propositions, but judicative acts always follow some previous apprehensive act that is simple in its own right; b) this simplicity is compatible with a certain kind of complexity, that can be explained in terms of the "causal history" of the acts of knowing; c) traditional conceptions about subject and predicate must be recast, while keeping their usual explicative power concerning logical properties; d) of course, the traditional conception about the copula has been modified, giving rise to a fully innovative conception of the nature of mental propositions. Nevertheless, this innovative conception of mental language seems still infected by certain "common sense" prejudices, which lead Pardo to propose also a provocative conception of vocal language, which I consider unnecessary. (shrink)
A conceptual theory of the referential and predicable concepts used in basic speech and mental acts is described in which singular and general, complex and simple, and pronominal and nonpronominal, referential concepts are given a uniform account. The theory includes an intensional realism in which the intensional contents of predicable and referential concepts are represented through nominalized forms of the predicate and quantifier phrases that stand for those concepts. A central part of the theory distinguishes between active and (...) deactivated referential concepts, where the latter are represented by nominalized quantifier phrases that occur as parts of complex predicates. Peter Geach's arguments against theories of general reference in Reference and Generality are used as a foil to test the adequacy of the theory. Geach's arguments are shown to either beg the question of general as opposed to singular reference or to be inapplicable because of the distinction between active and deactivated referential concepts. (shrink)
Traditionally, in the philosophy of mathematics realists claim that mathematical objects exist independently of the human mind, whereas idealists regard them as mental constructions dependent upon human thought.It is tempting for realists to support their view by appeal to our widespread agreement on mathematical results. Roughly speaking, our agreement is explained by the fact that these results are about the same mathematical objects. It is alleged that the idealist’s appeal to mental constructions precludes any such explanation. I argue (...) that realism and idealism, as above characterized, are equally effective (or problematic) in accounting for our widespread mathematical agreement.Both accounts are descriptivist for they take mathematical statements to be true if and only if they correctly describe mathematical objects. By contrast, non-descriptivist accounts take mathematical statements to be rule-like and mathematical symbols to be non-referential. I suggest that non-descriptivism provides a simpler and more natural explanation for our widespread agreement on mathematical results than any descriptivist account. (shrink)
This review of Bolton & Hill's (B&H) Mind, Meaning, & Mental Disorder examines their non-reductionist yet realist position on mental content. Their arguments are compared to the writings of Dennett and Millikan, where determining function is central to determining information-processing capabilities. The normative nature of function (malfunction) is considered as is its relation to mental states more broadly. Their Wittgensteinian view of meaning as action is accepted as insightful and useful, though some questions remain about their theory (...) of meaning and its applicability to psychological phenomena. (shrink)
Philosophers affiliated with the Nyāya school of classical Indian philosophy developed an impressive species of realism. Nyāya philosophers defended direct realism in holding that we perceive bodies, not just their qualities or mental images of their qualities. This sort of realism has been out of favor for centuries in the West and faces a number of problems that the Nyāya knew and answered in a sophisticated way. Rather than focus on the Nyāya defense of direct (...) class='Hi'>realism, we focus on the Nyāya defense of epistemological realism in order to explicate what Nyāya philosophers took to be implications of their view that we know something about the way things are in themselves. Specifically, we argue that the epistemological realism of the Nyāya philosophers commits them to a strong form of essentialism, which furthermore entails that substances exist and instantiate natural-kind universals. (shrink)
This paper deals with some formal properties of objects that are supposed to be internal to persons, that is, mental structures and mental functions. Depending on the ways of talking about these internal objects, they will appear different. Two types of discourse will be presented, to be called the realist and the nominalist discourses, and for eachdiscourse I will focus upon the construction of `self'.The realist discourse assumes an identity between the person and his construction of himself. I (...) will illustrate this discourse in terms of Descartes' ideas on himself as a `thinking substance'. The nominalist discourse assumes an impossibility to attain this identity, and instead to imply a complementarity between the person and his self-construction. I will illustrate this discourse in terms of the problems both William James and Sartre discerned when a conscious person chases after his own consciousness (termed `judging thought' and `pour-soi' respectively). (shrink)
The central problem for a realist about mental causation is to show that mental causation is compatible with the causal completeness of physical systems. This problem has seemed intractable in large part because of a widely held view that any sort of systematic overdetermination of events by their cause is unacceptable. I account for the popularity of this view, but argue that we ought to reject it. In doing so, I show how we thereby undermine the idea that (...)mental causes must be naturalizable in order to be legitimate. Thus I argue that a non-naturalist conception of mental causation is compatible with a plausible kind of physicalism. (shrink)
Are there really beliefs? Or are we learning (from neuroscience and psychology, presumably) that, strictly speaking, beliefs are figments of our imagination, items in a superceded ontology? Philosophers generally regard such ontological questions as admitting just two possible answers: either beliefs exist or they don't. There is no such state as quasi-existence; there are no stable doctrines of semi-realism. Beliefs must either be vindicated along with the viruses or banished along with the banshees. A bracing conviction prevails, then, to (...) the effect that when it comes to beliefs (and other mental items) one must be either a realist or an eliminative materialist. (shrink)
Non-Cartesian substance dualism (NCSD) maintains that persons or selves are distinct from their organic physical bodies and any parts of those bodies. It regards persons as ‘substances’ in their own right, but does not maintain that persons are necessarily separable from their bodies, in the sense of being capable of disembodied existence. In this paper, it is urged that NCSD is better equipped than either Cartesian dualism or standard forms of physicalism to explain the possibility of mental (...) causation. A model of mental causation adopting the NCSD perspective is proposed which, it is argued, is consistent with all that is currently known about the operations of the human central nervous system, including the brain. Physicalism, by contrast, seems ill-equipped to explain the distinctively intentional or teleological character of mental causation, because it effectively reduces all such causation to ‘blind’ physical causation at a neurological level. (shrink)
‘It is of the very nature of consciousness to be intentional’ said Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘and a consciousness that ceases to be a consciousness of something would ipso facto cease to exist’.1 Sartre here endorses the central doctrine of Husserl’s phenomenology, itself inspired by a famous idea of Brentano’s: that intentionality, the mind’s ‘direction upon its objects’, is what is distinctive of mental phenomena. Brentano’s originality does not lie in pointing out the existence of intentionality, or in inventing the terminology, (...) which derives from scholastic discussions of concepts or intentiones.2 Rather, his originality consists in his claim that the concept of intentionality marks out the subject matter of psychology: the mental. His view was that intentionality ‘is characteristic exclusively of mental phenomena. No physical phenomenon manifests anything like it’.3 This is Brentano’s thesis that intentionality is the mark of the mental. Despite the centrality of the concept of intentionality in contemporary philosophy of mind, and despite the customary homage paid to Brentano as the one who revived the terminology and placed the concept at the centre of philosophy, Brentano’s thesis is widely rejected by contemporary philosophers of mind. What is more, its rejection is not something which is thought to require substantial philosophical argument. Rather, the falsity of the thesis is taken as a starting-point in many contemporary discussions of intentionality, something so obvious that it only needs to be stated to be recognised as true. Consider, for instance, these remarks from the opening pages of Searle’s Intentionality: Some, not all, mental states and events have Intentionality. Beliefs, fears, hopes and desires are Intentional; but there are forms of nervousness, elation and undirected anxiety that are not Intentional.... My beliefs and desires must always be about something. But my nervousness and undirected anxiety need not in that way be about anything.4 Searle takes this as obvious, so obvious that it is not in need of further argument or elucidation. (shrink)
The problem of amodal perception is the problem of how we represent features of perceived objects that are occluded or otherwise hidden from us. Bence Nanay (2010) has recently proposed that we amodally perceive an object's occluded features by imaginatively projecting them into the relevant regions of visual egocentric space. In this paper, I argue that amodal perception is not a single, unitary capacity. Drawing appropriate distinctions reveals amodal perception to be characterized not only by mental imagery, as Nanay (...) suggests, but also by genuinely visual representations as well as beliefs. I conclude with some brief remarks on the role of object-directed bodily action in conferring a sense of unseen presence on an object's occluded features. (shrink)
It is a live possibility that certain of our experiences reliably misrepresent the world around us. I argue that tracking theories of mental representation (e.g. those of Dretske, Fodor, and Millikan) have difficulty allowing for this possibility, and that this is a major consideration against them.
Although it has been something of a fetish for philosophers to distinguish between hallucination and illusion, the enduring problems for philosophy of perception that both phenomena present are not essentially different. Hallucination, in its pure philosophical form, is just another example of the philosopher’s penchant for considering extreme and extremely idealized cases in order to understand the ordinary. The problem that has driven much philosophical thinking about perception is the problem of how to reconcile our evident direct perceptual contact with (...) objects and properties with the equally evident fact that there is no phenomenological signal separating error and truth. “The obscure object of hallucination” offers a subtle and plausible solution to this problem and one that solves the problem generally, not just in the special case of hallucination. Johnston’s objective is to offer a theory of perception that meets two constraints: (1) that it provide an explanation of the possibility of delusive and veridical sensings that are indistinguishable from the ﬁrst-person perspective and (2) that it count as form of direct realism where this is taken to involve acquaintance with the objects of perception. Johnston uses the ﬁrst constraint to rule out disjunctivism. The second constraint is used to rule out conjunctivism, which as Johnston uses the term, includes most of the widely adopted philosophical theories of perception. Johnston also develops his own sophisticated and interesting theory of perception. In what follows, I will discuss the relation of Johnston’s theory to conjunctivism, examine one of his anti-conjunctivist arguments and ﬁnally compare Johnston’s theory with some other versions of direct realism. These topics constitute a very incomplete selection of the important issues discussed in this rich and interesting paper. I will also not disagree, in any fundamental way, with any of the central theses of Johnston’s discussion.. (shrink)
Philosophical and scientific investigations of the proprietary aspects of self—mineness or mental ownership—often presuppose that searching for unique constituents is a productive strategy. But there seem not to be any unique constituents. Here, it is argued that the “self-specificity” paradigm, which emphasizes subjective perspective, fails. Previously, it was argued that mode of access also fails to explain mineness. Fortunately, these failures, when leavened by other findings (those that exhibit varieties and vagaries of mineness), intimate an approach better suited to (...) searching for an explanation. Having an alternative in hand, one that shows promise of achieving explanatory adequacy, provides an additional reason to suspend the search for unique constituents. In short, a negative and a positive thesis are developed: we should cease looking for unique constituents and should seek to explain mineness in accord with the model developed here. This model rejects attempts to explain the phenomenon in terms of either a narrative or a minimal sense of self; it seeks to explain at a “molecular” level, one that appeals to multiple, interacting dimensions. The molecular-level model allows for the possibility that subjective perspective is distinct from a stark perspective (one that does not imply mineness). It proposes that the confounding of tacit expectations plays an important role in explaining mental ownership and its complement, disownership. But the confounding of tacit expectations is not sufficient. Because we are able to be aware of the existence of mental states that do not belong to self, we require a mechanism for determining degree of self-relatedness. One such mechanism is proposed here, and it is shown how this mechanism can be integrated into a general model of mental ownership. In the spirit of suggesting how this model might be able to help resolve outstanding problems, the question as to whether inserted thoughts belong to the patient who reports them is also considered. (shrink)
Radical Ontic Structural Realism (ROSR) claims that structure exists independently of objects that may instantiate it. Critics of ROSR contend that this claim is conceptually incoherent, insofar as, (i) it entails there can be relations without relata, and (ii) there is a conceptual dependence between relations and relata. In this essay I suggest that (ii) is motivated by a set-theoretic formulation of structure, and that adopting a category-theoretic formulation may provide ROSR with more support. In particular, I consider how (...) a category-theoretic formulation of structure can be developed that denies (ii), and can be made to do work in the context of formulating theories in physics. Keywords: structural realism, category theory, general relativity.. (shrink)
This volume collects some influential essays in which Simon Blackburn, one of our leading philosophers, explores one of the most profound and fertile of philosophical problems: the way in which our judgments relate to the world. This debate has centered on realism, or the view that what we say is validated by the way things stand in the world, and a variety of oppositions to it. Prominent among the latter are expressive and projective theories, but also a relaxed pluralism (...) that discourages the view that there are substantial issues at stake. The figure of the "quasi-realist" dramatizes the difficulty of conducting these debates. Typically philosophers thinking of themselves as realists will believe that they alone can give a proper or literal account of some of our attachments--to truth, to facts, to the independent world, to knowledge and certainty. The quasi-realist challenge, developed by Blackburn in this volume, is that we can have those attachments without any metaphysic that deserves to be called realism, so that the metaphysical picture that goes with our practices is quite idle. The cases treated here include the theories of value and knowledge, modality, probability, causation, intentionality and rule-following, and explanation. A substantial new introduction has been added, drawing together some of the central themes. The essays articulate a fresh alternative to a primitive realist/anti-realist opposition, and their cumulative effect is to yield a new appreciation of the delicacy of the debate in these central areas. (shrink)
David Enoch develops, argues for, and defends Robust Realism--a strongly realist and objectivist view of ethics and normativity, according to which there are perfectly universal and objective moral truths.
Since the demise of the Sense-Datum independent objects or events to be objects Theory and Phenomenalism in the last cenof perception; however, unlike Direct Retury, Direct Realism in the philosophy of alists, Indirect Realists take this percepperception has enjoyed a resurgence of tion to be indirect by involving a prior popularity.1 Curiously, however, although awareness of some tertium quid between there have been attempts in the literature the mind and external objects or events.3 to refute some of the arguments (...) against Idealists and Phenomenalists agree with Direct Realism, there has been, as of yet, the Indirect Realists. (shrink)
When we see an object, we also represent those parts of it that are not visible. The question is how we represent them: this is the problem of amodal perception. I will consider three possible accounts: (a) we see them, (b) we have non-perceptual beliefs about them and (c) we have immediate perceptual access to them, and point out that all of these views face both empirical and conceptual objections. I suggest and defend a fourth account, according to which we (...) represent the occluded parts of perceived objects by means of mental imagery. This conclusion could be thought of as a (weak) version of the Strawsonian dictum, according to which “imagination is a necessary ingredient of perception itself”. (shrink)
In the philosophical literature on mental states, the paradigmatic examples of mental states are beliefs, desires, intentions, and phenomenal states such as being in pain. The corresponding list in the psychological literature on mental state attribution includes one further member: the state of knowledge. This article examines the reasons why developmental, comparative and social psychologists have classified knowledge as a mental state, while most recent philosophers--with the notable exception of Timothy Williamson-- have not. The disagreement is (...) traced back to a difference in how each side understands the relationship between the concepts of knowledge and belief, concepts which are understood in both disciplines to be closely linked. Psychologists and philosophers other than Williamson have generally have disagreed about which of the pair is prior and which is derivative. The rival claims of priority are examined both in the light of philosophical arguments by Williamson and others, and in the light of empirical work on mental state attribution. (shrink)
The main thesis of this paper is twofold. In the first half of the paper, (§§1-2), I argue that there are two notions of mental representation, which I call objective and subjective. In the second part (§§3-7), I argue that this casts familiar tracking theories of mental representation as incomplete: while it is clear how they might account for objective representation, they at least require supplementation to account for subjective representation.
This paper defends moral realism against Sharon Street’s “Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value” (this journal, 2006). I argue by separation of cases: From the assumption that a certain normative claim is true, I argue that the first horn of the dilemma is tenable for realists. Then, from the assumption that the same normative claim is false, I argue that the second horn is tenable. Either way, then, the Darwinian dilemma does not add anything to realists’ epistemic worries.
Moral Realism is a systematic defence of the idea that there are objective moral standards. Russ Shafer-Landau argues that there are moral principles that are true independently of what anyone, anywhere, happens to think of them. His central thesis, as well as the many novel supporting arguments used to defend it, will spark much controversy among those concerned with the foundations of ethics.
In this paper, I attempt to map out the 'logical geography' of the territory in which issues of mental content and of personal identity meet. In particular, I investigate the possibility of combining a psychological criterion of personal identity with an externalist theory of content. I argue that this can be done, but only by accepting an assumption that has been widely accepted but barely argued for, namely that when someone switches linguistic communities, the contents of their thoughts do (...) not change immediately, but only after the person becomes integrated within the new linguistic community. I also suggest that recent work on personal identity, notably by Derek Parfit, has tacitly assumed internalism regarding mental content. I do not intend to argue for either externalism or a psychological criterion. My aim is merely to explicate the issues involved in making them compatible. (shrink)
In this paper I present a transcendental argument based on the findings of cognitive psychology and neurophysiology which invites two conclusions: First and foremost, that a pre-condition of visual perception itself is precisely what the Aristotelian and other commonsense realists maintain, namely, the independent existence of a featured, or pre-packaged world; second, this finding, combined with other reflections, suggests that, contra McDowell and other neo-Kantians, human beings have access to things as they are in the world via non-projective perception. These (...) two conclusions taken together form the basis of Aristotelian metaphysical realism and a refutation of the neo-Kantian two-factor approach to perception. (shrink)
How can mental properties bring about physical effects, as they seem to do, given that the physical realizers of the mental goings-on are already sufficient to cause these effects? This question gives rise to the problem of mental causation (MC) and its associated threats of causal overdetermination, mental causal exclusion, and mental causal irrelevance. Some (e.g., Cynthia and Graham Macdonald, and Stephen Yablo) have suggested that understanding mental-physical realization in terms of the determinable/determinate relation (...) (henceforth, 'determination') provides the key to solving the problem of MC: if mental properties are determinables of their physical realizers, then (since determinables and determinates are distinct, yet don't causally compete) all three threats may be avoided. Not everyone agrees that determination can do this good work, however. Some (e.g., Douglas Ehring, Eric Funkhauser, and Sven Walter) object that mental-physical realization can't be determination, since such realization lacks one or other characteristic feature of determination. I argue that on a proper understanding of the features of determination key to solving the problem of MC, these arguments can be resisted. (shrink)
Here I first raise an argument purporting to show that Lewis’ Modal Realism ends up being completely trivial. But although I reject this line, the argument reveals how difficult it is to interpret Lewis’ thesis that possibilia “exist.” Four natural interpretations are considered, yet upon reflection, none appear entirely adequate. In particular, under the three different “concretist” interpretations of ‘exist’, Modal Realism looks insufficient for genuine ontological commitment. Whereas under the “multiverse” interpretation, Modal Realism ends up being (...) a theory of physical possibility only. I close with a related, more general dilemma for Modal Realism: Are Lewisian possibilia in the proper domain of physics or not? Since our physics aims to explain everything that exists, it seems so. Yet then the restriction to physical possibilities seems inevitable. (shrink)
Tooley here sets out and defends realist accounts of traditional empiricist explanations of causation and laws of nature, arguing that since reductionist accounts of causation are exposed to decisive objections, empiricists must break with that tradition.
William James' Radical Empiricist essays offer a unique and powerful argument for direct realism about our perceptions of objects. This theory can be completed with some observations by Kant on the intellectual preconditions for a perceptual judgment. Finally James and Kant deliver a powerful blow to the representational theory of perception and knowledge, which applies quite broadly to theories of representation generally.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the deepest problems currently exercising philosophers of mind arise from an ill-begotten ontology, in particular, a mistaken ontology of properties. After going through some preliminaries, we identify three doctrines at the heart of this mistaken ontology: (P) For each distinct predicate, “F”, there exists one, and only one, property, F, such that, if “F” is applicable to an object a, then “F” is applicable in virtue of a’s being F. (U) Properties are universals, not (...) particulars. (D) Every property is either categorical or dispositional, but not both. We show how these doctrines influence current philosophical thinking about the mind, suggest and defend an alternative conception of properties, and indicate how this conception provides answers to two puzzles besetting contemporary philosophy of mind: the problem of mental causation and the problem of qualia. (shrink)
Many have urged that the biggest obstacles to a physicalistic understanding of consciousness are the problems raised in connection with the subjectivity of consciousness. These problems are most acutely expressed in consideration of the knowledge argument against physicalism. I develop a novel account of the subjectivity of consciousness by explicating the ways in which mental representations may be perspectival. Crucial features of my account involve analogies between the representations involved in sensory experience and the ways in which pictorial representations (...) exhibit perspectives or points of view. I argue that the resultant account of subjectivity provides a basis for the strongest response physicalists can give to the knowledge argument. (shrink)
This is the third volume of Hilary Putnam's philosophical papers, published in paperback for the first time. The volume contains his major essays from 1975 to 1982, which reveal a large shift in emphasis in the 'realist'_position developed in his earlier work. While not renouncing those views, Professor Putnam has continued to explore their epistemological consequences and conceptual history. He now, crucially, sees theories of truth and of meaning that derive from a firm notion of reference as inadequate.
Some mental states are about themselves. Nothing is a cause of itself. So some mental states are not about their causes; they are about things distinct from their causes. If this argument is sound, it spells trouble for causal theories of mental content—the precise sort of trouble depending on the precise sort of causal theory. This paper shows that the argument is sound (§§1-3), and then spells out the trouble (§4).
Functionalists think an event's causes and effects, its 'causal role', determines whether it is a mental state and, if so, which kind. Functionalists see this causal role principle as supporting their orthodox materialism, their commitment to the neuroscientist's ontology. I examine and refute the functionalist's causal principle and the orthodox materialism that attends that principle.
to counterintuitive results. Suppose a mental event, m1, causes another mental event, m2. Unless the mental and the physical are completely independent, there will be a physical event in your brain or your body or the physical world as a whole that underlies this event. The mental event occurs at least partly in virtue of the physical event’s occurring. And the same goes for m2  and p2. Let’s not worry about what exactly “underlying” or “in (...) virtue of” means here. Here’s the picture. m1 -----> m2 | | p1 -----> p2 The horizontal arrows represent causation, and the vertical lines represent underlying, whatever that may be. There’s some reason to think that the only way m1 can bring about m2 is by bringing about p2. You can’t convince someone of something through mental telepathy. You need to interact with the physical world, perhaps by saying something and so making some noise, or by pointing and getting them to turn their head and see. What goes for the case of two people goes for the case of one person as well. Superstition aside, there is no purely mental energy that floats free of the merely physical workings of the brain. If m1 brings about m2 by bringing about p2, then m1 brings about p2. This is downward causation. But wait. Doesn’t p1 bring about p2? Isn’t that what the bottom arrow represents? Maybe m1 and p1 work together to bring about p2. There are little holes in the physical causal structure that need to be filled by mental events. You don’t need a sweeping metaphysical thesis about the causal closure of the physical to find this implausible. Maybe p2 is overdetermined. (shrink)