According to several current theories, executive processes help achieve various mental actions such as remembering, planning and decision-making, by executing cognitive operations on representations held in consciousness. I plan to argue that these executive processes are partly responsible for our sense of self, because of the way they produce the impression of an active, controlling presence in consciousness. If we examine what philosophers have said about the "ego" (Descartes), "the Self" (Locke and Hume), the "self of all selves" (...) (William James), we will find that it fits what is now known about executive processes. Hume, for instance, famously argued that he could not detect the self in consciousness, and this would correspond to the claim (made by Crick and Koch, for instance) that we are not conscious of the executive processes themselves, but rather of their results. (shrink)
Moral luck poses a problem for out conception of responsibility because it highlights a tension between morality and lack of control. Michael Slote’s common-sense virtue ethics claims to avoid this problem. However there are a number of objections to this claim. Firstly, it is not clear that Slote fully appreciates the problem posed by moral luck. Secondly, Slote’s move from the moral to the ethical is problematic. Thirdly it is not clear why we should want to abandon judgements of (...) moral blame in favour of judgements of ethical deplorability. Finally this paper defends an alternative solution to the problem of moral luck, which focuses on judgements of probability, but which has been rejected by Slote. (shrink)
Keeley has recently argued that the philosophical issue of how to analyse the concept of a sense can usefully be addressed by considering how scientists, and more specifically neuroethologists, classify the senses. After briefly outlining his proposal, which is based on the application of an ordered set of individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for modality differentiation, I argue, by way of two complementary counterexamples, that it fails to account fully for the way the senses are in fact individuated (...) in neuroethology and other relevant sciences. I suggest substantial modifications to Keeley. (shrink)
This paper explores some of the differences between the enactive approach in cognitive science and the extended mind thesis. We review the key enactive concepts of autonomy and sense-making . We then focus on the following issues: (1) the debate between internalism and externalism about cognitive processes; (2) the relation between cognition and emotion; (3) the status of the body; and (4) the difference between ‘incorporation’ and mere ‘extension’ in the body-mind-environment relation.
In this paper I set out to solve the problem of how the world as we experience it, full of colours and other sensory qualities, and our inner experiences, can be reconciled with physics. I discuss and reject the views of J. J. C. Smart and Rom Harré. I argue that physics is concerned only to describe a selected aspect of all that there is – the causal aspect which determines how events evolve. Colours and other sensory qualities, lacking causal (...) efficacy, are ignored by physics and cannot be predicted by physical theory. Even though physics is silent about sensory qualities, they nevertheless exist objectively in the world – in one sense of “objective” at least. (shrink)
Two concepts of utmost importance for the analytic philosophy of the twentieth century, “sense-data” and “knowledge by acquaintance”, were introduced by Bertrand Russell under the influence of two idealist philosophers: F. H. Bradley and Alexius Meinong. This paper traces the exact history of their introduction. We shall see that between 1896 and 1898, Russell had a fully-elaborated theory of “sense-data”, which he abandoned after his analytic turn of the summer of 1898. Furthermore, following a subsequent turn of August (...) 1900—-after he became acquainted with the works of Peano and later of Frege—-Russell gradually developed another theory of sense-data. With the collaboration of G. E. Moore, Russell reintroduced the term “sense-data” in 1911. Concomitantly with this move, Russell introduced the epistemological term “knowledge by acquaintance”, which came to designate the grasping of sense-data and universals. (shrink)
The now growing literature on the content and sources of the phenomenology of first-person agency highlights the multi-faceted character of the phenomenology of agency and makes it clear that the experience of agency includes many other experiences as components. This paper examines the possible relations between these components of our experience of acting and the processes involved in action specification and action control. After a brief discussion of our awareness of our goals and means of action, it will focus on (...) the sense of agency for a given action, understood as the sense the agent has that he or she is the author of that action. I argue that the sense of agency can be analyzed as a compound of more basic experiences, including the experience of intentional causation, the sense of initiation and the sense of control. I further argue that the sense of control may itself be analysed into a number of more specific, partially dissociable experiences. (shrink)
We challenge Gallagher’s distinction between the sense of ownership (SO) and the sense of agency (SA) as two separable modalities of experience of the minimal self and argue that a careful investigation of the examples provided to promote this distinction in fact reveals that SO and SA are intimately related and modulate each other. We propose a way to differentiate between the various notions of SO and SA that are currently used interchangeably in the debate, and suggest a (...) more gradual reading of the two that allows for various blends of SO and SA. Such an approach not only provides us with a richer phenomenology but also with a more parsimonious view of the minimal self. (shrink)
The construction and analysis of arguments supposedly are a philosopher's main business, the demonstration of truth or refutation of falsehood his principal aim. In Sense and Sensibilia, J.L. Austin does something entirely different: He discusses the sense-datum doctrine of perception, with the aim not of refuting it but of 'dissolving' the 'philosophical worry' it induces in its champions. To this end, he 'exposes' their 'concealed motives', without addressing their stated reasons. The paper explains where and why this at (...) first sight outrageous aim and approach are perfectly sensible, how exactly Austin proceeds, and how his approach can be taken further. This shows Austin to be a pioneer of the currently much discussed notion of philosophy as therapy, reveals a subtle and unfamiliar use of linguistic analysis that is not open to the standard objections to ordinary language philosophy, and yields a novel and forceful treatment of the sense-datum doctrine. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a version of a sense-data approach to perception, which differs to a certain extent from well-known versions like the one put forward by Jackson. I compare the sense-data view to the currently most popular alternative theories of perception, the so-called Theory of Appearing (a very specific form of disjunctivist approaches) on the one hand and reductive representationalist approaches on the other. I defend the sense-data approach on the basis that it improves substantially (...) on those alternative theories. (shrink)
I compare Frith and colleagues’ influential comparator account of how the sense of agency is elicited to the multifactorial weighting model advocated by Synofzik and colleagues. I defend the comparator model from the common objection that the actual sensory consequences of action are not needed to elicit the sense of agency. I examine the comparator model’s ability to explain the performance of healthy subjects and those suffering from delusions of alien control on various self-attribution tasks. It transpires that (...) the comparator model needs case-by-case adjustment to deal with problematic data. In response to this, the multifactorial weighting model of Synofzik and colleagues is introduced. Although this model is incomplete, it is more naturally constrained by the cases that are problematic for the comparator model. However, this model may be untestable. I conclude that currently the comparator model approach has stronger support than the multifactorial weighting model approach. (shrink)
On the question of precisely what role common sense (or related datum like folk psychology, trust in pre-theoretic/intuitive judgments, etc.) should have in reigning in the possible excesses of our philosophical methods, the so-called ‘continental’ answer to this question, for the vast majority, would be “as little as possible”, whereas the analytic answer for the vast majority would be “a reasonably central one”. While this difference at the level of both rhetoric and meta-philosophy is sometimes – perhaps often – (...) problematised by the actual philosophical practices of representative philosophers of either tradition, I will argue that this norm (and its absence) nonetheless continues to play an important justificatory role in relation to the use of some rather different methodological practices. In particular, many analytic philosophers not only explicitly invoke the value of common sense, but they also implicitly value it via techniques like conceptual analysis that want to explicate folk psychology and/or lay bare what is already embedded in the linguistic norms of a given culture, the widespread use of thought experiments and the way they function as ‘intuition pumps’, as well as the general aim to achieve ‘reflective equilibrium’ between our intuitions and reflective judgments in epistemology and political philosophy. Such methods, I will argue, enshrine a conservative, or, more positively, a modest understanding of the philosophical project in that it is invested in cohering with both a given body of knowledge and common sense. These methods are notably less perspicuous in continental philosophy. To bring some of the reasons why this might be so to the fore, this paper considers Deleuze’s sustained attack on both good and common sense, which he argues are fundamental to the prevalence of a dogmatic image of thought. If Deleuze is right about this, and if the analytic tradition distils and perfects certain methods that are closely associated with this image of thought, then we have here a rather stark methodological contrast that calls for elaboration and evaluation. (shrink)
The sense of agency, that is the sense that one is the agent of one’s bodily actions, is one component of our self-consciousness. Recently, Wegner and colleagues have developed a model of the causal history of this sense. Their model takes it that the sense of agency is elicited for an action when one infers that one or other of one’s mental states caused that action. In their terms, the sense of agency is elicited by (...) the inference to apparent mental state causation. Here, I argue that this model is inconsistent with data from developmental psychology that suggests children can identify the agent behind an action without being capable of understanding the relationship between their intentions and actions. Furthermore, I argue that this model is inconsistent with the preserved sense of agency in autism. In general, the problem is that there are cases where subjects can experience themselves as the agent behind their actions despite lacking the resources to make the inference to apparent mental state causation. (shrink)
This book aims to develop certain aspects of Gottlob Frege's theory of meaning, especially those relevant to intentional logic. It offers a new interpretation of the nature of senses, and attempts to devise a logical calculus for the theory of sense and reference that captures as closely as possible the views of the historical Frege.
In this paper we give some formal examples of ideas developed by Penco in two papers on the tension inside Frege's notion of sense (see Penco 2003). The paper attempts to compose the tension between semantic and cognitive aspects of sense, through the idea of sense as proof or procedure – not as an alternative to the idea of sense as truth condition, but as complementary to it (as it happens sometimes in the old tradition of (...) procedural semantics). (shrink)
Current theories of social cognition are mainly based on a representationalist view. Moreover, they focus on a rather sophisticated and limited aspect of understanding others, i.e. on how we predict and explain others’ behaviours through representing their mental states. Research into the ‘social brain’ has also favoured a third-person paradigm of social cognition as a passive observation of others’ behaviour, attributing it to an inferential, simulative or projective process in the individual brain. In this paper, we present a concept of (...) social understanding as an ongoing, dynamical process of participatory sense-making and mutual incorporation. This process may be described (1) from a dynamical agentive systems point of view as an interaction and coordination of two embodied agents; (2) from a phenomenological approach as a mutual incorporation, i.e. a process in which the lived bodies of both participants extend and form a common intercorporality. Intersubjectivity, it is argued, is not a solitary task of deciphering or simulating the movements of others but means entering a process of embodied interaction and generating common meaning through it. This approach will be further illustrated by an analysis of primary dyadic interaction in early childhood. (shrink)
Seeing, Doing, and Knowing is an original and comprehensive philosophical treatment of sense perception as it is currently investigated by cognitive neuroscientists. Its central theme is the task-oriented specialization of sensory systems across the biological domain; these systems coevolve with an organism's learning and action systems, providing the latter with classifications of external objects in terms of sensory categories purpose--built for their need. On the basis of this central idea, Matthen presents novel theories of perceptual similarity, content, and realism. (...) His work will be a stimulating resource for a wide range of scholars and students across philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
This paper examines Duhem’s concept of good sense as an attempt to support a non rule-governed account of rationality in theory choice. Faced with the underdetermination of theory by evidence thesis and the continuity thesis, Duhem tried to account for the ability of scientists to choose theories that continuously grow to a natural classification. I will examine the concept of good sense and the problems that stem from it. I will also present a recent attempt by David Stump (...) to link good sense to virtue epistemology. I will argue that even though this approach can be useful for the better comprehension of the concept of good sense, there are some substantial differences between virtue epistemologists and Duhem. In the light of this reconstruction of good sense, I will propose a possible way to interpret the concept of good sense, which overcomes the noted problems and fits better with Duhem’s views on scientific method and motivation in developing the concept of good sense. (shrink)
Gottlob Frege has exerted an enormous influence on the evolution of twentieth-century philosophy, yet the real significance of that influence is still very much a matter of debate. This book provides a completely new and systematic account of Frege's philosophy by focusing on its cornerstone: the theory of sense and reference. Two features distinguish this study from other books on Frege. First, sense and reference are placed absolutely at the core of Frege's work; the author shows that no (...) adequate account of the theory can avoid analysing the notion of thought that underpins it, or explaining how it has clarified our concept of judgement. Second, the theory is situated within the development of Frege's thought; the author reveals how the theory caused Frege to alter many of his fundamental views. In doing so the author presents a clearer picture of the problems the theory was intended to solve, and delineates more sharply the characteristic features of Frege's philosophy. (shrink)
The sense of embodiment is vital for self recognition. An examination of anosognosia for hemiplegia—the inability to recognise that one is paralysed down one side of one’s body—suggests the existence of ‘online’ and ‘offline’ representations of the body. Online representations of the body are representations of the body as it is currently, are newly constructed moment by moment and are directly “plugged into” current perception of the body. In contrast, offline representations of the body are representations of what the (...) body is usually like, are relatively stable and are constructed from online representations. This distinction is supported by an analysis of phantom limb—the feeling that an amputated limb is still present—phenomena. Initially it seems that the sense of embodiment may arise from either of these types of representation; however, an integrated representation of the body seems to be required. It is suggested information from vision and emotions is involved in generating these representations. A lack of access to online representations of the body does not necessarily lead to a loss in the sense of embodiment. An integrated offline representation of the body could account for the sense of embodiment and perform the functions attributed to this sense. (shrink)
De Vignemont argues that the sense of ownership comes from the localization of bodily sensation on a map of the body that is part of the body schema. This model should be taken as a model of the sense of embodiment. I argue that the body schema lacks the theoretical resources needed to explain this phenomenology. Furthermore, there is some reason to think that a deficient sense of embodiment is not associated with a deficient body schema. The (...) data de Vignemont uses to argue that the body image does not underlie the sense of embodiment does not rule out the possibility that part of the body image I call 'offline representations' underlies the sense of embodiment. An alternative model of the sense of embodiment in terms of offline representations of the body is presented. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the circumstances in which it would be right to revise a common-sense psychological categorisation -- such as the common-sense categorisation of emotions -- in the light of the results of empirical investigation. I argue that an answer to that question, familiar from eliminitivist arguments, should be rejected, and suggest that the issue turns on the ontological commitments of the explanations that common-sense psychological states enter into.
Metaphysicians of Meaning is the first book to challenge the accepted understanding of Russell's On Denoting and Frege's On Sense and Reference . Makin compares the work Russell did shortly before his famous essay "On Denoting" with the essay itself and argues that this comparison shows that the traditional view of the problem Russell was trying to solve is untenable. He then examines Frege's classic essay and argues that some of the less well-known views that Frege held have radical (...) implications for our understanding of this essay. (shrink)