Feelings and experiences vary widely. For example, I run my fingers over sandpaper, smell a skunk, feel a sharp pain in my finger, seem to see bright purple, become extremely angry. In each of these cases, I am the subject of a mental state with a very distinctive subjective character. There is something it is like for me to undergo each state, some phenomenology that it has. Philosophers often use the term ‘qualia’ (singular ‘quale’) to refer to the introspectively accessible, (...) phenomenal aspects of our mental lives. In this standard, broad sense of the term, it is difficult to deny that there are qualia. Disagreement typically centers on which mental states have qualia, whether qualia are intrinsic qualities of their bearers, and how qualia relate to the physical world both inside and outside the head. The status of qualia is hotly debated in philosophy largely because it is central to a proper understanding of the nature of consciousness. Qualia are at the very heart of the mindbody problem. (shrink)
In 1995, in my book, Ten Problems of Consciousness (Bradley Books, MIT Press), I proposed a version of the theory of phenomenal consciousness now known as representationalism. The present book, in part, consists of a further development of that theory along with replies to common objections. It is also concerned with two prominent challenges for any reductive theory of consciousness: the explanatory gap and the knowledge argument. In addition, it connects representationalism with two more general issues: the nature of (...) color and the location of the phylogenetic dividing line between those creatures that are phenomenally conscious and those that are not. (shrink)
I appreciate that such a view needs argument which is not appropriate here. However, I think that there are independent reasons to think that Tye’s theses are problematical. It is difficult to see how these theses are consistent both with what we know about pains, and other perceptual experiences, and with the package of claims that are central to Tye's treatment of pain, and more generally of perceptual experiences, whereby phenomenal character is explained in terms of representational content [as presented (...) in Tye (2000)]. (shrink)
Keith has just taken a hallucinogenic drug. A few minutes earlier, he was occupied with the beginning of H.H. Price's well-known book on perception. The combined effect of these activities is that Keith is now hallucinating a ripe tomato. This is not a de re hallucination. There is no particular tomato located elsewhere out of Keith's vision such that he is hallucinating that tomato as being before him. Keith is hallucinating a tomato without there being any particular tomato that he (...) is hallucinating. What is the representational content of Keith‟s experience? (shrink)
How can one think about the same thing twice without knowing that it's the same thing? How can one think about nothing at all (for example Pegasus, the mythical flying horse)? Is thinking about oneself special? One could mistake one's car for someone else's, but it seems one could not mistake one's own headache for someone else's. Why not? -/- R. M. Sainsbury and Michael Tye provide an entirely new theory--called 'originalism'-- which provides simple and natural solutions to these puzzles (...) and more. Originalism's central thesis is that concepts, the constituents of thoughts, are to be individuated by their origin, rather than epistemically or semantically. The doctrine has further valuable consequences for the nature of thought, our knowledge of our own thoughts, the nature of experience, the epistemology of perception-based beliefs, and for arguments based on conceivability. Sainsbury and Tye argue that although thought is special, there is no special mystery attaching to the nature of thought. Their account of the mind considers it as part of nature, as opposed to something with supernatural powers--which means that human beings have more opportunities to make mistakes than many have liked to think. (shrink)
We argue that thoughts are structures of concepts, and that concepts should be individuated by their origins, rather than in terms of their semantic or epistemic properties. Many features of cognition turn on the vehicles of content, thoughts, rather than on the nature of the contents they express. Originalism makes concepts available to explain, with no threat of circularity, puzzling cases concerning thought. In this paper, we mention Hesperus/Phosphorus puzzles, the Evans-Perry example of the ship seen through different windows, and (...) Mates cases, and we believe that there are many additional applications. (shrink)
(forthcoming in Analysis) We owe the problem of the speckled hen to Gilbert Ryle. It was suggested to A.J. Ayer by Ryle in connection with Ayer’s account of seeing. Suppose that you are standing before a speckled hen with your eyes trained on it. You are in good light and nothing is obstructing your view. You see the hen in a single glance. The hen has 47 speckles on its facing side, let us say, and the hen ap pears speckled (...) to you. On Ayer’s view, in seeing the hen, you directly see a speckled sense-datum or appearance. Ryle wondered how many speckles there are on the sense-datum. After all, intu itively, the hen does not appear to you to have 47 speckles. And if this is the case, then it does not present to you an appearance with 47 speckles. Equally, however, the hen does not appear to you not to have 47 speckles. So, it does not present an appearance that lacks 47 speckles either. (shrink)
Introduction -- Phenomenal consciousness -- Phenomenal consciousness and self-representation -- The connection between phenomenal consciousness and creature consciousness -- Consciousness of things -- Real world puzzle cases -- Why consciousness cannot be physical and why it must be -- What is the thesis of physicalism? -- Why consciousness cannot be physical -- Why consciousness must be physical -- Physicalism and the appeal to phenomenal concepts -- Some terminological points -- Why physicalists appeal to phenomenal concepts -- Various accounts of phenomenal (...) concepts -- My own earlier view on phenomenal concepts -- Are there any phenomenal concepts? -- Phenomenal concepts and burgean intuitions -- Consequences for a priori physicalism -- The admissible contents of visual experience : the existential thesis -- The singular (when filled) thesis -- Kaplanianism -- The multiple contents thesis -- The existential thesis revisited -- Still more on existential contents -- Consciousness, seeing and knowing -- Knowing things and knowing facts -- Nonconceptual content -- Why the phenomenal character of an experience is not one of its nonrepresentational properties -- Phenomenal character and representational content, part I -- Phenomenal character and representational content, part II -- Phenomenal character and our knowledge of it -- Solving the puzzles -- Mary, Mary, how does your knowledge grow? -- The explanatory gap -- The hard problem -- The possibility of zombies -- Change blindness and the refrigerator light illusion -- A closer look at the change blindness hypotheses -- The no-seeum view -- Sperling and the refrigerator light -- Phenomenology and cognitive accessibility -- A further change blindness experiment -- Another brick in the wall -- Privileged access, phenomenal character, and externalism -- The threat to privileged access -- A Burgean thought experiment -- Social externalism for phenomenal character? -- A closer look at privileged access and incorrigibility -- How do I know that I am not a zombie? -- Phenomenal externalism. (shrink)
I went up to Oxford as an undergraduate to study physics. I chose Oxford over Cambridge at the urging of my school physics teacher who was an Oxford man. When I arrived, I found out that, as a physics student, I was expected to spend one day a week in the laboratory. This seemed to me extremely unappealing not only because it would interfere with my social life but also because the practical side of physics was, to my mind, deadly (...) dull. Happily, I discovered that there was a new undergraduate degree—physics and philosophy—that combined theoretical physics with philo sophical issues in the foundations of physics as well as pure philosophy. For this degree no practi cal work was required. (shrink)
This essay surveys representationalist theories of phenomenal consciousness as well as the major arguments for them. It also takes up two major objections. The essay is divided into five sections. Section I offers some introductory remarks on phenomenal consciousness. Section II presents the classic view of phenomenal consciousness to which representationalists are opposed. Section III canvasses various versions of representationalism about consciousness. Section IV lays out the main arguments for the representationalist stance. The final section addresses the two objections.
My purpose is to take a close look at the nature of visual content. I discuss the view that visual experiences have only existential contents, the view that visual experiences have either singular or gappy contents, and the view that visual experiences have multiple contents. I also consider a proposal about visual content inspired by Kaplan's well known theory of indexicals. I draw out some consequences of my discussion for the thesis of intentionalism with respect to the phenomenal character of (...) visual experience. (shrink)
The experience of emotion is a fundamental part of human consciousness. Think, for example, of how different our conscious lives would be without such experiences as joy, anger, fear, disgust, pity, anxiety, and embarrassment. It is uncontroversial that these experiences typically have an intentional content. Anger, for example, is normally directed at someone or something. One may feel angry at one=s stock broker for provid- ing bad advice or angry with the cleaning lady for dropping the vase. But it is (...) not un- controversial that emotional experiences are always intentional. John Searle, for exam- ple, remarks, AMany conscious states are not Intentional, e.g., a sudden sense of elation . . .@ (1983, p. 2). Moreover, many animals experience emotions and it is natural to sup- pose that such emotions lack the sophistication of beliefs or thoughts. When a dog ex- periences delight in seeing its master after an absence of several days, the suggestion that at least part of the dog=s experience of delight is a belief (or thought) that its master has returned home seems to import into the experience something that at best is associ- ated with it and perhaps is not really a state to which the dog is subject at all. And even in the case of human beings, emotional experience often does not seem to involve thought. Consider the experience of disgust, to take one obvious example.1 Nor is a sali- ent belief required. One may have a strong fear of spiders and yet not believe that spi- ders typically pose any risk to humans. But if emotional experiences need not involve beliefs or thoughts, then just how are they intentional?2.. (shrink)
The phenomenal character of an experience is what it is like subjectively to undergo the experience. Experiences vary in their phenomenal character, in what it is like to un- dergo them. Think, for example of the subjective differences between feeling a burning pain in a toe, experiencing an itch in an arm, smelling rotten eggs, tasting Marmite, having a visual experience of bright purple, running one’s fingers over rough sandpaper, feeling hungry, experiencing anger, feeling elated. Insofar as what it is (...) like to undergo each of these experiences is different, their phenomenal character is different. (shrink)
A chip looks true blue to John and greenish blue to Jane. On the face of it, at least one of the two perceivers has an inaccurate colour experience; for the chip cannot be both true blue and greenish blue. But John and Jane are “normal” perceivers, and there is no privileged class of normal perceivers (Block 1999). This is the puzzle of true blue (Tye.
In _On The Soul_ (425a-b), Aristotle drew a distinction between those qualities that are perceptible only via a single sense and those that are perceptible by more than one. The latter qualities he called.
Qualia internalism is the thesis that qualia are intrinsic to their subjects: the experiences of intrinsic duplicates (in the same or different metaphysically possible worlds) have the same qualia. Content externalism is the thesis that mental representation is an extrinsic matter, partly depending on what happens outside the head.1 Intentionalism (or representationalism) comes in strong and weak forms. In its weakest formulation, it is the thesis that representationally identical experiences of subjects (in the same or different metaphysically (...) possible worlds) have the same qualia.2. (shrink)
At the very heart of the mind-body problem is the question of the nature of consciousness. It is consciousness, and in particular _phenomenal_ consciousness, that makes the mind-body relation so deeply perplexing. Many philosophers hold that no defi nition of phenomenal consciousness is possible: any such putative defi nition would automatically use the concept of phenomenal consciousness and thus render the defi nition circular. The usual view is that the concept of phenomenal consciousness is one that must be explained by (...) means of specifi c examples and associated comments. (shrink)
Most men and nearly all women have non-defective colour vision, as measured by standard colour tests such as those of Ishihara and Farns- worth. But people vary, according to gender, race and age in their per- formance in matching experiments. For example, when subjects are shown a screen, one half of which is lit by a mixture of red and green lights and the other by yellow or orange light, and they are asked to ad- just the mixture of lights (...) so as to make the two halves of the screen match in colour, they disagree about the location of the match. Where one male subject sees the two sides of the screen as being the same in colour, an- other female subject may see one side as a little redder or greener. And there are corresponding differences with age and race. (shrink)
Cohen, Hardin, and McLaughlin (2006) complain that my solution to the puzzle of true blue (Tye 2006) depends upon my assuming that 'all variation in colour experience among standard perceivers in standard circumstances is at the level of ﬁne-grained hues (4)'. That assumption, they say, is false: 'there is in fact variation in colour experience among.
I suppose that substantive philosophical theses are much like second marriages. The philo- sophical thesis I wish to discuss in this paper is the thesis that experiences have nonconceptual content. I shall not attempt to argue that _all_ experiences have nonconceptual content nor that the only contents experiences have are nonconceptual. Instead, I want to ? esh out the thesis of nonconceptual content for experience in more detail than has been offered hithertofore and to provide a variety of motivations for (...) the view. (shrink)
1) There is widespread agreement that consciousness must be a physical phenomenon, even if it is one that we do not yet understand and perhaps may never do so fully. There is also widespread agreement that the way to defend physicalism about consciousness against a variety of well known objections is by appeal to phenomenal concepts (Loar 1990, Lycan 1996, Papineau 1993, Sturgeon 1994, Tye 1995, 2000, Perry 2001) . There is, alas, no agreement on the nature of phenomenal concepts.