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Profile: Mohan Matthen (University of Toronto)
  1. Mohan P. Matthen (2006). On Visual Experience of Objects: Comments on John Campbell's Reference and Consciousness. Philosophical Studies 127 (2):195-220.
    John Campbell argues that visual attention to objects is the means by which we can refer to objects, and that this is so because conscious visual attention enables us to retrieve information about a location. It is argued here that while Campbell is right to think that we visually attend to objects, he does not give us sufficient ground for thinking that consciousness is involved, and is wrong to assign an intermediary role to location. Campbell’s view on sortals is also (...)
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  2. Mohan P. Matthen (2006). Teleosemantics and the Consumer. In Graham F. Macdonald & David Papineau (eds.), Teleosemantics. Oxford University Press. 146--166.
    Argues that the meaning of perceptual states depends on certain simple "actions" of conditioning and habituation innately associated with them. A game theoretic account of the meaning of perceptual states is offered.
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  3. Mohan P. Matthen (2005). Seeing, Doing, and Knowing: A Philosophical Theory of Sense Perception. Oxford University Press.
    Seeing, Doing, and Knowing is an original and comprehensive philosophical treatment of sense perception as it is currently investigated by cognitive neuroscientists. Its central theme is the task-oriented specialization of sensory systems across the biological domain; these systems coevolve with an organism's learning and action systems, providing the latter with classifications of external objects in terms of sensory categories purpose--built for their need. On the basis of this central idea, Matthen presents novel theories of perceptual similarity, content, and realism. His (...)
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  4. Mohan P. Matthen (2004). Features, Places, and Things: Reflections on Austen Clark's Theory of Sentience. Philosophical Psychology 17 (4):497-518.
    The paper argues that material objects are the primary referents of visual states -- not places, as Austen Clark would have it in his A Theory of Sentience.
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  5. Mohan P. Matthen (2002). Human Rationality and the Unique Origin Constraint. In André Ariew (ed.), Functions. Oxford University Press. 341.
    This paper offers a new definition of "adaptationism". An evolutionary account is adaptationist, it is suggested, if it allows for multiple independent origins for the same function -- i.e., if it violates the "Unique Origin Constraint". While this account captures much of the position Gould and Lewontin intended to stigmatize, it leaves it open that adaptationist accounts may sometimes be appropriate. However, there are many important cases, including that of human rationality, in which it is not.
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  6. Mohan P. Matthen (2001). Our Knowledge of Colour. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (Supplement):215-246.
    Scientists are often bemused by the efforts of philosophers essaying a theory of colour: colour science sports a huge array of facts and theories, and it is unclear to its practitioners what philosophy can or is trying to contribute. Equally, philosophers tend to be puzzled about how they can fit colour science into their investigations without compromising their own disciplinary identity: philosophy is supposed to be an _a priori_ investigation; philosophers do not work in psychophysics labs – not in their (...)
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  7. Mohan P. Matthen (2001). What Colors? Whose Colors? Consciousness and Cognition 10 (1):117-124.
  8. Mohan P. Matthen (1999). The Disunity of Color. Philosophical Review 108 (1):47-84.
    What is color? What is color vision? Most philosophers answer by reference to humans: to human color qualia, or to the environmental properties or "quality spaces" perceived by humans. It is argued, with reference to empirical findings concerning comparative color vision and the evolution of color vision, that all such attempts are mistaken. An adequate definition of color vision must eschew reference to its outputs in the human cognition and refer only to inputs: color vision consists in the use of (...)
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  9. Mohan P. Matthen (1997). Teleology and the Product Analogy. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (1):21 – 37.
    This article presents an analogical account of the meaning of function attributions in biology. To say that something has a function analogizes it with an artifact, but since the analogy rests on a necessary (but possibly insufficient) basis, function statements can still be assessed as true or false in an objective sense.
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  10. Mohan P. Matthen (1989). Intensionality and Perception: A Reply to Rosenberg. Journal of Philosophy 86 (December):727-733.
  11. Mohan P. Matthen (1988). Biological Functions and Perceptual Content. Journal of Philosophy 85 (January):5-27.
    Perceptions "present" objects as red, as round, etc.-- in general as possessing some property. This is the "perceptual content" of the title, And the article attempts to answer the following question: what is a materialistically adequate basis for assigning content to what are, after all, neurophysiological states of biological organisms? The thesis is that a state is a perception that presents its object as "F" if the "biological function" of the state is to detect the presence of objects that are (...)
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