In this essay I explore some of the basic elements of consciousness from a substance dualist point of view, incorporating some elements of Kant's Transcendental Analytic into an overall account of the constitution of consciousness.
Abstract: The understanding our own mind seems to be an interesting topic in philosophy. I recall reading Kant, he ran far away in the metaphysical space when chalanged complex problems. He used the “intuition” as a mean to justify things, much before the awareness of scientific genetics and such things that made it feasible for such a use. Not much else he could do, the 18th century access to scientific knowledge was just very limited. My view of instinct and intuition (...) are quite simple, perhaps a foolish view of such a complex and interesting phenomena. (shrink)
I argue that a slight shift in our understanding of the notion of existence is needed in order to cope with the problem of external world and the problem of mind and body. As a consequence of it being taught by "givenness" of the subjective mind, and despite its applicability in objective contexts, it should be considered a "tool" akin to qualia, rather than pertaining to a "true", objective reality. In plain language, one's supposed relation with their surroundings is known (...) to them only in terms of their private ontology. This conclusion is supported both by intuition and - perhaps most importantly - by ontological issues in quantum physics. (shrink)
Given functionally equivalent minds, how does the expected quantity of their conscious experience differ across different substrates and how could we calculate this? We argue that a realistic digital brain emulation would be orders of magnitude less conscious than a real biological brain. On the other hand, a mind running on neuromorphic hardware or a quantum computer could in principle be more conscious than than a biological brain.
Many debates in philosophy focus on whether folk or scientific psychological notions pick out cognitive natural kinds. Examples include memory, emotions and concepts. A potentially interesting type of kind is: kinds of mental representations (as opposed, for example, to kinds of psychological faculties). In this chapter we outline a proposal for a theory of representational kinds in cognitive science. We argue that the explanatory role of representational kinds in scientific theories, in conjunction with a mainstream approach to explanation in cognitive (...) science, suggest that representational kinds are multi-level. This is to say that representational kinds’ properties cluster at different levels of explanation and allow for intra- and inter-level projections. (shrink)
I propose an account of desire that reconciles two apparently conflicting intuitions about practical agency. I do so by exploring a certain intuitive datum. The intuitive datum is that often when an agent desires P she will seem to immediately and conclusively know that there is a reason to bring P about. Desire-based theories of reasons seem uniquely placed to explain this intuitive datum. On this view, desires are the source of an agent’s practical reasons. A desire for P grounds (...) conclusive knowledge of a reason to bring P about because that desire makes it true that there is a reason to do so. However, this implies that a basic desire for P can never be in error about there being at least some reason to bring P about. We have the conflicting intuition that basic desires sometimes rationally count for nothing. The guise of the good explains this intuition about the fallibility of desires. On this view, a desire for P represents P as good in some respect. Desires and reasons are independent, so a desire might misrepresent one’s reasons. But this independence is usually taken to rule out that desires ever provide conclusive knowledge of reasons. Capturing the intuition about conclusive knowledge rules out capturing the intuition about fallibility, and vice versa. I propose an epistemological disjunctivist version of the guise of the good that reconciles fallibility with the possibility of conclusive knowledge. (shrink)
In his The Nature of Sympathy, Max Scheler (2007 ) offers an intriguing, if puzzling, account of empathy. According to this account, empathy is a specific kind of feeling through which we are immediately aware of others’ emotions but which is not itself an emotion and doesn’t require us to have those emotions ourselves. Moreover, qua immediate awareness of others’ emotions empathy is supposed to afford understanding why they feel those emotions. Although having echoes with ordinary discourse and experience, Scheler's (...) proposal has met with some scepticism. In this chapter, the author defends Scheler's conception against two key objections, which target its coherence. According to the first, it is difficult to see how one could feel another's emotion without having her emotion oneself. The second objection focuses on the claim that feeling-after is a form of understanding. Since feeling-after is a direct awareness of another's emotion and, as such, does not seem to provide access to the reasons for which she feels it, it is hard to see how it could make her emotion intelligible to us. The author argues that these objections fail since they confuse different forms of feeling and do not appreciate the constitutive connection between emotions and reasons, respectively. (shrink)
Scholars have wrestled with "consciousness", a major scholar calling it the "hard problem". Some thirty-plus years after the Towards a Science of Consciousness, we do not seem to be any closer to an answer to "What is consciousness?". Seemingly irresolvable metaphysical problems are addressed by bootstrapping, provisional assumptions, not unlike those used by logicians and mathematicians. I bootstrap with the same ontology and epistemology applicable to everything we apprehend. Here, I argue for a version of the unity of opposites, a (...) form of neutral monism. Something exists because of what it is not; nothing can exist by itself, singularities (analogous to monads), expressing the model. Applying this most fundamental law to the consciousness problem, the physical (movement) comes into being simultaneously as the mental (stasis), each displayed by a field that is variegated (ranging from creative to entropic processes). Such is in keeping with how the singularity emerged as our universe, the same form that may account for sub-Planck-scale phenomena. Overall, like the most fundamental law, deep structures are imminent in our universe, both as objects and processes. (shrink)
Illusionism is the thesis that phenomenal consciousness does not exist, but merely seems to exist. Many opponents to the thesis take it to be obviously false. They think that they can reject illusionism, even if they conceded that it is coherent and supported by strong arguments. David Chalmers has articulated this reaction to illusionism in terms of a “Moorean” argument against illusionism. This argument contends that illusionism is false, because it is obviously true that we have phenomenal experiences. I argue (...) that this argument fails by showing that its defenders cannot maintain that its crucial premise has the kind of support needed for the argument to work, without begging the question against illusionism. (shrink)
Panpsychism claims that the vast majority of conscious subjects in our world are inanimate and physical. Ensemble explanations account for striking phenomena by placing them within an ensemble of outcomes, most of which are not striking. This paper develops an explanatory problem for panpsychism: panpsychism renders two appealing ensemble explanations unsatisfactory. Specifically, we argue that panpsychism renders unsatisfactory the multiverse explanation of why a universe supports life and the many-planets explanation of why a planet supports life.
To make the case for non-conceptualism, Heck draws on an apparent dichotomy between linguistic and iconic representations. According to Heck, whereas linguistic representations have conceptual content, the content of iconic representations is non-conceptual. Based on the case of cartographic systems, the authors criticize Heck’s dichotomous distinction. They argue that maps are composed of semantically arbitrary elements that play different syntactic roles. Based on this, they claim that maps have a predicative structure and convey conceptual content. Finally, the authors argue that, (...) despite their differences, maps and sentences can logically interact with each other through heterogeneous inferences. These considerations not only challenge the view that conceptual content and inferential processes necessarily involve linguistic representations; furthermore, they provide a new perspective for thinking about maps, their semantics and syntax, and their interaction with linguistic systems. (shrink)
This paper disputes the widespread assumption that beliefs and desires may be attributed as theoretical entities in the service of the explanation and predic- tion of human behavior. The literature contains no clear account of how beliefs and desires might generate actions, and there is good reason to deny that principles of rationality generate a choice on the basis of an agent’s beliefs and desires. An alter- native conception of beliefs and desires is here introduced, according to which an attribution (...) of belief is, in a certain sense, an assertion on the believer’s behalf and an attribution of desire is, in a certain sense, a command on the desirer’s behalf. In terms of this conception of the attribution of beliefs and desires, we can begin to understand how attributions of beliefs and desires can be explanatory, although we still cannot expect the attribution of beliefs and desires to generate predictions based on an assumption of rationality. Finally, the reality of beliefs and desires is likened to the reality of money; it is the reality of things governed by objective norms. (shrink)
Whether we are free agents or not and to what extent depends on factors such as the necessary conditions for free will and our definition of human agency and identity. The present article, apart from possible alternatives and the causality of the agent regarding his actions, addresses the element of inclination as a necessary condition for free will. Therefore, an analysis of these conditions determines that even though in some circumstances the range of alternatives the agent can choose is very (...) limited or the agent chooses an action without having the inclination to choose it; however, this does not make the agent forced; rather, free will has levels and every individual possesses a certain extent of it in different conditions. Just the fact that the ultimate choice is made by the agent himself and has voluntarily performed the act himself ultimately is sufficient for being free. As a result, even though the influence of external factors on human actions cannot be disregarded; however, because the action is ultimately not outside his control, accordingly, there is neither such a thing as a compelled agent and nor are our actions left to luck. The character of the agent that is voluntarily formed through our actions plays a determinant role in our choices and actions due to the epistemic and motivational components they possess. (shrink)
According to phenomenal transparency, phenomenal concepts are transparent where a transparent concept is one that reveals the nature of that to which it refers. What is the connection between phenomenal transparency and our concept of a subject of experience? This paper focuses on a recent argument, due to Philip Goff, for thinking that phenomenal transparency entails transparency about subjecthood. The argument is premissed on the idea that subjecthood is related to specific phenomenal properties as a determinable of more specific determinates. (...) I argue that the argument fails, which opens the door for one to endorse phenomenal transparency while denying transparency about the concept of a subject of experience. I draw out the consequences of this for certain versions of the combination problem for panpsychist metaphysics and moreover argue that rejecting the transparency of subjecthood does not undermine anti-physicalist arguments premissed on considerations relating to phenomenal transparency. (shrink)
Imagination plays a rich epistemic role in our cognitive lives. For example, if I want to learn whether my luggage will fit into the overhead compartment on a plane, I might imagine trying to fit it into the overhead compartment and form a justified belief on the basis of this imagining. But what explains the fact that imagination has the power to justify beliefs, and what is the structure of imaginative justification? In this paper, I answer these questions by arguing (...) that imaginings manifest an epistemic status: they are epistemically evaluable as justified or unjustified. This epistemic status grounds their ability to justify beliefs, and they accrue this status in virtue of being based on evidence. Thus, imaginings are best understood as justified justifiers. I argue for this view by way of showing how it offers a satisfying explanation of certain key features of imaginative justification that would otherwise be puzzling. I also argue that imaginings exhibit a number of markers of the basing relation, which further motivates the view that imaginings can be based on evidence. The arguments in this paper have theoretically fruitful implications not only for the epistemology of imagination, but for accounts of reasoning and epistemic normativity more generally. (shrink)
Great religions to pragmatic capacities sporadically abound in the stories of supernatural phenomena which subsumes telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition. However, unfortunately treated as the topics of spiritualism, witchcraft and edification, not the materials of Scientific Enquiry. Whatsoever, have been deciphered about these queer speculations, the most prevalent sole concept is : namely, that there can be senseexperiences from the realm which is not accessible to human brain and sense organs. Possessor of these senses which are not currently accessible to average (...) humans can be a omniscient being tapping to his full potential. Presently, we have no language or any communication system to describe them intelligibly. When inquiring about these affairs we cannot avoid absurdity as presently we lack any linguistic convention on it. Our linguistic convention is derived from the physical world in which the supernatural is not considered as "Normal". It is considerably strained with "Abnormality" in the first place. My aim in this paper is to reconcile this Orthodox Psychology with Science and Philosophy which certainly appears conflicting. This inquiry leads me to enable the 10 percent brain myth. (shrink)
People are systematically biased against the possibility that ideas are innate. Berent (2020) traces these attitudes to an ontological dissonance, arising from the collision of two fundamental principles of human cognition -- dualism and essentialism. Carruthers (this issue) challenges this hypothesis and attributes our empiricist bias primarily to mindreading intuitions. Here, I counter Carruthers' concerns and show that mindreading cannot be the sole source of the empiricist bias. Specifically, mindreading fails to explain why our empiricist intuitions depend on the perceived (...) immateriality of ideas. The ontological dissonance hypothesis accounts for these facts. Because essentialism requires innate traits to be material, and because, per dualism, ideas are immaterial, people conclude that ideas cannot be innate. (shrink)
Berent (this issue) critiques one of the three main proposals put forward by Carruthers (this issue), who suggests that cognitive scientists are biased against innateness-claims by the tacit assumptions of the mentalizing faculty. Berent proposes, instead, that the bias results from dissonance produced by a conflict between our innate dualism and our innate essentialism. The present response raises a number of difficulties for her argument.
This article explores three ways in which a cognitively entrenched mindreading (or 'theory of mind') system may bias our thinking as cognitive scientists. One issues in a form of tacit dualism, impacting scientific debates about phenomenal consciousness. Another leads us to think that our own minds are easier to know than they really are, influencing debates about self-knowledge, and about mindreading itself. And the third results in a bias in favour of empiricist over nativist accounts of cognitive development. The discussion (...) throughout is tentative and speculative, and can be regarded as an appeal for caution, as well as a call for further research. (shrink)
Intellectual humility has attracted attention in both philosophy and psychology. Philosophers have clarified the nature of intellectual humility as an epistemic virtue; and psychologists have developed scales for measuring people’s intellectual humility. Much less attention has been paid to the potential effects of intellectual humility on people’s negative attitudes and to its relationship with prejudice-based epistemic vices. Here we fill these gaps by focusing on the relationship between intellectual humility and prejudice. To clarify this relationship, we conducted four empirical studies. (...) The results of these studies show three things. First, people are systematically prejudiced towards members of groups perceived as dissimilar. Second, intellectual humility weakens the association between perceived dissimilarity and prejudice. Third, more intellectual humility is associated withmoreprejudice overall. We show that this apparently paradoxical pattern of results is consistent with the idea that it is both psychologically and rationally plausible that one person is at the same time intellectually humble, epistemically virtuous and strongly prejudiced. (shrink)
The construct “remembering” is equivocal between an epistemic sense, denoting a distinctive ground for knowledge, and empirical sense, denoting the typical behavior of a neurocognitive mechanism. Because the same kind of equivocation arises for other psychologistic terms (such as believe, decide, know, judge, decide, infer and reason), the effort to spot and remedy the confusion in the case of remembering might prove generally instructive. The failure to allow these two senses of remembering equal play in their respective domains leads, I (...) argue, to unnecessary confusion about memory externalism, the possibility of episodic memory in non-human species, and the thesis of memory continuism. By distinguishing these equivocal senses of remembering, we thus gain leverage on understanding how the distinctive epistemic norms that define many of our psychologic terms are more plausibly related to the capacities studied by empirical science, given that neither identity nor elimination are possible. (shrink)
Recently, a view I refer to as “hypothetical continuism” has garnered some favour among philosophers, based largely on empirical research showing substantial neurocognitive overlaps between episodic memory and imagination. According to this view, episodically remembering past events is the same kind of cognitive process as sensorily imagining future and counterfactual events. In this paper, I first argue that hypothetical continuism is false, on the basis of substantive epistemic asymmetries between episodic memory and the relevant kinds of imagination. However, I then (...) propose and defend an alternative form of continuism, according to which episodic memory is continuous with a capacity I call “actuality-oriented imagination.” Because of the deep epistemic affinities between episodic memory and actuality-oriented imagination, it makes sense to think of them as cognitive processes of the same kind. (shrink)
Is there some general reason to expect organisms that have beliefs to have false beliefs? And after you observe that an organism occasionally occupies a given neural state that you think encodes a perceptual belief, how do you evaluate hypotheses about the semantic content that that state has, where some of those hypotheses attribute beliefs that are sometimes false while others attribute beliefs that are always true? To address the first of these questions, we discuss evolution by natural selection and (...) show how organisms that are risk-prone in the beliefs they form can be fitter than organisms that are risk-free. To address the second question, we discuss a problem that is widely recognized in statistics – the problem of over-fitting – and one influential device for addressing that problem, the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). We then use AIC to solve epistemological versions of the disjunction and distality problems, which are two key problems concerning what it is for a belief state to have one semantic content rather than another. (shrink)
Self‐ascriptions of desire seem to differ in their epistemic security. There are easy cases in which a sincere self‐ascription immediately counts as knowledgeable, and there are hard cases in which it is an open question whether an agent actually knows that they have the desire that they take themselves to have. In this paper, I suggest an explanation according to which whether a self‐ascription of desire is easy or hard depends on whether one is familiar with the content of the (...) self‐ascribed desire. (shrink)
El materialismo, el reduccionismo, el Behaviorismo, el funcionalismo, la teoría de los sistemas dinámicos y el computacionalismo son puntos de vista populares, pero Wittgenstein demostró que no era coherente. El estudio del comportamiento abarca toda la vida humana, pero el comportamiento es en gran medida automático e inconsciente e incluso la parte consciente, expresada principalmente en lenguaje (que Wittgenstein equipara con la mente), no es perspicuo, por lo que es fundamental tener un marco que Searle llame a la estructura lógica (...) de la racionalidad (LSR) y llamo a la psicología descriptiva del pensamiento de orden superior (DPHOT). Después de resumir el marco elaborado por Wittgenstein y Searle, ampliado por la investigación de razonamiento moderno, muestro las insuficiencias en las opiniones de Carruthers, que impregnan la mayoría de las discusiones sobre el comportamiento, incluyendo las Ciencias del comportamiento contemporáneas. Mantengo que su libro es una amalgama de dos libros, uno un resumen de la psicología cognitiva y el otro un resumen de las confusiones filosóficas estándar en la mente con una nueva jerga añadida. Sugiero que este último debe ser considerado como incoherente o como una vista de dibujos animados de la vida y que tomando Wittgenstein en su palabra, podemos practicar la autoterapia exitosa con respecto a la cuestión de la mente/cuerpo como un tema de idioma/cuerpo. -/- Aquellos que deseen un marco completo hasta la fecha para el comportamiento humano de la moderna dos sistemas punta de vista puede consultar mi libro 'La estructura lógica de la filosofía, la psicología, la mente y lenguaje en Ludwig Wittgenstein y John Searle ' 2a ED (2019). Los interesados en más de mis escritos pueden ver 'Monos parlantes--filosofía, psicología, ciencia, religión y política en un planeta condenado--artículos y reseñas 2006-2019 3a ED (2019) y Delirios utópicos suicidas en el siglo 21 4a Ed (2019) y otras. (shrink)
Antes de comentar sobre el libro, ofrezco comentarios sobre Wittgenstein y Searle y la estructura lógica de la racionalidad. Los ensayos aquí son en su mayoría ya publicados durante la última década (aunque algunos han sido actualizados), junto con un artículo inédito, y nada aquí vendrá como una sorpresa para aquellos que han mantenido su trabajo. Al igual que W, es considerado como el mejor filósofo de su tiempo y su obra escrita es sólida como una roca y pionera en (...) todo. Sin embargo, su fracaso para tomar la W más tarde lo suficientemente seriamente conduce a algunos errores y confusiones. Sólo algunos ejemplos: en P7, dos veces señala que nuestra certeza sobre los hechos básicos se debe al peso abrumador de la razón que respalda nuestras afirmaciones, pero W demostró definitivamente en ' on certidumbre ' que no hay posibilidad de dudar de la verdadera estructura axiomática de nuestro sistema 1 percepciones, memorias y pensamientos, ya que es en sí la base para el juicio y no puede ser juzgado. En la primera frase del P8 nos dice que la certeza es revisable, pero este tipo de ' certeza ', que podríamos llamar Certainty2, es el resultado de extender nuestra certeza axiomática y no revisable (Certainty1) a través de la experiencia y es completamente diferente, ya que es proposicional (verdadero o falso). Este es, por supuesto, un ejemplo clásico de la "batalla contra la hechizamiento de nuestra inteligencia por el lenguaje" que W demostró una y otra vez. Una palabra-dos (o muchos) usos distintos. Su último capítulo "la unidad de la Proposición" (anteriormente inédito) también se beneficiaría en gran medida de la lectura de W "en la certeza" o de los dos libros de DMS sobre OC (ver mis comentarios), ya que hacen claro la diferencia entre verdaderas sólo frases que describen S1 y verdadero o falso proposiciones que describen S2. Esto me parece un enfoque muy superior a S tomando percepciones S1 como proposicional ya que sólo se convierten en T o F después de que uno comienza a pensar en ellos en S2. Sin embargo, su punto de que las proposiciones permiten declaraciones de la verdad y la falsedad real o potencial, del pasado y del futuro y de la fantasía, y por lo tanto proporcionar un gran avance sobre la sociedad pre o protolingüística, es convincente. Como dice, "una proposición es cualquier cosa que pueda determinar una condición de satisfacción... y una condición de satisfacción... es que tal y tal es el caso. " O, uno necesita agregar, que podría ser o podría haber sido o podría ser imaginado para ser el caso. En general, PNC es un buen Resumen de los muchos avances sustanciales sobre Wittgenstein resultantes del medio siglo de trabajo de S, pero en mi opinión, W todavía es inigualable una vez que se comprende lo que está diciendo. Idealmente, deben leerse juntos: Searle para la clara prosa y generalizaciones coherentes, ilustradas con los ejemplos perspicaces de W y aforismos brillantes. Si yo fuera mucho más joven escribiría un libro haciendo exactamente eso. Aquellos que deseen un marco completo hasta la fecha para el comportamiento humano de la moderna dos sistemas punto de vista puede consultar mi libro 'La estructura lógica de la filosofía, la psicología, la mente y lenguaje En Ludwig Wittgenstein y John Searle ' 2nd ED (2019). Los interesados en más de mis escritos pueden ver 'Monos parlantes--filosofía, psicología, ciencia, religión y política en un planeta condenado--artículos y reseñas 2006-2019 3rd ED (2019) y delirios utópicos suicidas en el 21St Century 4TH Ed (2019) y otras. (shrink)
The first group of articles attempt to give some insight into how we behave that is reasonably free of theoretical delusions. In the next three groups I comment on three of the principal delusions preventing a sustainable world— technology, religion and politics (cooperative groups). People believe that society can be saved by them, so I provide some suggestions in the rest of the book as to why this is unlikely via short articles and reviews of recent books by well-known writers. (...) -/- America and the world are in the process of collapse from excessive population growth, most of it for the last century and now all of it due to 3rd world people. Consumption of resources and the addition of 4 billion more ca. 2100 will collapse industrial civilization and bring about starvation, disease, violence and war on a staggering scale. Billions will die and nuclear war is all but certain. In America this is being hugely accelerated by massive immigration and immigrant reproduction, combined with abuses made possible by democracy. Depraved human nature inexorably turns the dream of democracy and diversity into a nightmare of crime and poverty. The root cause of collapse is the inability of our innate psychology to adapt to the modern world, which leads people to treat unrelated persons as though they had common interests. This, plus ignorance of basic biology and psychology, leads to the social engineering delusions of the partially educated who control democratic societies. Few understand that if you help one person you harm someone else—there is no free lunch and every single item anyone consumes destroys the earth beyond repair. Consequently, social policies everywhere are unsustainable and one by one all societies without stringent controls on selfishness will collapse into anarchy or dictatorship. Without dramatic and immediate changes, there is no hope for preventing the collapse of America, or any country that follows a democratic system. Hence my essay “Suicide by Democracy”. It is also now clear that the seven sociopaths who rule China are winning world war 3, and so my concluding essay on them. The only greater threat is Artificial Intelligence which I comment on briefly in the last paragraph. (shrink)
In a recent article I detailed at length the methodology employed to explore the reflective and pre-reflective contents of singular intuitive experiences in contemporary mathematics in order to propose an essential structure of intuition arousal in mathematics. In this paper I present the phenomenological assessment of the essential structure according to the three formal structures as proposed by Sokolowski's scheme and show their relevance in the description of the intuitive experience in mathematics. I also show that this essential structure acknowledges (...) the perceptualist view of intuition, as proposed by Chudnoff, and discuss the analogy that is often proposed and argued between mathematical intuition and ordinary perceptive intuition. (shrink)
Olfaction represents odors, if it represents anything at all. Does olfaction also represent ordinary objects like cheese, fish and coffee-beans? Many think so. This paper argues that it does not. Instead, we should affirm an austere account of the intentional objects of olfaction: olfactory experience is about odors, not objects. Visuocentric thinking about olfaction has tempted some philosophers to say otherwise.
This paper provides an outline and critical introduction to a symposium on Garfield’s Engaging Buddhism: Why It Matters to Philosophy. The main issues addressed concern: (i) the problem of personal identity, specifically the issue of whether the no-self view can satisfactorily account for such phenomena as agency, responsibility, rationality, and subjectivity, and the synchronic unity of consciousness they presuppose; (ii) a critique of phenomenal realism, which is shown to rests on a false dilemma, namely: either we must take people’s introspective (...) reports as reliable testimony, or see the task of phenomenology as necessarily involving what people believe about their introspective report; and (iii) the consequences of adopting Garfield’s physicalist stance for our understanding of Buddhist views of consciousness and the self. (shrink)
How does one know one's own beliefs, intentions, and other attitudes? Many responses to this question are broadly empiricist, in that they take self-knowledge to be epistemically based in empirical justification or warrant. Empiricism about self-knowledge faces an influential objection: that it portrays us as mere observers of a passing cognitive show, and neglects the fact that believing and intending are things we do, for reasons. According to the competing, agentialist conception of self-knowledge, our capacity for self-knowledge derives from our (...) rational agency—our ability to conform our attitudes to our reasons, and to commit ourselves to those attitudes through avowals. This paper has two goals. The first is exegetical: to identify agentialism's defining thesis and precisely formulate the agentialist challenge to empiricism. The second goal is to defend empiricism from the agentialist challenge. I propose a way to understand the role of agency in reasoning and avowals, one that does justice to what is distinctive about these phenomena yet is compatible with empiricism about self-knowledge. (shrink)
This article builds on ideas presented in Klein (2015a) concerning the importance of a more nuanced, conceptually rigorous approach to the scientific understanding and use of the construct “memory”. I first summarize my model, taking care to situate discussion within the terminological practices of contemporary philosophy of mind. I then elucidate the implications of the model for a particular operation of mind – the manner in which content presented to consciousness realizes its particular phenomenological character (i.e., mode of presentation). Finally, (...) I discuss how the model offers a reconceptualization of the technical language used by psychologists and neuroscientists to formulate and test ideas about memory. (shrink)
Contemporary Information Systems management incorporates the need to make explicit the links between semiotics, meaning-making and the digital age. This focus addresses, at its core, pure rationality, that is, the capacity of human interpretation and of human inscription upon reality. Creating the new real, that is the motto. Humans are intrinsically semiotic creatures. Consequently, semiotics is not a choice or an option but something that works like a second skin, establishing limits and permeable linkages between: human thought and human's infinite (...) world of imagination; and human action, with its correspondent infinite world of intentionality, of desire and of unexplored possibilities. Two instances are contrasted as two reading lenses of current business reality: IS governance and industry 4.0. These phenomena correspond to the need to take accountability, transparency and responsibility into account, when designing IS and when using such systems through the ecology of connectivity, Big Data and the Internet of Things. Political, social and cultural dimensions are brought into the equation, when addressing the question of the relevance and adequateness of IS theory and practice to respond to contemporary challenges. The message is that what has already been achieved is but a shadow, a pale vision, of what might be achieved in the age of the new Renaissance. (shrink)
This book explores how we can measure consciousness. It clarifies what consciousness is, how it can be generated from a physical system, and how it can be measured. It also shows how conscious states can be expressed mathematically and how precise predictions can be made using data from neurophysiological studies.
In her exciting and thought-provoking book, The Rationality of Perception, Susanna Siegel tackles some bedrock issues concerning the nature and epistemology of perception: its rationality and relation to inference. Examining those issues from the perspective of everyday perception, where our vanity, fears, wishful thinking, general outlook, etc. can influence what we believe ourselves to see, Siegel offers a constructive defence of the claim that ‘both perceptual experiences and the processes by which they arise can be rational or irrational’ and goes (...) on to analyze these processes in terms of inference. (shrink)
Imagination, like other higher cognition, is often thought to arise after the evolution of language. Stephen Asma argues instead that imagination is much older and forms a kind of early cognition --harvesting sensory, motor and affective impressions, and generating novel generate-and-test information.
Can I be wrong about my own beliefs? More precisely: Can I falsely believe that I believe that p? I argue that the answer is negative. This runs against what many philosophers and psychologists have traditionally thought and still think. I use a rather new kind of argument, – one that is based on considerations about Moore's paradox. It shows that if one believes that one believes that p then one believes that p – even though one can believe that (...) p without believing that one believes that p. (shrink)
It has been observed that, unlike other kinds of singular judgments, mental self-ascriptions are immune to error through misidentification: they may go wrong, but not as a result of mistaking someone else’s mental states for one’s own. Although recent years have witnessed increasing interest in this phenomenon, three basic questions about it remain without a satisfactory answer: what is exactly an error through misidentification? What does immunity to such errors consist in? And what does it take to explain the fact (...) that mental self-ascriptions exhibit this sort of immunity? The aim of this paper is to bring these questions into focus, propose some tentative answers and use them to show that one prominent attempt to explain the immunity to error through misidentification of mental self-ascriptions is unsuccessful. (shrink)
Persuasion is a special aspect of our social and linguistic practices – one where an interlocutor, or an audience, is induced, to perform a certain action or to endorse a certain belief, and these episodes are not due to the force of the better reason. When we come near persuasion, it seems that, in general, we are somehow giving up factual discourse and the principles of logic, since persuading must be understood as almost different from convincing rationally. Sometimes, for example, (...) we can find persuasion a political speech that relies on our feelings, emotions and values, but we can also find a persuasive person a dodger, busy in his own questionable activities that are intentionally performed in order to mislead and manipulate other people. However, I do not want to try to define a general notion of persuasion from the beginning. I would rather start with a conception that already has a place, even if controversial, in the philosophical debate. In particular, the version that I have always found particularly provocative is that provided by Wittgenstein’s On Certainty. This peculiar version of the idea of persuasion, which is often associated with the possibility of overcoming deep disagreements, is quite famous in the literature and often understood as indicating certain intrinsic limits of our reason-giving practices. The following are Wittgenstein’s famous remarks on persuasion: -/- 608. Is it wrong for me to be guided in my actions by the propositions of physics? Am I to say I have no good ground for doing so? Isn’t precisely this what we call a ‘good ground’? -/- 609. Suppose we met people who did not regard that as a telling reason. Now, how do we imagine this? Instead of the physicist, they consult an oracle. (And for that we consider them primitive.) Is it wrong for them to consult an oracle and be guided by it? If we call this “wrong” aren’t we using our language-game as a base from which to combat theirs? -/- 611. Where two principles really do meet which cannot be reconciled with one another, then each man declares the other a fool and heretic. -/- 612. I said I would ‘combat’ the other man, – but wouldn’t I give him reasons? Certainly; but how far do they go? At the end of reasons comes persuasion. (Think what happens when missionaries convert natives.) -/- This paper is not devoted, as far as possible, to focus on interpretative matters about Wittgenstein’s late philosophy. Rather, it aims to investigate whether there are problems and incompatibilities between this particular conception of persuasion and our contemporary understanding of our reason-giving practices and of our belief-revision procedures. The first part of this study will be concerned about assessing this conception of persuasion and trying to shed new light on it (and on its consequences); most of the work here is done by looking at some truisms and normative features of our practices regarding the rational updating of our beliefs. It also addresses the question: Is the resistance to reasons of Wittgenstein’s persuasion capable to avoid the strict dynamics of belief revision? The second section of this study concerns the possibility of limiting the scope of this conception of persuasion, thanks to some of our contemporary ways of understanding rational discursive practices (I will focus especially on Robert Brandom’s game of “giving and asking for reasons”). If our rational practices require at least a certain degree of epistemic responsibility, then how is it possible that one invokes the end of reasons (that would explicitly mean giving up this responsibility)? A third section is the attempt, on this basis, to try to revise our contrasting conception(s) of persuasion (with an eye open on the near doxastic territory). Are there other conceptions of persuasion which are more compatible with our rational practices and do not entail any version of the “end of reasons” that are so compatible with our individual and social epistemic responsibility? (shrink)
Direct Perception is the view that we can see others' mental states, i.e. that we perceive others' mental states with the same immediacy and directness that we perceive ordinary objects in the world. I evaluate Direct Perception by considering whether we can see intentions, a particularly promising candidate for Direct Perception. I argue that the view equivocates on the notion of intention. Disambiguating the Direct Perception claim reveals a troubling dilemma for the view: either it is banal or highly implausible.
Probably the leading exponent of W’s ideas on the language games of inner and outer (the ‘Two Selves’ operation of our personality or intentionality or EP etc. ) the prolific Daniel Hutto’s (DH) approach is called ‘Radical Enactivism’ and is well explained in numerous recent books and papers. It is a development of or version of the Embodied Mind ideas now current and, cleansed of its jargon, it is a straightforward extension of W’s 2nd and 3rd period writings (though Hutto (...) seems only intermittently aware of this). -/- The basic idea of the Embodied Mind or Enactivism is that much of behavior is automated and does not involve representations (basically S2 dispositions-see Hutto’s lovely dissection of the ‘representation rats nest’ in his online papers ). To me this is just another way of stating the fact that System 1 precedes the operation of System 2 which is a standard feature of contemporary psychology, which I have explained above and in further detail in my reviews of Wittgenstein (who was the first to see this and explored it in great detail) and Searle (who called it The Phenomenological Illusion in his superb essay of this name in his book Philosophy in a New Century which I have also reviewed). Since these are basic incontrovertible facts of animal behavior and I have already discussed them I won’t dwell on it here. -/- This book is a sustained argument against other similar ways of describing behavior which he calls CEC and CIC in favor of REC (Radical Embodied Cognition), which he characterizes as “the strongest reading of the embodiment thesis—one that uncompromisingly maintains that basic cognition is literally constituted by, and to be understood in terms of concrete patterns of environmental situated organismic activity, nothing more or less” (p11). This is clear as a bell if you understand the two systems view explained above but likely opaque if you don’t. Much clearer is Fodor’s characterization which he quotes as “abilities are prior to theories”, that “competence is prior to content” and that “knowing how is the paradigm cognitive state and it is prior to knowing that” (p10). That is, the unconscious automatisms of S1 are evolutionarily and behaviorally prior to the slow conscious dispositions of S2. -/- This is classic Hutto high level philosophical dialog, which is quite elegant, but somewhat too dense and a tad pretentious for the rest of us. I have not before encountered his coauthor Myin so can’t say how much of this text is really due to him. It is clear from this and the rest of Hutto’s work that (like everyone else) he has not quite kept up with the latest work in psychology nor really grasped the full power of W or S, even though he is one of the top Wittgensteinians alive and as bright as anyone in the field. His discussions of the language games of “information” and “representation” in his other papers and books (and much else including his deconstructions of Dennett and Fodor) should be required reading for anyone interested in behavior. So, I have the greatest respect for him, but one hopes that he will mellow with time and write descriptions of behavior (i.e., all we can really do as philosophers according to W) in more mundane prose such as this lovely summation on p15. “Hence, REC is nothing less than a fundamental rethinking of the very foundations of standard approaches to cognitive science and philosophy of mind.” Yes and what a pity that this great Wittgensteinian (and everyone else) does not realize that W laid it all out with great (and unmatched) clarity in his third period works over 60 years ago. -/- I have much less sympathy for the extended and scaffolded minds of Chap 7. I don’t see how one can lay the burden of explaining how the mind works at Searle’s door, nor how the convoluted prose about “decoupled contentful activities” etc helps at all. Why not just say that automated unconscious prelinguistic S1 feeds deliberate, conscious linguistic S2, which is axiomatically extended by public language into the myriad wonders of S3 culture? Beginning and end of story. -/- Their last chapter is about “regaining consciousness,” but I would say that if one has understood Wittgenstein and Searle, one has never lost it. And, though this is an excellent book by two of the brightest and the best, I suggest mulling over my thoughts in this and other reviews and reading Johnston and the latest from Searle, along of course with as much of 3rd period W as feasible, is an even better filter for folly. In sum an excellent book with various faults which I try to correct. -/- Those wishing a comprehensive up to date framework for human behavior from the modern two systems view may consult my book ‘The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle’ 2nd ed (2019). Those interested in more of my writings may see ‘Talking Monkeys--Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet--Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 3rd ed (2019), The Logical Structure of Human Behavior (2019), and Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 4th ed (2019). (shrink)
Before remarking on “The New Science of the Mind”, I first offer some comments on philosophy and its relationship to contemporary psychological research as exemplified in the works of Searle (S),Wittgenstein (W), Hacker (H) et al. It will help to see my reviews of PNC (Philosophy in a New Century), TLP, PI, OC, Making the Social World (MSW) and other books by and about these geniuses, who provide a clear description of higher order behavior, not found in psychology nor philosophy, (...) that I will refer to as the WS framework. -/- As with so many philosophy books, we might stop with the title. As the quotes and comments above and in my other reviews and the books they cover indicate, there are compelling reasons for regarding the problems we face in describing the psychology of higher order thought as conceptual and not scientific. This ought to be crystal clear to all, but science envy and almost complete oblivion to WSH etc. is a la mode! But as H notes above, the issues discussed here are all about language games and have nothing to do with science. In fact, as usual, if one translates into plain English there is very little of interest here, and certainly nothing not said before and better by WS etc. countless times since the 30’s (see e.g., The Blue and Brown Books from 1933-35). It is not surprising that he makes no significant references to any of the above books or persons (the only reference to S is an article from 1958!), though in my view they are at the top of the list of the major figures in descriptive psychology. -/- On p119 he tells us that the key to all this is to figure out how “…a personal level cognitive process can belong to a representational subject. This is the task of the second half of the book.” But W did this 80 years ago and since we have the beautifully clear explanations of WSH, H&M etc., there is no point to torturing oneself with the rather aimless and opaque prose that veers off at the end into Sartre, Heidegger, Husserl, and Frege, with a dash of postmodernist word salad for good measure. A valiant effort on an interesting topic, but ultimately exhausting and fruitless. -/- Those wishing a comprehensive up to date framework for human behavior from the modern two systems view may consult my book ‘The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle’ 2nd ed (2019). Those interested in more of my writings may see ‘Talking Monkeys--Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet--Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 3rd ed (2019), The Logical Structure of Human Behavior (2019), and Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 4th ed (2019). (shrink)
I undermine the argument that ‘high’ epistemic standards are false because children and other cognitively unsophisticated subjects possess justification while lacking certain logical and epistemic concepts. I argue, instead, that the standards we often use to attribute logical and epistemic concepts to ordinary, cognitively sophisticated adults can easily be seen to cover many unsophisticated subjects; therefore, the alleged lack of certain concepts is no basis for rejecting ‘high’ epistemic standards. Whether or not such standards are correct has to be argued (...) on other grounds. (shrink)
In this short paper I critically analyze Marc Leman’s embodied approach to musical meaning and representation, suggesting that its explanatory value is not sufficient in order to be a good alternative for theories encompassing the concept of representation.
In this paper, I aim to show that McGinn’s argument from analogy for the possibility of human cognitive closure survives the critique raised on separate occasions by Dennett and Kriegel. I will distinguish between linguistic and non-linguistic cognitive closure and argue that the analogy argument from animal non-linguistic cognitive closure goes untouched by the objection Dennett and Kriegel raises.
The recent debate on cognitive phenomenology has largely focused on phenomenal aspects connected to the content of thoughts. By contrasts, aspects pertaining to their attitude have often been neglected, despite the fact that they are distinctive of the mental kind of thought concerned and, moreover, also present in experiences and thus less contentious than purely cognitive aspects. My main goal is to identify two central and closely related aspects of attitude that are phenomenologically salient and shared by thoughts with experiences, (...) namely the rational role that they play in our mental lives and their determination by factors external to them, such as external objects or reasons. In particular, I aim to defend Phenomenal Rationalism about judgemental thoughts and perceptual experiences: the view that their phenomenal character reflects their rational role, that is, their capacity to provide and/or respond to reasons. I conclude with some remarks about how this view may be extended to other kinds of th... (shrink)