Everyone agrees that consciousness is a very special phenomenon, unique in several ways, but there is scant agreement on just how special it is, and whether or not an explanation of it can be accommodated within normal science. John Searle's view, defended with passion in this book, is highly idiosyncratic: what is special about consciousness is its "subjective ontology," but normal science can accommodate subjective ontology alongside (not within) its otherwise objective ontology. Once we clear away some widespread confusions about (...) what science requires, and dismiss the misbegotten field of cognitive science that has been engendered by those confusions, the subjective ontology of the mind, he claims, will lose its aura of unacceptable mystery. (shrink)
(A) Books: (3) Kant, Science, and Human Nature (Oxford: OUP, forthcoming). (2) Rationality and Logic (Cambridge: MIT Press, forthcoming). (1) Kant and the Foundations of Analytic Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon/OUP, 2001 [pbk., 2004]). (B) Articles: (30) "Kant, Wittgenstein, and the Fate of Analysis," in M. Beaney (ed.), The Analytic Turn (London: Routledge, forthcoming.) (29) "Kant and the Analytic Tradition," in C. Boundas (ed.), A Companion to the Twentieth-Century Philosophies (Edinburgh: Univ. of Edinburgh Press, forthcoming).
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)
A new book by Zenon Pylyshyn is always a cause for celebration among philosophers of psychology. While many hard-nosed experimental cognitive scientists are attentive to philosophers’ concerns, Pylyshyn stands alone in the extraordinary efforts he takes to understand, address, and struggle with the philosophical puzzles that the mind, and perception in particular, raises. Pylyshyn’s most recent work, Things and Places: How the Mind Connects with the World, does not disappoint. It is philosophically rich. Indeed, the approach to object perception that (...) Pylyshyn develops in this book takes inspiration from Evans’s (1982) and Perry’s (1979) work on demonstratives and indexicals, draws on Dretskean (1981, 1986, 1988) ideas about representation, and tangles with Strawson (1959), Quine (1992), and Clark (2000, 2004) over how to understand the role of concepts in perception. In short, it is just the kind of book philosophers of psychology should lavishly slather with clotted cream and joyously devour at their next tea party. The main focus of this review will be Pylyshyn’s theory of FINSTs (an acronym for Fingers of INSTantion, for reasons to be soon clarified). FINSTs are the primary subject of the first three chapters of Things and Places, after which they basically disappear for about eighty pages, to reappear in the final and lengthiest fifth chapter, where they are put to use in a speculative (and, to my mind, slightly incredible) explanation of data from mental imagery experiments. The fourth chapter is an engaging polemic against using subjective experience as a source of evidence about psychological processing and, in particular, the danger in assuming that because mental images appear to have spatial properties, they must be represented spatially. This chapter stands alone and would be of interest to followers of the imagery debate or, for that matter, to instructors looking for counter-examples when.. (shrink)
Michael Tomasello’s new book Why We Cooperate explores the ontogeny and evolution of human altruism and human cooperation, paying particular attention to how such behaviors allow humans to create social institutions.
The Mind-Body problem is the problem of saying how a person’s mental states and events relate to his bodily ones. How does Oscar’s believing that water is cold relate to the states of his body? Is it itself a bodily state, perhaps a state of his brain or nervous system? If not, does it nonetheless depend on such states? Or is his believing that water is cold independent of his bodily states? And, crucially, what are the notions of dependence and (...) independence at issue here? (shrink)
Presentazione del curatore italiano (C.Corradetti): È possibile conciliare il pluralismo culturale con la dimensione pubblica della deliberazione? Partendo dall’analisi critica di Rawls e Habermas, James Bohman offre una risposta innovativa alla questione dell’accordo democratico. In tale proposta, parallelamente al rigetto di soluzioni meramente strategiche, viene riabilitata la nozione di compromesso morale nel quadro di un accordo normativo. Mantenendo fede ad una prospettiva composta da elementi normativi e fattuali, l’autore si propone di ampliare le opportunità democratiche nella riconciliazione tra conflitti culturali (...) profondi propri delle società contemporanee. L’elemento civico partecipativo risulta essere dunque una componente essenziale per la produzione di una sfera pubblica vibrante. Ne emerge una ricostruzione convincente volta non solo a respingere le critiche degli scettici sulle reali possibilità d’inclusività democratica, ma diretta soprattutto a suggerire un più efficace modello deliberativo per la garanzia della stabilità sociale. Questo testo è diventato ormai un riferimento internazionale classico nella discussione sul tema della deliberazione pubblica. L’autore ha inoltre sviluppato in ambito post-nazionale il suo modello deliberativo senza tuttavia ridiscutere i fondamenti concettuali della sua proposta teorica qui enunciati.Vista la rilevanza del tema e considerata la centralità del testo proposto, sembrerebbe dunque auspicabile rendere il testo disponibile anche al lettore italiano. (shrink)