In psycholinguistics, concepts are considered abstract if they do not apply to physical objects that we can touch, see, feel, hear, smell or taste. Psychologists usually distinguish concrete from abstract concepts by means of so-called _concreteness ratings_. In concreteness rating studies, laypeople are asked to rate the concreteness of words based on the above criterion. The wide use of concreteness ratings motivates an assessment of them. I point out two problems: First, most current concreteness ratings test the intuited concreteness of (...) word forms as opposed to concepts. This ignores the ubiquitous phenomenon of lexical ambiguity. Second, the criterion of abstract concepts that the instruction texts of rating studies rely on does not capture the notion that psychologists working on abstract concepts are normally interested in, i.e., concepts that could reasonably be sensorimotor representations. For many concepts that pick out physical objects, this is not reasonable. In this paper, I propose a characterization of concrete and abstract concepts that avoids these two problems and that may be useful for future studies in psychology. (shrink)
Are those judgments that we make on the basis of our memories immune to error through misidentification? In this paper, I discuss a phenomenon which seems to suggest that they are not; the phenomenon of observer memory. I argue that observer memories fail to show that memory judgments are not IEM. However, the discussion of observer memories will reveal an interesting fact about the perspectivity of memory; a fact that puts us on the right path towards explaining why memory judgments (...) are indeed IEM. The main tenet in the account of IEM to be proposed is that this aspect of memory is grounded, on the one hand, on the intentionality of perception and, on the other hand, on the relation between the intentionality of perception and that of memory. (shrink)
According to some philosophers, the mind enjoys a form of presence to itself. That is to say, in addition to being aware of whatever objects it is aware of, it is also (co-presently) aware of itself. This paper explores the proposal that we should think about this kind of experiential-presence in terms of a form of non-intentional awareness. Various candidates for the relevant form of awareness, as constituting supposed non-intentional experiential-presence, are considered and are shown to encounter significant problems. The (...) fact that a plausible account of the non-intentional awareness which experience putatively has of itself cannot be framed with reference to such forms of awareness is grounds for scepticism concerning the cogency of non-intentional experiential presence. (shrink)
Propositional relationalists about the attitudes claim to find support for their view in what they assume to be the dyadic relational logical form of the predicates by which we canonically attribute propositional attitudes. In this paper I argue that the considerations that they adduce in support of this assumption, specifically for the assumption that the that-clauses that figure in these predicates are singular terms, are suspect on linguistic grounds. Propositional relationalism may nonetheless be true, but the logical form of attitude (...) predicates provides no grounds for thinking this to be so. (shrink)
The received view holds that there is a significant divide between full-blown representational states and so called ‘detectors’, which are mechanisms set off by specific stimuli that trigger a particular effect. The main goal of this paper is to defend the idea that many detectors are genuine representations, a view that I call ‘Strong Liberal Representationalism’. More precisely, I argue that ascribing semantic properties to them contributes to an explanation of behavior, guides research in useful ways and can accommodate misrepresentation.
The aim of this paper is to propose a new conceptualization of the distinction between realism and anti-realism about beliefs that is based on the division between natural and non-natural properties, as defined by Lewis. It will be argued that although the traditional form of anti-realism about beliefs, namely eliminative materialism, has failed, there is a possibility to reformulate the division in question. The background assumption of the proposal is the framework of deflationism about truth and existence: it will be (...) assumed that beliefs can be said to exist and their attributions can said to be true. The aim is to show that even when we buy into such assumptions we can meaningfully distinguish between the realist and anti-realist approach to belief. According to the proposal, the paradigmatic anti-realist view on beliefs should be seen as a conjunction of three claims: that belief attributions do not track objective similarities, that beliefs are not causally active, and that there is no viable way of naturalizing content. It will be shown that seeing the debate in the proposed way has important advantages as it allows the issue of belief realism to be made non-trivial and tractable, and it introduces theoretical unity into contemporary metaphysics of beliefs. (shrink)
While some form of loss of control is often assumed to be a common feature of the diverse manifestations of addiction, it is far from clear how loss of control should be understood. In this paper, I put forward a concept of decrease in control in addiction that aims to fill this gap and thus provide a general framework for thinking about addictive behavior. The development of this account involves two main steps. First, I present a view of degrees of (...) control as the degree to which an agent would be responsive to potential or counterfactual sufficient reasons to do otherwise. Second, I sketch an account of the relevant control-undermining factors in addiction that is consonant with my proposed view of degrees of control. Being a high-level functional property, reasons-responsiveness is particularly well suited to frame an account of control-undermining factors that is doubly pluralistic: it encompasses the contribution of factors both internal and external to the agent, and it is consistent with various proposals as to the precise nature of the anomaly taking place in the psychology of addiction. (shrink)
This article offers a reading of Jean-Paul Sartre’s phenomenology in light of Jean-Luc Marion’s more recent phenomenology. It may seem odd to compare Sartre to Marion, given that Sartre is well-known for his avowed atheism and his account of intentionality while Marion is primarily known for his work on religious phenomena and counter-intentionality. However, this article shows that there are many ways in which Sartre anticipates Marion’s work on phenomenological reduction and excessive phenomenality. By reading Sartre’s phenomenology in light of (...) Marion’s, and particularly Sartre’s analysis of the viscous slime in Being and Nothingness in relation to Marion’s account of ‘saturated phenomena’, this article presents a fresh interpretation of Sartre as a phenomenologist who has invaluable insights not only on the structures of consciousness and phenomenality, but also for the contemporary theoretical interest in the relationship between human and nonhuman entities. (shrink)
Destutt de Tracy zielt darauf ab, zu erklären, wie inter- und transsubjektive Prozesse auf das einzelne Individuum wirken und es gestalten. Dafür braucht er eine externalistische Sprachtheorie und eine sensualistische kognitive Architektur, nach der Denken Empfinden ist. Das Denken ist relational, aber wird nicht auf kognitiver Ebene durch sprachähnliche Strukturen – durch die Syntax und Semantik einer Mentalsprache – implementiert. Obwohl Externalismus und sensualistische Architektur in eine inkohärente Theorie zu münden scheinen, versucht Destutt de Tracy die Spannung durch seine Entwicklungsgeschichte (...) zu lösen, nach der Systematizität als assoziativ und symbolisch, aber nicht als sprachlich analysiert wird. Zum Denken ist eine Sprache notwendig, aber das Denken ist keine Mentalsprache. -/- „[Wir sind] fast gänzlich das Werk Der Umstände, die uns umgeben.“ [Ideenlehre I, 273/388]. (shrink)
In our target article, we argued that the number sense represents natural and rational numbers. Here, we respond to the 26 commentaries we received, highlighting new directions for empirical and theoretical research. We discuss two background assumptions, arguments against the number sense, whether the approximate number system represents numbers or numerosities, and why the ANS represents rational numbers.
In the current paper, we articulate a theory to explain the phenomenology of mental effort. The theory provides a working definition of mental effort, explains in what sense mental effort is a limited resource, and specifies the factors that determine whether or not mental effort is experienced as aversive. The core of our theory is the conjecture that the sense of effort is the output of a cost-benefit analysis. This cost-benefit analysis employs heuristics to weigh the current and anticipated costs (...) of mental effort for a particular activity against the anticipated benefits. This provides a basis for spelling out testable predictions to structure future research on the phenomenology of mental effort. (shrink)
The theory of we-mode cognition seeks to expand our understanding of the cognition involved in joint action, and therein claims to explain how we can have non-theoretical and non-simulative access to the minds of others (Gallotti and Frith Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17: 160-165, 2013a, Gallotti and Frith Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17: 304-305, 2013b). A basic tenet of this theory is that each individual jointly intends to accomplish some outcome together, requiring the adoption of a “first-person plural perspective” (Gallotti (...) and Frith 2013a, p.160) that is neither strictly individualistic – in the sense that a we-mode state is enabled by the joint involvement of (an)other(s) – nor strictly pluralistic – in the sense that the involved individuals, rather than a ‘group’, are the bearers of the relevant joint intention(s). Whilst I concur with the idea that, in certain circumstances, we cognise from an irreducible ‘first-person plural perspective’, Gallotti & Frith’s existing proposal of we-mode cognition is in need of theoretical clarification. In this paper, I deliver such clarification so that the theory of we-mode cognition is re-defined as: (a). sensitive to the phenomenological transformation that is induced by the embodied co-presence of others, and (b). limited to cases in which one intentionally attends to the capacities of one’s co-participant in joint action. (shrink)
Juhani Yli-Vakkuri and John Hawthorne have recently presented a thought experiment—Mirror Man—designed to refute internalist theories of belief and content. We distinguish five ways in which the case can be interpreted and argue that on none does it refute internalism.
I identify and characterize the kind of personal-level control-structure that is most relevant for skilled action control, namely, what I call, “practical intention”. I differentiate between practical intentions and general intentions not in terms of their function or timing but in terms of their content. I also highlight a distinction between practical intentions and other control mechanisms that are required to explain skilled action. I’ll maintain that all intentions, general and practical, have the function specifying, sustaining, and structuring action but (...) that several functions that have been attributed to proximal intentions are actually implemented by other control mechanisms that are not themselves best identified as intentions. Specifically, I will claim that practical intentions do not initiate, monitor, specify or guide the fine-grained, online, kinematic aspects of action. Finally, I suggest that the way in which practical and general intentions should be differentiated is in terms of their content, where general intentions specify the overall goal, outcome, or end of an action as it is conceived of by the agent at a time, and practical intentions determine the means to that end. I conclude by providing empirical evidence to support this way of characterizing the intentions that “interface” with the mechanisms of motor control. Though this discussion has repercussions for action in general, I will limit my discussion to cases of skill. (shrink)
Skilled sportsmen or musicians—more generally, skilled agents—often fill us with awe with the way they perform their actions. One question we may ask ourselves is whether they intended to perform some awe-inspiring aspects of their actions. This question becomes all the more pressing as it often turns out that these agents were not conscious of some of those aspects at the time of performance. As I shall argue, there are reasons for suspecting lack of conscious access to an aspect of (...) one’s action to be incompatible with intending to perform that aspect of one’s action. Subsequently, though, I will also argue that, in some cases, the incompatibility is only prima facie, and can be dispelled by drawing the following distinction: that between aspects of one’s action that are merely temporarily not consciously accessed, versus aspects of one’s action that are permanently inaccessible to consciousness. I will thus remove an obstacle towards saying that skilled agents intended to perform certain aspects of their actions, despite lack of conscious access to those aspects at the time of performance. (shrink)
In emphasising improvement, smooth coping and success over variability and regression, skill theory has overlooked the processes performers at all levels develop and rely on for managing bodily and affective fluctuations, and their impact on skilled performance. I argue that responding to the instability and variability of unique bodily capacities is a vital feature of skilled action processes. I suggest that embodied intelligence – a term I use to describe a set of abilities to perceptively interpret and make use of (...) information from body, mind, environment and task requirements, and to modulate one’s focus, awareness and action strategies accordingly – is critical for performing well-learned skills in vulnerable situations. It is critical for staying safe. To investigate these components of skilled action, I employ a cognitive ethnographic method, combined with apprenticeship on the static trapeze, to produce two ‘experience near’ case studies. These document in-situ experiences of awareness, self-regulation and embodied intelligence. Both reveal strong connections between a reflective awareness of bodily vulnerability and variability, and self-regulatory processes – specifically, the down- and up-regulation of anxiety. I then reflect on these case studies in relation to a prospective sense of agency, the awareness of control acts that may lead to performance outcomes. With increased clarity on these features of embodied intelligence and attention during action, other researchers can build on this study to further probe and map the maintenance and functions of embodied intelligence in dealing with the instability of skills. (shrink)
This article tries to examine Husserl's theory of signification and reference, while presenting a content-oriented view of theory of intentionality and proposing the theory of the ideality of meaning, and thus explores the relation between Being and consciousness under the category of "objectivity" in logical investigation; Because the relationship between Being and consciousness must be sought at the intersection of theory of intentionality and objectivity. This intersection can be proposed in the truth condition of the objectivity of meaning, which acts (...) as the decisive result of Husserl's theory of signification and reference; to this reason, after presenting Husserl's critique of Brentano's causal theory of intentionality, this paper introduces a adverbial reading of theory of intentionality which is Husserl's specific theory of intentionality in logical investigation. According to this theory, the subject always pays attention to the object from his perspective, and this is called the perspectival subjectivity, which is the intrinsic characteristic of the subject. We will then show that the theory of the ideality of meaning is the result of the threefold structure of Husserl's intentionality and the content-oriented view of intentionality. Contrary to the claim of this theory that its true and inherent characteristic is intentionally its phenomenological aspect, the theory of reference and its corresponding meaning cannot satisfy the condition of the objectivity of meaning; Thus, theory of intentionality is based on an inadequate content-oriented attitude. (shrink)
James Anderson and Greg Welty have resurrected an argument for God’s existence, which we will call the argument from logic. We present three lines of response against the argument, involving the notion of necessity involved, the notion of intentionality involved, and then we pose a dilemma for divine conceptualism. We conclude that the argument faces substantial problems.
According to the Self-Location Thesis, certain types of visual experiences have self-locating and so first-person, spatial contents. Such self-locating contents are typically specified in relational egocentric terms. So understood, visual experiences provide support for the claim that there is a kind of self-consciousness found in experiential states. This paper critically examines the Self-Location Thesis with respect to dynamic-reflexive visual experiences, which involve the movement of an object toward the location of the perceiving subject. The main aim of this paper is (...) to offer an alternative interpretation of these cases which resists attributing them self-locating content, arguing for a replacement of the de se component with a non-conceptual equivalent of the indexical ‘here’. In its final section, the paper also considers an extension of the h-replacement account to cases of visual kinesthesis. (shrink)
Whether a person is pretending, or not, is a function of their beliefs and intentions. This poses a challenge to 4E accounts of pretense, which typically seek to exclude such cognitive states from their explanations of psychological phenomena. Resulting tensions are explored within three recent accounts of imagination and pretense offered by theorists working in the 4E tradition. A path forward is then charted, through considering ways in which explanations can invoke beliefs and intentions while remaining true to 4E precepts. (...) To make real progress in explaining pretense, 4E theorists will need to grow comfortable with the idea that two agents whose outward behaviors and environments are, in the short term, the same, may be guided by quite different beliefs and intentions, in virtue of which only one is pretending. In this way, the scientific project of explaining pretense remains inseparable from the more general project of determining which beliefs and intentions are appropriate to ascribe to which kinds of entities, given which kinds of behaviors. (shrink)
Geometrical intuitions spontaneously drive visuo-spatial reasoning in human adults, children and animals. Is their emergence intrinsically linked to visual experience, or does it reflect a core property of cognition shared across sensory modalities? To address this question, we tested the sensitivity of blind-from-birth adults to geometrical-invariants using a haptic deviant-figure detection task. Blind participants spontaneously used many geometric concepts such as parallelism, right angles and geometrical shapes to detect intruders in haptic displays, but experienced difficulties with symmetry and complex spatial (...) transformations. Across items, their performance was highly correlated with that of sighted adults performing the same task in touch (blindfolded) and in vision, as well as with the performances of uneducated preschoolers and Amazonian adults. Our results support the existence of an amodal core-system of geometry that arises independently of visual experience. However, performance at selecting geometric intruders was generally higher in the visual compared to the haptic modality, suggesting that sensory-specific spatial experience may play a role in refining the properties of this core-system of geometry. (shrink)
There is a longstanding debate in philosophy concerning the relationship between intention and intentional action. According to the Single Phenomenon View, while one need not intend to A in order to A intentionally, one nevertheless needs to have an A-relevant intention. This view has recently come under criticism by those who think that one can A intentionally without any relevant intention at all. On this view, neither distal nor proximal intentions are necessary for intentional action. In this paper we present (...) the results of two studies that explore folk ascriptions of proximal intentions and intentional actions in garden-variety, non-moral cases. Our findings suggest a very tight relationship between the two. We argue that the results from these two studies cohere with the Single Phenomenon View and give theorists who reject this view on conceptual grounds reason to worry. (shrink)
At face value, intentionality is a relational notion. There are, however, arguments intended to show that it is not. I categorize the strongest arguments against the relationality of intentionality into three major groups: Brentanian arguments, Fregean arguments, and Quinean arguments. I argue that, despite their prima facie plausibility, none of these arguments eventually succeeds. I then conclude that, in the absence of defeating evidence against what at face value looks correct, we are justified to consider intentionality as a relational notion.
Successful sports teams are able to adopt what is known as the 'we-perspective,' forming intentions and making decisions, somewhat as a unified mind does, to achieve their goals. In this paper I consider what is involved in establishing and maintaining the we-perspective on a racing sailboat. I argue that maintaining the we-perspective contributes to the success of the boat in at least two ways: (1) it facilitates the smooth execution of joint action; and (2) it increases the chance that individual (...) crew members will exert their best effort in fulfilling their particular roles on the boat. (shrink)
Delusions are usually considered as harmful and dysfunctional beliefs, one of the primary symptoms of a psychiatric illness and the mark of madness in popular culture. However, in recent times a much more positive role has been advocated for delusions. More specifically, it has been argued that delusions might be an answer to a problem rather than problems in themselves. By delivering psychological and epistemic benefits, delusions would allow people who face severe biological or psychological difficulties to survive in their (...) environment - although this has obvious epistemic costs, as the delusion is fixed and irresponsive to compelling counterevidence. In other words, it has been argued that delusions are biologically adaptive. The adaptiveness of delusions has been compared by Ryan McKay and Daniel Dennett to a shear pin, a mechanism installed in the drive engine of some machines which is designed to shear whenever the machine is about to break down. By breaking, shear pins prevent the machine from collapsing and allow it to keep functioning, although in an impaired manner. Similarly, when delusions form, they would allow a cognitive or psychological system which is about to collapse to continue its functioning, although in an impaired manner. However, this optimistic picture of delusions risks being undermined by both theoretical and empirical considerations. Using Sarah Fineberg and Philip Corlett’s recent predictive coding account as a paradigmatic model of the biological adaptiveness of delusions, I develop two objections to it: principles of parsimony and simplicity suggest that maladaptive models of delusions have an upper hand over adaptive models; and the available empirical evidence suggests that at least some delusions stand good chances of being psychologically adaptive, but it is unlikely that they also qualify as biologically adaptive. (shrink)
Berger and Mylopoulos (2019) critique recent scepticism about unconscious perception, focusing on experimental work from Peters and Lau, and theoretical work of my own. Central to their wide-ranging discussion is the claim that unconscious perception occupies a default status within both experimental and folk psychology. Here, I argue to the contrary that a conscious-perception-only model should be our default. Along the way, I offer my own analysis of Peters and Lau's study, assess the folk psychological status of unconscious perception, discuss (...) vision-for-action, and confront an important dilemma which Berger and Mylopoulos raise for the sceptic concerning the existence of unconscious mentality in general. (shrink)
Conscious experience has been said to be outside of, or alien to, physics, and unexplained in a physical world. However, it is argued here that experience is entirely expected in a physical world that can only be defined by its power to determine patterns of experience. Something physical is something with the type of causal power that can contribute to determining the content of an experience if a subject is present at the right place and time. Physical powers also interact (...) with other physical powers, distant from any given subject, to form chains, and it is these interactions that physics handles mathematically. Nevertheless, actual causation is always defined by reference to determination of experience. The apparent puzzle of why there should be a link between experience and the physical may relate in part to the fact that experience is always immediately causally proximal, always 'here and now', at least as far as we can ascertain. Proximality, and with it the potential for mentality, cuts across existential/ ontological categories. Experience also requires a concept of an intrinsic individual, in order for there to be individual points of view. The practical problem for consciousness studies is to identify intrinsically individual causal units with event domains in human brains, that can have points of view and content that could fit with human experiences, in a way consistent with current physics. It is suggested that the 'causal diamond' concept of the here and now explored by Savitt (2015) and Arthur (2019), together with principles of field theory, may provide a useful starting point. (shrink)
The topic of synchronicity has long intrigued philosophers, scientists, and the general public. However, to date very little empirical research has explored the underlying mechanisms of synchronicity. In other words, why do synchronicities occur? Are synchronicities random, or do they hold clues about the ultimate nature of reality? Drawing on theoretical and empirical research, the current paper explores the idea that synchronicity might be one way that the fundamental (i.e. ontologically primary) nature of consciousness reveals itself to us in everyday (...) life, and that contemplative practices such as meditation might be capable of invoking synchronicity. In addition, this paper aims to summarize theoretical perspectives on synchronicity in an attempt to spark a renewed interest in conducting empirical research on this topic, arguing for a thoughtful consideration of post-materialist perspectives in an attempt to innovate within the field of consciousness studies and shed light on the ontological questions raised by synchronicity. (shrink)
According to one of the most powerful paradigms explaining the meaning of the concept of natural number, natural numbers get a large part of their conceptual content from core cognitive abilities. Carey’s bootstrapping provides a model of the role of core cognition in the creation of mature mathematical concepts. In this paper, I conduct conceptual analyses of various theories within this paradigm, concluding that the theories based on the ability to subitize (i.e., to assess anexactquantity of the elements in a (...) collection without counting them), or on the ability to approximate quantities (i.e., to assess anapproximatequantity of the elements in a collection without counting them), or both, fail to provide a conceptual basis for bootstrapping the concept of an exact natural number. In particular, I argue that none of the existing theories explains one of the key characteristics of the natural number structure: the equidistances between successive elements of the natural numbers progression. I suggest that this regularity could be based on another innate cognitive ability, namely sensitivity to the regularity of rhythm. In the final section, I propose a new position within the core cognition paradigm, inspired by structuralist positions in philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
In psychological research, ressentiment is alluded to as a negative emotional response directed at social groups that are mostly marked as ‘inferior others’. However, conceptual work on this notion is sorely missing. In our conceptual proposal, we use the notion of ‘moral emotions’ as a starting point: typically referred to as “other-condemning” moral emotions, psychologists have loosely conceptualised anger, contempt and disgust as a set of negative emotions that have distinct elicitors and involve affective responses to sanction moral misconduct of (...) ‘others’. Though this conglomerate of different other-condemning emotions might describe emotions of ressentiment, we argue that the phenomenon itself is a more complex sentiment. Therefore, we apply Withy’s concept of ‘disclosive posture’ to account for the different psychological processes underlying ressentiment. Disclosing refers to a specific openness to the world, which in the case of ressentiment implies a specific awareness of and sensibility for instances of inequality, grudge, or disfavour. Ressentiment thus becomes a perceptual tool in morally relevant everyday situations. The term ‘posture’ refers to a habitualised, embodied comportment or action tendency that leads to the adoption of a negative attitude and stance towards others. Drawing on Withy, we discuss ressentiment’s similarities to the closely related concept of hatred to embed the analysis of ressentiment in a broader social framework. (shrink)
In ordinary language, “calmness”, “melancholy”, “cheerfulness”, and “sadness” are employed to describe affective states experienced by sentient beings. More precisely, these terms are used to report instances of moods. Yet, the very same terms are used to describe what seem to be properties of certain objects (e.g., things, situations) which, unlike sentient beings, are unable to feel. We usually describe atmospheres employing these terms: We speak about the calmness of a forest, the melancholy of a painting, the cheerfulness of a (...) field of flowers and the sadness of a landscape. Are we in fact referring to the same phenomenon? If not, why then do we employ the same terms? (shrink)
On the basis of Anton Marty’s 1867 Preisschrift, this article offers a reconstruction of the semiotic and linguistic investigations the Swiss philosopher develops just before becoming a student of Brentano. The paper then compares this account with the view on signs that will be given in Marty’s later work, as well as within the Austro-German tradition.
This paper argues that intelligence can be approximated by the ability to produce accurate predictions. It is further argued that general intelligence can be approximated by context dependent predictive abilities combined with the ability to use working memory to abstract away contextual information. The flexibility associated with general intelligence can be understood as the ability to use selective attention to focus on specific aspects of sensory impressions to identify patterns, which can then be used to predict events in novel situations (...) and environments. The argumentation synthesizes Godfrey-Smith’s environmental complexity theory, adding the notion of niche broadness as well as changes concerning the view of cognition and control, and Hohwy’s predictive mind theory, making explicit the significance of accuracy as a composite of trueness and precision where the nervous system acts as a distributed controller motivating actions that keep the body in homeostasis. (shrink)
I consider the prospects of building a unified theoretical framework that features extended, embodied and enactivist approaches to mind and cognition. I identify and discuss some main problems that stand in the way of the unification project.
This work approaches the distinction between knowledge-how and knowledge-that in terms of two complementary concepts: performance and information. In order to do so, I formulate Ryle’s argument of infinite regress in terms of performance in order to show that Stanley and Williamson’s counterargument has no real object: both reject the view that the exercise of knowledge-that necessarily requires the previous consideration of propositions. Next, using the concept of feedback, I argue that Stanley and Williamson’s positive account of knowledge-how in terms (...) of knowledge-that corresponds to the output of the comparison between an intention of action and the perceived outcome of performance. Then, I expound other theories of mind and cognition in which feedback and prediction play a fundamental role in order to explain other ways in which information intervenes in performance—i.e., information is construed as knowledge-that available at subject level that guides performance. Finally, I present some reflections on the impact of the concept of knowledge-how, and possible routes to continue our enquiry on the nature of knowledge. (shrink)
Orthodox neurocognitive accounts of the bodily sense of agency suggest that the experience of agency arises when action-effects are anticipated accurately. In this paper, I argue that while successful anticipation is crucial for the sense of agency, the role of unsuccessful prediction has been neglected, and that inefficacy and uncertainty are no less central to the sense of agency. I will argue that this is reflected in the phenomenology of agency, which can be characterized both as the experience of efficacy (...) and effort. Specifically, the “sense of efficacy” refers to the perceptual experience of an action unfolding as anticipated. The “sense of effort”, in contrast, arises when an action has an uncertain trajectory, feels difficult, and demands the exertion of control. In this case, actions do not unfold as anticipated and require continuing adaptation if they are to be efficacious. I propose that, taken individually, the experience of efficacy and effort are insufficient for the sense of agency and that these experiences can even disrupt the sense of agency when they occur in isolation from each other. I further argue that a fully-fledged sense of agency depends on the temporally extensive process of prediction error-cancelation. This way, a comparator account can accommodate both the role of accurate prediction and prediction error and thus efficacy and effort. (shrink)
Embracing an inter-disciplinary approach grounded on Gärdenfors’ theory of conceptual spaces, we introduce a formal framework to analyse and compare selected theories about technical artefacts present in the literature. Our focus is on design-oriented approaches where both designing and manufacturing activities play a crucial role. Intentional theories, like Kroes’ dual nature thesis, are able to solve disparate problems concerning artefacts but they face both the philosophical challenge of clarifying the ontological nature of intentional properties, and the empirical challenge of testing (...) the attribution of such intentional properties to artefacts. To avoid these issues, we propose an approach that, by identifying different modalities to characterise artefact types, does not commit to intentional qualities and is able to empirically ground compliance tests. (shrink)
According to Lynne Rudder Baker’s Practical Realism, we know that we have beliefs, desires, and other propositional attitudes independent of any scientific investigation. Propositional attitudes are an indispensable part of our everyday conception of the world and not in need of scientific validation. This paper asks what is the nature of the attitudes such that we may know them so well from a commonsense perspective. I argue for a self-ascriptivist view, on which we have propositional attitudes in virtue of ascribing (...) them to ourselves. On this view, propositional attitudes are derived representational states, deriving their contents and their attitude types from our self-ascriptions. (shrink)
This paper argues that habits, just like beliefs, can guide intentional action. To do this, a variety of real-life cases where a person acts habitually but contrary to her beliefs are discussed. The cases serve as dissociations showing that intentional agency is possible without doxastic guidance. The upshot is a model for thinking about the rationality of habitual action and the rationalizing role that habits can play in it. The model highlights the role that our history and institutions play in (...) shaping what actions become habitual for us. (shrink)
The paper discusses radical constructivism about episodic memory as developed by Kourken Michaelian under the name of “simulationism”, a view that equates episodic memory with mental time travel. An alternative, direct realist view is defended, which implies disjunctivism about the appearance of remembering. While admitting the importance of mental time travel as an underlying cognitive mechanism in episodic memory, as well as the prima facie reasonableness of the simulationist’s critique of disjunctivism, I formulate three arguments in defense of disjunctivism, which (...) thus appears to be a feasible alternative to radical constructivism. (shrink)
The hard problem of consciousness is about how we could explain in physicalist terms why we are conscious. The meta-problem of consciousness is about how we could explain why we have a hard problem of consciousness. In this note I argue that the phenomenal concept strategy can in principle provide a satisfactory solution to the meta-problem.
The surface grammar of reports such as ‘I have a pain in my leg’ suggests that pains are objects which are spatially located in parts of the body. We show that the parallel construction is not available in Mandarin. Further, four philosophically important grammatical features of such reports cannot be reproduced. This suggests that arguments and puzzles surrounding such reports may be tracking artefacts of English, rather than philosophically significant features of the world.
The typical approach to decoding speech from the brain (using brain-machine interfaces) is to decode low-level linguistic units (e.g. phonemes, syllables) from motor articulation areas (e.g. Premotor cortex) with the aim of assembling these low-level units into higher-level discourse. We propose that brain-to-speech decoding may benefit from adopting a functional view of language, which conceives of language as an instrumental tool for interacting with others' intentions in order to fulfil one's own intentions. This functional view of language motivates adopting usability (...) (i.e. the decoder's usefulness as a tool for achieving goals), in addition to decoding accuracy, as a criterion for assessing decoder performance. Decoders may achieve gains in usability by incorporating data about communicative situations and speaker intentions in order to generate and fill in speech act templates. We suggest that this intention-oriented, template-based, and functionally inspired view of brain-to-speech decoding may facilitate efforts to achieve naturalistic speech decoding. (shrink)
Between the end of the nineteenth century and the first twenty years of the twentieth century, stimulated by the impetuous development of logical studies and taking inspiration from Leibniz's idea of a characteristica universalis, the three founding fathers of the analytic tradition in philosophy, i.e., Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein, started to talk of a logically perfect language, as opposed to natural languages, all feeling that the latter were inadequate to their (different) philosophical purposes. In the second half of the twentieth (...) century, however, the very idea of a logically perfect language ceased for various reasons to seem attractive to analytic philosophers. Thus, it might appear that this idea could be classified together with the many other bizarre ideas that from time to time surface in the history of philosophy-an idea that perhaps had a beneficial impact on the development of twentieth century logic, but which can now be put to rest. In this brief note, I contend that this conclusion may be too hasty. Indeed, if a well-known empirical hypothesis advanced in 1975 by Jerry Fodor turns out to be true, then there is a logically perfect language, after all. More precisely, I argue that, if it exists, Fodor's language of thought possesses the main characteristics a logically perfect language is required to have. (shrink)