In their comment on Sandberg, Timmermans, Overgaard, and Cleeremans (2010), Dienes and Seth argue that increased sensitivity of the Perceptual Awareness Scale (PAS) is a consequence of the scale being less exclusive rather than more exhaustive. According to Dienes and Seth, this is because PAS may measure some conscious content, though not necessarily relevant conscious content, ‘‘If one saw a square but was only aware of seeing a flash of something, then one has not consciously seen a square.” In (...) this reply, we claim that there is a difference between conscious visual experience, which may be partial, and the resulting conscious content, which is conceptual. Whereas PAS measures the first, confidence judgments and post-decision wagering measure the second. (shrink)
In the attempt to construct a scientific approach to consciousness, it has been proposed that transcendental phenomenology or phenomenological psychology be introduced into the framework of cognitive neuroscience. In this article, the consequences of such an approach in terms of basic assumptions, methods for the collection of data, and evaluation of the collected data are discussed. Especially, the proposed notions of mutual constraint and the second perso are discussed. It is concluded that even though naturalising of phenomenology might not prove (...) impossible, the projec has not yet found a coherent basic ground. (shrink)
The resurgent science of consciousness has been accompanied by a recent emphasis on the problem of measurement. Having dependable measures of consciousness is essential both for mapping experimental evidence to theory and for designing perspicuous experiments. Here, we review a series of behavioural and brain-based measures, assessing their ability to track graded consciousness and clarifying how they relate to each other by showing what theories are presupposed by each. We identify possible and actual conflicts among measures that can stimulate new (...) experiments, and we conclude that measures must prove themselves by iteratively building knowledge in the context of theoretical frameworks. Advances in measuring consciousness have implications for basic cognitive neuroscience, for comparative studies of consciousness and for clinical applications. (shrink)
Subliminal perception (SP) is today considered a well-supported theory stating that perception can occur without conscious awareness and have a significant impact on later behaviour and thought. In this article, we first present and discuss different approaches to the study of SP. In doing this, we claim that most approaches are based on a dichotomic measure of awareness. Drawing upon recent advances and discussions in the study of introspection and phenomenological psychology, we argue for both the possibility and necessity of (...) using an elaborated measure of subjective states. In the second part of the article, we present findings where these considerations are implemented in an empirical study. The results and implications are discussed in detail, both with reference to SP, and in relation to the more general problem of using elaborate introspective reports as data in relation to studies of cognition. (shrink)
Several authors within psychology, neuroscience and philosophy take for granted that standard empirical research techniques are applicable when studying consciousness. In this article, it is discussed whether one of the key methods in cognitive neuroscience – the contrastive analysis – suffers from any serious confounding when applied to the field of consciousness studies; that is to say, if there are any systematic difficulties when studying consciousness with this method that make the results untrustworthy. Through an analysis of theoretical arguments in (...) favour of using contrastive analysis, combined with analyses of empirical findings, I conclude by arguing for three factors that currently are confounding of research using contrastive analysis. These are (1) unconscious processes, (2) introspective reports, and (3) attention. (shrink)
Dienes and Seth (2010) conclude that confidence ratings and post-decision wagering are two comparable and recommendable measures of conscious experience. In a recently submitted paper, we have however found that both methods are problematic and seem less suited to measure consciousness than a direct introspective measure. Here, we discuss the methodology and conclusions put forward by Dienes and Seth, and why we think the two experiments end up with so different recommendations.
This article presents the view that the problem of consciousness per definition can not be seen as a strictly scientific or strictly philosophical problem. The first idea, especially, leads to important difficulties: First of all, the idea has in most cases implied some rather superficial reductionistic or functionalistic a priori assumptions, and, secondly, it can be shown that some of the most commonly used empirical methods in these regards are inadequate. Especially so in the case of contrastive analysis, (...) widely used in cognitive neuroscience. However, this criticism does not lead to the conclusion that scientific methods are inadequate as such, only that they always work on a pre-established background of theory, of which one must be explicit. (shrink)
One supposition underlying the Anderson & Lebiere (A&L) target article is that the maximally broad “encompassing of its subject matter – the behavior of man” (cf. sect. 6, last para.) is regarded as an unquestioned quality criterion for guiding cognitive research. One might argue for an explicit specification of the limitations of a given paradigm, rather than extending it to apply to as many domains as possible.
Blindsight is classically defined as residual visual capacity, e.g., to detect and identify visual stimuli, in the total absence of perceptual awareness following lesions to V1. However, whereas most experiments have investigated what blindsight patients can and cannot do, the literature contains several, often contradictory, remarks about remaining visual experience. This review examines closer these remarks as well as experiments that directly approach the nature of possibly spared visual experiences in blindsight.
A number of recent publications have argued that a scientific approach to consciousness needs a rigorous approach to first-person data collection. As mainstream experimental psychology has long abandoned such introspective or phenomenological method, there is at present no generally agreed upon method for first-person data collection in experimental consciousness studies. There are, however, a number of recent articles that all claim to provide a unique contribution to such a methodology. This article reviews these suggestions and extracts their core features. It (...) is argued that the suggested methods are generally overlapping and compatible, and a number of concrete methods that easily are applied to experimental studies are put forward. (shrink)
The problem of other minds has a distinguished philosophical history stretching back more than two hundred years. Taken at face value, it is an epistemological question: it concerns how we can have knowledge of, or at least justified belief in, the existence of minds other than our own. In recent decades, philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists and primatologists have debated a related question: how we actually go about attributing mental states to others (regardless of whether we ever achieve knowledge or rational (...) justification in this domain). Until the mid-nineties, the latter debate – which sometimes goes under the name of the “mindreading” debate – was characterized by a fairly clear-cut opposition between two theoretical outlooks: “theory-theory” (TT) and “simulation theory” (ST). Theory-theorists typically argued that we attribute mental states to others on the basis of a “theory of mind” that is either constructed in early infancy and subsequently revised and modified (Gopnik 1996), or else is the result of maturation of innate mindreading “modules” (Baron-Cohen 1995). Simulation theorists, on the other hand, held that it is by creating simulated “pretend states” in ourselves that we understand the mental states of others (Goldman 1995; Gordon 1995). Recently, a number of theorists have suggested another explanation of our understanding of others as having mental states – an explanation that, at least prima facie, seems very different from the TT and ST paradigms. Drawing on the approach to other minds defended by classical phenomenologists such as Max Scheler (1954: 238-64) and Maurice Merleau-Ponty (2002: 214-16, 403-25), recent participants in the mindreading debate have maintained that we often see, or perceive in some other modality, that another is in the grip of a particular emotion, say. In other words, the processes involved in our detection of others’ emotions and other mental states are often perceptual processes that are not supplemented by any extra-perceptual cognitive mechanisms (e.g., inferential processes, conscious simulation routines, or the like).. (shrink)
The problem of other minds has a distinguished philosophical history stretching back more than two hundred years. Taken at face value, it is an epistemological question: it concerns how we can have knowledge of, or at least justified belief in, the existence of minds other than our own. In recent decades, philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists and primatologists have debated a related question: how we actually go about attributing mental states to others (regardless of whether we ever achieve knowledge or rational (...) justification in this domain). Until the mid-nineties, the latter debate – which sometimes goes under the name of the “mindreading” debate – was characterized by a fairly clear-cut opposition between two theoretical outlooks: “theory-theory” (TT) and “simulation theory” (ST). Theory-theorists typically argued that we attribute mental states to others on the basis of a “theory of mind” that is either constructed in early infancy and subsequently revised and modified (Gopnik 1996), or else is the result of maturation of innate mindreading “modules” (Baron-Cohen 1995). (shrink)
This paper discusses Wittgenstein's take on the problem of other minds. In opposition to certain widespread views that I collect under the heading of the “No Problem Interpretation,” I argue that Wittgenstein does address some problem of other minds. However, Wittgenstein's problem is not the traditional epistemological problem of other minds; rather, it is more reminiscent of the issue of intersubjectivity as it emerges in the writings of phenomenologists such as Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, and Heidegger. This is one sense in which (...) Wittgenstein's perspective on other minds might be called “phenomenological.” Yet there is another sense as well, in that Wittgenstein's positive views on this issue resemble the views defended by phenomenologists. The key to a proper philosophical grasp of intersubjectivity, on both views, lies in rethinking the mind. If we conceive of minds as essentially embodied we can understand how intersubjectivity is possible. (shrink)
One reason why the problem of other minds keeps cropping up in modern philosophy is that we seem to have conflicting intuitions about our access to the mental lives of others. On the one hand, we are inclined to think that it is wrong to claim, like Cartesian dualists must, that the minds of others are essentially inaccessible to direct experience. But on the other hand we feel that it is equally wrong to claim, like the behaviorists, that the mental (...) lives of others are completely accessible to an outside spectator. This paper attempts to address the problem of the accessibility of other minds while staying faithful to both these intuitions. Central to this undertaking is the idea that we express our mental lives in our bodily behavior. With a firm grasp of the notion of expression, as it is developed in the writings of Wittgenstein and Levinas, we can understand how other minds can be directly perceivable and yet retain a certain inaccessibility. The key is to emphasize the difference between the expressive appearance of a human being and the way an object appears in perception. (shrink)
This article discusses Jaakko Hintikka's interpretation of the aims and method of Husserl's phenomenology. I argue that Hintikka misrepresents Husserl's phenomenology on certain crucial points. More specifically, Hintikka misconstrues Husserl's notion of "immediate experience" and consequently fails to grasp the functions of the central methodological tools known as the "epoché" and the "phenomenological reduction." The result is that the conception of phenomenology he attributes to Husserl is very far from realizing the philosophical potential of Husserl's position. Hence if we want (...) a fruitful rapprochement between analytical philosophy and Continental phenomenology of the kind that is Hintikka's ultimate aim, then Hintikka's account of Husserl needs correcting on a number of crucial points. (shrink)
In recent publications, Michael Tye and Alva Noë have claimed that there is a sense in which a tilted plate looks round and another sense in which it looks elliptical. This paper argues that their proposal faces decisive objections. On Tye and Noë's account of ordinary, veridical perception, appearances are in constant conflict. As a characterization of ordinary visual experience, this cannot be correct. I examine various responses to this criticism, and conclude that they all fail. I then argue that (...) Noë's account has the further, unintended and undesirable consequence of promoting a version of the sense-datum theory. (shrink)
This paper examines Heidegger's critique of Husserl in its earliest extant formulation, viz. the lecture courses Ontologie from 1923 and Einführung in die phänomenologische Forschung from 1923/4. Commentators frequently ignore these lectures, but I try to show that a study of them can reveal both the extent to which Heidegger remains committed to phenomenological research in something like its Husserlian form, and when and why Heidegger must part with Husserl. More specifically, I claim that Heidegger rightly criticizes Husserl's account of (...) 'equipmental objects', and that he is especially unsatisfied with the terminology in which Husserl presents his phenomenological analyses, not only of 'equipment', but of other types of entities as well. However, it will also emerge that Heidegger's own phenomenological work presupposes the performance of what Husserl calls the 'epoch ', the method of 'bracketing' natural knowledge. In this way, Heidegger's sometimes very severe critique must be understood as an internal critique. (shrink)
Since the publication of the Philosophical Investigations in 1953, Wittgenstein''s later philosophy of mind has been the subject of numerous books and articles. Although most commentators agree that Wittgenstein was neither a behaviorist nor a Cartesian dualist, many continue to ascribe to him a position that strongly resembles one of the alternatives. In contrast, this paper argues that Wittgenstein was strongly opposed to behaviorism and Cartesianism, and that he was concerned to show that these positions implicitly share a problematic assumption. (...) This assumption is a seemingly innocent idea that subjectivity, or mind, is some kind of object or thing. The paper provides a detailed survey of Wittgenstein''s critique of Cartesianism and behaviorism, as well as an outline of Wittgenstein''s alternative account of subjectivity. (shrink)
It is a study of the phenomenological philosophies of Husserl and Heidegger. Through a critical discussion including practically all previously published English and German literature on the subject, the aim is to present a thorough and evenhanded account of the relation between the two. The book provides a detailed presentation of their respective projects and methods, and examines several of their key phenomenological analyses, centering on the phenomenon of being-in-the-world. It offers new perspectives on Husserlian and Heideggerian phenomenology, e.g. concerning (...) the importance of Husserl's phenomenology of the body, the relationship between the Husserlian concept of "constitution" and Heidegger's notion of "transcendence", as well as in its argument that "being" designates the central phenomenon for both phenomenologists. Though the study sacrifices nothing in terms of argumentative rigor or interpretative detail, it is written in such a way as to be accessible and rewarding to non-specialists and specialists alike. (shrink)
In various publications, Stanley Cavell and Stanley Rosen have emphasized the philosophical importance of what they both call the ordinary. They both contrast their recovery of the ordinary with traditional philosophy, including the phenomenological philosophy of Edmund Husserl. In this paper, I address Rosen’s claims in particular. I argue that Rosen turns the real situation on its head. Contra Rosen, it is not the case that the employment of Husserl’s epoché distorts the authentic voice of the ordinary—a voice that is (...) clearly audible only from within everyday life. For (pace both Cavell and Rosen) there is no single voice of the ordinary: There are many such voices, not all of which are to be relied upon. Therefore, if we want to achieve an adequate grasp of ordinary experience, and Rosen does want this, we precisely need the epoché to curtail the misleading messages of certain other voices of the ordinary. Moreover, and somewhat surprisingly, this positive evaluation of the Husserlian epoché finds support in Heidegger’s writings from the twenties. I argue that Heidegger, too, believed that the epoché was an indispensable tool for the philosophical attempt to capture ordinary experience. (shrink)
We resist Schilbach et al.’s characterization of the “social perception” approach to social cognition as a “spectator theory” of other minds. We show how the social perception view acknowledges the crucial role interaction plays in enabling social understanding. We also highlight a dilemma Schilbach et al. face in attempting to distinguish their second person approach from the social perception view.
Using the later Levinas as a point of departure, this article tries to provide an account of the ethics of Wittgenstein's Tractatus . Although there has not been written much on this topic, there seems to be an increasing awareness among philosophers that there are interesting points of convergence between Levinas and the early Wittgenstein. In contrast to most (if not all) other accounts of the relation, however, this article argues that the truly significant convergence emerges only when one abandons (...) the received interpretation of the early Wittgenstein, and instead opts for something more akin to the new Wittgenstein interpretation introduced by Cora Diamond and James Conant, among others. On the received interpretation, Wittgenstein places ethics in a realm of ineffable being and truth, and thus remains within what Levinas calls ontology. But on Conant's and Diamond's reading of Wittgenstein, there really are no profound ethical truths that we cannot state, but only show; all the sentences of the Tractatus that appear to claim otherwise are ultimately completely nonsensical. This article argues that the Tractatus has an ethical point in a quite Levinasian sense, precisely because of the way it unveils its sentences as utterly nonsensical; for this can be seen as a Wittgensteinian attempt to unsay the said, in order to let the saying itself be heard. Key Words: ethics Emmanuel Levinas nonsense the Other said saying Ludwig Wittgenstein. (shrink)
Michael Dummett has claimed that the only way to establish communication between the analytic and Continental schools of philosophy is to go back to their point of divergence in Frege and the early Husserl. In this paper, I try to show that Dummett's claim is false. I examine in detail the discussions at the infamous 1958 Royaumont Colloquium on analytic philosophy. Many ? including Dummett ? believe that these discussions underscore the futility of attempting to bridge the gap between Continental (...) and analytical philosophies in anything like their current shapes. I argue, however, that a close study of the Royaumont proceedings rather reveals how close some of the analytical speakers were to some of their Continental listeners. (shrink)
In recent years, a number of approaches to social cognition research have emerged that highlight the importance of embodied interaction for social cognition (Reddy, How infants know minds, 2008; Gallagher, J Conscious Stud 8:83–108, 2001; Fuchs and Jaegher, Phenom Cogn Sci 8:465–486, 2009; Hutto, in Seemans (ed.) Joint attention: new developments in psychology, philosophy of mind and social neuroscience, 2012). Proponents of such ‘interactionist’ approaches emphasize the importance of embodied responses that are engaged in online social interaction, and which, according (...) to interactionists, present an alternative to mindreading as a source of social understanding. We agree that it is important to take embodied interaction seriously, but do not agree that this presents a fundamental challenge to mainstream mindreading approaches. Drawing upon an analogy between embodied interaction and the exercise of expert skills, we advocate a hierarchical view which claims that embodied social responses generally operate in close conjunction with higher-level cognitive processes that play a coordinative role, and which are often sensitive to mental states. Thus, investigation of embodied responses should inform rather than conflict with research on mindreading. (shrink)
Proponents of the so-called ?interactive turn in social cognition research? maintain that mainstream research on social cognition has been fundamentally flawed by its neglect of social interaction, and that a new paradigm is needed in order to redress this shortcoming. We argue that proponents of the interactive turn (?interactionists?) have failed to properly substantiate their criticisms of existing research on social cognition. Although it is sometimes unclear precisely what these criticisms of existing theories are supposed to target, we sketch two (...) possibilities: interactionists can either accept the primary explanandum addressed by mainstream social cognition research?namely mindreading?and claim that interactionism contributes some hitherto neglected but necessary component of a successful explanans, or they can argue that mainstream research has focused on a misconceived explanandum. We argue that interactionist claims of both sorts are problematic. (shrink)
A compelling new approach to the problem that has haunted twentieth century philosophy in both its analytical and continental shapes. No other book addresses as thoroughly the parallels between Wittgenstein and leading Continental philosophers such as Levinas, Husserl, and Heidegger.