Contemporary cognitive science clearly tells us that attention is modulated for speech and action. While these forms of goal-directed attention are very well researched in psychology, they have not been sufficiently studied by epistemologists. In this book, Abrol Fairweather and Carlos Montemayor develop and defend a theory of epistemic achievements that requires the manifestation of cognitive agency. They examine empirical work on the psychology of attention and assertion, and use it to ground a normative theory of epistemic achievements and virtues. (...) The resulting study is the first sustained naturalized virtue epistemology, and will be of interest to readers in epistemology, cognitive science, and beyond. (shrink)
In this book, Carlos Montemayor and Harry Haladjian consider the relationship between consciousness and attention. The cognitive mechanism of attention has often been compared to consciousness, because attention and consciousness appear to share similar qualities. But, Montemayor and Haladjian point out, attention is defined functionally, whereas consciousness is generally defined in terms of its phenomenal character without a clear functional purpose. They offer new insights and proposals about how best to understand and study the relationship between consciousness and attention by (...) examining their functional aspects. The book's ultimate conclusion is that consciousness and attention are largely dissociated. -/- Undertaking a rigorous analysis of current empirical and theoretical work on attention and consciousness, Montemayor and Haladjian propose a spectrum of dissociation—a framework that identifies the levels of dissociation between consciousness and attention—ranging from identity to full dissociation. They argue that conscious attention, the focusing of attention on the contents of awareness, is constituted by overlapping but distinct processes of consciousness and attention. Conscious attention, they claim, evolved after the basic forms of attention, increasing access to the richest kinds of cognitive contents. -/- Montemayor and Haladjian's goal is to help unify the study of consciousness and attention across the disciplines. A focused examination of conscious attention will, they believe, enable theoretical progress that will further our understanding of the human mind. (shrink)
This paper aims to clarify the relationship between consciousness and attention through theoretical considerations about evolution. Specifically, we will argue that the empirical findings on attention and the basic considerations concerning the evolution of the different forms of attention demonstrate that consciousness and attention must be dissociated regardless of which definition of these terms one uses. To the best of our knowledge, no extant view on the relationship between consciousness and attention has this advantage. Because of this characteristic, this paper (...) presents a principled and neutral way to settle debates concerning the relationship between consciousness and attention, without falling into disputes about the meaning of these terms. A decisive conclusion of this approach is that extreme views on the relationship between consciousness and attention must be rejected, including identity and full dissociation views. There is an overlap between the two within conscious attention, but developing a full understanding of this mechanism requires further empirical investigations. (shrink)
The Whorfian hypothesis has received support from recent findings in psychology, linguistics, and anthropology. This evidence has been interpreted as supporting the view that language modulates all stages of perception and cognition, in accordance with Whorf’s original proposal. In light of a much broader body of evidence on time perception, I propose to evaluate these findings with respect to their scope. When assessed collectively, the entire body of evidence on time perception shows that the Whorfian hypothesis has a limited scope (...) and that it does not affect early stages of time perception. In particular, all the available evidence shows that the scope of language modulation is limited in the case of time perception, and that the most important mechanisms for time perception are cognitive clocks and simultaneity windows, which we use to perceive the temporal properties of events. Language modulation has distorting effects, but only at later stages of processing or with respect to specific categorization tasks. The paper explains what is the role of these effects in the context of all the available evidence on time cognition and perception. (shrink)
Artificial Intelligence is at a turning point, with a substantial increase in projects aiming to implement sophisticated forms of human intelligence in machines. This research attempts to model specific forms of intelligence through brute-force search heuristics and also reproduce features of human perception and cognition, including emotions. Such goals have implications for artificial consciousness, with some arguing that it will be achievable once we overcome short-term engineering challenges. We believe, however, that phenomenal consciousness cannot be implemented in machines. This becomes (...) clear when considering emotions and examining the dissociation between consciousness and attention in humans. While we may be able to program ethical behavior based on rules and machine learning, we will never be able to reproduce emotions or empathy by programming such control systems—these will be merely simulations. Arguments in favor of this claim include considerations about evolution, the neuropsychological aspects of emotions, and the dissociation between attention and consciousness found in humans. Ultimately, we are far from achieving artificial consciousness. (shrink)
The main thesis of this paper is that two prevailing theories about cognitive penetration are too extreme, namely, the view that cognitive penetration is pervasive and the view that there is a sharp and fundamental distinction between cognition and perception, which precludes any type of cognitive penetration. These opposite views have clear merits and empirical support. To eliminate this puzzling situation, we present an alternative theoretical approach that incorporates the merits of these views into a broader and more nuanced explanatory (...) framework. A key argument we present in favor of this framework concerns the evolution of intentionality and perceptual capacities. An implication of this argument is that cases of cognitive penetration must have evolved more recently and that this is compatible with the cognitive impenetrability of early perceptual stages of processing information. A theoretical approach that explains why this should be the case is the consciousness and attention dissociation framework. The paper discusses why concepts, particularly issues concerning concept acquisition, play an important role in the interaction between perception and cognition. (shrink)
While the situationist challenge has been prominent in philosophical literature in ethics for over a decade, only recently has it been extended to virtue epistemology . Alfano argues that virtue epistemology is shown to be empirically inadequate in light of a wide range of results in social psychology, essentially succumbing to the same argument as virtue ethics. We argue that this meeting of the twain between virtue epistemology and social psychology in no way signals the end of virtue epistemology, but (...) is rather a boon to naturalized virtue epistemology. We use Gird Gigerenzer’s models for bounded rationality (2011) to present a persuasive line of defense for virtue epistemology, and consider prospects for a naturalized virtue epistemology that is supported by current research in psychology. (shrink)
The lack of conceptual analysis within cognitive science results in multiple models of the same phenomena. However, these models incorporate assumptions that contradict basic structural features of the domain they are describing. This is particularly true about the domain of mathematical cognition. In this paper we argue that foundational theoretic aspects of psychological models for language and arithmetic should be clarified before postulating such models. We propose a means to clarify these foundational concepts by analyzing the distinctions between metric and (...) linguistic compositionality, which we use to assess current models of mathematical cognition. Our proposal is consistent with the scientific methodology that determines that careful conceptual analysis should precede theoretical descriptions of data. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
In this paper, I propose that time representation should be classified as agent dependent motor-intentional, agent dependent conceptual and agent independent conceptual. I employ this classification to explain certain features of psychological and cultural time and discuss how biological time constrains such features. The paper argues that motor-intentional time is a crucial psychophysical link that bridges the gap between purely biochemical cycles and conceptual-intentional representations of time, and proposes that the best way to understand the transitions from biological to psychological (...) time is to characterize them as phase transitions that emerge on the global properties of a system regardless of specific aspects of the underlying processing units. With respect to hierarchical models of time, the paper claims that although the hierarchical organization of constraints limits the number of possible instantiations of temporal information, informational phases have principles of organization of their own. Based on these proposals, I conclude that since information assembles itself into the temporal behavior of an agent, it is more accurate to call the principles governing such a behavioral unity a phase, rather than a hierarchy. To support these theses, the paper draws upon research in biology, neuroscience, philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
Integrated Information Theory (IIT) is one of the most influential theories of consciousness, mainly due to its claim of mathematically formalizing consciousness in a measurable way. However, the theory, as it is formulated, does not account for contextual observations that are crucial for understanding consciousness. Here we put forth three possible difficulties for its current version, which could be interpreted as a trilemma. Either consciousness is contextual or not. If contextual, either IIT needs revisions to its axioms to include contextuality, (...) or it is inconsistent. If consciousness is not contextual, then IIT faces an empirical challenge. Therefore, we argue that IIT in its current version is inadequate. (shrink)
This edited volume examines aspects of the mind/consciousness that are relevant to the interpretations of quantum mechanics. In it, an international group of contributors focus on the possible connections between quantum mechanics and consciousness. They look at how consciousness can help us with quantum mechanics as well as how quantum mechanics can contribute to our understanding of consciousness. For example, what do different interpretations aimed at solving the measurement problem in quantum mechanics tell us about the nature of consciousness, such (...) as von Neumann's interpretation? Each interpretation has, associated to it, a corresponding metaphysical framework that helps us think about possible “models” of consciousness. Alternatively, what does the nature of consciousness tell us about the role of the observer and time reversibility in the measurement process? The book features 20 papers on contemporary approaches to quanta and mind. It brings together the work of scholars from different disciplines with diverse views on the connections between quanta and mind, ranging from those who are supportive of a link between consciousness and quantum physics to those who are very skeptical of such link. Coverage includes such topics as free will in a quantum world, contextuality and causality, mind and matter interaction, quantum panpsychism, the quantum and quantum-like brain, and the role of time in brain-mind dynamics. (shrink)
“Epistemic Dexterity: A Ramseyian Account of Epistemic Virtue” by Abrol Fairweather & Carlos Montemayor: A modification of F.P. Ramsey’s success semantics supports a naturalized theory of epistemic virtue that includes motivational components and can potentially explain both epistemic reliability and responsibility with a single normative-explanatory principle. An “epistemic Ramsey success” will also provide a better account of the “because of” condition central to virtue-reliabilist accounts of knowledge from Greco, Sosa and Pritchard. Ramsey said that the truth condition of a belief (...) is the condition that guarantees the success of desires based on that belief. Taken as a theory of epistemic achievements, the truth condition for the attribution of an epistemic achievement is the condition that guarantees the success of epistemic desires and is also a success based on abilities attributable to the agent. One of its major advantages is that it may be the best way to achieve a naturalistic version of the etiologcal requirement on knowledge in virtue epistemology while also supporting important responsibilist desiderata. The account defended is robustly agent-centered in the straightforward sense that individual desires are partly constitutive of epistemic successes like having a rational belief, justified belief, and even of knowledge once we see the both the reliabilist and repsonsibilist desiderata are met. Another important aspect of the paper is that it provides a plausible psychology for virtue epistemology that is grounded in important empirical findings on agency, and thus constitutes a form of naturalized virtue epistemology. (shrink)
There is a long standing debate as to whether or not time is ‘real’ or illusory, and whether or not human time is a direct reflection of physical time. Differing spacetime cosmologies have opposing views. Exactly what human time entails has, in our opinion, led to the failure to resolve this ‘two times’ problem. To help resolve this issue we propose a dualistic model of human time in which each component has both an illusory and non-illusory aspect. With the dualistic (...) model we are able to provide experimental tests for all of the human time assertions of 10 chosen spacetime cosmologies. The illusory aspect of the ‘present,’ i.e. a ‘unique present’ was confirmed. An information gathering and utilizing system was constructed using a virtual reality apparatus allowing the observer to experientially roam back and forth along the worldline ad lib. The phenomenon of ‘change’ was experimentally found to be illusory at high frequency observation and non-illusory at low frequency observation, the latter phenomenon coinciding with ‘change’ referred to in the ‘Order of Time’ and ‘Relativity Refounded’ views. Additional experiments are presented indicating that both motion and temporality are dualistic. In sum, the dualistic model of human time allows for the existence of both illusory and non-illusory aspects of human time that are not in conflict with one another. It also provides experimental evidence for various spacetime cosmological assertions regarding human time. (shrink)
We’ve seen a significant increase in the attention AI research is receiving this past decade, in large part due to some of the impressive feats of machine learning, particularly deep learning. This has resulted in something of a hype in the ability of AI’s in tackling various issues. The aim of the current essay is to examine the speculative questions “what would it mean for systems to transition from merely intelligently executing a task to knowledgably executing a task?” and “what (...) is the relation between consciousness and intelligence, such that specific evaluations about conscious AI might be made?” We offer what we hope is a roadmap for how to navigate asking these questions and a route forward in understanding how AI goes from intelligence to knowledge and potentially to some types of consciousness. (shrink)
This commentary focuses on the importance of attention skills in the development of universal associative learning, and it explains why the centrality of attention in UAL presents a considerable difficulty for the UAL approach. Attentional abilities are not just developmentally related to UAL but are in fact explanatory of UAL. The main problem is that all the types of attention involved in UAL can be dissociated from consciousness. This means that while attention skills for UAL might be necessary for consciousness, (...) they are not sufficient because they can all occur unconsciously. Thus, the possibility that UAL capacities might not be sufficient for consciousness cannot be eliminated, thereby challenging the key claim of the UAL approach. (shrink)
The prevailing view about our memory skills is that they serve a complex epistemic function. I shall call this the “monistic view.” Instead of a monistic, exclusively epistemic approach, I propose a transactional view. On this approach, autobiographical memory is irreducible to the epistemic functions of episodic memory because of its essentially moral and empathic character. I argue that this transactional view provides a more plausible and integral account of memory capacities in humans, based on theoretical and empirical reasons. Memory, (...) on this account, plays two distinctive roles. The episodic memory system satisfies epistemic needs and is valuable because it is a source of justification for beliefs about the past. Autobiographical memory satisfies moral and narrative-autonoetic needs, and is valuable because it is a source of personally meaningful and insightful experiences about our past. Unlike autobiographical memory, episodic memory is only weakly autonoetic. The relation between these two roles of memory is captured by the tension between a narrative and an accurate report. (shrink)
This paper discusses the importance of scientifically informed philosophy and philosophically informed science for improving extant approaches to the study of the mind, and in particular, of conscious awareness. By using the work of Patrick Suppes as an illustration, the paper shows that a balance between science and philosophy is needed not only to produce new insights, but also to prevent dogmatism.
A central claim in Luiz Pessoa’s (2013) book is that the terms “emotion” and “cognition” can be useful in characterizing behaviors but will not be cleanly mapped into brain regions. In order to be verified, this claim requires models for the integration and interfacing of emotion and cognition; yet, such models remain problematic.
A central claim by Hoerl & McCormack is that the temporal reasoning system is uniquely human. But why exactly? This commentary evaluates two possible options to justify the thesis that temporal reasoning is uniquely human, one based on considerations regarding agency and the other based on language. The commentary raises problems for both of these options.
"Personâ€? is a very ambiguous word (as most of our words when isolated). The outstanding vagueness of the terms used in philosophical discourse, like "actionâ€? or "mindâ€?, is an essential characteristic of language that provides the set upon which philosophy relies. Indeed, inquiries into certainty, objectivity and many other important metaphysical problems would never arise if this indeterminacy were not present in language. The history of philosophy as such can be considered as a quest for meaningful statements on which we (...) can ground our judgment. This search for certainty has an ethical dimension, since it discloses what we have in common and what we cannot share. An important feature of this ethical dimension is that the investigation of "certaintyâ€? is, at the same time, a struggle against arbitrariness. However, we must be careful while engaging into this exploration, by refusing to analyze or equate certainty with goodness or correctness. The danger of this attractive analysis is evident in our religious and political history. I believe that Wittgenstein can help us in elucidating some of these difficult issues. The problem of the identity of persons, or what constitutes a human being, pervades through philosophical texts. The general strategy of this paper is to link the issue of certainty, as explained by Wittgenstein, with the concept of person. (shrink)
Albert Einstein once made the following remark about "the world of our sense experiences": "the fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle." (1936, p. 351) A few decades later, another physicist, Eugene Wigner, wondered about the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences, concluding his classic article thus: "the miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve" (1960, p. 14). (...) At least three factors are involved in Einstein's and Wigner's miracles: the physical world, mathematics, and human cognition. One way to relate these factors is to ask how the universe could possibly be structured in such a way that mathematics would be applicable to it, and we would be able to understand that application. This is roughly Wigner's question. Alternatively, the way of the mathematical naturalist is to argue that we abstract certain properties from the world, perhaps using our bodies and physical tools, thereby articulating basic mathematical concepts, which we continue building into the complex formal structures of mathematics. John Stuart Mill, Penelope Maddy, and Rafael Nuñez teach this strategy of cognitive abstraction, in very different manners. But what if the very concepts and basic principles of mathematics were built into our cognitive structure itself? Given such a cognitive a priori mathematical endowment, would the miracles of the link between world and cognition (Einstein) and mathematics and world (Wigner) not vanish, or at least significantly diminish? This is the stance of Stanislas Deheane and Elizabeth Brannon's 2011 anthology, following a venerable rationalist tradition including Plato and Immanuel Kant. (shrink)
The relationship between attention and consciousness is one that is crucial for understanding perception and different types of conscious experience, and we commend this analysis of the topic by Pitts, Lutsyshyna, and Hillyard (2018). We have also examined this relationship closely (e.g., Montemayor & Haladjian, 2015) and would like to point out a few potential contradictions in the Pitts et al. paper that require clarification, particularly in the attempt to reconcile aspects of recurrent processing theory (RPT) with global neuronal workspace (...) theory (GNWT). This commentary addresses these points and introduces other considerations important for this topic. (shrink)
Lane et al. propose an integrative model for the reconsolidation of traces in their timely and impressive article. This commentary draws attention to tradeoffs between accuracy and self-narrative integrity in the model. The tradeoffs concern the sense of agency in memory and its role in both implicit and explicit memory reconsolidation, rather than balances concerning degrees of emotional arousal.
We present an account of the evolutionary development of the experiences of empathy that marked the beginning of morality and art. We argue that aesthetic and moral capacities provided an important foundation for later epistemic developments. The distinction between phenomenal consciousness and attention is discussed, and a role for phenomenology in cognitive archeology is justified-critical sources of evidence used in our analysis are based on the archeological record. We claim that what made our species unique was a form of meditative (...) and empathic thinking that made large-scale human cooperation possible through pre-linguistic, empathic communication. A critical aspect of this proposal is that the transformation that led to the dawn of our species was not initially driven by semantic or epistemic factors, although clearly, these factors increased the gap between us and other species dramatically later on. Our proposal suggests that recent philosophy of mind and psychology might have "epistemicized" phenomenal consciousness too much by construing it in terms of semantic content rather than by describing it in terms of empathic and meditative thinking. Instead of the prevailing approach, we favor the type of subjectivity that is fundamentally "other-involving" as essential, because on our account, a necessary condition for subjectivity is the empathic understanding of other individuals' psychology, not through inference or judgment, but through immediate conscious engagement. (shrink)
This dissertation offers new proposals, based on a philosophical appraisal of scientific findings, to address old philosophical problems regarding our immediate acquaintance with time. It focuses on two topics: our capacity to determine the length of intervals and our acquaintance with the present moment. A review of the relevant scientific findings concerning these topics grounds the main contributions of this dissertation. Thus, this study introduces to the philosophical literature an empirically adequate way to talk about how the mind represents time (...) at the most fundamental level. In order to account for our immediate acquaintance with the duration of intervals, a theoretical framework for classifying clocks is used to explain why the representational outputs of the circadian clock and the stopwatch have metric structure. A philosophical analysis of these outputs is proposed to classify them and explain their properties. With respect to our immediate acquaintance with the present, a novel two-phase model of the present is proposed. This model shows that there are two forms of acquaintance with the present, which has consequences for contemporary debates in the philosophy of time. (shrink)
The connection between quantum physics and the mind has been debated for almost a hundred years. There are several proposals as to how quantum effects might be relevant to understanding consciousness, including von Neumann’s Consciousness Causes Collapse interpretation (CCC), Penrose’s Orchestrated objective reduction (Orch OR), Atmanspacher quantum emergence theory, or Vitiello’s field theory. In this paper, we examine the CCC, in particular Stapp’s theory of interaction of mind and matter, and discuss how this imposes constraints to possible brain structures. We (...) then argue that those constraints may allow us to identify a possible locus of the interaction between mind and matter, if CCC is true. (shrink)
If embodied models no longer address the symbol grounding problem and a conceptual system can step in and resolve categorizations when embodied simulations fail, then perhaps the next step in theory-building is to isolate the unique contributions of embodied simulation. What is a disembodied conceptual system incapable of doing with respect to semantic processing or the categorization of smiles?