We can classify theories of consciousness along two dimensions. First, a theory might be physicalist or dualist. Second, a theory might endorse any of these three views regarding causal relations between phenomenal properties (properties that characterize states of our consciousness) and physical properties: nomism (the two kinds of property interact through deterministic laws), acausalism (they do not causally interact), and anomalism (they interact but not through deterministic laws). In this paper, I explore anomalous dualism, a combination of views that has (...) not previously been explored (as far as I know). I suggest that a kind of anomalous dualism, nonreductive anomalous panpsychism, promises to offer the best overall answer to two pressing issues for dualist views, the problem of mental causation and the mapping problem (the problem of predicting mind-body associations). (shrink)
This paper aims to shed new light on certain philosophical theories of perceptual experience by examining the semantics of perceptual ascriptions such as “Jones sees an apple.” I start with the assumption, recently defended elsewhere, that perceptual ascriptions lend themselves to intensional readings. In the first part of the paper, I defend three theses regarding such readings: I) intensional readings of perceptual ascriptions ascribe phenomenal properties, II) perceptual verbs are not ambiguous between intensional and extensional readings, and III) intensional perceptual (...) ascriptions have a relational form. The second part of the paper describes the implications of I-III for theories of perceptual experience. I argue that I-III support and reconcile the three main views of perceptual experience, relationalism, disjunctivism, and representationalism. However, I-III leave open at least one important point of contention: particularism, the view that we experience external objects. I conclude by exploring the implications of accepting or denying particularism given I-III. (shrink)
Representationalism, in its most basic form, is a supervenience claim. In its stronger interesting form, it adds to this supervenience claim an explanatory commitment: necessarily, for any two experiences E and E*, if E and E* are different in their phenomenal character, then there is some difference in representational content between E and E* that renders their phenomenal difference intelligible. Representationalism is popular. Alas, it’s false—or so I claim. My argument appeals to two types of exceptional episodic memory: hyperthymesia or (...) Highly-Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM), and savants with prodigious visual memory. I contend that HSAM and prodigious visual memory provide strong evidence that there can be a perceptual experience and an episodic memory of that perceptual experience that differ in phenomenal character, yet lacking in any representational difference that would render their phenomenological difference intelligible. (shrink)
If there is content that we reason on, cognitive content, it is in the head and accessible to reasoning mechanisms. This paper discusses the phenomenal theory of cognitive content, according to which cognitive contents are the contents of phenomenal consciousness. I begin by distinguishing cognitive content from the closely associated notion of narrow content. I then argue, drawing on prior work, that the phenomenal theory can plausibly account for the cognitive contents of many relatively simple mental states. My main focus (...) in this paper is the question whether the phenomenal theory can account for the apparently abstract and complex cognitive contents of "high-level" thoughts. It might seem dubious that the theory can account for such cognitive contents, because cognitive phenomenology is too scarce and too thin. However, I argue there are in fact few abstract or complex cognitive contents, so the phenomenal theory's predictions are correct. This position explains some apparently irrational behavior that is otherwise hard to explain, and it makes sense of the central role of inner speech and other forms of consciousness in reasoning. (shrink)
The Significance Argument (SA) for the irreducibility of consciousness is based on a series of new puzzle-cases that I call multiple candidate cases. In these cases, there is a multiplicity of physical-functional properties or relations that are candidates to be identified with the sensible qualities and our consciousness of them, where those candidates are not significantly different. I will argue that these cases show that reductive materialists cannot accommodate the various ways in which consciousness is significant. I also will argue (...) that a nonreductive theory of the conscious-of relation can easily provide a very satisfying, unified explanation of the ways in which this relation is significant. (shrink)
This paper is a contribution to a book symposium on my book Experiencing Time. I reply to comments on the book by Natalja Deng, Geoffrey Lee and Bradford Skow. Although several chapters of the book are discussed, the main focus of my reply is on Chapters 2 and 6. In Chapter 2 I argue that the putative mind-independent passage of time could not be experienced, and from this I develop an argument against the A-theory of time. In Chapter 6 I (...) offer one part of an explanation of why we are disposed to think that time passes, relating to the supposedly ‘dynamic’ quality of experienced change. Deng, Lee, and Skow’s comments help me to clarify several issues, add some new thoughts, and make a new distinction that was needed, and I acknowledge, as I did in the book, that certain arguments in Chapter 6 are not conclusive; but I otherwise concede very little regarding the main claims and arguments defended in the book. (shrink)
In this article I argue for a novel theory of representational content, which I call ‘subjective externalism’. The view combines an internal, subjective constraint on the attribution of thought content which traditionally underpins internalist theories of thought, and an external, objective constraint on the attribution of thought content which traditionally underpins externalist theories of thought. While internalism and externalism are mutually inconsistent, the constraints to which each theory is committed are not. It is this realization that opens up the conceptual (...) space for subjective externalism, according to which the correct attribution of thought content to an individual is essentially constrained by her nonrepresentational relations to objective manifest properties in her wider reality. (shrink)
Intermodal representationalists hold that the phenomenal characters of experiences are fully determined by their contents. In contrast, intramodal representationalists hold that the phenomenal characters of experiences are determined by their contents together with their intentional modes or manners of representation, which are nonrepresentational features corresponding roughly to the sensory modalities. This paper discusses a kind of experience that provides evidence for an intermodal representationalist view: intermodal experiences, experiences that unify experiences in different modalities. I argue that such experiences are much (...) easier to explain on the intermodal view. (shrink)
One central brand of representationalism claims that the specific phenomenal character of an experience is fully determined by its content. A challenge for this view is that cognitive and perceptual experiences sometimes seem to have the same representational content while differing in phenomenal character. In particular, it might seem that one can have faint imagery experiences or conscious thoughts with the same contents as vivid perceptual experiences. This paper argues that such cases never arise, and that they are probably metaphysically (...) impossible. I also suggest a fully representational account of differences in vividness between phenomenal experiences. (shrink)
The first part of this survey article presented a cartography of some of the more extensively studied forms of multisensory processing. In this second part, I turn to examining some of the different possible ways in which the structure of conscious perceptual experience might also be characterized as multisensory. In addition, I discuss the significance of research on multisensory processing and multisensory consciousness for philosophical debates concerning the modularity of perception, cognitive penetration, and the individuation of the senses.
In this paper I begin by considering Travis’s main argument against a representational view of experience. I argue that the argument succeeds in showing that representation is not essential to experience. However, I argue that it does not succeed in showing that representation is not an essential component of experience enjoyed by creatures like us. I then provide a new argument for thinking that the perceptual experience of earthly creatures is representational. The view that ensues is compatible with a certain (...) relational view of experience but entails a rejection of representationalism. (shrink)
A prominent view of phenomenal consciousness combines two claims: (i) the identity conditions of phenomenally conscious states can be fully accounted for in terms of these states’ representational content; (ii) this representational content can be fully accounted for in non-phenomenal terms. This paper presents an argument against this view. The core idea is that the identity conditions of phenomenally conscious states are not fixed entirely by what these states represent (their representational contents), but depend in part on how they represent (...) (their representational attitudes or modes). The argument highlights the myriad liabilities and difficulties one must accrue when one tries to appeal only to what phenomenally conscious states represent in accounting for their phenomenal individuation. (shrink)
Representations are not only used in our folk-psychological explanations of behaviour, but are also fruitfully postulated, for example, in cognitive science. The mainstream view in cognitive science maintains that our mind is a representational system. This popular view requires an understanding of the nature of the entities they are postulating. Teleosemantic theories face this challenge, unpacking the normativity in the relation of representation by appealing to the teleological function of the representing state. It has been argued that, if intentionality is (...) to be explained in teleological terms, then the function of a state cannot depend on its phylogenetical history, given the metaphysical possibility of a duplicate of an intentional being that lacks an evolutionary history. In this paper, I present a method to produce, according to our current knowledge in genetic engineering, human-like individuals who are not the product of natural selection in the required sense. This variation will be used to shed light on the main replies that have been offered in the literature to the Swampman thought experiment. I argue that these replies are not satisfactory: representations should better not depend on natural selection. I conclude that a non-etiological notion of function is to be preferred for characterizing the relation of representation. (shrink)
According to an influential variety of the representational view of perceptual experience—the singular content view—the contents of perceptual experiences include singular propositions partly composed of the particular physical object a given experience is about or of. The singular content view faces well-known difficulties accommodating hallucinations; I maintain that there is also an analogue of Frege's puzzle that poses a significant problem for this view. In fact, I believe that this puzzle presents difficulties for the theory that are unique to perception (...) in that strategies that have been developed to respond to Frege's puzzle in the case of belief cannot be employed successfully in the case of perception. Ultimately, I maintain that this perceptual analogue of Frege's puzzle provides a compelling reason to reject the singular content view of perceptual experience. (shrink)
Most representationalists argue that perceptual experience has to be representational because phenomenal looks are, by themselves, representational. Charles Travis argues that looks cannot represent. I argue that perceptual experience has to be representational due to the way the visual system works.
In this paper, I argue that perception justifies belief about the external world in virtue of its phenomenal character together with its relations to the external world. But I argue that perceptual relations to the external world impact on the justifying role of perception only by virtue of their impact on its representational content. Epistemic level-bridging principles provide a principled rationale for avoiding more radically externalist theories of perceptual justification.
In this paper, I want to hold, first, that a treatment of Frege cases in terms of a difference in cognitive phenomenology of the involved experiential mental states is not viable. Second, I will put forward another treatment of such cases that appeals to a difference in intentional objects metaphysically conceived not as exotica, but as schematic objects, that is, as objects that have no metaphysical nature qua objects of thought. This allows their nature to be settled independently of their (...) being thought of, in particular as concrete entities in the sense of entities that may be spatiotemporal occupiers. Yet third, as to Frege cases, cognitive phenomenology may return from the back door. For the realization that, if correct, solves any such case cannot but have a proprietary, though neither distinctive nor individuative, phenomenology. In my account, this is the realization that the different schematic intentional objects involved are none other than the same entity. (shrink)
This paper replies to objections from perceptual distortion against the representationalist thesis that the phenomenal characters of experiences supervene on their intentional contents. It has been argued that some pairs of distorted and undistorted experiences share contents without sharing phenomenal characters, which is incompatible with the supervenience thesis. In reply, I suggest that such cases are not counterexamples to the representationalist thesis because the contents of distorted experiences are always impoverished in some way compared to those of normal experiences. This (...) can be shown by considering limit cases of perceptual distortion, for example, maximally blurry experiences, which manifestly lack details present in clear experiences. I argue that since there is no reasonable way to draw the line between distorted experiences that have degraded content and distorted experiences that do not, we should allow that an increase in distortion is always acc.. (shrink)
DETERMINACY is the claim that covert shifts in visual attention sometimes affect the determinacy of visual content (capital letters will distinguish the claim from the familiar word, 'determinacy'). Representationalism is the claim that visual phenomenology supervenes on visual representational content. Both claims are popular among contemporary philosophers of mind, and DETERMINACY has been employed in defense of representationalism. I claim that existing arguments in favor of DETERMINACY are inconclusive. As a result, DETERMINACY-based arguments in support of representationalism are not strong (...) ones. (shrink)
Libertarians claim that our experience of free choice is indeterministic. They think that, when we choose, our choice feels open in a way that would require indeterminism for the experience to be accurate. This claim then functions as a step in an argument in favour of libertarianism, the view that freedom requires indeterminism and we are free. Since, all else being equal, we should take experience at face value, libertarians argue, we should endorse libertarianism. Compatibilists, who think that freedom is (...) consistent with determinism, respond to this argument in a number of ways, none of which is adequate. This paper defends a stronger compatibilist response. Compatibilists should concede, at least for argument's sake, that our experience of freedom is in a sense libertarian. Yet they should also insist that our experience is in another sense compatibilist. Thus, even if libertarian descriptions of experience are phenomenologically apt, there is still a sense in which the experience might be veridical,.. (shrink)
I argue that an experience’s sensuous elements play an ineliminable role in our being intentionally directed upon an entity through perception. More specifically, I argue that whenever we appreciate a sensuous element in experience, we appreciate an intrinsic and irreducibly phenomenal aspect of experience that I call phenomenal presence – an aspect of experience that I show is central to its presentational character – and that the appreciation of phenomenal presence is necessary for perceptual intentionality. If an experience is to (...) possess intentionality, the experience itself must make an entity available as an object of perceptually-based singular beliefs and the experiencing subject, by virtue of undergoing the experience, must in some sense be able to appreciate that it has done so. Phenomenal presence is necessary for perceptual intentionality because it plays an ineliminable role in making an entity available to its subject in this way. (shrink)
In this paper I examine whether different suggestions made in the philosophy of perception can help us to explain and understand the phenomenal character of emotional experience. After having introduced the range of possible positions, I consider qualia-theory, reductive pure intentionalism and reductive impure intentionalism. I argue that qualia-theory can easily explain why emotions are phenomenal states at all but that it cannot account for the “inextricable link thesis” which is quite prominent in the philosophy of emotion. Reductive pure and (...) impure intentionalism, in turn, seem to fit better with this thesis but they have difficulties to explain what makes emotions phenomenal states at all. Therefore, I finally discuss whether non-reductive intentionalism might be an option for explaining the phenomenal character of emotional experience. (shrink)
Some recently popular accounts of perception account for the phenomenal character of perceptual experience in terms of the qualities of objects. My concern in this paper is with naturalistic versions of such a phenomenal externalist view. Focusing on visual spatial perception, I argue that naturalistic phenomenal externalism conflicts with a number of scientific facts about the geometrical characteristics of visual spatial experience.
In this paper, I argue that the conscious awareness one has of oneself as acting, i.e., agentive awareness, is not a type of sensory awareness. After providing some set up in Sect. 1, I move on in Sect. 2 to sketch a profile of sensory agentive experiences as representational states with sensory qualities by which we come to be aware of ourselves as performing actions. In Sect. 3, I critique two leading arguments in favor of positing such sensory experiences: the (...) argument from pathology and the argument from cognitive impenetrability. Since neither of these arguments succeeds, the case for positing SAEs is dealt a significant blow. I proceed in Sect. 4 to advance my positive argument against SAEs. The argument runs as follows: If SAEs exist, then they must exist in some sensory modality or set of sensory modalities. Either the relevant sensory modalities are ones that we already recognize, or they are novel sensory modalities. I will argue that neither of these options is workable, and so we have nowhere to locate SAEs. Agentive awareness is not sensory awareness. (shrink)
There are two very different ways of thinking about perception. According to representationalism, perceptual states are representations: they represent the world as being a certain way. They have content, which may or may not be different from the content of beliefs. They represent objects as having properties, sometimes veridically, sometimes not. According to relationalism, perception is a relation between the agent and the perceived object. Perceived objects are literally constituents of our perceptual states and not of the contents thereof. Perceptual (...) states are not representations. My aim is to argue that if we frame this debate as a debate about the individuation of perceptual states, rather than the nature of perception, then we can reconcile these two seemingly conflicting ways of thinking about perception. (shrink)
According to a classic but nowadays discarded philosophical theory, perceptual experience is a complex of nonconceptual sensory states and full-blown propositional beliefs. This classical dual-component theory of experience is often taken to be obsolete. In particular, there seem to be cases in which perceptual experience and belief conflict: cases of known illusions, wherein subjects have beliefs contrary to the contents of their experiences. Modern dual-component theories reject the belief requirement and instead hold that perceptual experience is a complex of nonconceptual (...) sensory states and some other sort of conceptual state. The most popular modern dual-component theory appeals to sui generis propositional attitudes called ‘perceptual seemings’. This article argues that the classical dual-component theory has the resources to explain known illusions without giving up the claim that the conceptual components of experience are beliefs. The classical dual-component view, though often viewed as outdated and implausible, should be regarded as a serious contender in contemporary debates about the nature of perceptual experience. (shrink)
This paper articulates what it would take to defend representationalism in the case of emotions – i.e. the claim that emotions attribute evaluative properties to target objects or events. We argue that representationalism faces a significant explanatory challenge that has not yet been adequately recognized. Proponents must establish that a representation relation linking emotions and value is explanatorily necessary. We use the case of perception to bring out the difficulties in meeting this explanatory challenge.
Terence Horgan, George Graham and John Tienson argue that some intentional content is constitutively determined by phenomenology alone. We argue that this would require a certain kind of covariation of phenomenal states and intentional states that is not established by Horgan, Tienson and Graham’s arguments. We make the case that there is inadequate reason to think phenomenology determines perceptual belief, and that there is reason to doubt that phenomenology determines any species of non-perceptual intentionality. We also raise worries about the (...) capacity of phenomenology to map onto intentionality in a way that would be appropriate for any determiner of content/fixer of truth conditions. (shrink)
The article provides the state of the art on the debate about whether the semantics of ‘look’ statements commits us to any particular theory of perceptual experience. The debate began with Frank Jackson's argument that ‘look’ statements commit us to a sense-datum theory of perception. Thinkers from different camps have since then offered various rejoinders to Jackson's argument. Others have provided novel arguments from considerations of the semantics of ‘look’ to particular theories of perception. The article closes with an argument (...) of this sort for a representational theory of perceptual experience. (shrink)
The aim of this essay is to show that phenomenal properties are contentless modes of appearances of representational properties. The essay initiates with examination of the first-person perspective of the conscious observer according to which a “reference to I” with respect to the observation of experience is determined. A distinction is then drawn between the conscious observer and experience as observed, according to which, three distinct modifications of experience are delineated. These modifications are then analyzed with respect to the content (...) of experience and from this the ground of the distinction between phenomenal and representational properties is identified. (shrink)
The arguments advanced in this paper are the following. Firstly, that just as Trevarthen’s three subjective/intersubjective levels, primary, secondary, and tertiary, mapped out different modes of access, so too response is similarly structured, from direct primordial responsiveness, to that informed by shared pragmatic concerns and narrative contexts, to that which demands the distantiation afforded by representation. Secondly, I propose that empathy is an essential mode of intentionality, integral to the primary level of subjectivity/intersubjectivity, which is crucial to our survival as (...) individuals and as a species. Further to this last point, I argue that empathy is not derived on the basis of intersubjectivity, nor does it merely disclose intersubjectivity, rather it is constitutive of intersubjectivity at the primary level. Empathy is a direct, irreducible intentionality separable in thought from the other primary intentional modes of perception, rationality, memory and imagination, but co-arising with these. In regard to the inter-personal level, the concrete relations with others, primary empathy is both the ground for the possibility of the secondary manifestations—pity, sympathy, perspective taking, etc., and motivates them. Thirdly, it is the movement in the core of subjectivity initially generated by shifting attention between the ‘I’ and ‘we’ perspectives and later ‘solidified’ through affect to become shifting identification, which opens up the intersubjective domain. So we can affirm that we are not only born into sociality but our sociality goes to the roots of our being as Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty have claimed. (shrink)
Attention has a role in much of perception, thought, and action. On the erotetic theory, the functional role of attention is a matter of the relationship between questions and what counts as answers to those questions. Questions encode the completion conditions of tasks for cognitive control purposes, and degrees of attention are degrees of sensitivity to the occurrence of answers. Questions and answers are representational contents given precise characterizations using tools from formal semantics, though attention does not depend on language. (...) The erotetic theory proposes an integrated account of attention in cognitive control and of attentional focus in perception. The functional role of attentional focus on objects, properties, and locations has to do with picking out something that corresponds to what a task is ‘about’. The erotetic theory of attention opens new avenues in theorizing about the relationship between attention, representational content, phenomenal character, and practical reason. A novel representationalist account of salience is proposed. The theory also provides an account of distraction that suggests when distraction is a defect in practical reasoning. (shrink)
Is the sense-data theory, otherwise known as indirect realism, a form of representationalism? This question has been underexplored in the extant literature, and to the extent that there is discussion, contemporary authors disagree. There are many different variants of representationalism, and differences between these variants that some people have taken to be inconsequential turn out to be key factors in whether the sense-data theory is a form of representationalism. Chief among these are whether a representationalist takes the phenomenal character of (...) an experience to be explicable in virtue of the properties of an experience that represent something or explicable in virtue of that which gets represented. Another is whether representationalists hold a non-reductionist, or naturalistically or non-naturalistically reductionist variant of representationalism. In addition, subtle differences in what one takes phenomenal character to be on the sense-data theory – either awareness of sense-data or the sense-data themselves – together with one's account of representation, are crucial factors in determining whether sense-data theory is compatible with representationalism. This paper explores these relationships and makes manifest the complexities of the metaphysics of two central theories of perception. (shrink)
When you have a perceptual experience of a given physical object that object seems to be immediately present to you in a way it never does when you consciously think about or imagine it. Many philosophers have claimed that naïve realism (the view that to perceive is to stand in a primitive relation of acquaintance to the world) can provide a satisfying account of this phenomenological directness of perceptual experience while the content view (the view that to perceive is to (...) represent the world to be a certain way) cannot. I argue that this claim is false. Specifically, I maintain that the only acceptable naïve realist account of the relevant phenomenology is circular and that the content view can provide a similar account. In addition, I maintain that a certain specific variety of the content view provides a non-circular and thus more satisfactory account of this phenomenology. If so, then contrary to what is commonly assumed there are powerful phenomenological grounds for preferring the content view to naïve realism. (shrink)
A perceptual experience of a given object seems to make the object itself present to the perceiver’s mind. Many philosophers have claimed that naïve realism (the view that to perceive is to stand in a primitive relation of acquaintance to the world) provides a better account of this phenomenological directness of perceptual experience than does the content view (the view that to perceive is to represent the world to be a certain way). But the naïve realist account of this phenomenology (...) has a conspicuous shortcoming: it explains the phenomenological directness of veridical perceptual experiences but not of hallucinations. Conversely, I maintain that a particular variety of the content view provides a unified account of the phenomenological directness of both veridical and hallucinatory experiences. If so, then contrary to what is often assumed, the phenomenological facts concerning perceptual experience are explained better by the content view than by naïve realism, and consequently, we have a compelling reason to prefer the content view to naïve realism. (shrink)
Within the philosophy of mind, consciousness is currently understood as the expression of one or other cognitive modality, either intentionality , transparency , subjectivity or reflexivity . However, neither intentionality, subjectivity nor transparency adequately distinguishes conscious from nonconscious cognition. Consequently, the only genuine index or defining characteristic of consciousness is reflexivity, the capacity for autonoetic or self-referring, self-monitoring awareness. But the identification of reflexivity as the principal index of consciousness raises a major challenge in relation to the cognitive mechanism responsible (...) for operationalizing such a reflexive state. Current reliance by higher-order and intrinsic self-representational theories on self-representing data structures to achieve reflexive self-awareness is highly problematic, suggesting a solution in terms of a self-referential processing regime. (shrink)
How should interaction between the senses affect thought about them? I try to capture some ways in which non sense-specific perception might be thought to make it impossible or pointless or explanatorily idle to distinguish between senses. This task is complicated by there being more than one view of the nature of the senses, and more than one kind of non sense-specific perception. I argue, in particular, that provided we are willing to forgo certain assumptions about, for instance, the relationship (...) between modes or kinds of experience, and about how one should count perceptual experiences at a time, at least one way of thinking about the senses survives the occurrence of various kinds of non sense-specific perception relatively unscathed. (shrink)
I respond to three arguments aimed at establishing that natural kind properties occur in the experiential content of visual experience: the argument from phenomenal difference, the argument from mandatory seeing, and the argument from associative agnosia. I conclude with a simple argument against the view that natural kind properties occur in the experiential content of visual experience.
Aron Gurwitsch made two main contributions to phenomenology. He showed how to import Gestalt theoretical ideas into Husserl’s framework of constitutive phenomenology. And he explored the light this move sheds on both the overall structure of experience and on particular kinds of experience, especially perceptual experiences and conscious shifts in attention. The primary focus of this paper is the overall structure of experience. I show how Gurwitsch’s Gestalt theoretically informed phenomenological investigations provide a basis for defending what I will call (...) Phenomenal Holism, the view that all the parts of a total phenomenal state metaphysically depend on it. To illustrate how the ideas developed along the way can be used in advancing work on the phenomenology of particular kinds of experience, I draw on them in defending Husserl’s view that we can be aware of abstract objects against a phenomenological objection. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore one particular dimension of Brentano’s legacy, namely, his theory of mental analysis. This theory has received much less attention in recent literature than the intentionality thesis or the theory of inner perception. However, I argue that it provides us with substantive resources in order to conceptualize the unity of intentionality and phenomenality. My proposal is to think of the connection between intentionality and phenomenality as a certain combination of part/whole relations rather than as a supervenience (...) or identity relation. To begin, I discuss some reasons for being a (neo-)Brentanian about the mind and briefly introduce the main characteristics of Brentano’s internalist description program. Then, I turn to the current “inseparatist” way of dealing with intentionality and phenomenality, focusing on the demand for unity coming from advocates of phenomenal intentionality. I suggest that the unity of the mind may be put in a new light if we put aside metaphysical–epistemological questions, go back to Brentano’s description program, and endorse his thesis that the mental is something unified in which various parts must be distinguished. In the last section, I draw some lessons from this approach, holding that, for any representational content R, R is (in Brentano’s terms) an abstractive or “distinctional” part of the relevant state and that, for any qualitative aspect Q, Q is an abstractive or “distinctional” part of the relevant representational content R. (shrink)
I argue that Manzotti and Pepperell’s presentation of the New Mind not only obfuscates pertinent differences between externalist views of various strengths, but also, and most problematically, conflates a distinction that cannot, without consequences, be conflated. We can talk about the contents of the mind and/or about the vehicles of those contents. But we should not conflate the two. Conflation of contents and vehicles comes with a price. In Manzotti and Pepperell’s case, it undermines claims they make about the implications (...) of the New Mind. (shrink)
All representationalists maintain that there is a necessary connection between an experience’s phenomenal character and intentional content; but there is a disagreement amongst representationalists regarding the nature of those intentional contents that are necessarily connected to phenomenal character. Russellian representationalists maintain that the relevant contents are composed of objects and/or properties, while Fregean representationalists maintain that the relevant contents are composed of modes of presentation of objects and properties. According to Fregean representationalists such as David Chalmers and Brad Thompson, the (...) Fregean variety of the view is preferable to the Russellian variety because the former can accommodate purported counterexamples involving spectrum inversion without illusion and colour constancy while the latter cannot. I maintain that colour constancy poses a special problem for the Fregean theory in that the features of the theory that enable it handle spectrum inversion without illusion cannot be extended to handle colour constancy. I consider the two most plausible proposals regarding how the Fregean view might be developed in order to handle colour constancy—one of which has recently been defended by Thompson —and argue that neither is adequate. I conclude that Fregean representationalism is no more able to accommodate colour constancy than is Russellian representationalism and, as such, ought to be rejected. (shrink)
I shall refer to all theories according to which time passes (including dynamic versions of presentism, ‘growing block’ theories, ‘shrinking tree’ theories, and so on) under the umbrella term ‘A-theory’, and I shall use the term ‘B-theory’ in the standard way to refer to the theory according to which time does not pass, and although events are ordered in time there is no objective present time.1 Many philosophers, both A- and B-theorists, have agreed that in experience we are, or at (...) least seem to be, aware of time passing. (shrink)
In this paper I offer a theory of what makes certain influences on visual experiences by prior mental states (including desires, beliefs, moods, and fears) reduce the justificatory force of those experiences. The main idea is that experiences, like beliefs, can have rationally assessable etiologies, and when those etiologies are irrational, the experiences are epistemically downgraded.
This is the first in a series of two articles that serve as an introduction to recent debates about cognitive phenomenology. Cognitive phenomenology can be defined as the experience that is associated with cognitive activities, such as thinking, reasoning, and understanding. What is at issue in contemporary debates is not the existence of cognitive phenomenology, so defined, but rather its nature and theoretical role. The first article examines questions about the nature of cognitive phenomenology, while the second article explores the (...) philosophical implications of these questions for the role of consciousness in theories of intentionality, introspective self-knowledge, and knowledge of the external world. (shrink)
This is the second in a series of two articles that serve as an introduction to recent debates about cognitive phenomenology. Cognitive phenomenology can be defined as the experience that is associated with cognitive activities, such as thinking, reasoning, and understanding. What is at issue in contemporary debates is not the existence of cognitive phenomenology, so defined, but rather its nature and theoretical role. The first article examines questions about the nature of cognitive phenomenology, while the second article explores the (...) philosophical implications of these questions for the role of consciousness in theories of intentionality, introspective self-knowledge, and knowledge of the external world. (shrink)