This paper proposes the ‘AGENCY model’ of conscious state attribution, according to which an entity's displaying certain relatively simple features (e.g. eyes, distinctive motions, interactive behavior) automatically triggers a disposition to attribute conscious states to that entity. To test the model's predictions, participants completed a speeded object/attribution task, in which they responded positively or negatively to attributions of mental properties (including conscious and non-conscious states) to different sorts of entities (insects, plants, artifacts, etc.). As predicted, participants responded positively to conscious (...) state attributions only for those entities that typically display the simple features identified in the AGENCY model (eyes, distinctive motion, interaction) and took longer to deny conscious states to those entities. (shrink)
How do people think about the mental states of robots? Experimental philosophers have developed various models aiming to specify the factors that drive people's attributions of mental states to robots. Here we report on a new experiment involving robots, the results of which tell against competing models. We advocate a view on which attributions of mental states to robots are driven by the same dual-process architecture that subserves attributions of mental states more generally. In support of this view, we leverage (...) recent psychological research on human-robot interaction that involve ecologically-valid stimuli such as Roombas and humanoid robots. (shrink)
Consciousness often presents itself as a problem for materialists because no matter which physical explanation we consider, there seems to remain something about conscious experience that hasn't been fully explained. This gives rise to an apparent explanatory gap. The explanatory gulf between the physical and the conscious is reflected in the broader population, in which dualistic intuitions abound. Drawing on recent empirical evidence, this essay presents a dual-process cognitive model of consciousness attribution. This dual-process model, we suggest, provides an important (...) part of the explanation for why dualism is so attractive and the explanatory gap so vexing. (shrink)
Carruthers' arguments depend on a tenuous interpretation of cases from the confabulation literature. Specifically, Carruthers maintains that cases of confabulation are from cases of alleged introspection. However, in typical cases of confabulation, the self-attributions are characterized by low confidence, in contrast to cases of alleged introspection.
Two philosophical questions arise about rationality in centipede games that are logically prior to attempts to apply the formal tools of game theory to this topic. First, given that the players have common knowledge of mutual rationality and common knowledge that they are each motivated solely to maximize their own profits, is there a backwards-induction argument that employs only familiar non-technical concepts about rationality, leads to the conclusion that the first player is rationally obligated to end the game at the (...) first step, is deductively valid, employs premises all of which are prima facie highly plausible, and is prima facie sound and )? Second, if there is such an argument, then is it actually sound, or is it instead defective somehow despite being prima facie sound? Addressing these two questions is our project. We present a backwards-induction argument that is prima facie sound; we argue that it is an instance of the notorious sorites paradox, and hence that the concepts of rational obligatoriness and rational permissibility are vague; and we briefly address the potential consequences of all this for the foundations of game theory and decision theory. (shrink)
Bayesians take “definite” or “single-case” probabilities to be basic. Definite probabilities attach to closed formulas or propositions. We write them here using small caps: PROB(P) and PROB(P/Q). Most objective probability theories begin instead with “indefinite” or “general” probabilities (sometimes called “statistical probabilities”). Indefinite probabilities attach to open formulas or propositions. We write indefinite probabilities using lower case “prob” and free variables: prob(Bx/Ax). The indefinite probability of an A being a B is not about any particular A, but rather about the (...) property of being an A. In this respect, its logical form is the same as that of relative frequencies. For instance, we might talk about the probability of a human baby being female. That probability is about human babies in general — not about individuals. If we examine a baby and determine conclusively that she is female, then the definite probability of her being female is 1, but that does not alter the indefinite probability of human babies in general being female. Most objective approaches to probability tie probabilities to relative frequencies in some way, and the resulting probabilities have the same logical form as the relative frequencies. That is, they are indefinite probabilities. The simplest theories identify indefinite probabilities with relative frequencies.3 It is often objected that such “finite frequency theories” are inadequate because our probability judgments often diverge from relative frequencies. For example, we can talk about a coin being fair (and so the indefinite probability of a flip landing heads is 0.5) even when it is flipped only once and then destroyed (in which case the relative frequency is either 1 or 0). For understanding such indefinite probabilities, it has been suggested that we need a notion of probability that talks about possible instances of properties as well as actual instances.. (shrink)