In recent times, explanations of the Capgras delusion have tended to emphasise the cognitive dysfunction that is believed to occur at the second stage of two-stage models. This is generally viewed as a response to the inadequacies of the one-stage account. Whilst accepting that some form of cognitive disruption is a necessary part of the aetiology of the Capgras delusion, I nevertheless argue that the emphasis placed on this second-stage is to the detriment of the important role played by the (...) phenomenology underlying the disorder, both in terms of the formation and maintenance of the delusional belief. This paper therefore proposes an interactionist two-stage model in which the phenomenalexperience of the Capgras patient is examined, emphasised, and its relation to top-down processing discussed. (shrink)
When cognitive scientists apply computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, as many of them have been doing recently, there are two fundamentally distinct approaches available. Either consciousness is to be explained in terms of the nature of the representational vehicles the brain deploys; or it is to be explained in terms of the computational processes defined over these vehicles. We call versions of these two approaches _vehicle_ and _process_ theories of consciousness, respectively. However, while there may be (...) space for vehicle theories of consciousness in cognitive science, they are relatively rare. This is because of the influence exerted, on the one hand, by a large body of research which purports to show that the explicit representation of information in the brain and conscious experience are _dissociable_, and on the other, by the _classical_ computational theory of mind – the theory that takes human cognition to be a species of symbol manipulation. But two recent developments in cognitive science combine to suggest that a reappraisal of this situation is in order. First, a number of theorists have recently been highly critical of the experimental methodologies employed in the dissociation studies – so critical, in fact, it’s no longer reasonable to assume that the dissociability of conscious experience and explicit representation has been adequately demonstrated. Second, classicism, as a theory of human cognition, is no longer as dominant in cognitive science as it once was. It now has a lively competitor in the form of _connectionism; _and connectionism, unlike classicism, does have the computational resources to support a robust vehicle theory of consciousness. In this paper we develop and defend this connectionist vehicle theory of consciousness. It takes the form of the following simple empirical hypothesis: _phenomenal experience consists in the explicit_ _representation of information in neurally realized PDP networks_.. (shrink)
When cognitive scientists apply computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, as many of them have been doing recently, there are two fundamentally distinct approaches available. Either consciousness is to be explained in terms of the nature of the representational vehicles the brain deploys; or it is to be explained in terms of the computational processes defined over these vehicles. We call versions of these two approaches vehicle and process theories of consciousness, respectively. However, while there may be (...) space for vehicle theories of consciousness in cognitive science, they are relatively rare. This is because of the influence exerted, on the one hand, by a large body of research which purports to show that the explicit representation of information in the brain and conscious experience are dissociable, and on the other, by the classical computational theory of mind – the theory that takes human cognition to be a species of symbol manipulation. But two recent developments in cognitive science combine to suggest that a reappraisal of this situation is in order. First, a number of theorists have recently been highly critical of the experimental methodologies employed in the dissociation studies – so critical, in fact, it’s no longer reasonable to assume that the dissociability of conscious experience and explicit representation has been adequately demonstrated. Second, classicism, as a theory of human cognition, is no longer as dominant in cognitive science as it once was. It now has a lively competitor in the form of connectionism; and connectionism, unlike classicism, does have the computational resources to support a robust vehicle theory of consciousness. In this paper we develop and defend this connectionist vehicle theory of consciousness. It takes the form of the following simple empirical hypothesis: phenomenalexperience consists in the explicit representation of information in neurally realized PDP networks. This hypothesis leads us to re-assess some common wisdom about consciousness, but, we will argue, in fruitful and ultimately plausible ways. (shrink)
How do questions concerning consciousness and phenomenalexperience relate to, or interface with, questions concerning plans, knowledge and intentions? At least in the case of visual experience the relation, we shall argue, is tight. Visual perceptual experience, we shall argue, is fixed by an agent’s direct unmediated knowledge concerning her poise (or apparent poise) over a currently enabled action space. An action space, in this specific sense, is to be understood not as a fine-grained matrix of (...) possibilities for bodily movement, but as a matrix of possibilities for pursuing and accomplishing one’s intentional actions, goals and projects. If this is correct, the links between planning, intention and perceptual experience are tight, while (contrary to some recent accounts invoking the notion of ‘sensorimotor expectations’) the links between embodied activity and perceptual experience, though real, are indirect. What matters is not bodily activity itself, but our practical knowledge (which need not be verbalized or in any way explicit) of our own possibilities for action. Such knowledge, selected, shaped and filtered by the grid of plans, goals, and intentions, plays, we argue, a constitutive role in explaining the content and character of visual perceptual experience. (shrink)
If one were to provide a reductive explanation of phenomenalexperience one would explain why there could be a phenomenalexperience that identifies itself as an individual that possesses ‘consciousness’. Although not a requirement of reduction, such an explanation would be consistent with our understanding of evolution and, consequently, explain the physical origins and purpose of phenomenalexperience. However, this explanation would not explain why a particular conscious individual identifies itself as itself rather than (...) any other individual - Why is ‘my’ consciousness ‘mine’ (materially, or otherwise, irrespective of experiential detail and content) rather than anyone else? What is consciousness outside of phenomenalexperience and phenomenal conceptualization? In this paper, I argue that the indeterminacy of quantum mechanics makes it a suitable candidate for exploring the answers to these questions. (shrink)
This paper details an evolving dynamic systems hierarchy and explores its relationship with conceptual, evolutionary, physiological, and behavioural characteristics that include phenomenalexperience. In doing this, the paper demonstrates an example of a type-C physicalist's reductive explanation of phenomenalexperience that is coherent with stipulated philosophical criteria and theories. By providing a reductive explanation of phenomenalexperience, the paper provides insights toward explaining many unique human characteristics. These include, creativity, the origins of language as (...) distinct from animal communication, the evolution of morality, and the dynamics behind bias and prejudice. Furthermore, the reductive explanation provides foundations for artificial consciousness applications. (shrink)
This paper defends the hypothesis that phenomenal experiences may be very complex information states. This can explain some of our most perplexing anti-physicalist intuitions about phenomenalexperience. The approach is to describe some basic facts about information in such a way as to make clear the essential oversight involved, by way illustrating how various intuitive arguments against physicalism (such as Frank Jackson.
In O'Regan & Noë's (O&N's) account for the phenomenalexperience of seeing, awareness is equated to what is within the current focus of attention. They find no place for a distinction between phenomenal and access awareness. In doing so, they essentially present a dualistic solution to the mind-brain problem, and ignore that we do have phenomenalexperience of what is outside the focus of attention.
J. G. Taylor advances an empirically testable local neural network model to understand the neural correlates of phenomenalexperience. Taylor's model is better able to explain the presence (i.e., persistence, latency, and seamlessness) and unity of phenomenal consciousness which support the idea that consciousness is coherent, undivided, and centered. However, Taylor fails to offer a satisfactory explanation of the nonlinear relationship between local and global neural systems. In addition, the ontological assumptions that PE is immediate, intrinsic, and (...) incorrigible limit an understanding of the different experiential forms consciousness takes during neurobehavioral development. Recent studies suggest that neurobehavioral development is discontinuous and that judgment emerges under conditions of uncertainty to render feeling and perception in equivalent terms of energy and behavior. Approaching the problem of phenomenalexperience from a developmental perspective may help resolve the paradox of feeling infinitely close as well as distant from one's self. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to analyze the relationship between phenomenalexperience and our folk conceptualization of it. I will focus on the phenomenal concept strategy as an answer to Mary's puzzle. In the first part I present Mary's argument and the phenomenal concept strategy. In the second part I explain the requirements phenomenal concepts should satisfy in order to solve Mary's puzzle. In the third part I present various accounts of what a (...) class='Hi'>phenomenal concept is, and I show the difficulties each of them have. Finally, I develop my own account of phenomenal concepts. My thesis claims that phenomenal concepts are complex concepts whose possession conditions depend upon the mastery of many other concepts, in fact, quite complex concepts such as the distinction between appearance and reality (which belongs to our theory of mind system), and color concepts (at least in the case of the phenomenal concepts needed in order to account for Mary's case). And these later concepts are concepts that have special possession conditions: they include the deployment of nonconceptual recognitional capacities. (shrink)
We discuss in some length evidence from the cognitive science suggesting that the representations of objects based on spatiotemporal information and featural information retrieved bottomup from a visual scene precede representations of objects that include conceptual information. We argue that a distinction can be drawn between representations with conceptual and nonconceptual content. The distinction is based on perceptual mechanisms that retrieve information in conceptually unmediated ways. The representational contents of the states induced by these mechanisms that are available to a (...) type of awareness called phenomenal awareness constitute the phenomenal content of experience. The phenomenal content of perception contains the existence of objects as separate things that persist in time and time, spatiotemporal information, and information regarding relative spatial relations, motion, surface properties, shape, size, orientation, color, and their functional properties. (shrink)
: Although Externalism is widely accepted as a thesis about belief, as a thesis about experience it is both controversial and unpopular. One potential explanation of this difference involves the phenomenality of perceptual experience—perhaps there is something about how perceptual experiences seem that straightforwardly speaks against Externalist accounts of their individuation conditions. In this paper, I investigate this idea by exploring the role that the phenomenality of color experience plays in a prominent argument against Phenomenal Externalism: (...) Ned Block’s Inverted Earth Argument. In the course of carrying out this investigation, I will show that challenging Phenomenal Externalism on phenomenological grounds is not as straightforward a task as it is commonly assumed to be. -/- . (shrink)
Sensory motor contingencies belong to a functionalistic framework. Functionalism does not explain why and how objective functional relations produce phenomenalexperience. O'Regan & Noë (O&N) as well as other functionalists do not propose a new ontology that could support the first person subjective phenomenal side of experience.
Sensory Motor Contingencies belong to a functionalistic framework. Functionalism does not give any explanation about why and how objective functional relations should produce phenomenalexperience. O’Regan and Noe as well as other functionalists do not propose a new ontology that could support the first person subjective phenomenal side of experience.
The phenomenal character of perceptual experience involves the representation of colour, spatial and temporal properties, but does it also involve the representation of high-level categories? Is the recognition of an object as a tomato encoded in the phenomenology of perception? Proponents of a conservative view of the reach of phenomenal content say “no”, whereas those who take a liberal view of perceptual phenomenology say “yes”. This paper clarifies the debate between conservatives and liberals, and provides a case (...) in favour of the liberal position: high-level content can inform perceptual phenomenology. (shrink)
The same neural structures involved in the unconscious modeling of our acting body in space also contribute to our awareness of the lived body and of the objects that the world contains. Neuroscientific research also shows that there are neural mechanisms mediating between the multi-level personal experience we entertain of our lived body, and the implicit certainties we simultaneously hold about others. Such personal and body-related experiential knowledge enables us to understand the actions performed by others, and to directly (...) decode the emotions and sensations they experience. A common functional mechanism is at the basis of both body awareness and basic forms of social understanding: embodied simulation. It will be shown that the present proposal is consistent with some of the perspectives offered by phenomenology. (shrink)
Phenomenal knowledge usually comes from experience. But it need not. For example, one could know what it’s like to see red without seeing red—indeed, without having any color experiences. Daniel Dennett (2007) and Pete Mandik (forthcoming) argue that this and related considerations undermine the knowledge argument against physicalism. If they are right, then this is not only a problem for anti‐physicalists. Their argument threatens to undermine any version of phenomenal realism—the view that there are phenomenal properties, (...) or qualia, that are not conceptually reducible to physical or functional properties. I will argue that this threat is illusory. Explaining why will clarify what is and is not at issue in discussions of the knowledge argument and phenomenal realism. This will strengthen the case for physically and functionally irreducible qualia. (shrink)
Phenomenal intentionality and the evidential role of perceptual experience: comments on Jack Lyons, Perception and Basic Beliefs Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9604-2 Authors Terry Horgan, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Our perceptual experiences stretch across time to present us with movement, persistence and change. How is this possible given that perceptual experiences take place in the present that has no duration? In this paper I argue that this problem is one and the same as the problem of accounting for how our experiences occurring at different times can be phenomenally unified over time so that events occurring at different times can be experienced together. Any adequate account of temporal experience (...) must also account for phenomenal unity. I look to Edmund Husserl's writings on time consciousness for such an account. (shrink)
This paper contrasts an interactionist account of delusional misidentification with more traditional one- and two-stage models. Unlike the unidirectional nature of these more traditional models, in which the aetiology of the disorder is said to progress from a neurological disruption via an anomalous experience to a delusional belief, the interactionist account posits the interaction of top-down and bottom-up processes to better explain the maintenance of the delusional belief. In addition, it places a greater emphasis on the patient’s underlying (...) class='Hi'>phenomenalexperience in accounting for the specificity of the delusional content. The role played by patient phenomenology is examined in light of Ratcliffe’s recent phenomenological account. Similarities and differences are discussed. The paper concludes that a purely phenomenological account is unable to differentiate between non-delusional patient groups, who have what appear to be equivalent phenomenal experiences to patients suffering from delusional misidentification but without the delusional belief, and delusional groups, something the interactionist model is able to do. (shrink)
Palmer's principled distinction between first-person experience and scientific access is called into question. First, complete color transformations of experience and memory may be undetectable even from the first-person perspective. Second, transformations of (say) pain experiences seem to be intrinsically connected to certain effects, thus giving science access to these experiences, in principle. Evidence from pain research and emotional psychology indicates that further progress can be made.
(2013). Phenomenal Consciousness: Understanding the Relation Between Experience and Neural Processes in the Brain, by Dimitris Platchias. Australasian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 91, No. 3, pp. 617-620. doi: 10.1080/00048402.2013.788529.
Do philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in the same way? In this article, we argue that they do not and that the philosophical concept of phenomenal consciousness does not coincide with the folk conception. We first offer experimental support for the hypothesis that philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in markedly different ways. We then explore experimentally the folk conception, proposing that for the folk, subjective experience is closely linked to valence. (...) We conclude by considering the implications of our findings for a central issue in the philosophy of mind, the hard problem of consciousness. (shrink)
In philosophy of mind, the arguments about phenomenalexperience are related to ontological points of view in which the alternatives are physicalist monism and dualism. Both involve problems and the choice is difficult in order to describe the experience into scientific knowledge. I accost Carnap and Vasubandhu philosophies to show an epistemic position, that involves an ontological deconstruction, from the phenomenalexperience starting point. In this view, the way to address the psico-physical problem changes: it (...) is not concerned any problem about a dualism of substances (or objects). Experience and evidence are two points of convergence, and lead to the question of subjectivity: the consciousness it is not an object however it keeps its relevance. (shrink)
Philosophers of mind typically group experiential states together and distinguish these from intentional states on the basis of their purportedly obvious phenomenal character. Sytsma and Machery (Phil Stud 151(2): 299–327, 2010) challenge this dichotomy by presenting evidence that non-philosophers do not classify subjective experiences relative to a state’s phenomenological character, but rather by its valence. However we argue that S&M’s results do not speak to folk beliefs about the nature of experiential states, but rather to folk beliefs about the (...) entity to which those experiential states are attributed. In two experiments, we demonstrate that ordinary attributions of subjective experiences (of smell and felt emotions) to a simple robot are not sensitive to valence, but instead respond to functional assumptions about the entity to which the states are (or are not) attributed. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend a representationalist account of the phenomenal character of color experiences. Representationalism, the thesis that phenomenal character supervenes on a certain kind of representational content, so-called phenomenal content, has been developed primarily in two different ways, as Russellian and Fregean representationalism. While the proponents of Russellian and Fregean representationalism differ with respect to what they take the contents of color experiences to be, they typically agree that colors are exhaustively characterized by the three (...) dimensions of the color solid: hue, saturation, and lightness. I argue that a viable version of representationalism needs to renounce this restriction to three dimensions and consider illumination to be a genuine phenomenal dimension of color. My argument for this thesis falls into two parts. I first consider the phenomenon of color constancy in order to show that neither Russellian nor Fregean representationalism can do justice to the phenomenal significance of local illumination. I subsequently formulate a version of representationalism that accounts for illumination by taking it as a phenomenal dimension of color. (shrink)
Incompatibilists often claim that we experience our agency as incompatible with determinism, while compatibilists challenge this claim. We report a series of experiments that focus on whether the experience of having an ability to do otherwise is taken to be at odds with determinism. We found that participants in our studies described their experience as incompatibilist whether the decision was (i) present-focused or retrospective, (ii) imagined or actual, (iii) morally salient or morally neutral. The only case in (...) which participants did not give incompatibilist judgments was when the question was explicitly about whether one’s ignorance of the future was compatible with determinism. This lends empirical support to claims made by incompatibilists about the experience of agency, while also showing that compatibilist accounts of ability are inadequate to the reported phenomenology. Our results also inform recent debates about the presuppositions of deliberation. (shrink)
These lectures have been organized around the question of whether there is any good sense in which our introspective access to our own mental states is a kind of perception, something that can appropriately be called "inner sense." In my first lecture I distinguished two versions of the perception model of introspection, based on two different stereotypes of sense perception. One of these, based primarily on the case of vision, is what I called the object perceptual model -- it takes (...) perception to be in the first instance a relation to objects and only secondarily a relation to facts. I argued in my first lecture that introspection does not have non factual objects of the sort required to make this model applicable. The other, which does not require perception to have non factual objects, I called the broad perceptual model; its key tenet is that the existence of the objects of perception, whether they be factual or non factual, is independent both of their being perceived and of there being the possibility of their being perceived. The view that introspection conforms to this was my target in my second lecture, where I argued that it is of the essence of various kinds of mental states that they are introspectively accessible. (shrink)
Relying on a range of now-familiar thought-experiments, it has seemed to many philosophers that phenomenal consciousness is beyond the scope of reductive explanation. (Phenomenal consciousness is a form of state-consciousness, which contrasts with creature-consciousness, or perceptual-consciousness. The different forms of state-consciousness include various kinds of access-consciousness, both first-order and higher-order--see Rosenthal, 1986; Block, 1995; Lycan, 1996; Carruthers, 2000. Phenomenal consciousness is the property that mental states have when it is like something to possess them, or when they (...) have subjectively-accessible feels; or as some would say, when they have qualia (see fn.1 below).) Others have thought that we can undermine the credibility of those thought-experiments by allowing that we possess purely recognitional concepts for the properties of our conscious mental states. This paper is concerned to explain, and then to meet, the challenge of showing how purely recognitional concepts are possible if there are no such things as qualia--in the strong sense of intrinsic (non-relational, non-intentional) properties of experience. It argues that an appeal to higher-order experiences is necessary to meet this challenge, and then deploys a novel form of higher-order thought theory to explain how such experiences are generated. (shrink)
This paper concerns the role that reference to subjects of experience can play in individuating streams of consciousness, and the relationship between the subjective and the objective structure of consciousness. A critique of Tim Bayne’s recent book indicates certain crucial choices that works on the unity of consciousness must make. If one identifies the subject of experience with something whose consciousness is necessarily unified, then one cannot offer an account of the objective structure of consciousness. Alternatively, identifying the (...) subject of experience with an animal means forgoing the conceptual connection between being a subject of experience and having a single phenomenal perspective. (shrink)
These lectures have been organized around the question of whether there is any good sense in which our introspective access to our own mental states is a kind of perception, something that can appropriately be called "inner sense." In my first lecture I distinguished two versions of the perception model of introspection, based on two different stereotypes of sense- perception. One of these, based primarily on the case of vision, is what I called the object-perceptual model -- it takes perception (...) to be in the first instance a relation to objects and only secondarily a relation to facts. I argued in my first lecture that introspection does not have non-factual objects of the sort required to make this model applicable. The other, which does not require perception to have non-factual objects, I called the broad perceptual model; its key tenet is that the existence of the objects of perception, whether they be factual or non-factual, is independent both of their being perceived and of there being the possibility of their being perceived. The view that introspection conforms to this was my target in my second lecture, where I argued that it is of the essence of various kinds of mental states that they are introspectively accessible. (shrink)
Macpherson (Nous 40(1):82–117, 2006) argues that the square/regular diamond figure threatens representationalism, construed as the theory which holds that the phenomenal character is explained by the nonconceptual content of experience. Her argument is the claim that representationalism is committed to the thesis that differences in the experience of ambiguous figures, the gestalt switch, should be explained by differences in the NCC of perception of these figures. However, with respect to the square/regular diamond and some other ambiguous figure (...) representationalism fails to offer a unified account of how representational content makes them ambiguous. In this paper, I aim, first, to offer a representationalist account of ambiguous figures and, second, to examine and rebut Macpherson’s arguments. My main point is that in each ambiguous figure Macpherson discusses there are differences in representational content that can explain differences in phenomenal character or content. The representational differences are due to the ways the Cartesian frame of reference in which perceptual content is always cast cuts the figure, underlying different properties of the figure with respect to the axes of the Cartesian frame of reference. (shrink)
In this thesis I seek to advance our understanding of what intuitions are. I argue that intuitions are experiences of a certain kind. In particular, they are experiences with representational content, and with a certain phenomenal character. -/- In Chapter 1 I identify our target and provide some important reliminaries. Intuitions are mental states, but which ones? Giving examples helps: a person has an intuition when it seems to her that torturing the innocent is wrong, or that if something (...) is red it is coloured. We can also provide an initial characterisation of the state by saying that it has representational content, often causes belief, and appears to justify belief. In addition, there is something it is like to have an intuition: intuition has a certain phenomenal character. -/- Some argue that intuition does not explain anything which cannot be explained by other mental states. One version of this view takes intuition to reduce to belief. In Chapter 2 I argue that this entails that agents are rationally criticisable in situations where we know they are not, and that such views are therefore untenable. A parallel argument shows that the corresponding approach to perception fails. This suggests a similarity in nature: both intuition and perception are experiences. -/- Others take intuition to reduce to a disposition to have a belief. In Chapter 3 I consider a line of argument against such views, find it unsuccessful, and present two new arguments. One is likely to be dialectically ineffective. The other suffers no such weakness: it shows that the proposed reduction fails. As before, the argument also applies to perception, and suggests that intuition and perception are both experiences. -/- In the remainder of the thesis I develop an account of intuition as an experience. I distinguish between content-specific and attitude-specific phenomenology, and argue that intuition lacks the former (Chapter 4), but has the latter (Chapter 5). This allows us to say what intuition is: it is is an experience with representational content and with attitude-specific phenomenology of a certain kind. -/- In Chapter 6 I put this account of intuition to use. When a person has a perceptual or intuitional experience, I argue that simply having the experience is what makes the subject justified in believing what the experience represents. Moreover, what explains that intuition and perception can justify belief in this way is precisely their phenomenal character. (shrink)