This is a book about sensory states and their apparent characteristics. It confronts a whole series of metaphysical and epistemological questions and presents an argument for type materialism: the view that sensory states are identical with the neural states with which they are correlated. According to type materialism, sensations are only possessed by human beings and members of related biological species; silicon-based androids cannot have sensations. The author rebuts several other rival theories, and explores a number of important issues: the (...) forms and limits of introspective awareness of sensations, the semantic properties of sensory concepts, knowledge of other minds, and unity of consciousness. The book is a significant contribution to the philosophy of mind, and has much to say to psychologists and cognitive scientists. (shrink)
This book presents a comprehensive theory of consciousness. The initial chapter distinguishes six main forms of consciousness and sketches an account of each one. Later chapters focus on phenomenal consciousness, consciousness of, and introspective consciousness. In discussing phenomenal consciousness, Hill develops the representational theory of mind in new directions, arguing that all awareness involves representations, even awareness of qualitative states like pain. He then uses this view to undercut dualistic accounts of qualitative states. Other topics include visual awareness, visual appearances, (...) emotional qualia, and meta-cognitive processing. This important work will interest a wide readership of students and scholars in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. (shrink)
In the first chapter of his Knowledge and Lotteries, John Hawthorne argues that thinkers do not ordinarily know lottery propositions. His arguments depend on claims about the intimate connections between knowledge and assertion, epistemic possibility, practical reasoning, and theoretical reasoning. In this paper, we cast doubt on the proposed connections. We also put forward an alternative picture of belief and reasoning. In particular, we argue that assertion is governed by a Gricean constraint that makes no reference to knowledge, and that (...) practical reasoning has more to do with rational degrees of belief than with states of knowledge. (shrink)
As the subtitle indicates, this book is concerned with the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. It recommends a novel and disturbingly pessimistic view about this topic that it calls “naturalistic mysterianism.” The view is naturalistic because it maintains that states of consciousness are reducible to physical properties of the brain. It counts as “mysterian” because it asserts that the physical properties in question are entirely beyond our ken—that they lie well beyond the scope of contemporary neuroscience, and quite (...) likely beyond the scope of any body of scientific knowledge that we might develop in the future. Naturalistic mysterianism thus affirms the unity of consciousness with the physical world, while also claiming that the nature of that unity will forever elude us, due to inherent limits of our cognitive capacities. (shrink)
Visual experience is shaped by a number of factors that are independent of the external objects that we perceive—factors like lighting, angle of view, and the sensitivities of photoreceptors in the retina. This paper seeks to catalog, analyze, and explain the fluctuations in visual phenomenology that are due to such factors.
This volume presents a selection of essays by the leading philosopher Christopher S. Hill. Together, they address central philosophical issues related to four key concerns: the nature of truth; the relation between experiences and brain states; the relation between experiences and representational states; and problems concerning knowledge.
There is an important family of semantic notions that we apply to thoughts and to the conceptual constituents of thoughts - as when we say that the thought that the Universe is expanding is true. Thought and World presents a theory of the content of such notions. The theory is largely deflationary in spirit, in the sense that it represents a broad range of semantic notions - including the concept of truth - as being entirely free from substantive metaphysical and (...) empirical presuppositions. At the same time, however, it takes seriously and seeks to explain the intuition that there is a metaphysically or empirically 'deep' relation linking thoughts to reality. Thus, the theory represents a kind of compromise between deflationism and versions of the correspondence theory of truth. This book will appeal to students and professionals interested in the philosophy of logic and language. (shrink)
The type identity theory, according to which types of mental state are identical to types of physical state, fell out of favour for some years but is now being considered with renewed interest. Many philosophers are critically re-examining the arguments which were marshalled against it, finding in the type identity theory both resources to strengthen a comprehensive, physicalistic metaphysics and a useful tool in understanding the relationship between developments in psychology and new results in neuroscience. This volume brings together leading (...) philosophers of mind, whose essays challenge in new ways the standard objections to type identity theory, such as the multiple realizability objection and the modal argument. Other essays show how cognitive science and neuroscience are lending new support to type identity theory and still others provide, extend and improve traditional arguments concerning the theory's explanatory power. (shrink)
In this critical notice of Kment's _Modality and Explanatory Reasoning_, we focus on Kment’s arguments for impossible worlds and on a key part of his discussion of the interactions between modality and explanation – the analogy that he draws between scientific and metaphysical explanation.
There are two main accounts of what it is for external objects to be presented in visual experience. According to particularism, particular objects are built into the representational contents of experiences. Existentialism is a quite different view. According to existentialism, the representational contents of perceptual experiences are general rather than particular, in the sense that the contents can be fully captured by existentially quantified statements. The present paper is a defense of existentialism. It argues that existentialism is much better equipped (...) than particularism to explain the contents of hallucinations, and it defends existentialism against three objections. (shrink)
My goal is to formulate a theory of introspection that can be integrated with a strongly reductionist account of sensations that I have defended elsewhere. In pursuit of this goal, I offer a skeletal explanation of the metaphysical nature of introspection and I attempt to resolve several of the main questions about the epistemological status of introspective beliefs.
Opposing Quine, I defend the view that some of the statements we accept are immune to empirical revision. My examples include instances of Schema and abbreviative definitions. I argue that it serves important cognitive purposes to hold statements of these kinds immune to revision, and that it is epistemically permissible for us to do so. At the end, I briefly consider the question of whether the rationale for these claims might be extended to show that additional statements are unrevisable.
Rowlands is concerned to explain and defend a doctrine about the relationship between mental states and physical states that he calls supervenience materialism. Very roughly speaking, this is the doctrine that it is the possession of physical properties by an object that makes for or determines the possession of mental properties by that object. In explaining this doctrine, Rowlands discusses various questions of interpretation, such as what should be meant by ‘determines’ and by ‘physical property’, and he also considers the (...) implications of the doctrine for a family of questions about psychological laws and psychological explanations. In defending the doctrine, he does not attempt anything like a direct proof of its truth, but rather argues that it is to be preferred to other materialist doctrines that are studied in the literature. (shrink)
I defend the deflationary theory of truth and reference I have proposed from the objections raised in Vann McGee’s “Thought, Thoughts, and Deflationism,” trying where possible to use arguments that other deflationists might find useful.
I thank the commentators for their extremely rich and stimulating discussions of Thought and World.1 Their commentaries show that a number of TW’s claims are in need of clarification and defense, and that some of its arguments contain substantial lacunae. I am very pleased to have these flaws called to my attention, and to have an opportunity to try to correct them. Also, I am grateful for the commentators’ endorsements. As is perhaps inevitable in a symposium of this kind, the (...) commentaries contain more questions and objections than expressions of agreement; but even so, each of the com- mentators conveys the impression that he found TW to be worth reading. It is an honor to receive endorsements, even qualified endorsements, from such a distinguished company. (shrink)
Précis of Consciousness Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9813-3 Authors Christopher S. Hill, Department of Philosophy, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Reply to Alex Byrne and Fred Dretske Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-9 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9814-2 Authors Christopher S. Hill, Department of Philosophy, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.