Mind and Language

ISSN: 0268-1064

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  1.  60
    “All animals are conscious”: Shifting the null hypothesis in consciousness science.Kristin Andrews - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (3):415-433.
    The marker approach is taken as best practice for answering the distribution question: Which animals are conscious? However, the methodology can be used to increase confidence in animals many presume to be unconscious, including C. elegans, leading to a trilemma: accept the worms as conscious; reject the specific markers; or reject the marker methodology for answering the distribution question. I defend the third option and argue that answering the distribution question requires a secure theory of consciousness. Accepting the hypothesis all (...)
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  2.  24
    Slurs in quarantine.Bianca Cepollaro, Simone Sulpizio, Claudia Bianchi & Isidora Stojanovic - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (3):381-396.
    We investigate experimentally whether the perceived offensiveness of slurs survives when they are reported, by comparing Italian slurs and insults in base utterances (Y is an S), direct speech (X said: “Y is an S”), mixed quotation (X said that Y is “an S”), and indirect speech (X said that Y is an S). For all strategies, reporting decreases the perceived offensiveness without removing it. For slurs, but not insults, indirect speech is perceived as more offensive than direct speech. Our (...)
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  3.  39
    Names are not (always) predicates.Laura Delgado - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (3):330-347.
    A main selling point of predicativism is that, in addition to accounting for predicative uses of proper names, it can successfully account for their referential uses while treating them as predicates, thus providing a uniform semantics for proper names. The strategy is to postulate an unpronounced determiner that is realised with names when they appear to function as singular terms, making them effectively a concealed determiner phrase. I argue against the thesis that names are really predicates in referential uses. I (...)
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  4. Emotions in time: The temporal unity of emotion phenomenology.Kris Goffin & Gerardo Viera - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (3):348-363.
    According to componential theories of emotional experience, emotional experiences are phenomenally complex in that they consist of experiential parts, which may include cognitive appraisals, bodily feelings, and action tendencies. These componential theories face the problem of emotional unity: Despite their complexity, emotional experiences also seem to be phenomenologically unified. Componential theories have to give an account of this unity. We argue that existing accounts of emotional unity fail and that instead emotional unity is an instance of experienced causal‐temporal unity. We (...)
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  5. Design and syntax in pictures.Robert Hopkins - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (3):312-329.
    Many attempts to define depiction appeal to viewers' perceptual responses. Such accounts are liable to give a central role in determining depictive content to picture features responsible for the response, design. A different project is to give a compositional semantics for depictive content. Such attempts identify syntax: picture features systematically responsible for the content of the whole. Design and syntax are competitors. But syntax requires system, in how picture features contribute to content, that design does not. By examining John Kulvicki's (...)
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  6.  11
    Hunger, homeostasis, and desire.Mohan Matthen - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (3):397-414.
    Hunger is a psychological state that serves physiological energy homeostasis. I argue that it is a pure underived desire to eat and examine its role in homeostasis. After scene‐setting explanations of homeostasis and desire, I argue that hunger is a close phenomenological match with underived desire. Then, I show why desire is an apt instrument for energy homeostasis. Finally, I argue that energy homeostasis is a multi‐factorial future‐regarding behavioural strategy. Hunger is a special purpose sensory state that serves only to (...)
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  7.  16
    Inference and identity.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (3):445-452.
    I argue that beliefs about the identity or distinctness of objects are necessary to explain some normal inferential transitions between thoughts in humans. Worries about vicious regress are not powerful enough to dismantle such an argument. As an upshot, the idea that thinkers “trade on” identity without any corresponding belief remains somewhat mysterious.
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  8.  32
    Why the performance of habit requires attention.Laura Bickel - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (2):260-270.
    This article argues that every performance of habit‐driven action requires attention. I begin by revisiting the conception of habit‐driven actions as reducible to automatically performed responses to stimuli. On this conception, habitual actions are a counterexample to Wayne Wu's action‐centered theory of attention. Using the biased competition model of attention, and building on findings from affective cognitive neuroscience, I challenge this position. I claim that the performance of a habitual action requires experiential history to be exerting an influence that is (...)
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  9. Underdeterminacy without ostension: A blind spot in the prevailing models of communication.Constant Bonard - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (2):142-161.
    Together, the code and inferential models of communication are often thought to range over all cases of communication. However, their prevailing versions seem unable to fully explain what I call underdeterminacy without ostension. The latter is constituted by communication where stimuli that are not (nor appear to be) produced with communicative or informative intentions nevertheless communicate information underdetermined by the relevant codes. Though the prevailing accounts of communication cannot fully explain how communication works in such cases, I suggest that some (...)
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  10.  36
    Polysemy does not exist, at least not in the relevant sense.Gabor Brody & Roman Feiman - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (2):179-200.
    Based on the existence of polysemy (e.g., lunch can refer to both food and events), it is argued that central tenets of externalist semantics and Fodorian concept atomism, an externalist theory on which words lack semantic structure, are unsound. We evaluate the premise that these arguments rely on—that polysemous words have separate, finer‐grained senses. We survey the evidence across psychology and linguistics and argue that it shows that polysemy does not exist, at least not in this “sense”. The upshot is (...)
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  11.  26
    The rejection game.Luca Incurvati & Giorgio Sbardolini - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (2):271-292.
    We introduce the rejection game, designed to formalize the interaction between interlocutors in a Stalnakerian conversation: a speaker who asserts something and a listener who may accept or reject. The rejection game is similar to other signalling games known to the literature in economics and biology. We point out similarities and differences, and propose an application in linguistics. We uncover basic conditions under which the Gricean maxim of quality emerges from incentives among the players, providing evidence for a functionalist understanding (...)
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  12.  87
    Interpersonal connection.James Laing - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (2):162-178.
    We are social animals that seek to connect with others of our kind. This common thought stands in need of elaboration. In this article, I argue for three theses. First, that we pursue certain forms of communicative interaction for their own sake insofar as they are ways of connecting with another. Second, that interpersonal connection is a metaphysically primitive emotional relation which resists reductive analysis in terms of the states of individuals. And finally, that our desire for interpersonal connection has (...)
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  13.  33
    Conceptual engineering, predictive processing, and a new implementation problem.Guido Löhr & Christian Michel - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (2):201-219.
    According to predictive processing, an increasingly influential paradigm in cognitive science, the function of the brain is to minimize the prediction error of its sensory input. Conceptual engineering is the practice of assessing and changing concepts or word meanings. We contribute to both strands of research by proposing the first cognitive account of conceptual engineering, using the predictive processing framework. Our model reveals a new kind of implementation problem as prediction errors are only minimized if enough agents embrace conceptual changes. (...)
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  14.  68
    Motivating empathy.Shannon Spaulding - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (2):220-236.
    Critics of empathy argue that empathy is exhausting, easily manipulated, exacerbates rather than relieves conflict, and is too focused on individual experiences. Apparently, empathy not only fails to stop negative acts like sadism, bullying, and terrorism, it motivates and promotes such acts. These scholars argue that empathy will not save us from partisanship and division. In fact, it might make us worse off. I will argue that empathy exhibits bias in the ways critics describe because empathy is motivated. Conceiving of (...)
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  15.  48
    Reinforcement learning and artificial agency.Patrick Butlin - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):22-38.
    There is an apparent connection between reinforcement learning and agency. Artificial entities controlled by reinforcement learning algorithms are standardly referred to as agents, and the mainstream view in the psychology and neuroscience of agency is that humans and other animals are reinforcement learners. This article examines this connection, focusing on artificial reinforcement learning systems and assuming that there are various forms of agency. Artificial reinforcement learning systems satisfy plausible conditions for minimal agency, and those which use models of the environment (...)
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  16.  37
    Vividness and content.Peter Fazekas - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):61-79.
    The notion of subjective vividness plays a fundamental role in comparing different conscious experiences, yet it is poorly understood and lacks proper definition. Philosophical reflection on this topic is especially scarce. This article proposes a novel account of vividness arguing that its standard operationalisation in psychology conflates two major modality‐general dimensions along which experiences vary—subjective intensity and subjective specificity—which themselves are determined by further modality‐specific factors. The article identifies the neural underpinnings of these factors in the visual domain, demonstrates the (...)
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  17. Hill on perceptual relativity and perceptual error.E. J. Green - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):80-88.
    Christopher Hill's Perceptual experience is a must‐read for philosophers of mind and cognitive science. Here I consider Hill's representationalist account of spatial perception. I distinguish two theses defended in the book. The first is that perceptual experience does not represent the enduring, intrinsic properties of objects, such as intrinsic shape or size. The second is that perceptual experience does represent certain viewpoint‐dependent properties of objects—namely, Thouless properties. I argue that Hill's arguments do not establish the first thesis, and then I (...)
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  18.  17
    Replies to E. J. Green, Zoe Jenkin, and Jack Lyons.Christopher S. Hill - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):102-108.
    I argue for three claims. (1) The phenomenology of visual experience is exhausted by awareness of appearance properties (i.e., certain constantly changing characteristics of external objects that are relational and viewpoint‐dependent). (2) Cognition differs from perception in that it has a purely discursive or linguistic dimension, whereas perception is pervasively analog and iconic; but this does not determine a border between the two domains, for cognition also has a massive iconic dimension. And (3) certain raging debates in teleosemantics can be (...)
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  19.  35
    Perception's objects, border, and epistemic role: Comments on Christopher Hill's Perceptual experience.Zoe Jenkin - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):89-95.
    Christopher Hill's book Perceptual experience argues for a representational theory of mind that is grounded in empirical psychology. I focus here on three aspects of Hill's picture: The objects of visual awareness, the perception/cognition border, and the epistemic role of perceptual experience. I introduce challenges to Hill's account and consider ways these challenges may be overcome.
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  20.  52
    Kinds in the cognitive sciences: Reply to Weiskopf, Sullivan, and Robins.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):129-140.
    In this response to three critiques of my book, Cognitive ontology, I expand on some of its main themes. First, I demarcate the domain of cognition to support my claim that it is properly investigated from Marr's computational level. Then, I defend the claim that cognitive kinds ought to be individuated externalistically, by contrast with neural kinds, which are often individuated internalistically. This implies that the relationship between the cognitive sciences is one of delivering mutual constraints, which is a more (...)
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  21. Mental simulation and language comprehension: The case of copredication.Michelle Liu - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):2-21.
    Empirical evidence suggests that perceptual‐motor simulations are often constitutively involved in language comprehension. Call this “the simulation view of language comprehension”. This article applies the simulation view to illuminate the much‐discussed phenomenon of copredication, where a noun permits multiple predications which seem to select different senses of the noun simultaneously. On the proposed account, the (in)felicitousness of a copredicational sentence is closely associated with the perceptual simulations that the language user deploys in comprehending the sentence.
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  22.  19
    Hill on perceptual contents, Thouless properties, and representational pluralism.Jack C. Lyons - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):96-101.
    Part of a symposium on Christopher Hill's book, Perceptual experience. Hill argues that perceptual experiences typically represent objects as having exotic properties that he calls Thouless properties. This and his representational pluralism allow him to attribute less perceptual error than the view that experiences represent simple relational properties (only). However, I think it is plausible that perceptual systems do make these sorts of errors, which although pervasive and systematic, are relatively subtle and perfectly explicable. I also express some concerns about (...)
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  23. Teleosemantics and the frogs.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):52-60.
    Some have thought that the plausibility of teleosemantics requires that it yield a determinate answer to the question of what the semantic “content” is of the “representation” triggered in the optic nerve of a frog that spots a fly. An outsize literature has resulted in which, unfortunately, a number of serious confusions and omissions that concern the way teleosemantics would have to work have appeared and been passed on uncorrected leaving a distorted and simplistic picture of the teleosemantic position. I (...)
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  24.  43
    Kinding memory: Commentary on Muhammad Ali Khalidi's Cognitive ontology.Sarah K. Robins - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):109-115.
    My commentary focuses on Khalidi's defense of episodic memory as a cognitive kind. His argument relies on merging two distinct accounts of episodic memory—the phenomenal and the etiological. I suggest that Khalidi's framework can be used to carve the contemporary memory literature differently. On this view, the phenomenal account supports constructive episodic simulation as a cognitive kind, the etiological account supports event memory as a cognitive kind, and episodic memory ceases to be. The question for Khalidi is, then, how to (...)
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  25.  77
    Losing the light at the end of the tunnel: Depression, future thinking, and hope.Juliette Vazard - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):39-51.
    Is the capacity to experience hope central to our ability to entertain desirable future possibilities in thought? The ability to project oneself forward in time, or to entertain vivid positive episodic future thoughts, is impaired in patients with clinical depression. In this article, I consider the causal relation between, on the one hand, the loss of the affective experience of hope in depressed patients, and on the other hand, the reduced ability to generate and entertain positive episodic future thinking. I (...)
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  26.  36
    Computation as the boundary of the cognitive.Daniel Weiskopf - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):123-128.
    Khalidi identifies cognition with Marrian computation. He further argues that Marrian levels of inquiry should be interpreted ontologically as corresponding to distinct semi‐closed causal domains. But this counterintuitively places the causal domain of representations outside of cognition proper. A closer look at Khalidi's account of concepts shows that these allegedly separate Marrian domains are more tightly integrated than he allows. Theories of concepts converge on algorithmic‐representational models rather than computational ones. This suggests that we should reject the wholesale identification of (...)
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  27.  25
    In defense of language-independent flexibility, or: What rodents and humans can do without language.Alexandre Duval - 2024 - Mind and Language 39:1-27.
    There are two main approaches within classical cognitive science to explaining how humans can entertain mental states that integrate contents across domains. The language-based framework states that this ability arises from higher cognitive domain-specific systems that combine their outputs through the language faculty, whereas the language-independent framework holds that it comes from non-language-involving connections between such systems. This article turns on its head the most influential empirical argument for the language-based framework, an argument that originates from research on spatial reorientation. (...)
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  28. Confusion and explanation.Rachel Goodman - 2024 - Mind and Language (3):434-444.
    In Talking about, Unnsteinsson defends an intentionalist theory of reference by arguing that confused referential intentions degrade reference. Central to this project is a “belief model” of both identity confusion and unconfused thought. By appealing to a well‐known argument from Campbell, I argue that this belief model falls short, because it fails to explain the inferential behavior it promises to explain. Campbell's argument has been central in the contemporary literature on Frege's puzzle, but Unnsteinsson's account of confusion provides an opportunity (...)
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  29.  61
    Pluralism about introspection.Kateryna Samoilova Franco - 2024 - Mind and Language (2):293-309.
    If we can and do have some self‐knowledge, how do we acquire it? By examining the ways in which we acquire self‐knowledge—by introspection—we can try shedding some light onto the nature and the breadth of self‐knowledge, as others have tried to do with other forms of knowledge. My aim is to show that introspection involves multiple (that is, at least two) distinct processes, a view I call “pluralism about introspection”. One of the virtues of pluralism is that it explains how (...)
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  30. How words matter: A psycholinguistic argument for meaning revision.Steffen Koch - 2024 - Mind and Language:364-380.
    Linguistic interventions aim to change our linguistic practices. A commonly discussed type of linguistic intervention is meaning revision, which seeks to associate existing words with new or revised meanings. But why does retaining old words matter so much? Why not instead introduce new words to express the newly defined meanings? Drawing on relevant psycholinguistic research, this paper develops an empirically motivated, general, and practically useful pro tanto reason to retain rather than replace the original word during the process of conceptual (...)
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  31. Living with semantic indeterminacy: The teleosemanticist's guide.Karl Gustav Bergman - 2024 - Mind and Language.
    Teleosemantics has an indeterminacy problem. In an earlier publication, I argued that teleosemanticists may afford to be realists about indeterminacy, pointing to the phenomenon of vagueness as a case of really-existing semantic indeterminacy. Here, I continue that project by proposing two criteria of adequacy that a semantically indeterminate theory should meet: a criterion of theoretical adequacy and a criterion of extensional adequacy. I present reasons to think that indeterminate versions of teleosemantics can meet these criteria. I end by discussing vagueness, (...)
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