Hmm… Hill on the paradox of pain Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-8 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9811-5 Authors Alex Byrne, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT, 32-d808, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Larry Hardin has been the most steadfast and influential critic of physicalist theories of color over the last 20 years. In their modern form these theories originated with the work of Smart and Armstrong in the 1960s and 1970s1 and Hardin appropriately concentrated on their views in his initial critique of physicalism.2 In his most recent contribution to this project3 he attacks Michael Tye’s recent attempts to defend and extend color physicalism.4 Like Byrne and Hilbert5, Tye identifies color with (...) the reflecting properties of objects (“reflectance physicalism”). Specifically, the determinate and determinable colors are identified with types of reflectances. (Setting some complications aside, the reflectance of an object is the proportion of light that it reflects at each wavelength in the visible spectrum.) These reflectance types are, in the terminology of Hilbert, anthropocentric—in the terminology of Lewis6, they are not very “natural”. (shrink)
Philosophers have devoted a great deal of discussion to the question of whether an inverted spectrum thought experiment refutes functionalism. (For a review of the inverted spectrum and its many philosophical applications, see Byrne, 2004.) If Ho?man is correct the matter can be swiftly and conclusively settled, without appeal to any empirical data about color vision (or anything else). Assuming only that color experiences and functional relations can be mathematically represented, a simple mathematical result.
Alex Byrne If I descry a hawk, I find the hawk but I do not find my seeing of the hawk. My seeing of the hawk seems to be a queerly transparent sort of process, transparent in that while a hawk is detected, nothing else is detected answering to the verb in ‘see a hawk’. Ryle, The Concept of Mind..
Cohen begins by defining ‘Color Physicalism’ so that the position is incompatible with Color Relationalism (unlike Byrne and Hilbert 2003, 7, and note 18). Physicalism, in any event, is something of a distraction, since Cohen’s argument from perceptual variation is directed against any view on which minor color misperception is common (Byrne and Hilbert 2004). A typical color primitivist, for example, is equally vulnerable to the argument. Suppose that normal human observers S1 and S2 are viewing a chip (...) C, as in Cohen’s example. C looks unique green to S1, and bluish green to S2. The problem, as Cohen has it, is to explain “what could (metaphysically) make it the case” that S1, say, and not S2, is perceiving C correctly. He purports to find the explanation “extremely hard to imagine”, and so concludes that both S1 and S2 are perceiving C correctly. (That is not the only option, of course: Hardin concludes that neither is perceiving the chip correctly.). (shrink)
Business ethicists should examine ethical issues that impinge on the perimeters of their specialized studies (Byrne 2011 ). This article addresses one peripheral issue that cries out for such consideration: the international resource privilege (IRP). After explaining briefly what the IRP involves I argue that it is unethical and should not be supported in international law. My argument is based on others’ findings as to the consequences of current IRP transactions and of their ethically indefensible historical precedents. In particular (...) I examine arguments from political philosophy for more equitable distribution of resources and appeals to property rights as a means of achieving this; business ethicists’ critiques of contemporary resource appropriations; and legal historians’ accounts of despoliation of aboriginal peoples, especially in what is now the United States, involving acquisition via conquest, asserted jurisdiction, and religious and racial preeminence. I also consider relevant human rights’ standards; supportive views of some theorists, especially early modern realists and current supporters of group rights and multidimensional rectification; some de facto incidences of substantive restitution; and proposals for effecting further rectification. (shrink)
The 'content view', in slogan form, is 'Perceptual experiences have representational content'. I explain why the content view should be reformulated to remove any reference to 'experiences'. I then argue, against Bill Brewer, Charles Travis and others, that the content view is true. One corollary of the discussion is that the content of perception is relatively thin (confined, in the visual case, to roughly the output of 'mid-level' vision). Finally, I argue (briefly) that the opponents of the content view are (...) partially vindicated, because perceptual error is due to false belief. (shrink)
Qualia internalism is the thesis that qualia are intrinsic to their subjects: the experiences of intrinsic duplicates (in the same or different metaphysically possible worlds) have the same qualia. Content externalism is the thesis that mental representation is an extrinsic matter, partly depending on what happens outside the head.1 Intentionalism (or representationalism) comes in strong and weak forms. In its weakest formulation, it is the thesis that representationally identical experiences of subjects (in the same or different metaphysically (...) possible worlds) have the same qualia.2. (shrink)
Introductory texts in the philosophy of mind often begin with a discussion of behaviourism, presented as one of the few theories of mind that have been conclusively refuted. But matters are not that simple: behaviourism, in one form or another, is still alive and kicking.
Perceptual experiences justify beliefs—that much seems obvious. As Brewer puts it, “sense experiential states provide reasons for empirical beliefs” (this volume, xx). In Mind and World McDowell argues that we can get from this apparent platitude to the controversial claim that perceptual experiences have conceptual content: [W]e can coherently credit experiences with rational relations to judgement and belief, but only if we take it that spontaneity is already implicated in receptivity; that is, only if we take it that experiences have (...) conceptual content. (1994, 162) Brewer agrees. Their view is sometimes called conceptualism; nonconceptualism is the rival position, that experiences have nonconceptual content. One initial obstacle is understanding what the issue is. What is conceptual content, and how is it different from nonconceptual content? Section 1 of this paper explains two versions of each of the rival positions: state (non)conceptualism and content (non)conceptualism; the latter pair is the locus of the relevant dispute. Two prominent arguments for content nonconceptualism—the richness argument and the continuity argument—both fail (section 2). McDowell’s and Brewer’s epistemological defenses of content conceptualism are also faulty (section 3). Section 4 gives a more simple-minded case for conceptualism; finally, some reasons are given for rejecting the claim—on one natural interpretation—that experiences justify beliefs. (shrink)
The textbook presentation of quantum mechanics, in a nutshell, is this. The physical state of any isolated system evolves deterministically in accordance with Schrödinger's equation until a "measurement" of some physical magnitude M (e.g. position, energy, spin) is made. Restricting attention to the case where the values of M are discrete, the system's pre-measurement state-vector f is a linear combination, or "superposition", of vectors f1, f2,... that individually represent states that..
Consciousness is the subject of many metaphors, and one of the most hardy perennials compares consciousness to a spotlight, illuminating certain mental goings-on, while leaving others to do their work in the dark. One way of elaborating the spotlight metaphor is this: mental events are loaded on to one end of a conveyer belt by the senses, and move with the belt.
Remembering a cat sleeping (specifically, recollecting the way the cat looked), perceiving (specifically, seeing) a cat sleeping, and imagining (specifically, visualizing) a cat sleeping are of course importantly different. Nonetheless, from the first-person perspective they are palpably alike. Our first question is.
The target article is an attempt to make some progress on the problem of color realism. Are objects colored? And what is the nature of the color properties? We defend the view that physical objects (for instance, tomatoes, radishes, and rubies) are colored, and that colors are physical properties, specifically types of reflectance. This is probably a minority opinion, at least among color scientists. Textbooks frequently claim that physical objects are not colored, and that the colors are "subjective" or "in (...) the mind." The article has two other purposes: first, to introduce an interdisciplinary audience to some distinctively philosophical tools that are useful in tackling the problem of color realism and, second, to clarify the various positions and central arguments in the debate. (shrink)
The terminology surrounding the dispute between higher-order and first-order theories of consciousness is piled so high that it sometimes obscures the view. When the debris is cleared away, there is a real prospect.
Some things are _about_, or are _directed on_ , or _represent_, other things. For example, the sentence 'Cats are animals' is about cats (and about animals), this article is about intentionality, Emanuel Leutze's most famous painting is about Washington's crossing of the Delaware, lanterns hung in Boston's North Church were about the British, and a map of Boston is about Boston. In contrast, '#a$b', a blank slate, and the city of Boston are not about anything. Many mental states and events (...) also have "aboutness": the belief that cats are animals is about cats, as is the fear of cats, the desire to have many cats, and seeing that the cats are on the mat. Arguably some mental states and events are not about anything: sensations, like pains and itches, are often held to be examples. Actions can also be about other things: hunting for the cat is about the cat, although tripping over the cat is not. This -- rather vaguely characterized -- phenomenon of "aboutness" is called _intentionality_. Something that is about (directed on, represents) something else is said to "have intentionality", or (in the case of mental states) is said to be an "intentional mental state". (shrink)
1 I shall mainly concentrate on Loar (1997, 1999), Tye (1999), Papineau (1998, 2002), Levine (1998, 2001) and Chalmers (2003). Only the first three of these authors endorse the claim that the proposal supports materialism. Levine.
Vendler, Res Cogitans Knowing that one wants to go to the movies is an example of self-knowledge, knowledge of one’s mental states. It may be foolish to ask the man on the Clapham Omnibus how he knows what he wants, but the question is nonetheless important — albeit neglected by epistemologists. This paper attempts an answer. Before getting to that, the familiar claim that we enjoy “privileged access” to our mental states needs untwining (section 1). A sketch of a theory (...) of knowledge of one’s beliefs that has received some attention in the recent literature (section 2), and the case for extending that account to self-knowledge in general (section 3), sets the stage for our answer to the main question (section 4). (shrink)
In the writings of Daniel Dennett and Donald Davidson we find something like the following bold conjecture: it is an a priori truth that there is no gap between our best judgements of a subject's beliefs and desires and the truth about the subject's beliefs and desires. Under ideal conditions a subject's belief-box and desire-box become transparent.
The realist preference for reductive theories of color over the last few decades is particularly striking in light of the generally anti-reductionist mood of recent philosophy of mind. The parallels between the mind-body problem and the case of color are substantial enough that the difference in trajectory is surprising. While dualism and non-.
The Dangerous Book for Boys Abstract: Seventeenth and eighteenth century discussions of the senses are often thought to contain a profound truth: some perceptible properties are secondary qualities, dispositions to produce certain sorts of experiences in perceivers. In particular, colors are secondary qualities: for example, an object is green iff it is disposed to look green to standard perceivers in standard conditions. After rebutting Boghossian and Velleman’s argument that a certain kind of secondary quality theory is viciously circular, we discuss (...) three main lines of argument for the secondary quality theory. The first is inspired by an intuitively compelling picture of perception articulated by Reid; the second is that the secondary quality theory is a conceptual truth; the third line of argument is presented in Johnston’s influential paper ‘How to speak of the colors’. We conclude that all these arguments fail, and that the secondary quality theory is unmotivated. Keywords: color, secondary quality, disposition, vision, perception.. (shrink)
Qualia inversion thought experiments are ubiquitous in contemporary philosophy of mind (largely due to the influence of Shoemaker 1982 and Block 1990). The most popular kind is one or another variant of Locke's hypothetical case of.
I know various contingent truths about my environment by perception. For example, by looking, I know that there is a computer before me; by hearing, I know that someone is talking in the corridor; by tasting, I know that the coffee has no sugar. I know these things because I have some built-in mechanisms specialized for detecting the state of my environment. One of these mechanisms, for instance, is presently transducing electromagnetic radiation (in a narrow band of wavelengths) coming from (...) the computer and the desk on which it sits. How that mechanism works is a complicated story—to put it mildly—and of course much remains unknown. But we can at least produce more-or- less plausible sketches of how the mechanism can start from retinal irradiation, and go on to deliver knowledge of my surroundings. Moreover, in the sort of world we inhabit, specialized detection mechanisms that are causally affected by the things they detect have no serious competition—seeing the computer by seeing an idea of the computer in the divine mind, for example, is not a feasible alternative. (shrink)
_the a priori role_ (for word T). For instance, perhaps anyone who understands the word _water_ is able to know, without appeal to any further a posteriori information, that _water_ refers to the clear, drinkable natural kind whose instances are predominant in our oceans and lakes (if _water_ refers at all.
In theorizing about perception, philosophers have often multiplied qualities. To perceptible qualities of external objects, like colors and shapes (‘sensible’ qualities), have been added qualities of experiences (‘sensory’ qualities) or of sense-data (‘sensational’ qualities). Start with sensory qualities. The phrase ‘sensory quality’ is not much in use these days, having lost out to ‘phenomenal character,’ ‘phenomenal property,’ ‘qualitative character,’ or ‘quale.’ But whatever sensory qualities are called, pinning them down is no easy matter.
This article shows how Bernard Lonergan's philosophy of science can bring resolution to a recent controversy: the controversy that arises from Intelligent Design theorists' and proponents of neo-Darwinian evolution. Intelligent Design theories argue that the complex structures of living organisms cannot be adequately explained by neo-Darwinian theories, especially by its postulate of random variations. Hence, an "intelligent designer" must be postulated in order to fill out scientific explanations. This article finds fault with the Intelligent Design arguments, but proposes a different (...) form of design argument–one that accepts neo-Darwinian evolution (or something very much like it). It shows how Lonergan's analysis of scientific methods grounds his account of evolution, and how much this can overcome the most basic Intelligent Design objections. It then shows how Lonergan's philosophy of God also can offer a design argument based, not in the complexity of this or that organism, but in the "design" of evolution itself. /// O presente artigo mostra até que ponto a filosofia da ciência de Bernard Lonergan pode trazer resolução à recente controvérsia suscitada pelos defensores da Teoria do Desígnio Inteligente, teoria essa fortemente atacada pelos defensores neo-darwinistas da teoria da evolução. As teorias do Desígnio Inteligente defendem que as estruturas complexas dos organismos vivos não podem ser adequadamente explicadas pelas teorias neo-darwinistas, especialmente pelo seu postulado relativo às variações de acaso. Nesse sentido, um agente Inteligente teria de ser postulado em ordem a prover as necessárias explicações científicas. O autor do presente artigo, porém, considera que a argumentação dos defensores do Desígnio Inteligente é defeituosa, pelo queavança um novo argumento de desígnio, um efectivamente que aceita a teoria da evolução neo-darwiniana (ou algo muito semelhante a ela). Em suma, o artigo mostra até que ponto a análise lonerganiana dos métodos científicos subjaz à sua própria teoria da evolução, mostrando-se assim também de que forma esta doutrina ultrapassa as objecções mais elementares dos defensores da Teoria do Desígnio Inteligente. Por fim, mostra-se ainda de que modo a filosofia de Lonergan sobre Deus pode oferecer um argumento de desígnio baseado, não na complexidade deste ou daquele organismo, mas no "desígnio" da evolução em si mesma. (shrink)
Although the proper formulation and assessment of Ludwig Wittgenstein's argument (or arguments) against the possibility of a private language continues to be disputed, the issue has lost none of its urgency. At stake is a broadly Cartesian conception of experiences that is found today in much philosophy of mind.
When we open our eyes, the world seems full of colored opaque objects, light sources, and transparent volumes. One historically popular view, _eliminativism_, is that the world is not in this respect as it appears to be: nothing has any color. Color _realism_, the denial of eliminativism, comes in three mutually exclusive varieties, which may be taken to exhaust the space of plausible realist theories. Acccording to _dispositionalism_, colors are _psychological_ dispositions: dispositions to produce certain kinds of visual experiences. According (...) to both _primitivism_ and _physicalism_, colors are not psychological dispositions; they differ in that primitivism says that no reductive analysis of the colors is possible, whereas physicalism says that they are physical properties. This paper is a defense of physicalism about color. (shrink)