Someone who has more sympathy with traditional empiricism than with much of present-day philosophy may ask himself: 'How do my experiences give rise to my beliefs about an external world, and to what extent do they justify them?' He wants to refer, among other things, to unremarkable experiences, of a sort which he cannot help believing to be so extremely common that it would be ridiculous to call them common experiences. He mainly has in mind sense-experiences, and he thinks of (...) them in a particular way. His way of thinking of them, roughly speaking as something 'inner', is one on which recent logico-linguistic philosophy has thrown a good deal of light. The relevant special notion of an experience contrasts, among other things, with a certain more general biographical notion of an experience, which some dictionaries indicate by the definition, 'an event of which one is the subject'. This book explores the concept of experiences, focusing on the disjunctions between perception and illusion. (shrink)
The primary aim of this study is to dissolve the mind-body problem. It shows how the ‘problem’ separates into two distinct sets of issues, concerning ontology on the one hand, and explanation on the other, and argues that explanation – whether or not human behaviour can be explained in physical terms – is the more crucial. The author contends that a functionalist methodology in psychology and neurophysiology will prove adequate to explain human behaviour. Defence of this thesis requires: an examination (...) of the mental/physical dichotomy, and its rejection in favour of a distinction between psychological and physical terms; a description and discussion of functionalism in psychology and neurophysiology, showing how the notorious problem of the necessary intensionality of psychological terms may be circumvented; an examination of the role of computer simulation in psycho-physical research; and an explanation of how the phenomena of sentience fit the functional framework. The book concludes that the thesis presented is in all essentials that of Aristotle; Aristotle had no ‘mind-body problem’, and were it not for a subsequent over-obsession with Cartesian scepticism, we need not have had one either. (shrink)
Colour fascinates all of us, and scientists and philosophers have sought to understand the true nature of colour vision for many years. In recent times, investigations into colour vision have been one of the main success stories of cognitive science, for each discipline within the field - neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, computer science and artificial intelligence, and philosophy - has contributed significantly to our understanding of colour. Evan Thompson's book is a major contribution to this interdisciplinary project. Colour Vision provides an (...) accessible review of the current scientific and philosophical discussions of colour vision. Thompson steers a course between the subjective and objective positions on colour, arguing for a relational account. This account develops a novel `ecological' approach to colour vision in cognitive science and the philosophy of perception. It is vital reading for all cognitive scientists and philosophers whose interests touch upon this central area. (shrink)
Social action is central to social thought. This centrality reflects the overwhelming causal significance of action for social life, the centrality of action to any account of social phenomena, and the fact that conventions and normativity are features of human activity. This book provides philosophical analyses of fundamental categories of human social action, including cooperative action, conventional action, social norm governed action, and the actions of the occupants of organizational roles. A distinctive feature of the book is that it applies (...) these theories of social action categories to some important moral issues that arise in social contexts such as the collective responsibility for environmental pollution, humanitarian intervention, and dealing with the rights of minority groups. Avoiding both the excessively atomistic individualism of rational choice theorists and implausible collectivist assumptions, this important book will be widely read by philosophers of the social sciences, political scientists and sociologists. (shrink)
This collection of articles pays homage to the creativity and scientific rigor Jerome Singer has brought to the study of consciousness and play. It will interest personality, social, clinical and developmental psychologists alike.
Daniel Russell develops a fresh and original view of pleasure and its pivotal role in Plato's treatment of value, happiness, and human psychology. This is the first full-length discussion of the topic for fifty years, and Russell shows its relevance to contemporary debates in moral philosophy and philosophical psychology. Plato on Pleasure and the Good Life will make fascinating reading for ancient specialists and for a wide range of philosophers.
Drawing on work in psychophysics, psychometrics, and sensory neurophysiology, Clark analyzes the character and defends the integrity of psychophysical explanations of qualitative facts, arguing that the structure of such explanations is sound and potentially successful.
"This admirably clear and engaging work ... is broadly accessible... and is informed by social science research. Yet it is also thoroughly philosophical, delving into problems in ethics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language.... Let us hope that LaFollette continues to tackle these problems with the clarify and rigor he shows here.".
Human beings have the unique ability to consciously reflect on the nature of the self. But reflection has its costs. We can ask what the self is, but as David Hume pointed out, the self, once reflected upon, may be nowhere to be found. The favored view is that we are material beings living in the material world. But if so, a host of destabilizing questions surface. If persons are just a sophisticated sort of animal, then what sense is there (...) to the idea that we are free agents who control our own destinies? What makes the life of any animal, even one as sophisticated as Homo sapiens, worth anything? What place is there in a material world for God? And if there is no place for a God, then what hold can morality possibly have on us--why isn't everything allowed? Flanagan's collection of essays takes on these questions and more. He continues the old philosophical project of reconciling a scientific view of ourselves with a view of ourselves as agents of free will and meaning-makers. But to this project he brings the latest insights of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychiatry, exploring topics such as whether the conscious mind can be explained scientifically, whether dreams are self-expressive or just noise, the moral socialization of children, and the nature of psychological phenomena such as multiple personality disorder and false memory syndrome. What emerges from these explorations is a liberating vision which can make sense of the self, agency, character transformation, and the value and worth of human life. Flanagan concludes that nothing about a scientific view of persons must lead to nihilism. (shrink)
Imagination is a central concept in aesthetics with close ties to issues in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language, yet it has not received the kind of sustained, critical attention it deserves. Imagination, Philosophy and the Arts represents the work of fifteen young yet distinguished philosophers of art, who critically examine just how and in what form the notion of imagination illuminates fundamental problems in the philosophy of art. All new papers, a strong collection on the imagination (...) in philosophy, particularly in relation to literature and the visual arts. The book falls in three parts: emotional imagination, fiction-making imagination and sensory imagination. The volume opens up several new frontiers that will attract substantial interest in philosophers of art, as well as philosophers working on mental representation, emotion theory, perception and fiction. These papers make a large contribution to developing our understanding of 'imagination' in new directions and setting the research agenda for the next decade. (shrink)
The Character of Mind provides a sweeping and accessible general introduction to the philosophy of mind. Colin McGinn covers all of the main topics--the mind-body problem, the nature of acquaintance, the relation between thought and language, agency, and the self.In particular, McGinn addresses the issue of consciousness, and the difficulty of combining the two very different perspectives on the mind that arise from introspection and from the observation of other people. This second edition has been updated with three new cutting-edge (...) chapters on consciousness, content, and cognitive science to make it the reader of choice on this vital topic. (shrink)
The philosophy of mind is one of the fastest-growing areas in philosophy, not least because of its connections with related areas of psychology, linguistics and computation. This _Companion_ is an alphabetically arranged reference guide to the subject, firmly rooted in the philosophy of mind, but with a number of entries that survey adjacent fields of interest. The book is introduced by the editor's substantial _Essay on the Philosophy of Mind_ which serves as an overview of the subject, and is closely (...) referenced to the entries in the Companion. Among the entries themselves are several "self-profiles" by leading philosophers in the field, including Chomsky, Davidson, Dennett, Dretske, Fodor, Lewis, Searle and Stalnaker, in which their own positions within the subject are articulated. In some more complex areas, more than one author has been invited to write on the same topic, giving a polarity of viewpoints within the book's overall coverage. All main entries have a full bibliography, and the book is indexed to the high standards set by other volumes in the Blackwell Companions to Philosophy series. (shrink)
Contemporary Materialism presents an important collection of recent work on materialism in connection with metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and theories of value. This anthology charts the contemporary problems, positions and themes on the topic of materialism. It illuminates materialism's complex intersection with related subjects such as cognition and psychology. By gathering a wide-range of philosophical interventions around the subject of materialism, this anthology provides a valuable discussion of how materialism can effectively serve the purposes of philosophical assessment. (...) To further assist the reader, it also contains an extensive bibliography on contemporary materialism. (shrink)
Introduction -- Fundamental ontology : external realism and scientific naturalism -- Consciousness and materialist theories of mind -- Intentional mental states -- Reason and action -- From acts to speech acts : the intention to communicate -- From sounds to words : the intention to represent -- On the meaning of meaning : critical remarks -- The construction of social reality -- Topics concerning institutional reality : reasons, language, politics, and the background.
Psychological Metaphysics is an exploration of the most basic and important assumptions in the psychological construction of reality, with the aim of showing what they are, how they originate, and what they are there for. Peter White proposes that people basically understand causation in terms of stable, special powers of things operating to produce effects under suitable conditions. This underpins an analysis of people's understanding of causal processes in the physical world, and of human action. In making a radical break (...) with the Heiderian tradition, Psychological Metaphysics suggests that causal attribution is in the service of the person's practical concerns and any interest in accuracy or understanding is subservient to this. Indeed, a notion of regularity in the world is of no more than minor importance, and social cognition is not a matter of cognitive mechanisms or processes but of cultural ways of thinking imposed upon tacit, unquestioned, universalassumptions. Incorporating not only research and theory in social cognition and developmental psychology, but also philosophy and the history of ideas, Psychological Metaphysics will be challenging to everyone interested in how we try to understand the world. (shrink)
First published in 2004, this book is a rigorous textbook on the metaphysics of the mind for advanced students of philosophy, covering the background they need to understand the debates and bringing them to the frontiers of current research. It is also a monograph on the nature of de re and de se states of mind, incorporating material the author published in journals. The short file you will see is only a gateway to more than two dozen other files which (...) are rewrites of the book. (shrink)
Frontiers of Consciousness is a study of the problem of consciousness in a historic period of revolutionary change, and an authentic example of “interdisciplinarystudies.” The book contains a wealth of insight into the conceptual interrelationships between the work of the American philosophers who have been called the Builders (William James, Josiah Royce, Charles Peirce, and John Dewey) and the work of three great modernist poets (T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams).
Nelson, L. The impossibility of the "Theory of knowledge."--Moore, G. E. Four forms of skepticism.--Lehrer, K. Skepticism & conceptual change.--Quine, W. V. Epistemology naturalized.--Rozeboom, W. W. Why I know so much more than you do.--Price, H. H. Belief and evidence.--Lewis, C. I. The bases of empirical knowledge.--Malcolm, N. The verification argument.--Firth, R. The anatomy of certainty.--Chisholm, R. M. On the nature of empirical evidence.--Meinong, A. Toward an epistemological assessment of memory.--Brandt, R. The epistemological status of memory beliefs.--Malcolm, N. A definition (...) of factual memory.--Martin, C. B. and Deutscher, M. Remembering.--Ayer, A. J. Basic propositions.--Reichenbach, H. Are phenomenal reports absolutely certain?--Goodman, N. Sense and certainty.--Lewis, C. I. The given element in empirical knowledge.--Alston, W. Varieties of privileged access.--Schlick, M. The foundation of knowledge.--Russell, B. Epistemological premisses, basic propositions, and factual premisses.--Firth, R. Coherence, certainty, and epistemic priority.--Sellars, W. Empiricism and the philosophy of mind.--Quinton, A. The foundations of knowledge. (shrink)
A theory of understanding -- Truth's role in understanding -- Critique of justificationist and evidential accounts -- Do pragmatist views avoid this critique? -- A realistic account -- How evidence and truth are related -- Three grades of involvement of truth in theories of understanding -- Anchoring -- Next steps -- Reference and reasons -- The main thesis and its location -- Exposition and four argument-types -- Significance and consequences of the main thesis -- The first person as a case (...) study -- Fully self-conscious thought -- Immunity to error through misidentification relative to the first person -- Can a use of the first-person concept fail to refer? -- Some conceptual roles are distinctive but not fundamental -- Implicit conceptions -- Implicit conceptions : motivation and examples -- Deflationary readings rejected -- The phenomenon of new principles -- Explanation by implicit conceptions -- Rationalist aspects -- Consequences : rationality, justification, understanding -- Transitional -- Applications to mental concepts -- Conceiving of conscious states -- Understanding and identity in other cases -- Constraints on legitimate explanations in terms of identity -- Why is the subjective case different? -- Attractions of the interlocking account -- Tacit knowledge, and externalism about the internal -- Is this the myth of the given? -- Knowledge of others' conscious states -- Communicability : between Frege and Wittgenstein -- Conclusions and significance -- 'Another I' : representing perception and action -- The core rule -- Modal status and its significance -- Comparisons -- The possession-condition and some empirical phenomena -- The model generalized -- Wider issues -- Mental action -- The distinctive features of action-awareness -- The nature and range of mental actions -- The principal hypothesis and its grounds -- The principal hypothesis : distinctions and consequences -- How do we know about our own mental actions? -- Concepts of mental actions and their epistemological significance -- Is this account open to the same objections as perceptual models of introspection? -- Characterizing and unifying schizophrenic experience -- The first person in the self-ascription of action -- Rational agency and action-awareness -- Representing thoughts -- The puzzle -- A proposal -- How the solution treats the constraints that generate the puzzle -- Relation to single-level treatments -- An application : reconciling externalism with distinctive self-knowledge. (shrink)