Near the beginning of Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche writes that “psychology is once again the path to the fundamental problems” (BGE 23). This raises a number of questions. What are these “fundamental problems” that psychology helps us to answer? How exactly does psychology bear on philosophy? In this conference paper, I provide a partial answer to these questions by focusing upon the way in which psychology informs Nietzsche’s account of value. I argue that Nietzsche’s ethical (...) theory is based upon the idea that power has a privileged normative status: power is the one value in terms of which all others values are to be assessed. If this is the correct interpretation of Nietzsche’s ethical theory, though, it raises a question: how could power have a privileged status, given that Nietzsche denies that there are any objective facts about what is valuable? I argue that Nietzsche’s account of psychology provides the answer: he grounds power’s privileged status in facts about the nature of human motivation. In particular, Nietzsche’s account of drives entails that human beings are ineluctably committed to valuing power. So Nietzsche’s ethical theory follows from his philosophicalpsychology. (shrink)
Freud claimed that the concept of drive is "at once the most important and the most obscure element of psychological research." It is hard to think of a better proof of Freud's claim than the work of Nietzsche, which provides ample support for the idea that the drive concept is both tremendously important and terribly obscure. Although Nietzsche's accounts of agency and value everywhere appeal to drives, the concept has not been adequately explicated. I remedy this situation by providing an (...) account of drives. I argue that Nietzschean drives are dispositions that generate evaluative orientations, in part by affecting perceptual saliences. In addition, I show that drive psychology has important implications for contemporary accounts of reflective agency. Contemporary philosophers often endorse a claim that has its origins in Locke and Kant: self-conscious agents are capable of reflecting on and thereby achieving a distance from their motives; therefore, these motives do not determine what the agent will do. Nietzsche's drive psychology shows that the inference in the preceding sentence is illegitimate. The drive psychology articulates a way in which motives can determine the agent's action by influencing the course of the agent's reflective deliberations. An agent who reflects on a motive and decides whether to act on it may, all the while, be surreptitiously guided by the very motive upon which he is reflecting. I show how this point complicates traditional models of the role of reflection in agency. (shrink)
This article is the sequel to 'Intentionality and Modern philosophicalpsychology, I. The modern reduction of intentionality,' (PhilosophicalPsychology, 3 (2), 1990) which examined the view of intentionality pioneered by Carnap and reaching its apotheosis in the work of Daniel Dennett. In 'Intentionality and modem philosophicalpsychology, II. The return to representation' (PhilosophicalPsychology, 4(1), 1991) I examined the approach to intentionality which can be traced back to the work of Noam Chomsky (...) but which has been given its canonical treatment in the work of Jerry Fodor. In this article, the last in the series, I explore a very recent approach to intentionality which has been associated especially with the work of Ruth Garrett Millikan and Colin McGinn, and might, if the phrase were not so rebarbative, be called “the biologizing of intentionality'. (shrink)
In rounded terms and modem dress a theory of intentionality is a theory about how humans take in information via the senses and in the very process of taking it in understand it and, most often, make subsequent use of it in guiding human behaviour. The problem of intentionality in this century has been the problem of providing an adequate explanation of how a purely physical causal system, the brain, can both receive information and at the same time understand it, (...) that is, to put it even more briefly, how a brain can have semantic content. In these two articles, one in this issue of the journal and one in the next, I engage in a critical examination of the two most thoroughly canvassed approaches to the theory and problem of intentionality in philosophicalpsychology over the last hundred years. In the first article, entitled 'The modern reduction of intentionality, ' I examine the approach pioneered by Carnap and reaching its apotheosis in the work of Daniel Dennett. In the second article, entitled 'The return to representation, 'I examine the approach which can be traced back to the work of Noam Chomsky but which has been given its canonical treatment in the work of Jerry Fodor. (shrink)
Abstract In rounded terms and modern dress a theory of intentionality is a theory about how humans take in information via the senses and in the very process of taking it in understand it and, most often, make subsequent use of it in guiding human behaviour. The problem of intentionality in this century has been the problem of providing an adequate explanation of how a purely physical causal system, the brain, can both receive information and at the same time understand (...) it, that is, to put it even more briefly, how a brain can have semantic content. In two articles, one in the previous number of the journal and this present one, I engage in a critical examination of the two most thoroughly canvassed approaches to the theory and problem of intentionality in philosophicalpsychology over the last 100 years. In the first article, subtitled ?The modern reduction of intentionality?, I examined the reductive approach pioneered by Carnap and reaching its apotheosis in the work of Daniel Dennett. In this second article, subtitled ?The return to representation?, I examine the approach which can be traced back to the work of Noam Chomsky but which has been given its canonical treatment in the work of Jerry Fodor. (shrink)
Historiography of science faces a preliminary question of strategy. A continuist conception of the history of science poses research problems different from those of a dynamic conception, which acknowledges that not only our theoretical knowledge but also the explananda themselves may change under the influence of new scientific insights. Whereas continuist historiography may advance our understanding of (the historical background of) current theoretical problems, dynamic historiography may also make a creative contribution to the progress of present-day research. This f act (...) is illustrated in a discussion of the various treatments of paradigmatic episodes in the history of philosophicalpsychology collected in the book under review, ranging from Socratic and Platonic sources of cognitivism, through medieval and modem views on mental language, representation and consciousness, to such 20th-century contributions as those of Husserl, Titchener, and analytic philosophy. (shrink)
The chapter gives a general description of philosophicalpsychology as it was practiced and taught in the sixteenth century at three of the most important universities of the time, the universities of Erfurt, Padua, and Bologna. Contrary to received notions of the Renaissance it argues that the sixteenth-century philosophicalpsychology was tightly bound to the Aristotelian tradition. At the University of Erfurt, philosophicalpsychology was developed with strong adherence to the basic doctrines of Buridanian (...) via moderna, as it had been taught for over a century. The Buridanian approach dominated especially discussions on the metaphysical nature of the human soul and disputes about universal realism versus nominalism. The situation was somewhat different at the universities of Bologna and Padua. The connections between these two universities were close, and they can be seen as developing one and the same Aristotelian tradition. Although the works produced were rather eclectic in nature, they shared research topics as well as conceptual and methodological frameworks which contributed to the unity of the school. In Bologna and Padua, Averroës had a central position as an authority cited and criticized; and philosophical questions concerning the immortality of the soul and the nature of the intellectual species attracted continuous interest. The development of philosophicalpsychology was also influenced by the special organizational situation of these universities: theology had a relatively unimportant position, and medicine instead had continuous impact on teaching. (shrink)
Contemporary caution against anachronism in intellectual history, and the currently momentous theoretical emphasis on subjectivity in the philosophy of mind, are two prevailing conditions that set puzzling constraints for studies in the history of philosophicalpsychology. The former urges against assuming ideas, motives, and concepts that are alien to the historical intellectual setting under study, and combined with the latter suggests caution in relying on our intuitions regarding subjectivity due to the historically contingent characterizations it has attained in (...) contemporary philosophy of mind. In the face of these conditions, our paper raises a question of what we call non-textual (as opposed to contextual) standards of interpretation of historical texts, and proceeds to explore subjectivity as such a standard. Non-textual standards are defined as (heuristic) postulations of features of the world or our experience of it that we must suppose to be immune to historical variation in order to understand a historical text. Although the postulation of such standards is often so obvious that the fact of our doing so is not noticed at all, we argue that the problems in certain special cases, such as that of subjectivity, force us to pay attention to the methodological questions involved. Taking into account both recent methodological discussion and the problems inherent in two de facto denials of the relevance of subjectivity for historical theories, we argue that there are good grounds for the adoption of subjectivity as a non-textual standard for historical work in philosophicalpsychology. (shrink)
Highlights of a difficult history -- The preliminary identification of our topic -- Approaches -- Bradley's protest -- James's disjunctive theory -- The source of Bradley's dissatisfaction -- Behaviourism and after -- Heirs of Bradley in the twentieth century -- The underlying metaphysical issue -- Explanatory tactics -- The basic distinction -- Metaphysical categories and taxonomies -- Adverbialism, multiple realizability, and natural kinds -- Adverbialism and levels of explanation -- Taxonomies and supervenience relations -- Rejecting the process : first view (...) -- Supervenience-failure -- The modal commitments of the process : first view -- The interference argument : a putative problem for adverbialist accounts -- Cognitive unison -- The problem with attitude based adverbialism -- Gilbert Ryle and Alan White -- White's argument against disposition-based adverbialism -- The cognitive unison theory -- Tasks -- Cognitive processes -- Potential service of a task -- Superordinate tasks -- Some features of the theory -- Divided attention -- Degrees of attention and merely partial attention -- The causal life of attention -- Mental causation -- How to respond to mental causation objections -- The causal role of attention -- Attention as an enabling condition -- Counterfactuals -- The causal relevance of attention per se -- Counterfactuals and causally relevant properties -- Objections to counterfactual analysis of causation and of causal relevance -- The extrinsicness of unison -- The privative character of unison and the problem of absence causation -- Causal exclusion -- Consequences for cognitive psychology -- Psychology and metaphysics -- The metaphysical commitments of the process-identifying project -- The diverse explanatory construals of current psychological results -- Reasons for deflation -- Inductively unreliable properties -- Questions without answers -- The positive payoff -- Philosophical work for the theory of attention -- Putting attention to philosophical work -- Attention and reference -- Attention and consciousness -- Prospects for optimism. (shrink)
Mark Platts' influential first book Ways of Meaning argued within the context of the philosophy of language that a `realist' account of moral thought was possible. Moral Realities defends the same possibility from the perspective of the philosophy of psychology. Moral Realities engages the classical moral philosophies of Hume, Mandeville and Nietzsche, and tackles the powerful arguments of the contemporary moral relativists. Platts uses an existing critique of philosophical notions of desire and value to present a descriptive metaphysics (...) of morals--clarifying both what morality is and what it is not. He also employs a classification of desire that articulates a general theory of value and valuing which is distinguished by a cognitive approach given to certain kinds of moral valuing. The possibility of applying this approach to moral valuings is defended against the persuasive criticisms of both the Humean subjectivist and the contemporary moral relativist. This is a challenging book which illuminates many of the major issues of contemporary moral philosophy including: the practical nature of moral thought, free will and choice, morality and religious belief, and the pragmatics of moral discourse. (shrink)
In this introductory article, we provide a historical and philosophical framework for studying crisis discussions in psychology. We first trace the various meanings of crisis talk outside and inside of the sciences. We then turn to Kuhn’s concept of crisis, which is mainly an analyst’s category referring to severe clashes between theory and data. His view has also dominated many discussions on the status of psychology: Can it be considered a “mature” science, or are we dealing here (...) with a pre- or multi-paradigmatic discipline? Against these Kuhnian perspectives, we point out that especially, but not only in psychology distinctive crisis declarations and debates have taken place since at least the late 19th century. In these, quite different usages of crisis talk have emerged, which can be determined by looking at (a) the content and (b) the dimensions of the declarations, as well as (c) the functions these declarations had for their authors. Thus, in psychology at least, ‘crisis’ has been a vigorous actor’s category, occasionally having actual effects on the future course of research. While such crisis declarations need not be taken at face value, they nevertheless help to break the spell of Kuhnian analyses of psychology’s history. They should inform ways in which the history and philosophy of psychology is studied further. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introducing persons and the psychology of personhood Jack Martin and Mark H. Bickhard; Part I. Philosophical, Conceptual Perspectives: 2. The person concept and the ontology of persons Michael A. Tissaw; 3. Achieving personhood: the perspective of hermeneutic phenomenology Charles Guignon; Part II. Historical Perspectives: 4. Historical psychology of persons: categories and practice Kurt Danziger; 5. Persons and historical ontology Jeff Sugarman; 6. Critical personalism: on its tenets, its historical obscurity, and its future (...) prospects James T. Lamiell; Part III. Social-Developmental Perspectives: 7. Conceiving of self and others as persons: evolution and development John Barresi, Chris Moore and Raymond Martin; 8. Position exchange theory and personhood: moving between positions and perspectives within physical, sociocultural and psychological space and time Jack Martin and Alex Gillespie; 9. The emergent ontology of persons Mark H. Bickhard; 10. Theorising personhood for the world in transition and change: reflections from a transformative activist stance on human development Anna Stetsenko; Part IV. Narrative Perspectives: 11. Identity and narrative as root metaphors of personhood Amia Lieblich and Ruthellen Josselson; 12. Storied persons: the double triad of narrative identity Mark Freeman. (shrink)
From his return to Cambridge in 1929 to his death in 1951, Ludwig Wittgenstein, who published only one work in his lifetime, influenced philosophy almost exclusively through teaching and discussion. These lecture notes, therefore, are an important record of the development of Wittgenstein's thought; they indicate the interests he maintained in his later years and signal what he considered the salient features of his thinking. Further, the notes from an enlightening addition to his posthumously published writings. P. T. Geach, A. (...) C. Jackson, and K. J. Shah kept meticulous notes from the last formal course that Wittgenstein taught at Cambridge. In order to reconstruct as accurately as possible the words of Wittgenstein, this volume compiles all three sets of notes with no attempt to conflate or edit them beyond rendering them into lucid English. Topics covered by the notes in this volume include the private language argument, the grammar of sensation statements, certainty and experimentation in psychology, and, in general, the same set of concerns as are to be found in his Last Writings and Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology . The source material provided in these lecture notes is vital to Wittgenstein scholarship. (shrink)
Collection of original essays on the theory of desire by Robert Audi, Annette Baier, Wayne Davis, Ronald de Sousa, Robert Gordon, O.H. Green, Joel Marks, Dennis Stampe, Mitchell Staude, Michael Stocker, and C.C.W. Taylor.
Psychology is not a young science anymore: as the textbooks tell us, it won its independence, from philosophy, a century and a half ago, through the efforts of such luminaries as Gustav Fechner and William James. And yet, if an offhand remark by a long-dead philosopher on psychology’s conceptual confusion still touches a raw nerve in some of us psychologists, it is probably because psychology’s intellectual roots have been all along, and will likely remain, firmly planted in (...) the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Philosophical anthropology is concerned with assumptions about human nature, differential psychology with the empirical investigation of such belief systems. A questionnaire composed of 64 questions concerning brain and consciousness, free will, evolution, meaning of life, belief in God, and theodicy problem was used to gather data from 563 students of psychology at seven universities and from 233 students enrolled in philosophy or the natural sciences. Essential concepts were monism–dualism–complementarity, atheism–agnosticism–deism–theism, attitude toward transcendence–immanence, and self-ratings of religiosity and (...) interest in meaning of life. The response profiles (Menschenbild) of women and men, and of psychology students in the first and midterm of study were very similar. The method of statistical twins indicated a number of differences between students of psychology, philosophy, and the natural sciences. The majority of respondents were convinced that philosophical preconceptions on mind–body and free will have important practical implications for the way in which psychotherapists, physicians, or and judges exercise their professions. (shrink)
A relatively detailed review (~ 4000 words) of Christopher Mole's (2010) book "Attention is Cognitive Unison". I suggest that Mole makes a good case against many types of reductivist accounts of attention, using the right kind of methodology. Yet, I argue that his adverbialist theory is not the best articulation of the crucial anti-reductivist insight. The distinction between adverbial and process-first phenomena he draws remains unclear, anti-reductivist process theories can escapte his arguments, and finally I provide an argument for why (...) no personal level adverbialism can provide a complete and unified theory of attention. Despite my disagreements, I have learned a lot from engaging with Mole's book. It's a central contribution to the new philosophical literature on attention. (shrink)
This volume draws together important selections from the rich history of theories and debates about emotion. Utilizing sources from a variety of subject areas including philosophy, psychology, and biology, the editors provide an illuminating look at the "affective" side of psychology and philosophy from the perspective of the world's great thinkers. Part One features classic readings from Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, and Hume. Part Two, entitled "The Meeting of Philosophy and Psychology," samples the theories of thinkers such as (...) Darwin, James, and Freud. The third section presents some of the extensive work on emotion that has been done by European philosophers over the past century, and the final section comprises essays from modern British and American philosophers. (shrink)
This book presents an overview of the later medieval trinitarian theology of the rival Franciscan and Dominican intellectual traditions, and includes detailed studies of thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas, Henry of Ghent, John Duns Scotus, ...
This chapter examines several ways in which philosophical attention to intuition can contribute to empirical scientific psychology. The authors then discuss one prevalent misuse of intuition. An unspoken assumption of much argumentation in the philosophy of mind has been that to articulate our folk psychological intuitions, our ordinary concepts of belief, truth, meaning, and so forth, is itself sufficient to give a theoretical account of what belief, truth, meaning, and so forth, actually are. It is believed that this (...) assumption rests on an inadequate understanding of the nature of intuition and its appropriate applications, and that it results in errors. Three notable examples of this sort of misuse of intuition in philosophy are briefly discussed. Finally, the authors provide developmental evidence for the mutability and fallibility of everyday intuitions about the mind, evidence that undermines arguments, that depend on taking such intuitions as a final authority for substantive claims about what the mind is like. (shrink)
Some psychologists have recently tried to develop new approaches to psychology incompatible with both natural-science views of the discipline and basic tenets of postmodernism. In her new book on psychology’s interpretative turn, Barbara Held refers to these thinkers as "middleground theorists" or MGTs. Most of the MGTs reject psychological laws, defend free choice and agency, stress the role of values in psychological inquiry, and argue for a hermeneutical methodology. Some reject scientific realism and embrace epistemological relativism. Both Held (...) and I express doubts about some of these views. (shrink)
The Matter of the Mind addresses and illuminates the relationship between psychology and neuroscience by focusing on the topic of reduction. Written by leading philosophers in the field Discusses recent theorizing in the mind-brain sciences and reviews and weighs the evidence in favour of reductionism against the backdrop of recent important advances within psychology and the neurosciences Collects the latest work on central topics where neuroscience is now making inroads in traditional psychological terrain, such as adaptive behaviour, reward (...) systems, consciousness, and social cognition. (shrink)
Today, any credible philosophical attempt to discuss personhood must take some position on the proper relation between the philosophical analysis of topics like action, intention, emotion, normative and evaluate judgment, desire and mood --which are grouped together under the heading of `moral psychology'-- and the usually quite different approaches to ostensibly the same phenomena in contemporary theoretical psychology and psychoanalytic practice. The gulf between these two domains is so deep that influential work in each takes no (...) direct account of developments in the other.(1) I believe that there is much to be learned about dominant and often hidden assumptions in contemporary approaches to personhood by comparisons between these fields,(2) but at the outset I want to distinguish this intuition from another one in vogue among philosophers working to bridge the gap between philosophical and psychological disciplines today. This is the somewhat positivist sense that philsophical investigation must take its starting-points and limits from well-established psychological findings, and that philosophical accounts at odds with these are for that reason unrealistic, or obviously trading on outmoded and scientifically discredited `folk metaphysics.' For example, this sense that philosophy must acknowledge its secondary position relative to empirical psychology is implicit throughout Bernard Williams's work on motivation and morality, and it is the explicit basis of Owen Flanagan's recent attempt to limit ethical theory by `psychological realism' and argue for a form of relativism by "[a]ttention to psychological facts." (3) Because all modern conceptions of morality are committed to making "our motivational structure, our personal possibilities, relevant in setting their moral sights," they cannot be developed without.. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: AcknowledgmentsIntroductionHegels Challenge to the Philosophy of MindHegels Solution to the Mind-Body ProblemHegel, Mind and Mechanism: Why Machines Have No Psyche, Consciousness, Nor Intelligence Self-Consciousness and Intersubjectivity From Representation to Thought: Reflections on Hegels Determination of Intelligence The Psychology of Will and the Deduction of Right: Rethinking Hegels Theory of Practical Intelligence Beyond the Sociality of Reason: From Davidson to HegelReferencesIndex AcknowledgmentsIntroductionHegels Challenge to the Philosophy of MindHegels Solution to the Mind-Body ProblemHegel, Mind and Mechanism: Why (...) Machines Have No Psyche, Consciousness, Nor Intelligence Self-Consciousness and Intersubjectivity From Representation to Thought: Reflections on Hegels Determination of Intelligence The Psychology of Will and the Deduction of Right: Rethinking Hegels Theory of Practical Intelligence Beyond the Sociality of Reason: From Davidson to HegelReferencesIndex. (shrink)
Self-knowledge is based on several different forms of information, so distinct that each one essentially establishes a different 'self. The ecological self is the self as directly perceived with respect to the immediate physical environment; the interpersonal self, also directly perceived, is established by species-specific signals of emotional rapport and communication; the extended self is based on memory and anticipation; the private self appears when we discover that our conscious experiences are exclusively our own; the conceptual self or 'self-concept' draws (...) its meaning from a network of socially-based assumptions and theories about human nature in general and ourselves in particular. Although these selves are rarely experienced as distinct (because they are held together by specific forms of stimulus information), they differ in their developmental histories, in the accuracy with which we can know them, in the pathologies to which they are subject, and generally in what they contribute to human experience. (shrink)
The contributors to this volume examine current controversies about the importance of common sense psychology for our understanding of the human mind. Common sense provides a familiar and friendly psychological scheme by which to talk about the mind. Its categories (belief, desire, intention, consciousness, emotion, and so on) tend to portray the mind as quite different from the rest of nature, and thus irreducible to physical matters and its laws. In this volume a variety of positions on common sense (...)psychology from critical to supportive, from exegetical to speculative, are represented. Among the questions posed are: Is common sense psychology an empirical theory, a body of analytic knowledge, a practice, or a strategy? If it is a legitimate enterprise can it be naturalized or not? If it is not legitimate can it be eliminated? Is its fate tied to our understanding of consciousness? Should we approach its concepts and generalizations from the standpoint of conceptual analysis or from the philosophy of science? (shrink)
The introduction of connectionist or parallel distributed processing (PDP) systems to model cognitive functions has raised the question of the possible relations between these models and traditional information processing models which employ rules to manipulate representations. After presenting a brief account of PDP models and two ways in which they are commonly interpreted by those seeking to use them to explain cognitive functions, I present two ways one might relate these models to traditional information processing models and so not totally (...) repudiate the tradition of modelling cognition through systems of rules and representations. The proposal that seems most promising is that PDP-type structures might provide the underlying framework in which a rule and representation model might be implemented. To show how one might pursue such a strategy, I discuss recent research by Barsalou on the instability of concepts and show how that might be accounted for in a system whose microstructure had a PDP architecture. I also outline how adopting a multi-leveled view of the mind, where on one level the mind employed a PDP-type system and at another level constituted a rule processing system, would allow researchers to relocate some problems which seemed difficult to explain at one level, such as the capacity for concept learning, to another level where it could be handled in a straightforward manner. (shrink)
Recent work in the philosophy of science has been debunking theory and acclaiming practice. Recent work in philosophicalpsychology has been neglecting practice and emphasizing theory, suggesting that common?sense psychology is in all essential respects like any scientific theory. The marriage of these two strands of thought would serve to make science and common sense virtually indistinguishable. My paper resists this conflation. The main target is the attempt to assimilate everyday psychology to a scientific theory; I (...) argue that this is badly mistaken, and does a disservice both to scientific and to common?sense psychology. A secondary aim is to argue that some of the new pragmatism in the philosophy of science is overstated. The suggested conflation would have interesting implications, as would its denial; in a concluding section, some of these implications are briefly explored. (shrink)
Abstract Having, in previous papers, distinguished at least three forms of consciousness (a first?order, information?processing state?called here ?C1'; a second?order, direct, non?inferential accessing of other conscious states?called here ?C2'; and a phenomenological state?called here ?CN'), I now further examine their differences. This examination has some surprising results. Having argued that neither C1 nor C2 is a phenomenological state?and so different from CN?I now show that CN itself is best thought of as a subclass of a larger state ('CS'?sensation consciousness). CS (...) is the set of image?representation states. CN is that set of CS states that we are also C2 about. I argue that CN states should be considered a subset of CS states because they share with other CS states imagistic representational powers as opposed to the sentential ones of C1 and C2. And I argue that there are good reasons to consider any state which utilises imagistic representation as a sensation. I then show that the notion of an unconscious sensation makes sense if we think of it as a CS state that is not C2. More radically, I conclude that either it makes sense to say that there are unfelt sensations or there are felt sensations (phenomenological states) we are not conscious about. While there are good reasons for saying one or the other of these surprising things, I argue that the second, more radical sounding, alternative is actually better motivated?and not quite so surprising as it sounds. (shrink)
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By what empirical means can a person determine whether he or she is presently awake or dreaming? Any conceivable test addressing this question, which is a special case of the classical metaphysical doubting of reality, must be statistical (for the same reason that empirical science is, as noted by Hume). Subjecting the experienced reality to any kind of statistical test (for instance, a test for bizarreness) requires, however, that a set of baseline measurements be available. In a dream, or in (...) a simulation, any such baseline data would be vulnerable to tampering by the same processes that give rise to the experienced reality, making the outcome of a reality test impossible to trust. Moreover, standard cryptographic defenses against such tampering cannot be relied upon, because of the potentially unlimited reach of reality modiﬁcation within a dream, which may range from the integrity of the veriﬁcation keys to the declared outcome of the entire process. In the face of this double predicament, the rational course of action is to take reality at face value. The predicament also has some intriguing corollaries. In particular, even the most revealing insight that a person may gain into the ultimate nature of reality (for instance, by attaining enlightenment in the Buddhist sense) is ultimately unreliable, for the reasons just mentioned. At the same time, to adhere to this principle, one has to be aware of it, which may not be possible in various states of reduced or altered cognitive function such as dreaming or religious experience. Thus, a subjectively enlightened person may still lack the one truly important piece of the puzzle concerning his or her existence. (shrink)
This article maybe used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.