There seems to be a perfectly ordinary sense in which different speakers can use an empty name to talk about the same thing. Call this fictional coreference. It is a constraint on an adequate theory of empty names that it provide a satisfactory account of fictional coreference. The main claim of this paper is that the pretense theory of empty names does not respect this constraint.
AnnaPautz has recently argued that the pretense theory of thought about fiction cannot explain how two people can count as thinking about the same fictional character. This is based on conflating pretending and the serious thought that can be based on pretend. With this distinction in place, her objections are groundless.
In this superb book, Williams sets a very ambitious goal for himself: to sketch biconditionals that define representational conditions in nonrepresentational terms. Representation is not a spooky, primitive capacity of the mind; it is built from more basic ingredients. At the center is his radical interpretation theory of belief and desire, inspired by the work of David Lewis.
In “Radical Interpretation” (1974), David Lewis asked: by what constraints, and to what extent, do the non-intentional, physical facts about Karl determine the intentional facts about him? There are two popular approaches: the reductive externalist program and the phenomenal intentionality program. I argue against both approaches. Then I sketch an alternative multistage account incorporating ideas from both camps. If we start with Karl's conscious experiences, we can appeal to Lewisian ideas to explain his other intentional states. This account develops the (...) multistage Lewisian approach presented at the end of my earlier "Does Phenomenology Ground Mental Content?" (2013). (shrink)
In this chapter, Pautz raises a puzzle about spatial experience for phenomenal internalists like Ned Block. If an accidental, lifelong brain-in-the-void (BIV) should have all the same experiences as you, it would have an experience as of items having various shapes, and be able to acquire concepts of those shapes, despite being cut off from real things with the shapes. Internalists cannot explain this by saying that BIV is presented with Peacocke-style visual field regions having various shapes, because these (...) would have to be non-physical sense data. They might instead explain this by saying that BIV “phenomenally represents” various shape properties. But since BIV lacks any interesting physical relations to shapes, this would imply that phenomenally representation is an irreducible relation. (shrink)
I argue for three claims. First, there is a strong argument for identity physicalism (Lewis, Sider, Dorr) over dualism. It does achieve the physicalist dream of a maximally simple and uniform view of reality. However, there are also strong arguments against identity physicalism concerning the special nature of conscious experiences. Second, although nonidentity "ground" physicalism (Campbell, Johnston, Schaffer) is a possible fallback position, there is no reason to prefer to property dualism. It provides an equally complex and unattractive picture of (...) nature. Third, assuming identity physicalism fails, we also should not much care about which of these options is right. In fact, it becomes difficult to understand the difference. The upshot is that, when it comes to the metaphysics of consciousness, the “big divide” is between identity physicalism (Lewis, Sider, Dorr) and all the rest. This is where the debate should focus. (shrink)
In this paper we investigate composition models of incarnation, according to which Christ is a compound of qualitatively and numerically different constituents. We focus on three-part models, according to which Christ is composed of a divine mind, a human mind, and a human body. We consider four possible relational structures that the three components could form. We argue that a ‘hierarchy of natures’ model, in which the human mind and body are united to each other in the normal way, and (...) in which they are jointly related to the divine mind by the relation of co-action, is the most metaphysically plausible model. Finally, we consider the problem of how Christ can be a single person even when his components may be considered persons. We argue that an Aristotelian metaphysics, according to which identity is a matter of function, offers a plausible solution: Christ's components may acquire a radically new identity through being parts of the whole, which enables them to be reidentified as parts, not persons. (shrink)
This conversation between two scholars of international law focuses on the contemporary realities of feminist analysis of international law and on current and future spaces of resistance. It notes that feminism has moved from the margin towards the centre, but that this has also come at a cost. As the language of women’s rights and gender equality has travelled into the international policy worlds of crisis management and peace and security, feminist scholars need to become more careful in their analysis (...) and find new ways of resistance. While noting that we live in dangerous times, this is also a hopeful discussion. (shrink)
Develops an empirical argument against naive realism-disjunctivism: if naive realists accept "internal dependence", then they cannot explain the evolution of perceptual success. Also presents a puzzle about our knowledge of universals.
Perhaps more than any other philosopher of mind, Ned Block synthesizes philosophical and scientific approaches to the mind; he is unique in moving back and forth across this divide, doing so with creativity and intensity. Over the course of his career, Block has made groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of intelligence, representation, and consciousness. Blockheads! (the title refers to Block's imaginary counterexample to the Turing test—and to the Block-enthusiast contributors) offers eighteen new essays on Block's work along with substantive and (...) wide-ranging replies by Block. (shrink)
A preview of my book *Perception*. Discusses the relationship between perception and the physical world and the issue of whether reality is as it appears. Useful examples are included throughout the book to illustrate the puzzles of perception, including hallucinations, illusions, the laws of appearance, blindsight, and neuroscientific explanations of our experience of pain, smell and color. The book covers both traditional philosophical arguments and more recent empirical arguments deriving from research in psychophysics and neuroscience. The addition of chapter summaries, (...) suggestions for further reading and a glossary of terms make Perception essential reading for anyone studying the topic in detail, as well as for students of philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology and metaphysics. (shrink)
I develop several new arguments against claims about "cognitive phenomenology" and its alleged role in grounding thought content. My arguments concern "absent cognitive qualia cases", "altered cognitive qualia cases", and "disembodied cognitive qualia cases". However, at the end, I sketch a positive theory of the role of phenomenology in grounding content, drawing on David Lewis's work on intentionality. I suggest that within Lewis's theory the subject's total evidence plays the central role in fixing mental content and ruling out deviant interpretations. (...) However I point out a huge unnoticed problem, the problem of evidence: Lewis really has no theory of sensory content and hence no theory of what fixes evidence. I suggest a way of plugging this hole in Lewis's theory. On the resulting theory, which I call " phenomenal functionalism", there is a sense in which sensory phenomenology is the source of all determinate intentionality. Phenomenal functionalism has similarities to the theories of Chalmers and Schwitzgebel. (shrink)
Many favor representationalism about color experience. To a first approximation, this view holds that experiencing is like believing. In particular, like believing, experiencing is a matter of representing the world to be a certain way. Once you view color experience along these lines, you face a big question: do our color experiences represent the world as it really is? For instance, suppose you see a tomato. Representationalists claim that having an experience with this sensory character is necessarily connected with representing (...) a distinctive quality as pervading a round area out there in external space. Let us call it “sensible redness” to highlight the fact that the representation of this property is necessarily connected with the sensory character of the experience. Is this property, sensible redness, really co-instantiated with roundness out there in the space before you? (shrink)
I address three interrelated issues concerning the contents of experiences. First, I address the preliminary issue of what it means to say that experiences have contents. Then I address the issue of why we should believe that experiences have contents. Finally, I address the issue of what the contents of experiences are.
H. H. Price (1932) held that experience is essentially presentational. According to Price, when one has an experience of a tomato, nothing can be more certain than that there is something of which one is aware. Price claimed that the same applies to hallucination. In general, whenever one has a visual experience, there is something of which one is aware, according to Price. Call this thesis Item-Awareness.
Phenomenal intentionality is irreducible. Empirical investigation shows it is internally-dependent. So our usual externalist (causal, etc.) theories do not apply here. Internalist views of phenomenal intentionality (e. g. interpretationism) also fail. The resulting primitivist view avoids Papineau's worry that terms for consciousness are highly indeterminate: since conscious properties are extremely natural (despite having unnatural supervenience bases) they are 'reference magnets'.
In this paper, I do a few things. I develop a (largely) empirical argument against naïve realism (Campbell, Martin, others) and for representationalism. I answer Papineau’s recent paper “Against Representationalism (about Experience)”. And I develop a new puzzle for representationalists.
Using empirical research on pain, sound and taste, I argue against the combination of intentionalism about consciousness and a broadly ‘tracking’ psychosemantics of the kind defended by Fodor, Dretske, Hill, Neander, Stalnaker, Tye and others. Then I develop problems with Kriegel and Prinz's attempt to combine a Dretskean psychosemantics with the view that sensible properties are Shoemakerian response-dependent properties. Finally, I develop in detail my own 'primitivist' view of sensory intentionality.
In the first instance, IIT is formulated as a theory of the physical basis of the 'degree' or ‘level’ or ‘amount’ of consciousness in a system. In addition, integrated information theorists have tried to provide a systematic theory of how physical states determine the specific qualitative contents of episodes of consciousness: for instance, an experience as of a red and round thing rather than a green and square thing. I raise a series of questions about the central explanatory target, the (...) 'degree' or ‘level’ or ‘amount’ of consciousness. I suggest it is not at all clear what scientists and philosophers are talking about when they talk about consciousness as gradable. I also raise some questions about the explanation of qualitative content. (shrink)
I develop a problem for the Fregean Reference Shift analysis of that-clause reference. The problem is discussed by Stephen Schiffer in his recent book The Things We Mean (2003). Either the defender of the Fregean Reference Shift analysis must count certain counterintuitive inferences as valid, or else he must reject a plausible Exportation rule. I consider several responses. I find that the best response relies on a Kaplan-inspired analysis of quantified belief reports. But I argue that this response faces some (...) serious problems. (shrink)
This is a chapter from my forthcoming book Perception (Routledge). I explain the physical state view of sensory experience (Papineau, McLaughlin, others). I criticize an argument against it based on the "transparency observation". Then I develop two alternative arguments against it. The first is a Leibniz's Law argument based on the essentially externally directed character of some experiences. The second concerns "brains in vats". Finally I consider a recent response due to David Papineau, which involves rejecting essential external directedness.
In “The Meta-Problem of Consciousness”, David Chalmers briefly raises a problem about how the connection between consciousness and our verbal and other behavior appears “lucky”. I raise a counterexample to Chalmers’s formulation of the problem. Then I develop an alternative formulation. Finally, I consider some responses, including illusionism about consciousness.
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)
Perception is one of the most pervasive and puzzling problems in philosophy, generating a great deal of attention and controversy in philosophy of mind, psychology and metaphysics. If perceptual illusion and hallucination are possible, how can perception be what it intuitively seems to be, a direct and immediate access to reality? How can perception be both internally dependent and externally directed? Perception is an outstanding introduction to this fundamental topic, covering both the perennial and recent work on the problem. Adam (...)Pautz examines four of the most important theories of perception: the sense datum view; the internal physical state view; the representational view; and naïve realism, assessing each in turn. He also discusses the relationship between perception and the physical world and the issue of whether reality is as it appears. Useful examples are included throughout the book to illustrate the puzzles of perception, including hallucinations, illusions, the laws of appearance, blindsight, and neuroscientific explanations of our experience of pain, smell and color. The book covers both traditional philosophical arguments and more recent empirical arguments deriving from research in psychophysics and neuroscience. The addition of chapter summaries, suggestions for further reading and a glossary of terms make Perception essential reading for anyone studying the topic in detail, as well as for students of philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology and metaphysics. (shrink)
Physicalism about colour is the thesis that colours are identical with response-independent, physical properties of objects. I endorse the Argument from Structure against Physicalism about colour. The argument states that Physicalism cannot accommodate certain obvious facts about colour structure: for instance, that red is a unitary colour while purple is a binary colour, and that blue resembles purple more than green. I provide a detailed formulation of the argument. According to the most popular response to the argument, the Physicalist can (...) accommodate colour structure by explaining it in terms of colour experience. I argue that this response fails. Along the way, I examine other interesting issues in the philosophy of colour and colour perception, for instance the relational structure of colour experience and the description theory of how colour names refer. (shrink)
The Orwell centenary of 2003 has come and gone, but the pace of academic publications that usually accompany such biographical milestones has not slackened. The Cambridge Companion to George Orwell was released in summer 2007, John Rodden's Every Intellectual's Big Brother: George Orwell's Literary Siblings was published in 2006, On Nineteen Eighty-Four: Orwell and Our Future, the proceedings of a 1999 conference, came out in 2005. The striking thing about many of these publications, not to mention the ones which emerged (...) out of the commemorative activities of 2003 itself, is that they are more concerned with Orwell's reputation and relevance today than with his oeuvre as such. As many as five chapters of the Cambridge Companion have a “posthumous” focus; the proceedings of the largest centenary conference, George Orwell: Into the Twenty-First Century, raise the issue of Orwell and the war in Iraq more frequently than that of Orwell and World War II.The latter is not entirely surprising for an American conference which featured the “liberal hawk” and former Trotskyist journalist Christopher Hitchens as the keynote speaker, and whose proceedings were edited in accordance with a corresponding political agenda, but it is also indicative of a larger phenomenon, a phenomenon most thoroughly examined by John Rodden in books like George Orwell: The Politics of Literary Reputation and Scenes from an Afterlife: The Legacy of George Orwell. Few imaginative writers have been so compulsively remoulded, coopted, and invoked outside of their proper literary sphere; as Rodden's scrupulous documentation shows, no modern crisis from the Cold War to the war on terror has gone by without an Orwell headline to define it. What, one may ask, are the mechanisms behind this astounding popularity? How are reputations on this vast scale made? Looking at “the writer and his work” will only get one so far; one must also look outward, for the world's perception of Orwell is as interesting and intriguing a subject as Orwell himself. Rodden, the most prolific Orwell critic publishing today, has made this reception history his focus. (shrink)
Intuitively, we often see absences. For example, if someone steals your laptop at a café, you may see its absence from your table. However, absence perception presents a paradox. On prevailing models of perception, we see only present objects and scenes (Marr, Gibson, Dretske). So, we cannot literally see something that is not present. This suggests that we never literally perceive absences; instead, we come to believe that something is absent cognitively on the basis of what we perceive. But this (...) cognitive explanation does not do justice to the phenomenology. Many experiences of absence possess immediate, perceptual qualities. One may further argue that the ability to detect certain absences confers strong adaptive advantage and therefore must be as primitive and fundamental to humans as seeing positive things. I argue that we can literally see absences; in addition to representing objects, perception represents absences of objects. I present a model of seeing absence based on visual expectations and a visual matching process. The phenomenon of seeing absence can thus serve as an adequacy-test for a theory of perceptual content. If experiences of absence are possible, then we have another reason (following Siegel) to reject the view that perceptual content is restricted to colors and shapes. Furthermore, if the proposed account is correct, then we have grounds for dissociating seeing absence from other imagery-based phenomena termed “perceptual presence-in-absence” (Noë, Macpherson). (shrink)
Many political theorists today deny that citizenship can be defended on liberal grounds alone. Cosmopolitans claim that loyalty to a particular state is incompatible with universal liberal principles, which hold that we have equal duties of justice to persons everywhere, while nationalist theorists justify civic obligations only by reaching beyond liberal principles and invoking the importance of national culture. In Liberal Loyalty, Anna Stilz challenges both views by defending a distinctively liberal understanding of citizenship. Drawing on Kant, Rousseau, and (...) Habermas, Stilz argues that we owe civic obligations to the state if it is sufficiently just, and that constitutionally enshrined principles of justice in themselves--rather than territory, common language, or shared culture--are grounds for obedience to our particular state and for democratic solidarity with our fellow citizens. She demonstrates that specifying what freedom and equality mean among a particular people requires their democratic participation together as a group. Justice, therefore, depends on the authority of the democratic state because there is no way equal freedom can be defined or guaranteed without it. Yet, as Stilz shows, this does not mean that each of us should entertain some vague loyalty to democracy in general. Citizens are politically obligated to their own state and to each other, because within their particular democracy they define and ultimately guarantee their own civil rights. Liberal Loyalty is a persuasive defense of citizenship on purely liberal grounds. (shrink)
This paper is about Susanna Schellenberg's view on the explanatory role of perceptual experience. I raise a basic question about what the argument for her view might be. Then I develop two new problem cases: one involving “seamless transitions” between perception and hallucination and another involving the graded character of perceptual evidence and justification.
In recent years there has been an increasing focus on a crucial aspect of the ‘meeting of minds’ problem :160–165, 2013), namely the ability that human beings have for sharing different types of mental states such as emotions, intentions, and perceptual experiences. In this paper I examine what counts as basic forms of ‘shared experiences’ and focus on a relatively overlooked aspect of human embodiment, namely the fact that we start our journey into our experiential life within the experiencing body (...) of a second person, i.e. our mothers. For example, Zahavi and Rochat recently draw on phenomenological insights and developmental studies in order to support the idea that empathy must be considered a central precondition for experiential sharing. Here I suggest that the defence of the primacy of empathy over experiential sharing might reveal how we are often mislead in our understanding of more basic forms of shared experiences. I argue that while previous approaches mainly defined experiential sharing by using the case of visual experience as a paradigmatic example of ‘togetherness’, it is fruitful to consider the case of pregnancy and intersubjective touch in early infancy as a more basic model of experiential sharing in general. I conclude that shared experiences are phenomena emerging first and foremost from a ‘meeting of bodies’ rather than of minds and as such they precede rather than presuppose empathetic abilities. (shrink)
Conceptual primitives and semantic universals are the cornerstones of a semantic theory which Anna Wierzbicka has been developing for many years. Semantics: Primes and Universals is a major synthesis of her work, presenting a full and systematic exposition of that theory in a non-technical and readable way. It delineates a full set of universal concepts, as they have emerged from large-scale investigations across a wide range of languages undertaken by the author and her colleagues. On the basis of empirical (...) cross-linguistic studies it vindicates the old notion of the "psychic unity of mankind", while at the same time offering a framework for the rigorous description of different languages and cultures. (shrink)
This paper proposes a novel account of the contents of memory. By drawing on insights from the philosophy of perception, I propose a hybrid account of the contents of memory designed to preserve important aspects of representationalist and relationalist views. The hybrid view I propose also contributes to two ongoing debates in philosophy of memory. First, I argue that, in opposition to eternalist views, the hybrid view offers a less metaphysically-charged solution to the co-temporality problem. Second, I show how the (...) hybrid view conceives of the relationship between episodic memory and other forms of episodic thinking. I conclude by considering some disanalogies between perception and memory and by replying to objections. I argue that, despite there being important differences between memory and perception, those differences do not harm my project. (shrink)
I criticize some armchair arguments against phenomenal externalism due to Block, Hawthorne, Kriegel, Levine, Shoemaker and others. I conclude by discussing an overlooked armchair argument: the argument from phenomenal localism.
That there could be ontologically complex concrete particulars is self-evidently true. A reductio may however be formulated which contradicts this truth. In this paper I argue that all of the reasonable ways in which we might refute this reductio will require the existence of at least some tropes.