The view that phenomenally conscious robots are on the horizon often rests on a certain philosophical view about consciousness, one we call “nomological behaviorism.” The view entails that, as a matter of nomological necessity, if a robot had exactly the same patterns of dispositions to peripheral behavior as a phenomenally conscious being, then the robot would be phenomenally conscious; indeed it would have all and only the states of phenomenal consciousness that the phenomenally conscious being in question has. We experimentally (...) investigate whether the folk think that certain (hypothetical) robots made of silicon and steel would have the same conscious states as certain familiar biological beings with the same patterns of dispositions to peripheral behavior as the robots. Our findings provide evidence that the folk largely reject the view that silicon-based robots would have the sensations that they, the folk, attribute to the biological beings in question. (shrink)
Sydney Shoemaker has proposed a new definition of `realization’ and used it to try to explain how mental events can be causes within the framework of a non-reductive physicalism. I argue that it is not actually his notion of realization that is doing the work in his account of mental causation, but rather the assumption that certain physical properties entail mental properties that do not entail them. I also point out how his account relies on certain other controversial assumptions, including (...) analytical filler-functionalism for mental properties, and the assumption that causes must be proportional to their effects. I conclude by pointing out that Shoemaker has provided no explanation of why, on his view, certain physical properties entail mental properties. (shrink)
(Tye 2006) presents us with the following scenario: John and Jane are both stan- dard human visual perceivers (according to the Ishihara test or the Farnsworth test, for example) viewing the same surface of Munsell chip 527 in standard conditions of visual observation. The surface of the chip looks “true blue” to John (i.e., it looks blue not tinged with any other colour to John), and blue tinged with green to Jane.1 Tye then in eﬀect poses a multiple choice question.
One of the main challenges that Jerry Fodor and Zenon Pylyshyn (Cognition 28:3–71, 1988) posed for any connectionist theory of cognitive architecture is to explain the systematicity of thought without implementing a Language of Thought (LOT) architecture. The systematicity challenge presents a dilemma: if connectionism cannot explain the systematicity of thought, then it fails to offer an adequate theory of cognitive architecture; and if it explains the systematicity of thought by implementing a LOT architecture, then it fails to offer an (...) alternative to the LOT hypothesis. Given that thought is systematic, connectionism can offer an adequate alternative to the LOT hypothesis only if it can meet the challenge. Although some critics tried to meet the challenge, others argued that it need not be met since thought is not in fact systematic; and some claimed not to even understand the claim that thought is systematic. I do not here examine attempts to answer the challenge. Instead, I defend the challenge itself by explicating the notion of systematicity in a way that I hope makes clear that thought is indeed systematic, and so that to offer an adequate alternative to the LOT hypothesis, connectionism must meet the challenge. (shrink)
Role-functionalism for mental events attempts to avoid epiphenomenalism without psychophysical identities. The paper addresses the question of whether it can succeed. It is argued that there is considerable reason to believe it cannot avoid epiphenomenalism, and that if it cannot, then it is untenable. It is pointed out, however, that even if role- functionalism is indeed an untenable theory of mental events, a role-functionalism account of mental dispositions has some intuitive plausibility.
Jerry Fodor, by common agreement, is one of the world’s leading philosophers. At the forefront of the cognitive revolution since the 1960s, his work has determined much of the research agenda in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of psychology for well over 40 years. This special issue dedicated to his work is intended both as a tribute to Fodor and as a contribution to the fruitful debates that his work has generated. One philosophical thesis that has dominated Fodor’s (...) work since the 1960s is realism about the mental. Are there really mental states, events and processes? From his first book, Psychological Explanation (1968), onwards, Fodor has always answered this question with a resolute yes. From his early rejection of Wittgensteinian and behaviourist conceptions of the mind, to his later disputes with philosophers of mind of the elminativist ilk, he has always been opposed to views that try to explain away mental phenomena. On his view, there are minds, and minds can change the world. (shrink)
It can happen that a single surface S, viewed in normal conditions, looks pure blue (“true blue”) to observer John but looks blue tinged with green to a second observer, Jane, even though both are normal in the sense that they pass the standard psychophysical tests for color vision. Tye (2006a) ﬁnds this situation prima facie puzzling, and then oﬀers two diﬀerent “solutions” to the puzzle.1 The ﬁrst is that at least one observer misrepresents S’s color because, though normal in (...) the sense explained, she is not a Normal color observer: her color detection system is not operating in the current condition in the way that Mother Nature intended it to operate. His second solution involves the idea that Mother Nature designed our color detection systems to be reliable with respect to the detection of coarse-grained colors (e.g., blue, green, yellow, orange), but our capacity to represent the ﬁne-grained colors (e.g., true blue, blue tinged with green) is an undesigned spandrel. On this second solution, it is consistent with the variation between John and Jane that both represent the color of S in a way that complies with Mother Nature’s intentions: both represent S as exemplifying the coarse-grained color blue, and since (we may assume) S is in fact blue, both represent it veridically. Of course, they also represent ﬁne-grained colors of S, and, according to Tye, at most one of these representations is veridical (Tye says that only God knows which). But at the level of representation for which Mother Nature designed our color detection systems, both John and Jane (qua Normal observers) are reliable detectors. (shrink)
widely held commitments: to phenomenal realism and to naturalism. Phenomenal realism is the view that we are phenomenally consciousness, and that there is no a priori or armchair sufficient condition for phenomenal consciousness that can be stated in nonphenomenal terms . 1,2 Block points out that while phenomenal realists reject.
We make three points. First, the concept of productance value that the authors propose in their defense of color physicalism fails to do the work for which it is intended. Second, the authors fail to offer an adequate physicalist account of what they call the hue-magnitudes. Third, their answer to the problem of individual differences faces serious difficulties.
[Why Davidson's Anomalous Monism Would Lead to Type Epiphenomenalism]: 1. According to Davidson, events can cause other events only in virtue of falling under physical types cited in strict laws; 2. But no mental event-type is a physical event-type cited in a strict law, since the mental is anomalous. 3. Therefore, under Davidson's theory, type epiphenomenalism is true.
In Reference and Consciousness, John Campbell attempts to a make a case that what he calls of visual experience, a view that he champions, is superior to what he calls . I argue that his attempt fails. In section 1, I spell out the two views. In section 2, I outline Campbell's case that the Relational View is superior to the Representational View and offer a diagnosis of where Campbell goes wrong. In section 3, I examine the case in detail (...) and argue that it fails. Finally, in section 4, I mention two very well-known problems for the Relational View that are unresolved in the book. (shrink)
While a necessary condition for perceiving a physical object is that the object cause the perceiver to undergo a sense experience, this condition is not sufficient. causal theorists attempt to provide a sufficient condition by placing constraints on the way the object causes the perceiver's experience. i argue that this is not possible since the relationship between a perceiver's experience and an object in virtue of which the perceiver perceives the object does not supervene on any of the ways in (...) which the object causes the perceiver's experience. (shrink)
[Brian P. McLaughlin] In recent years, some philosophers have claimed that we can know a priori that certain external world skeptical hypotheses are false on the basis of a priori knowledge that we are in certain kinds of mental states, and a priori knowledge that those mental states are individuated by contingent environmental factors. Appealing to a distinction between weak and strong a priority, I argue that weakly a priori arguments of this sort would beg the question of whether the (...) skeptical hypothesis under assessment is true, and that the prospect of a sound strongly a priori argument of this sort seems dim. \\\ [David Owens] Contemporary discussion of scepticism focuses on the possibility that most or all of our beliefs might be false. I argue that the hypothesis of massive falsity and the associated 'problem of the external world' are inessential to the scepticisms of Descartes and Hume. What drives Cartesian and Humean scepticism is the demand for certainty: any possibility of error, however local, must be ruled out before we can claim either justified belief or knowledge. Contemporary philosophers have ignored this form of scepticism because they doubt that the demand for certainty can be motivated. But Descartes provides a sound motivation for this demand in the Meditations. (shrink)