Some otherwise rational people appear to believe strange things. Sometimes people believe that someone, usually a near relative or member of their family - often their spouse - has been replaced by an impostor. Sometimes people believe that they are dead. These two delusions – known as the Capgras and Cotard delusion respectively – are instances of monothematic delusions, for they are limited to very specific topics. Other monothematic delusions involve the delusion that one is being followed by known people (...) in disguise (the Frégoli delusion), or that the person one sees in the mirror is someone else (mirrored-self misidentification). We will focus on the Capgras delusion. (shrink)
Disorders of volition are often accompanied by, and may even be caused by, disruptions in the phenomenology of agency. Yet the phenomenology of agency is at present little explored. In this paper we attempt to describe the experience of normal agency, in order to uncover its representational content.
Current models of delusion converge in proposing that delusional beliefs are based on unusual experiences of various kinds. For example, it is argued that the Capgras delusion (the belief that a known person has been replaced by an impostor) is triggered by an abnormal affective experience in response to seeing a known person; loss of the affective response to a familiar person’s face may lead to the belief that the person has been replaced by an impostor (Ellis & Young, 1990). (...) Similarly, the Cotard delusion (which involves the belief that one is dead or unreal in some way) may stem from a general.. (shrink)
In Consciousness and persons, Michael Tye (Tye, M. (2003). Consciousness and persons. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.) develops and defends a novel approach to the unity of consciousness. Rather than thinking of the unity of consciousness as involving phenomenal relations between distinct experiences, as standard accounts do, Tye argues that we should regard the unity of consciousness as involving relations between the contents of consciousness. Having developed an account of what it is for consciousness to be unified, Tye goes on to (...) apply his account of the unity of consciousness to the split-brain syndrome. I provide a critical evaluation of Tye's account of the unity of consciousness and the split-brain syndrome. (shrink)
Philosophy and Neuroscience is an unabashed apologetic for reductionism in philosophy of mind. Bickle chides his fellow philosophers for their ignorance of mainstream neuroscience, and promises them that a subscription to Cell, Neuron, or any other journal in mainstream neuroscience will be amply rewarded. Rather than being bogged down in the intricacies of two-dimensional semantics or the ontology of properties, philosophers of mind need to get neuroscientifically informed and ruthlessly reductive.
In this paper we defend the doxastic conception of delusions against the metacognitive account developed by Greg Currie and collaborators. According to the metacognitive model, delusions are imaginings that are misidentified by their subjects as beliefs: the Capgras patient, for instance, does not believe that his wife has been replaced by a robot, instead, he merely imagines that she has, and mistakes this imagining for a belief. We argue that the metacognitive account is untenable, and that the traditional conception of (...) delusions as beliefs should be retained. (shrink)
Mentalistic (or Lockean) accounts of personal identity are normally formulated in terms of causal relations between psychological states such as beliefs, memories, and intentions. In this paper we develop an alternative (but still Lockean) account of personal identity, based on phenomenal relations between experiences. We begin by examining a notorious puzzle case due to Bernard Williams, and extract two lessons from it: first, that Williams's puzzle can be defused by distinguishing between the psychological and phenomenal approaches, second, that so far (...) as personal identity is concerned, it is phenomenal rather than psychological continuity that matters. We then consider different ways in which the phenomenal approach may be developed, and respond to a number of objections. That with which the consciousness of this present thinking thing can join itself, makes the same person, and is one self with it, and with nothing else; and so attributes to itself and owns all the actions of that thing, as its own, as far as that consciousness reaches, and no farther; as every one who reflects will perceive. Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding [II.xxvii.17]. (shrink)
In his 1996 paper Neurophenomenology: A methodological remedy for the hard problem, Francisco Varela called for a union of Husserlian phenomenology and cognitive science. Varela''s call hasn''t gone unanswered, and recent years have seen the development of a small but growing literature intent on exploring the interface between phenomenology and cognitive science. But despite these developments, there is still some obscurity about what exactly neurophenomenology is. What are neurophenomenologists trying to do, and how are they trying to do it? To (...) what extent is neurophenomenology a distinctive and unified research programme? In this paper I attempt to shed some light on these questions. (shrink)
Given its ubiquitous presence in everyday experience, it is surprising that the phenomenology of doing—the experience of being an agent—has received such scant attention in the consciousness literature. But things are starting to change, and a small but growing literature on the content and causes of the phenomenology of first-person agency is beginning to emerge.2 One of the most influential and stimulating figures in this literature is Daniel Wegner. In a series of papers and his book The Illusion of Conscious (...) Will (ICW) Wegner has developed.. (shrink)
Consciousness has a number of puzzling features. One such feature is its unity: the experiences and other conscious states that one has at a particular time seem to occur together in a certain way. I am currently enjoying visual experiences of my computer screen, auditory experiences of bird-song, olfactory experiences of coffee, and tactile experiences of feeling the ground beneath my feet. Conjoined with these perceptual experiences are proprioceptive experiences, experiences of agency, affective and emotional experiences, and conscious thoughts of (...) various kinds. These experiences are unified in a variety of ways, but the kind of unity that I’m interested in here concerns their phenomenal character. Take just two of these experiences: the sound of bird-song and the smell of coffee. There is something it is like to have the auditory experience, there is something it is like to have the olfactory experience, and there is something it is like to have both the auditory and olfactory experiences together. These two experiences occur as parts or components or aspects of a larger, more complex experience. And what holds of these two experiences seems to hold – at least in normal contexts – of all of one’s simultaneous experiences: they seem to be subsumed by a single, maximal experience.2 We could think of this maximal experience as an experiential perspective on the world. What it is like to be me right now is (or involves) an extremely complex conscious state that subsumes the various simpler experiences that I outlined above (seeing my computer screen, hearing bird-song, smelling coffee, and so on). I will follow recent literature in using the term “co-consciousness” for the relation that a set of conscious states bear to each other when they have a complex phenomenology (Bayne and Chalmers 2003; Dainton 2000; Hurley 1998; Lockwood 1989). (shrink)
Elisabeth Pacherie is a research fellow in philosophy at Institut Jean Nicod, Paris. Her main research and publications are in the areas of philosophy of mind, psychopathology and action theory. Her publications include a book on intentionality (_Naturaliser_ _l'intentionnalité_, Paris, PUF, 1993) and she is currently preparing a book on action and agency.
At any given time, a subject has a multiplicity of conscious experiences. A subject might simultaneously have visual experiences of a red book and a green tree, auditory experiences of birds singing, bodily sensations of a faint hunger and a sharp pain in the shoulder, the emotional experience of a certain melancholy, while having a stream of conscious thoughts about the nature of reality. These experiences are distinct from each other: a subject could experience the red book without the singing (...) birds, and could experience the singing birds without the red book. But at the same time, the experiences seem to be tied together in a deep way. They seem to be unified, by being aspects of a single encompassing state of consciousness. (shrink)
Many contemporary bioethicists claim that the possession of certain psychological properties is sufficient for having full moral status. I will call this thepsychological approach to full moral status. In this paper, I argue that there is a significant tension between the psychological approach and a widely held model of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly Multiple Personality Disorder). According to this model, the individual personalities or alters that belong to someone with DID possess those properties that proponents of the psychological approach (...) claim suffice for full moral status. If this account of DID is true, then the psychological approach to full moral status seems to entail that the two standard therapies for treating DID might, on occasion, be seriously immoral, for they may well involve the (involuntary) elimination of an entity with full moral status. This result should give proponents of the psychological approach pause, for most people find the claim that current treatments of DID are ethically suspect highly counter-intuitive. (shrink)
Thomas Morris and Richard Swinburne have recently defended what they call the ‘two-minds’ model of the Incarnation. This model, which I refer to as the ‘inclusion model’ or ‘inclusionism’, claims that Christ had two consciousnesses, a human and a divine consciousness, with the former consciousness contained within the latter one. I begin by exploring the motivation for, and structure of, inclusionism. I then develop a variety of objections to it: some philosophical, others theological in nature. Finally, I sketch a variant (...) of inclusionism which I call ‘restricted inclusionism’ (RI); RI can evade many, but not all, of the objections to standard inclusionism. (shrink)
In "The Disunity of Consciousness," Gerard O'Brien and Jon Opie argue that human consciousness is not synchronically unified. They suggest that the orthodox conception of the unity of consciousness admits of two readings, neither of which they find persuasive. According to them, "a conscious individual does not have a single consciousness, but several distinct phenomenal consciousnesses, at least one for each of the senses, running in parallel." They call this conception of consciousness the _multi-track account. I make three points in (...) reply: (1) O'Brien and Opie's characterization of the orthodox conception of the unity of consciousness is problematic; (2) their arguments in support of the multitrack account are unpersuasive; and (3) the phenomenon of intersensory integration suggests that O'Brien and Opie are wrong to claim that "the only sense in which it is correct to talk of a 'unified' consciousness (...) is that in which the representational contents of the various components coincide.". (shrink)