Sydney Shoemaker is one of the most influential philosophers currently writing on philosophy of mind and metaphysics. The essays in this collection deal with the way in which we know our own minds, and with the nature of those mental states of which we have our most direct conscious awareness. Professor Shoemaker opposes the 'inner sense' conception of introspective self-knowledge. He defends the view that perceptual and sensory states have non-representational features - 'qualia' - that determine what it is like (...) to have them. Amongst the other topics covered are the unity of consciousness, and the idea that the 'first-personperspective' gives a privileged route to philosophical understanding of the nature of mind. This major collection is sure to prove invaluable to all advanced students of the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. (shrink)
The orthodox view in the study of representation is that a strictly third-person objective methodology must be employed. The acceptance of this methodology is shown to be a fundamental and debilitating error. Toward this end I defend what I call.
The first-personperspective is a challenge to naturalism. Naturalistic theories are relentlessly third-personal. The first-personperspective is, well, first-personal; it is the perspective from which one thinks of oneself as oneself* without the aid of any third-person name, description, demonstrative or other referential device. The exercise of the capacity to think of oneself in this first-personal way is the necessary condition of all our self-knowledge, indeed of all our self-consciousness. As important as the first-person (...)perspective is, many philosophers have not appreciated the force of the data from the first-personperspective, and suppose that the first-personperspective presents no particular problems for the naturalizing philosopher. For example, Ned Block commented, “It is of course [phenomenal] consciousness rather than...self-consciousness that has seemed such a scientific mystery.” (Block 1995, 230) And <span class='Hi'>David</span> Chalmers says that self-consciousness is one of those psychological states that “pose no deep metaphysical enigmas.” (Chalmers 1996, 24). (shrink)
Before one can even begin to model consciousness and what exactly it means that it is a subjective phenomenon one needs a theory about what a first-personperspective really is. This theory has to be conceptually convincing, empirically plausible and, most of all, open to new developments. The chosen conceptual framework must be able to accommodate scientific progress. Its ba- sic assumptions have to be plastic as it were, so that new details and empirical data can continuously be (...) fed into the theoretical model as it grows and becomes more refined. This paper makes an attempt at sketching the outlines of such a theory, offering a representationalist analysis of the phenomenal first-personperspective. Three phenomenal target properties are centrally relevant:. (shrink)
It is no news that you and I are agents as well as persons. Agency and personhood are surely connected, but it is not obvious just how they are connected. I believe that being a person and being an agent are intimately linked by what I call a ‘first-personperspective’: All persons and all agents have first-person perspectives. Even so, the connection between personhood and agency is not altogether straightforward. There are different kinds of agents, and there (...) are different kinds of first-person perspectives. On the one hand, all persons are agents, but not all agents are persons; on the other hand, all moral agents are persons, but not all persons are moral agents. (shrink)
When one considers one's own persistence over time from the first-personperspective, it seems as if facts about one's persistence are "further facts," over and above facts about physical and psychological continuity. But the idea that facts about one's persistence are further facts is objectionable on independent theoretical grounds: it conflicts with physicalism and requires us to posit hidden facts about our persistence. This essay shows how to resolve this conflict using the idea that imagining from the (...) class='Hi'>first-person point of view is a guide to centered possibility , a type of possibility analyzed in terms of centered worlds. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Technorati What's this? (shrink)
To adopt a first-personperspective on consciousness is typically understood as a matter of inwardly engaging one's awareness in such a way as to make one's conscious states and their properties into objects of awareness. When awareness is thus inwardly engaged, experience functions as both act and object of awareness. As objects of awareness, an experience-token and its various properties are items of which a subject is aware. As an act of awareness, an experience-token is that in virtue (...) of which items - in this case, other experience-tokens and their properties - can appear, to a subject, as objects of awareness. The precise nature of the relation between experience functioning as act and as object is a matter of dispute. However, two broad possibilities can be distinguished: (1) as acts of awareness, experiences reveal other experiences to subjects by way of a form of direct, unmediated, acquaintance, (2) as acts of awareness experiences reveal other experiences to subjects by way of modes of presentation of those experiences. I shall argue against (1). Possibility (2), I shall argue, entails a form of representationalism about experiences: experiences are defined by their representational role. However, (2) also yields a crucial but largely neglected consequence of representationalism: necessarily, in any given experience, there is an aspect of this experience that must be understood in terms of its representational role but cannot be understood in terms of its representational content. I shall call this the ineliminable intentional core of the experience. The ineliminable intentional core of the experience is, necessarily, not an object of inwardly engaged awareness. This entails a significant revision in the way we think about the concept of the first-personperspective, and of what it is to study consciousness from the inside. (shrink)
Phenomenology and analytical philosophy share a number of common concerns, and it seems obvious that analytical philosophy can learn from phenomenology, just as phenomenology can profit from an exchange with analytical philosophy. But although I think it would be a pity to miss the opportunity for dialogue that is currently at hand, I will in the following voice some caveats. More specifically, I wish to discuss two issues that complicate what might otherwise seem like rather straightforward interaction. The first issue (...) concerns the question of whether the current focus on the first-personperspective might have a negative side-effect by giving us a slanted view of what subjectivity amounts to. The second issue concerns the question of whether superficial similarities in the descriptive findings might actually conceal some rather deep-rooted differences in the systematic use these findings serve. (shrink)
The old duality that eventually came to produce the mind/body-problem indicates the problem of transcendental subjectivity. The enduring significance of this problem shows itself in a provocation of any paradigm that has become too objectivistic, too naturalistic – even too idealistic in a certain sense – and too forgetful of its own departure from a perspective always presumed. Analytic philosophy bears a tendency towards such a ‘view from nowhere’ which denies a fundamental subjective connection. The rebuttal of this position (...) entails accepting the interrelation between first- and third-person-perspective; we call this the ‘view from somewhere’. Tracing the tension between the subjective and the objective we find this “view” embraced in the phenomenological tradition. At the same time we find the mind/body-problem seemingly dissolved through, among other key concepts, the introduction of the ‘lived body’. We will see, however, that this is no thorough solution; a fundamental mind/world polarity escapes the phenomenological framework and ends up mounting a critical threat to its own stability. A demonstration is attempted of how both the process of objectification and the process of subjectification falls into regressive patterns. This is due to the interplay of the gaze and the source, the ‘from’ and the ‘towards’: Ajin. Later this argumentation calls for a discussion of the pre-reflective sphere of consciousness. Finally we show the alignment between conclusions driven forth in our own dialectic and the ones found in the philosophy of Nāgārjuna. The transcendental interconstitution of subjectivity and objectivity, perspective and world, has a name in emptiness. (shrink)
Abstract: On standard accounts, actions are caused by reasons (Davidson), and reasons are taken to be neural phenomena. Since neural phenomena are wholly understandable from a third-person perspective, standard views have no room for any ineliminable first-personal elements in an account of the causation of action. This article aims to show that first-person perspectives play essential roles in both human and nonhuman agency. Nonhuman agents have rudimentary first-person perspectives, whereas human agents—at least rational agents and moral agents—have (...) robust first-person perspectives. The author concludes with a view of intentional causation, according to which reasons are constituted by (but not identical to) neural phenomena. The idea of constitution without identity allows for a causal account of action that automatically includes first-personal aspects of agency. (shrink)
This is a brief and accessible English summary of the "Self-model Theory of Subjectivity" (SMT), which is only available as German book in this archive. It introduces two new theoretical entities, the "phenomenal self-model" (PSM) and the "phenomenal model of the intentionality-relation" PMIR. A representationalist analysis of the phenomenal first-person persepctive is offered. This is a revised version, including two pictures.
The notion of cognitive act is of importance for an epistemology that is apt for constructive type theory, and for epistemology in general. Instead of taking knowledge attributions as the primary use of the verb ‘to know’ that needs to be given an account of, and understanding a first-person knowledge claim as a special case of knowledge attribution, the account of knowledge that is given here understands first-person knowledge claims as the primary use of the verb ‘to know’. (...) This means that a cognitive act is an act that counts as cognitive from a first-person point of view. The method of linguistic phenomenology is used to explain or elucidate our epistemic notions. One of the advantages of the theory is that an answer can be given to some of the problems in modern epistemology, such as the Gettier problem. (shrink)
Buddhism famously denies the existence of the self. This is usually understood to mean that Buddhism denies the existence of a substantial self existing over and above the flow of conscious experience. But what of the purely experiential self accepted by the phenomenological tradition? Does Buddhism deny the reflexive or first-personal character of conscious experience? In this paper, I argue that even the notion of an experiential self is ultimately incompatible with Buddhist teaching?in fact, deeply incompatible. According to Buddhism, I (...) am an objectively existing person (though not irreducibly real). However, when I conceive of myself as myself, I conceive of myself as having a subjective mode of existence. What Buddhism denies, then, is not that I exist, but that I exist in the subjective or first-person manner in which I conceive of myself as existing. The problem I take up in this paper is to understand how Buddhism can simultaneously affirm the reflexivity of conscious experience and yet deny that the experiential self is a self. (shrink)
The notion of cognitive act is of importance for an epistemology that is apt for constructive type theory, and for epistemology in general. Instead of taking knowledge attributions as the primary use of the verb 'to know' that needs to be given an account of, and understanding a first-person knowledge claim as a special case of knowledge attribution, the account of knowledge that is given here understands first-person knowledge claims as the primary use of the verb 'to know'. (...) This means that a cognitive act is an act that counts as cognitive from a first-person point of view. The method of linguistic phenomenology is used to explain or elucidate our epistemic notions. One of the advantages of the theory is that an answer can be given to some of the problems in modern epistemology, such as the Gettier problem. (shrink)
Self-consciousness, many philosophers agree, is essential to being a person. There is not so much agreement, however, about how to understand what self-consciousness is. Philosophers in the field of cognitive science tend to write off self-consciousness as unproblematic. According to such philosophers, the real difficulty for the cognitive scientist is phenomenal consciousness--the fact that we (and other organisms) have states that feel a certain way. If we had a grip on phenomenal consciousness, they think, self-consciousness could be easily handled by (...) functionalist models. For example, recently Ned Block commented,. (shrink)
Recent advances in experimental science have made it possible to investigate the perceptual processes involved in generating a sense of owning an entire body. This is achieved by full-body ownership illusions which make use of specific patterns of visual and somatic stimuli integration. Here we investigate the fundamental question of the reference frames used in the process of attributing an entire body to the self. We quantified the strength of the body-swap illusion in conditions where the participants were observing this (...) artificial body from the perspective of the first or third person. Consistent results from subjective reports and physiological recordings show that the first person visual perspective is critical for the induction of this full-body ownership illusion. This demonstrates that the multisensory integration processes producing the sense of corporeal self operates in an ego-centric reference frame. (shrink)
This paper develops a view of the content of perceptual states that reflects the cognitive significance those states have for the subject. Perhaps the most important datum for such a theory is the intuition that experiences are ‘transparent’, an intuition promoted by philosophers as diverse as Sartre and Dretske. This paper distinguishes several different transparency theses, and considers which ones are truly supported by the phenomenological data. It is argued that the only thesis supported by the data is much weaker (...) than those typically considered in the literature, and has no obvious implications for the existence of sensory intermediaries. It does, however, have implications for the content of perceptual experience. It is argued that combining the first personal project with the transparency intuition yields an error theory of perception. The counterintuitive implications of this error theory are mitigated, however, by an account of perceptual beliefs which allows for them to be true even if the perceptual states are non-veridical. (shrink)
Lynne Rudder Baker’s Constitution View of human persons has come under much recent scrutiny. Baker argues that each human person is constituted by, but not identical to, a human animal. Much of the critical discussion of Baker’s Constitution View has focused upon this aspect of her account. Less has been said about the positive diachronic account of personal identity offered by Baker. Baker argues that it is sameness of what she labels ‘first-personperspective’ that is essential to understanding (...) personal identity over time . Baker claims that her account avoids the commitment to indeterminacy of personal identity entailed by the psychological account. Further, the psychological account, but not her account, is plagued by what Baker labels the ‘duplication problem’. In the end, I argue that neither of these considerations forces us to renounce the psychological account and adopt Baker’s favored account. (shrink)
1. Introduction: Naturalism and Psychological Explanations To a large extent, contemporary philosophical debate takes place within a framework of naturalistic assumptions. From the perspective of the history of philosophy, naturalism is the legacy of positivism without its empiricist epistemology and empiricist conception of meaning and cognitive significance. Systematically, it is best to characterize naturalism as the philosophical articulation of the underlying presuppositions of a reductive scientific research program that was rather successful in the last few centuries and, equally important, (...) promises to be so in the future particularly in the biological sciences and the neurosciences. It seems as if the secrets of human life and behavior and the mysteries of the mind will be cracked on the molecular level of the genes or the brain, or at least so we are told. Viewed in this manner it is understandable why philosophical naturalism tends to be committed to monism, both as a metaphysical or ontological claim and as a methodological position in the philosophy of social science. Naturalists are inclined to adopt a physicalist ontology that rejects free floating Cartesian substances and they view higher order macroscopic facts and properties as being dependent or supervenient on basic micro-physical facts. Naturalists, furthermore, expect that any scientific explanation of higher order properties has to provide an account of why and how these lower order facts give rise to higher order ones. These ontological and epistemic commitments also underpin a position of methodological monism in regard to the social sciences and the explanation of human agency. If the above ontological picture is correct then there is no reason to expect that the structure of the sciences dealing with higher order properties on the social level should fundamentally differ in their methodology from the natural sciences. In both domains of investigation, scientists will develop and make explanatory use of comprehensive and empirically well supported theories with adequate predictive powers that describe.... (shrink)
Upshot: Is lived experience always the experience of a self? The central thesis of Dan Zahavi’s book is that there is a “minimal” or “core” self, according to which a quality of “self-givenness” is a constitutive feature of experience. The adoption of a dynamic phenomenological perspective leads us to call this thesis into question.
Based on the theoretical analysis of self-consciousness concepts, we hypothesized that the spatio-temporal pattern of functional connectivity within the default-mode network (DMN) should persist unchanged across a variety of different cognitive tasks or acts, thus being task-unrelated. This supposition is in contrast with current understanding that DMN activated when the subjects are resting and deactivated during any attention-demanding cognitive tasks. To test our proposal, we used, in retrospect, the results from our two early studies ([Fingelkurts, 1998] and [Fingelkurts et al., (...) 2003]). In both studies for the majority of experimental trails we indeed found a constellation of operationally synchronized cortical areas (indexed as DMN) that was persistent across all studied experimental conditions in all subjects. Furthermore, we found three major elements comprising this DMN: two symmetrical occipito-parieto-temporal and one frontal spatio-temporal patterns. This new data directly supports the notion that DMN has a specific functional connotation – it provides neurophysiologic basis for self-processing operations, namely first-personperspective taking and an experience of agency. -/- . (shrink)
The sequence of topics in this reply roughly follows that of the target article. The latter focused largely on experimental studies of how consciousness relates to human information processing, tracing their relation from input through to output. The discussion of the implications of the findings both for cognitive psychology and philosophy of mind was relatively brief. The commentaries reverse this emphasis, and so, correspondingly, does the reply.
To be an agent, one must be able to formulate intentions. To be able to formulate intentions, one must have a first-personperspective. Computers lack a first-personperspective. So, computers are not agents.
Previous work has reported that it is not difficult to give people the illusion of ownership over an artificial body, providing a powerful tool for the investigation of the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying body perception and self consciousness. We present an experimental study that uses immersive virtual reality focused on identifying the perceptual building blocks of this illusion. We systematically manipulated visuotactile and visual sensorimotor contingencies, visual perspective, and the appearance of the virtual body in order to assess (...) their relative role and mutual interaction. Consistent results from subjective reports and physiological measures showed that a first person perspective over a fake humanoid body is essential for eliciting a body ownership illusion. We found that the level of realism of the virtual body, in particular the realism of skin tone, plays a critical role: when high enough, the illusion can be triggered by the sole effect of the spatial overlap between the real and virtual bodies, providing congruent visuoproprioceptive information, with no need for the additional contribution of congruent visuotactile and/or visual sensorimotor cues. Additionally, we found that the processing of incongruent perceptual cues can be modulated by the level of the illusion: when the illusion is strong, incongruent cues are not experienced as incorrect. Participants exposed to asynchronous visuotactile stimulation can experience the ownership illusion and perceive touch as originating from an object seen to contact the virtual body. Analogously, when the level of realism of the virtual body and/or the spatial overlap of the two bodies is not high enough, the contribution of congruent multisensory and/or sensorimotor cues is required for evoking the illusion. On the basis of these results and inspired by findings from neurophysiological recordings in the monkey, we propose a model that accounts for many of the results reported in the literature. (shrink)
This metatheoretical paper develops a list of new research targets by exploring particularly promising interdisciplinary contact points between empirical dream research and philosophy of mind. The central example is the MPS-problem. It is constituted by the epistemic goal of conceptually isolating and empirically grounding the phenomenal property of “minimal phenomenal selfhood”, which refers to the simplest form of self-consciousness. In order to precisely describe MPS, one must focus on those conditions that are not only causally enabling, but strictly necessary to (...) bring it into existence. This contribution argues that research on bodiless dreams, asomatic out-of-body experiences, and full-body illusions has the potential to make decisive future contributions. Further items on the proposed list of novel research targets include differentiating the concept of a “first-personperspective” on the subcognitive level; investigating relevant phenomenological and neurofunctional commonalities between mind-wandering and dreaming; comparing the functional depth of embodiment across dream and wake states; and demonstrating that the conceptual consequences of cognitive corruption and systematic rationality deficits in the dream state are much more serious for philosophical epistemology (and, perhaps, the methodology of dream research itself) than commonly assumed. The paper closes by specifying a list of potentially innovative research goals that could serve to establish a stronger connection between dream research and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Theoretical and empirical accounts suggest that impairments in self-other discrimination processes are likely to promote the expression of hallucinations. However, our understanding of such processes during adolescence is still at an early stage. The present study thus aims 1) to delineate the neural correlates sustaining mental simulation of actions involving self-performed actions (first-personperspective; 1PP) and other-performed actions (third-person perspective; 3PP) during adolescence 2) to identify atypical activation patterns during 1PP/3PP mental simulation of actions in hallucination-prone adolescents (...) 3) to examine whether differential risk for schizophrenia (clinical vs genetic) is also associated with differential impairments in the 1PP/3PP mental simulation of actions during adolescence. Twenty-two typically developing controls (Control group; 6 females), twelve hallucination-prone adolescents (AH group; 7 females) and thirteen adolescents with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11.2DS group; 4 females) were included in the study. During the fMRI task, subjects were presented with a cue (self-other priming cues) indicating to perform the task using either a first person perspective (“you”-1PP) or a third person perspective (“friend”-3PP) and then they were asked to mentally simulate actions based on the type of cue. Our results indicated that atypical patterns of cerebral activation, particularly in the key areas of self-other distinction, were found in both groups at risk for auditory hallucinations (AH and 22q11.2DS). More precisely, adolescents in the AH and 22q11.2DS groups presented decreased activations in the parieto-occipital region BA19 during 3PP. This study characterizes the neural correlates of mental imagery for actions during adolescence, and suggests that a differential risk for hallucination-proneness (clinical vs. genetic) is associated to similar patterns of atypical activations in key areas sustaining self-other discrimination processes. (shrink)
Patient self-management programs have become increasingly popular and are now also receiving official endorsements. This paper analyses two possible types of positive justifications for promoting patient self-management: evidence-based and patient-centred justifications. It is argued that evidence-based justifications, although important politically are deficient and that the primary justification for patient self-management must be a patient-centred justification focusing on the patient’s privileged access to his or her own lived body.
In recent work on contextdependency, it has been argued that certain types of sentences give rise to a notion of relative truth. In particular, sentences containing predicates of personal taste and moral or aesthetic evaluation as well as epistemic modals are held to express a proposition (relative to a context of use) which is true or false not only relative to a world of evaluation, but other parameters as well, such as standards of taste or knowledge or an agent. Thus, (...) a sentence like chocolate tastes good would express a proposition p that is true or false not only at a world of evaluation, but relative to the additional parameter as well, such as a parameter of taste or an agent. I will argue that the sentences that apparently give rise to relative truth should be understood by relating them in a certain way to the first person. More precisely, such sentences express what I will call firstpersonbased genericity, a form of generalization that is based on or directed toward an essential firstperson application of the predicate. The account differs from standard relative truth account in crucial respects: it is not the truth of the proposition expressed that is relative to the first person; the proposition expressed by a sentence with a predicate of taste rather has absolute truth conditions. Instead it is the propositional content itself that requires a firstpersonal cognitive access whenever it is entertained. This account, I will argue, avoids a range of problems that standard relative truth theories of the sentences in question face and explains a number of further peculiarities that such sentences display. (shrink)