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)
Prior to the twentieth century, theories of knowledge were inherently perceptual. Since then, developments in logic, statis- tics, and programming languages have inspired amodal theories that rest on principles fundamentally different from those underlying perception. In addition, perceptual approaches have become widely viewed as untenable because they are assumed to implement record- ing systems, not conceptual systems. A perceptual theory of knowledge is developed here in the context of current cognitive science and neuroscience. During perceptual experience, association areas in the (...) brain capture bottom-up patterns of activation in sensory-motor areas. Later, in a top-down manner, association areas partially reactivate sensory-motor areas to implement perceptual symbols. The stor- age and reactivation of perceptual symbols operates at the level of perceptual components – not at the level of holistic perceptual expe- riences. Through the use of selective attention, schematic representations of perceptual components are extracted from experience and stored in memory (e.g., individual memories of green, purr, hot). As memories of the same component become organized around a com- mon frame, they implement a simulator that produces limitless simulations of the component (e.g., simulations of purr). Not only do such simulators develop for aspects of sensory experience, they also develop for aspects of proprioception (e.g., lift, run) and introspec- tion (e.g., compare, memory, happy, hungry). Once established, these simulators implement a basic conceptual system that represents types, supports categorization, and produces categorical inferences. These simulators further support productivity, propositions, and ab- stract concepts, thereby implementing a fully functional conceptual system. Productivity results from integrating simulators combinato- rially and recursively to produce complex simulations. Propositions result from binding simulators to perceived individuals to represent type-token relations. Abstract concepts are grounded in complex simulations of combined physical and introspective events. Thus, a per- ceptual theory of knowledge can implement a fully functional conceptual system while avoiding problems associated with amodal sym- bol systems. Implications for cognition, neuroscience, evolution, development, and artificial intelligence are explored. (shrink)
Does thought have distinctive experiential features? Is there, in addition to sensory phenomenology, a kind of cognitive phenomenology--phenomenology of a cognitive or conceptual character? Leading philosophers of mind debate whether conscious thought has cognitive phenomenology and whether it is part of conscious perception and conscious emotion.
This paper overviews the current status of debates on tracking representationalism, the view that phenomenal consciousness is a matter of tracking features of one's environment in a certain way. We overview the main arguments for the view and the main objections and challenges it faces. We close with a discussion of alternative versions of representationalism that might overcome the shortcomings of tracking representationalism.
The 'content view', in slogan form, is 'Perceptual experiences have representational content'. I explain why the content view should be reformulated to remove any reference to 'experiences'. I then argue, against Bill Brewer, Charles Travis and others, that the content view is true. One corollary of the discussion is that the content of perception is relatively thin (confined, in the visual case, to roughly the output of 'mid-level' vision). Finally, I argue (briefly) that the opponents of the content view are (...) partially vindicated, because perceptual error is due to false belief. (shrink)
The goal of this chapter is to mount a critique of the claim that cognitive content (that is, the kind of content possessed by our concepts and thoughts) makes a constitutive contribution to the phenomenal properties of our mental lives. We therefore defend the view that phenomenal consciousness is exclusively experiential (or nonconceptual) in character. The main focus of the chapter is on the alleged contribution that concepts make to the phenomenology of visual experience. For we take it that if (...) cognitive phenomenology is to be found anywhere, it should be found here. However, we begin with a discussion of the question of cognitive phenomenology more generally, and we close by sketching how our argument might be extended into the domain of non-perceptual thought. (shrink)
[[This paper appears in my anthology _Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings_ (Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 608-633. It is a heavily revised version of a paper first written in 1994 and revised in 1995. Sections 1, 7, 8, and 10 are similar to the old version, but the other sections are quite different. Because the old version has been widely cited, I have made it available (in its 1995 version) at http://consc.net/papers/content95.html.
The purpose of this book is to develop a terminological structure in which private perceptions can be discussed publicly without bringing into existence the usual unnecessary philosophical problems of confused usage of language. chisholm displays an appraisive, quasi-ethical use of language, whereby he claims that a thing has some particular sensible property is to have adequate evidence that it actually does have that property. (staff).
According to proponents of irreducible cognitive phenomenology some cognitive states put one in phenomenal states for which no wholly sensory states suffice. One of the main approaches to defending the view that there is irreducible cognitive phenomenology is to give a phenomenal contrast argument. In this paper I distinguish three kinds of phenomenal contrast argument: what I call pure—represented by Strawson's Jack/Jacques argument—hypothetical—represented by Kriegel's Zoe argument—and glossed—first developed here. I argue that pure and hypothetical phenomenal contrast arguments face significant (...) difficulties, but that there is a sound glossed phenomenal contrast argument for irreducible cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
Phenomenal holism is the thesis that some phenomenal characters can only be instantiated by experiences that are parts of certain wholes. The first aim of this paper is to defend phenomenal holism. I argue, moreover, that there are complex intellectual experiences (intellectual gestalts)—such as experiences of grasping a proof—whose parts instantiate holistic phenomenal characters. Proponents of cognitive phenomenology believe that some phenomenal characters can only be instantiated by experiences that are not purely sensory. The second aim of this paper is (...) to defend cognitive phenomenology. I argue that reflection on intellectual gestalts provides a basis for developing a case for cognitive phenomenology that is immune to many of the worries that beset more familiar arguments for cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
It is an integral part of the phenomenology of mature perceptual experience that it seems to present to us an experience-independent world. I shall call this feature 'perceptual intentionality'. In this paper, I argue that perceptual intentionality is constructed by the structure of more basic sensory features, features that are not intentional themselves. This theory can explain why the same sensory feature can figure both in presentational and non-presentational experiences. There is a fundamental difference between the intentionality of sensory experiences (...) and the intentionality of thoughts: unlike the former, the latter is not constructed. (shrink)
In recent years, several philosophers have defended the idea of phenomenal intentionality : the intrinsic directedness of certain conscious mental events which is inseparable from these events’ phenomenal character. On this conception, phenomenology is usually conceived as narrow, that is, as supervening on the internal states of subjects, and hence phenomenal intentionality is a form of narrow intentionality. However, defenders of this idea usually maintain that there is another kind of, externalistic intentionality, which depends on factors external to the subject. (...) We may ask whether this concession to content externalism is obligatory. In this paper, I shall argue that it isn’t. I shall suggest that if one is convinced that narrow phenomenal intentionality is legitimate, there is nothing stopping one from claiming that all intentionality is narrow. (shrink)
Descartes's philosophy has had a considerable influence on the modern conception of the mind, but many think that this influence has been largely negative. The main project of The Subject's Point of View is to argue that discarding certain elements of the Cartesian conception would be much more difficult than critics seem to allow, since it is tied to our understanding of basic notions, including the criteria for what makes someone a person, or one of us. The crucial feature of (...) the Cartesian view defended here is not dualism--which is not adopted--but internalism. Internalism is opposed to the widely accepted externalist thesis, which states that some mental features constitutively depend on certain features of our physical and social environment. In contrast, this book defends the minority internalist view, which holds that the mind is autonomous, and though it is obviously affected by the environment, this influence is merely contingent and does not delimit what is thinkable in principle. Defenders of the externalist view often present their theory as the most thoroughgoing criticism of the Cartesian conception of the mind; Katalin Farkas offers a defence of an uncompromising internalist Cartesian conception. (shrink)
In this highly original monograph, Nicholas Georgalis proposes that the concept of minimal content is fundamental both to the philosophy of mind and to the philosophy of language. He argues that to understand mind and language requires minimal content -- a narrow, first-person, non-phenomenal concept that represents the subject of an agent's intentional state as the agent conceives it. Orthodox third-person objective methodology must be supplemented with first-person subjective methodology. Georgalis demonstrates limitations of a strictly third-person methodology in the study (...) of mind and language and argues that these deficiencies can be corrected only by the incorporation of a first-person methodology. Nevertheless, this expanded methodology makes possible an objective understanding of the subjective. Georgalis argues against the conflation of consciousness and subjectivity with phenomenal experience. Consequently, and contrary to common belief, he argues that consciousness without phenomenality is as strongly implicated in intentionality as it is in phenomenal states. He proposes a broader understanding of the "hard problem" of consciousness, arguing that there is an "explanatory gap problem" for both phenomenal and intentional states. His theory provides a framework that renders the vexing relations between mental and brain states comprehensible. Georgalis also argues for novel explanations of the phenomenal and of representation -- explanations that follow from the core concept of minimal content. Treating the topics of meaning and reference, he introduces a first-person concept of intended reference derivative from minimal content that resolves various problems in the philosophy of language. Eschewing ontology, Georgalis proposes his theory as a means to make sense of, analyze, and relate issues in the philosophies of mind and language. The concept of minimal content, he argues, plays a necessary, pivotal, unifying, and foundational role in advancing our understanding of these issues. (shrink)
This paper argues that there is no such thing as ?phenomenal intentionality?. The arguments used by its advocates rely upon an appeal to ?what it is like? (WIL) to attend on some occasion to one?s intentional state. I argue that there is an important asymmetry in the application of the WIL phenomenon to sensory and intentional states. Advocates of ?phenomenal intentionality? fail to recognize this, but this asymmetry undermines their arguments for phenomenal intentionality. The broader issue driving the advocacy of (...) phenomenal intentionality is the belief that consciousness must somehow be implicated in intentionality. With this I agree. But because of the asymmetry of application of WIL, the path chosen by advocates of phenomenal intentionality to secure this conclusion cannot succeed. A brief overview of recent philosophy of mind explains the temptation to take this wrong path. Fortunately, there are other routes that implicate consciousness in intentionality. In consequence, though there is no phenomenal intentionality, there is a phenomenology of intentionality. (shrink)
Realism about cognitive or semantic phenomenology, the view that certain conscious states are intrinsically such as to ground thought or understanding, is increasingly being taken seriously in analytic philosophy. The principle aim of this paper is to argue that it is extremely difficult to be a physicalist about cognitive phenomenology. The general trend in later 20th century/early 21st century philosophy of mind has been to account for the content of thought in terms of facts outside the head of the thinker (...) at the time of thought, e.g. in terms of causal relations between thinker and world, or in terms of the natural purposes for which mental representations have developed. However, on the assumption that consciousness is constitutively realised by what is going on inside the head of a thinker at the time of experience, the content of cognitive phenomenology cannot be accounted for in this way. Furthermore, any internalist account of content is particularly susceptible to Kripkensteinian rule following worries. It seems that if someone knew all the physical facts about what is going on in my head at the time I was having a given experience with cognitive phenomenology, they would not thereby know whether that state had ‘straight’ rather than ‘quus-like’ content, e.g. whether the experience was intrinsically such as the ground the thought that two plus two equals four or intrinsically such as to ground the thought that two quus two equals four. The project of naturalising consciousness is much harder for realists about cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
This paper supports the basic integrity of the folk psychological conception of consciousness and its importance in cognitive theorizing. Section 1 critically examines some proposed definitions of consciousness, and argues that the folk- psychological notion of phenomenal consciousness is not captured by various functional-relational definitions. Section 2 rebuts the arguments of several writers who challenge the very existence of phenomenal consciousness, or the coherence or tenability of the folk-psychological notion of awareness. Section 3 defends a significant role for phenomenal consciousness (...) in the execution of a certain cognitive task, viz., classification of one's own mental states. Execution of this task, which is part of folk psychologizing, is taken as a datum in scientific psychology. It is then argued that the most promising sort of scientific model of the self-ascription of mental states is one that posits the kinds of phenomenal properties invoked by folk psychology. Cognitive science and neuroscience can of course refine and improve upon the folk understanding of consciousness, awareness, and mental states generally. But the folk-psychological constructs should not be jettisoned; they have a role to play in cognitive theorizing. (shrink)
CRS says that the meanings of expressions of a language or other symbol system or the contents of mental states are determined and explained by the way symbols are used in thinking. According to CRS one.
According to the old feeling theory of emotion, an emotion is just a feeling: a conscious experience with a characteristic phenomenal character. This theory is widely dismissed in contemporary discussions of emotion as hopelessly naïve. In particular, it is thought to suffer from two fatal drawbacks: its inability to account for the cognitive dimension of emotion (which is thought to go beyond the phenomenal dimension), and its inability to accommodate unconscious emotions (which, of course, lack any phenomenal character). In this (...) paper, I argue that the old feeling theory is in reality only a pair of modifications removed from a highly plausible account of the nature of emotion that retains the essential connection between emotion and feeling. These modifications are, moreover, motivated by recent developments in work on phenomenal consciousness. The first development is the rising recognition of a phenomenal character proper to cognition—so-called cognitive phenomenology. The second is the gathering momentum behind various ‘connection principles’ that specify some connection that a given state must bear to phenomenally conscious states in order to qualify as mental. These developments make it possible to formulate a new feeling theory of emotion, which would overcome the two fatal drawbacks of the old feeling theory. According to the new feeling theory, an emotion is a mental state that bears the right connection to conscious experiences with the right phenomenal character (involving, among other elements, a cognitive phenomenology). (shrink)
Phenomenal intentionality is supposed to be a kind of directedness of the mind onto the world that is grounded in the conscious feel of mental life. This book of new essays explores a number of issues raised by the notion of phenomenal intentionality.
Since the seventies, it has been customary to assume that intentionality is independent of consciousness. Recently, a number of philosophers have rejected this assumption, claiming intentionality is closely tied to consciousness, inasmuch as non- conscious intentionality in some sense depends upon conscious intentionality. Within this alternative framework, the question arises of how to account for unconscious intentionality, and different authors have offered different accounts. In this paper, I compare and contrast four possible accounts of unconscious intentionality, which I call potentialism, (...) inferentialism, eliminativism, and interpretivism. The first three are the leading accounts in the existing literature, while the fourth is my own proposal, which I argue to be superior. I then argue that an upshot of interpretivism is that all unconscious intentionality is ultimately grounded is a specific kind of cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
What do thoughts, hopes, paintings, words, desires, photographs, traffic signs, and perceptions have in common? They are all about something, are directed, are contentful - in a way chairs and trees, for example, are not. This book inquires into the source of this power of directedness that some items exhibit while others do not. An approach to this issue prevalent in the philosophy of the past half-century seeks to explain the power of directedness in terms of certain items' ability to (...) reliably track things in their environment. A very different approach, with a venerable history and enjoying a recent resurgence, seeks to explain the power of directedness rather in terms of an intrinsic ability of conscious experience to direct itself. This book attempts a synthesis of both approaches, developing an account of the sources of such directedness that grounds it both in reliable tracking and in conscious experience. (shrink)
This is the second volume of philosophical essays by one of the most innovative and influential philosophers now writing in English. Containing thirteen papers in all, the book includes both new essays and previously published papers, some of them with extensive new postscripts reflecting Lewis's current thinking. The papers in Volume II focus on causation and several other closely related topics, including counterfactual and indicative conditionals, the direction of time, subjective and objective probability, causation, explanation, perception, free will, and rational (...) decision. Throughout, Lewis analyzes global features of the world in such a way as to show that they might turn out to supervene on the spatiotemporal arrangement of local qualities. (shrink)
_The Significance of Consciousness_ . Princeton: Princeton University Press. $42.50 hbk. x + 374pp. ISBN: 0691027242. ABSTRACT: I discuss three issues about the relation of phenomenal consciousness, in the sense Siewert isolates, to.
How are we able to perceive the world veridically? If we ask this question as a part of the scientific investigation of perception, then we are not asking for a transcendental guarantee that our perceptions are by and large veridical; we presuppose that they are. Unless we assumed that we perceived the world for the most part veridically, we would not be in a position to investigate our perceptual abilities empirically. We are interested, then, not in how it is possible (...) in general for us to perceive the world veridically, but instead in what the relation is between our environment and its properties, of which we have knowledge, on the one hand, and our perceptual mechanisms, on the other, that results in very many, even most of our perceptions being veridical in everyday life. (shrink)
According to intentionalism, phenomenal properties are identical to, supervenient on, or determined by representational properties. Intentionalism faces a special challenge when it comes to accounting for the phenomenal character of moods. First, it seems that no intentionalist treatment of moods can capture their apparently undirected phenomenology. Second, it seems that even if we can come up with a viable intentionalist account of moods, we would not be able to motivate it in some of the same kinds of ways that intentionalism (...) about other kinds of states can be motivated. In this article, I respond to both challenges: First, I propose a novel intentionalist treatment of moods on which they represent unbound affective properties. Then, I argue that this view is indirectly supported by the same kinds of considerations that directly support intentionalism about other mental states. (shrink)