The military claims to be an honourable profession, yet military torture is widespread. Why is the military violating its own values? Jessica Wolfendale argues that the prevalence of military torture is linked to military training methods that cultivate the psychological dispositions connected to crimes of obedience. While these methods are used, the military has no credible claim to professional status. Combating torture requires that we radically rethink the nature of the military profession and military training.
Multi-user online environments involve millions of participants world-wide. In these online communities participants can use their online personas – avatars – to chat, fight, make friends, have sex, kill monsters and even get married. Unfortunately participants can also use their avatars to stalk, kill, sexually assault, steal from and torture each other. Despite attempts to minimise the likelihood of interpersonal virtual harm, programmers cannot remove all possibility of online deviant behaviour. Participants are often greatly distressed when their avatars are harmed (...) by other participants’ malicious actions, yet there is a tendency in the literature on this topic to dismiss such distress as evidence of too great an involvement in and identification with the online character. In this paper I argue that this dismissal of virtual harm is based on a set of false assumptions about the nature of avatar attachment and its relation to genuine moral harm. I argue that we cannot dismiss avatar attachment as morally insignificant without being forced to also dismiss other, more acceptable, forms of attachment such as attachment to possessions, people and cultural objects and communities. Arguments against according moral significance to virtual harm fail because they do not reflect participants’ and programmers’ experiences and expectations of virtual communities and they have the unintended consequence of failing to grant significance to attachments that we take for granted, morally speaking. Avatar attachment is expressive of identity and self-conception and should therefore be accorded the moral significance we give to real-life attachments that play a similar role. (shrink)
New scientific advances have created previously unheard of possibilities for enhancing combatants' performance. Future war fighters may be smarter, stronger, and braver than ever before. If these technologies are safe, is there any reason to reject their use? In this article, I argue that the use of enhancements is constrained by the importance of maintaining the moral responsibility of military personnel. This is crucial for two reasons: the military's ethical commitments require military personnel to be morally responsible agents, and moral (...) responsibility is necessary for integrity and the moral emotions of guilt and remorse, both of which are important for moral growth and psychological well-being. Enhancements that undermined combatants' moral responsibility would therefore undermine the military's moral standing and would harm combatants' well-being. A genuine commitment to maintaining the military's ethical standards and the well-being of combatants therefore requires a careful analysis of performance-enhancing technologies before they are implemented. (shrink)
This book explores the diverse and sometimes contradictory aspects of fashion in a series of lively, entertaining thoughtful essays from prominent philosophers and writers. Topics include: What is fashion?
Modern military organizations are paternalistic organizations. They typically recognize a duty of care toward military personnel and are willing to ignore or violate the consent of military personnel in order to uphold that duty of care. In this paper, we consider the case for paternalism in the military and distinguish it from the case for paternalism in medicine. We argue that one can consistently reject paternalism in medicine but uphold paternalism in the military. We consider two well-known arguments for the (...) conclusion that military organizations should not be entitled to use experimental drugs on troops without first obtaining the informed consent of those troops. We argue that both of these are unsuccessful, in the absence of an argument for the rejection of paternalism in the military altogether. The case for military paternalism is widely accepted. However, we consider three ways in which it could be challenged. (shrink)
Among our conscious states are conscious thoughts. The question at the center of the recent growing literature on cognitive phenomenology is this: In consciously thinking P, is there thereby any phenomenology—is there something it’s like? One way of clarifying the question is to say that it concerns whether there is any proprietary phenomenology associated with conscious thought. Is there any phenomenology due to thinking, as opposed to phenomenology that is due to some co-occurring sensation or mental image? In this paper (...) we will present two arguments that a “yes” answer to this question of cognitive phenomenology can be obtained via appeal to the HOT theory of consciousness, especially the version articulated and defended by David Rosenthal. (shrink)
Many philosophical issues concern questions of objectivity and subjectivity. Of these questions, there are two kinds. The first considers whether something is objective or subjective; the second what it _means_ for something to be objective or subjective.
The so-called subjectivity of conscious experience is central to much recent work in the philosophy of mind. Subjectivity is the alleged property of consciousness whereby one can know what it is like to have certain conscious states only if one has undergone such states oneself. I review neurophilosophical work on consciousness and concepts pertinent to this claim and argue that subjectivity eliminativism is at least as well supported, if not more supported, than subjectivity reductionism.
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)
In this paper I discuss one of the key issuesin the philosophy of neuroscience:neurosemantics. The project of neurosemanticsinvolves explaining what it means for states ofneurons and neural systems to haverepresentational contents. Neurosemantics thusinvolves issues of common concern between thephilosophy of neuroscience and philosophy ofmind. I discuss a problem that arises foraccounts of representational content that Icall ``the economy problem'': the problem ofshowing that a candidate theory of mentalrepresentation can bear the work requiredwithin in the causal economy of a mind and (...) anorganism. My approach in the current paper isto explore this and other key themes inneurosemantics through the use of computermodels of neural networks embodied and evolvedin virtual organisms. The models allow for thelaying bare of the causal economies of entireyet simple artificial organisms so that therelations between the neural bases of, forinstance, representation in perception andmemory can be regarded in the context of anentire organism. On the basis of thesesimulations, I argue for an account ofneurosemantics adequate for the solution of theeconomy problem. (shrink)
Phenomenal knowledge usually comes from experience. But it need not. For example, one could know what it’s like to see red without seeing red—indeed, without having any color experiences. Daniel Dennett (2007) and Pete Mandik (forthcoming) argue that this and related considerations undermine the knowledge argument against physicalism. If they are right, then this is not only a problem for anti‐physicalists. Their argument threatens to undermine any version of phenomenal realism—the view that there are phenomenal properties, or qualia, that (...) are not conceptually reducible to physical or functional properties. I will argue that this threat is illusory. Explaining why will clarify what is and is not at issue in discussions of the knowledge argument and phenomenal realism. This will strengthen the case for physically and functionally irreducible qualia. (shrink)
The neurophilosophy of consciousness brings neuroscience to bear on philosophical issues concerning phenomenal consciousness, especially issues concerning what makes mental states conscious, what it is that we are conscious of, and the nature of the phenomenal character of conscious states. Here attention is given largely to phenomenal consciousness as it arises in vision. The relevant neuroscience concerns not only neurophysiological and neuroanatomical data, but also computational models of neural networks. The neurophilosophical theories that bring such data to bear on the (...) core philosophical issues of phenomenal conscious construe consciousness largely in terms of representations in neural networks associated with certain processes of attention and memory. (shrink)
Over the past three decades, philosophy of science has grown increasingly “local.” Concerns have switched from general features of scientific practice to concepts, issues, and puzzles specific to particular disciplines. Philosophy of neuroscience is a natural result. This emerging area was also spurred by remarkable recent growth in the neurosciences. Cognitive and computational neuroscience continues to encroach upon issues traditionally addressed within the humanities, including the nature of consciousness, action, knowledge, and normativity. Empirical discoveries about brain structure and function suggest (...) ways that “naturalistic” programs might develop in detail, beyond the abstract philosophical considerations in their favor. -/- The literature distinguishes “philosophy of neuroscience” and “neurophilosophy.” The former concerns foundational issues within the neurosciences. The latter concerns application of neuroscientific concepts to traditional philosophical questions. Exploring various concepts of representation employed in neuroscientific theories is an example of the former. Examining implications of neurological syndromes for the concept of a unified self is an example of the latter. In this entry, we will assume this distinction and discuss examples of both. (shrink)
The majority of contemporary philosophers of mind are physicalists. The majority of physicalists, however, are non-reductive physicalists. As nonreductive physicalists, these philosophers hold that a system's mental properties are different from a system's physical properties, that is, they hold that the sum total of mental facts about some system is a different set of facts than the sum total of physical facts about the same system. As physicalists, however, these nonreductivists hold that mental facts are nonetheless determined by physical facts, (...) that is, they subscribe to the supervenience thesis, i.e., the thesis that no mental differences can obtain without physical differences obtaining. In this paper I take up the issue of how best to understand the notion of supervenience, especially in the light of recent advances in the neurosciences. (shrink)
Deviant phenomenal knowledge is knowing what it's like to have experiences of, e. g., red without actually having had experiences of red. Such a knower is a deviant. Some physicalists have argued and some anti-physicalists have denied that the possibility of deviants undermines anti-physicalism and the Knowledge Argument. The current paper presents new arguments defending the deviant-based attacks on anti-physicalism. Central to my arguments are considerations concerning the psychosemantic underpinnings of deviant phenomenal knowledge. I argue that physicalists are in a (...) superior position to account for the conditions in virtue of which states of deviants constitute representations of phenomenal facts. (shrink)
Of all the enigmatic remarks running through Wittgensteinís Tractatus, none are a greater source of puzzlement to this reader than the endorsement of solipsism in 5.6-5.641. Wittgenstein writes ìI am my worldî, but, even though ìwhat solipsism means, is quite correct...it cannot be said, but it shows itselfî (5.63; 5.62). More intriguing still, he writes.
Higher-Order Representational theories of consciousness — HORs — primarily seek to explain a mental state’s being conscious in terms of the mental state’s being represented by another mental state. First-Order Representational theories of consciousness — FORs — primarily seek to explain a property’s being phenomenal in terms of the property being represented in experience. Despite differences in both explanans and explananda, HORs and FORs share a reliance on there being such a property as being represented. In this paper I develop (...) an argument — the Unicorn Argument — against both HORs and FORs. The core of the Unicorn is that since there are mental rep- resentations of things that do not exist, there cannot be any such prop- erty as being represented, and thus no such property with which to identify either being conscious or being phenomenal. (shrink)
Often, sensory input underdetermines perception. One such example is the perception of illusory contours. In illusory contour perception, the content of the percept includes the presence of a contour that is absent from the informational content of the sensation. (By “sensation” I mean merely information-bearing events at the transducer level. I intend no further commitment such as the identification of sensations with qualia.) I call instances of perception underdetermined by sensation “underdetermined perception.” The perception of illusory contours is just one (...) kind of underdetermined perception. The focus of this chapter is another kind of underdetermined perception: what I shall call "active perception". Active perception occurs in cases in which the percept, while underdetermined by sensation, is determined by a combination of sensation and action. The phenomenon of active perception has been used by several to argue against the positing of representations in explanations of sensory experience, either by arguing that no representations need be posited or that far fewer than previously thought need be posited. Such views include, but are not limited to those of Gibson (1966, 1986), Churchland. (shrink)
The philosophical technical term "supervenience" is frequently used in the philosophy of mind as a concise way of characterizing the core idea of physicalism in a manner that is neutral with respect to debates between reductive physicalists and nonreductive physicalists. I argue against this alleged neutrality and side with reductive physicalists. I am especially interested here in debates between psychoneural reductionists and nonreductive functionalist physicalists. Central to my arguments will be considerations concerning how best to articulate the spirit of the (...) idea of supervenience. I argue for a version of supervenience, "fine-grained supervenience," which is the claim that if, at a given time, a single entity instantiates two distinct mental properties, it must do so in virtue of instantiating two distinct physical properties. I argue further that despite initial appearances to the contrary, such a construal of supervenience can be embraced only by reductive physicalists. (shrink)
The present paper has three aims. The first and foremost aim is to introduce into philosophy of mind and related areas (philosophy of language, etc) a discussion of Slow Earth, an analogue to the classic Twin Earth scenario that features a difference from aboriginal Earth that hinges on time instead of the distribution of natural kinds. The second aim is to use Slow Earth to call into question the central lessons often alleged to flow from consideration of Twin Earth, lessons (...) having to do with relations of minds to spatially definable boundaries of bodies such as skin or skull. The third aim is to suggest a puzzle for adherents of cognitive content externalism having to do with the metaphysical requirements on slow-switching, a hypothetical process whereby changes in the relations between subjects and their environments are followed by gradual changes in cognitive contents. (shrink)
Control consciousness is the awareness or experience of seeming to be in control of one’s actions. One view, which I will be arguing against in the present paper, is that control consciousness is a form of sensory consciousness. In such a view, control consciousness is exhausted by sensory elements such as tactile and proprioceptive information. An opposing view, which I will be arguing for, is that sensory elements cannot be the whole story and must be supplemented by direct contributions of (...) nonsensory, motor elements. More specifically, I will be arguing for the view that the neural basis of control consciousness is constituted by states of recurrent activation in relatively intermediate levels of the motor hierarchy. (shrink)
We explicate representational content by addressing how representations that ex- plain intelligent behavior might be acquired through processes of Darwinian evo- lution. We present the results of computer simulations of evolved neural network controllers and discuss the similarity of the simulations to real-world examples of neural network control of animal behavior. We argue that focusing on the simplest cases of evolved intelligent behavior, in both simulated and real organisms, reveals that evolved representations must carry information about the creature’s environ- ments (...) and further can do so only if their neural states are appropriately isomor- phic to environmental states. Further, these informational and isomorphism rela- tions are what are tracked by content attributions in folk-psychological and cognitive scientific explanations of these intelligent behaviors. (shrink)
This article tackles problems concerning the reduction of phenomenal consciousness to brain processes that arise in consideration of specifically epistemological properties that have been attributed to conscious experiences. In particular, various defenders of dualism and epiphenomenalism have argued for their positions by assuming special epistemic access to phenomenal consciousness. Many physicalists have reacted to such arguments by denying the epistemological premises. My aim in this paper is to take a different approach in opposing dualism and argue that when we correctly (...) examine both the phenomenology and neural correlates of phenomenal consciousness we will see that granting the epistemological premises of special access are the best hope for a scientific study of consciousness. I argue that essential features of consciousness involve both their knowability by the subject of experience as well as their egocentricity, that is, their knowability by the subject as belonging to the subject. I articulate a neuroscientifically informed theory of phenomenal consciousness. (shrink)
This is Philosophy. In keeping with the mission of the series, This is Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind will be both accessible to the average student and technology oriented, integrating with supplemental online material. Also, while the proposed book will cover all of the topics one would expect in a traditional philosophy of mind course, it will be up to date and cover recent advances that are sadly missing from many competitor volumes. My proposed volume will not be limited to what (...) has become a very oldfashioned approach to teaching philosophy of mind, which is to focus solely on the mindbody problem via Cartesian substance dualism and the twentieth-century reactions to it (behaviorism, identity theory, functionalism, and eliminativism). In recent decades philosophers of mind have made exciting progress toward, for example, explanations of consciousness, and explications of the nature of perception and emotion. It is increasingly clear that the progress made is now part of canonical philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Is the Introspection Thesis true? It certainly isn’t obvious. Introspection is the faculty by which each of us has access to his or her own mental states. Even if we were to suppose that mental states are identical to brain states, it doesn’t follow immediately from this supposition that we can introspect our mental states as brain states. This point is analogous to the following. It doesn’t follow immediately from the mere fact that some distant object is identical to a (...) horse that we can perceive it as a horse. Further, it isn’t obvious that any amount of education would suffice to make some distant speck on the horizon seem like a horse. It may very well be the case that no matter how well we know that some distant speck is a horse; as long as we are sufficiently distant from it we will only be able to see it as a speck. Analogously then, it may very well be the case that no matter how well we know that our mental states are brain states, we will only be able to introspect them as irreducibly mental. (shrink)