The standard picture -- Form and alternatives -- The starting point view -- The theory view -- Hempel's dilemma -- The necessity view -- Is necessitation necessary? -- Is necessitation sufficient? -- Skeptics and true believers -- Arguments against physicalism -- Arguments for physicalism.
Ignorance and Imagination advances a novel way to resolve the central philosophical problem about the mind: how it is that consciousness or experience fits into a larger naturalistic picture of the world. The correct response to the problem, Stoljar argues, is not to posit a realm of experience distinct from the physical, nor to deny the reality of phenomenal experience, nor even to rethink our understanding of consciousness and the language we use to talk about it. Instead, we should view (...) the problem itself as a consequence of our ignorance of the relevant physical facts, Stoljar shows that this change of orientation is well motivated historically, empirically, and philosophically, and that it has none of the side effects it is sometimes thought to have. The result is a philosophical perspective on the mind that has a number of far-reaching consequences: for consciousness studies, for our place in nature, and for the way we think about the relationship between philosophy and science. (shrink)
The debate over physicalism in philosophy of mind can be seen as concerning an inconsistent tetrad of theses: if physicalism is true, a priori physicalism is true; a priori physicalism is false; if physicalism is false, epiphenomenalism is true; epiphenomenalism is false. This paper argues that one may resolve the debate by distinguishing two conceptions of the physical: on the theory-based conception, it is plausible that is true and is false; on the object-based conception, it is plausible that is true (...) and is false. The paper also defends and explores the version of physicalism that results from this strategy. (shrink)
A phenomenal concept is the concept of a particular type of sensory or perceptual experience, where the notion of experience is understood phenomenologically. A recent and increasingly influential idea in philosophy of mind suggests that reflection on these concepts will play a major role in the debate about conscious experience, and in particular in the defense of physicalism, the thesis that psychological truths supervene on physical truths. According to this idea.
The topic of introspection stands at the interface between questions in epistemology about the nature of self-knowledge and questions in the philosophy of mind about the nature of consciousness. What is the nature of introspection such that it provides us with a distinctive way of knowing about our own conscious mental states? And what is the nature of consciousness such that we can know about our own conscious mental states by introspection? How should we understand the relationship between consciousness and (...) introspective self-knowledge? Should we explain consciousness in terms of introspective self-knowledge or vice versa? Until recently, questions in epistemology and the philosophy of mind were pursued largely in isolation from one another. This volume aims to integrate these two lines of research by bringing together fourteen new essays and one reprinted essay on the relationship between introspection, self-knowledge, and consciousness. (shrink)
This paper defends a novel view of ‘what it is like’-sentences, according to which they attribute certain sorts of relations—I call them ‘affective relations’—that hold between events and individuals. The paper argues in detail for the superiority of this proposal over other views that are prevalent in the literature. The paper further argues that the proposal makes better sense than the alternatives of the widespread use of Nagel’s definition of conscious states and that it also shows the mistakes in two (...) prominent suggestions about the definition when properly understood: first, that it is empty and uninformative, and second, that it leads directly to a substantial claim in the theory of consciousness, namely that an individual is in a conscious state only if the individual is aware of their being in that state. (shrink)
Introspection stands at the interface between two major currents in philosophy and related areas of science: on the one hand, there are metaphysical and scientific questions about the nature of consciousness; and on the other hand, there are normative and epistemological questions about the nature of self-knowledge. Introspection seems tied up with consciousness, to the point that some writers define consciousness in terms of introspection; and it is also tied up with self-knowledge, since introspection is the distinctive way in which (...) we come to know about ourselves and, in particular, about our own conscious mental states, processes and events. Each of these topics – consciousness and self-knowledge – has generated an extensive philosophical literature in its own right. But despite some notable exceptions, the relationship between consciousness and self-knowledge has been curiously neglected and remains poorly understood. Indeed, until quite recently, the sub-fields of philosophy of mind and epistemology were pursued largely in isolation from one another. Recent philosophy of mind has been dominated by metaphysical questions about the nature of consciousness and its place in the physical world, while much less attention has been devoted to questions about the epistemic role of consciousness as a source of knowledge and justified belief. Similarly, recent epistemology has been organized around questions about the nature of knowledge and justified belief, but much of this discussion has developed independently of recent work in philosophy of mind about the nature of consciousness. The impetus behind this volume is to bring together these two lines of research by exploring the nature of introspection, which lies at the intersection between consciousness and self-knowledge. This volume collects fourteen new essays and one reprinted essay in which the interplay between concerns in epistemology and the philosophy of mind is a major focus. (shrink)
The exclusion argument is widely thought to put considerable pressure on dualism if not to refute it outright. We argue to the contrary that, whether or not their position is ultimately true, dualists have a plausible response. The response focuses on the notion of ‘distinctness’ as it occurs in the argument: if 'distinctness' is understood one way, the exclusion principle on which the argument is founded can be denied by the dualist; if it is understood another way, the argument is (...) not persuasive. (shrink)
Physicalism is the thesis that everything is physical, or as contemporary philosophers sometimes put it, that everything supervenes on, or is necessitated by, the physical. The thesis is usually intended as a metaphysical thesis, parallel to the thesis attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Thales, that everything is water, or the idealism of the 18th Century philosopher Berkeley, that everything is mental. The general idea is that the nature of the actual world (i.e. the universe and everything in it) conforms (...) to a certain condition, the condition of being physical. Of course, physicalists don't deny that the world might contain many items that at first glance don't seem physical — items of a biological, or psychological, or moral, or social nature. But they insist nevertheless that at the end of the day such items are either physical or supervene on the physical. (shrink)
The conclusion of this argument entails the falsity of physicalism because, technical details aside, physicalism is or entails the thesis that every psychological truth is entailed by some physical truth. If it is possible that I have a zombie duplicate however, then it is possible that the physical truths are as they are and some psychological truth is different. Hence 3 entails that physicalism is false. The second conceivability argument is one that is almost as famous, though perhaps it is (...) less famous for being a conceivability argument: the perfect actor argument against behaviorism . In a version that is both familiar and relatively clear, it goes like this. (shrink)
1. Introduction In ‘The Refutation of Idealism’, G.E.Moore observed that, "when we try to introspect the sensation of blue, all we can see is the blue: the other element is as if it were diaphanous" (1922; p.25). Many philosophers, but Gilbert Harman (1990, 1996) in particular, have suggested that this observation forms the basis of an argument against qualia, usually called the argument from diaphanousness or transparency.1 But even its friends concede that it is none too clear what the argument (...) from diaphanousness—as I will call it—is (Tye 2000; p.45).2 The purpose of this paper is to formulate the argument, and to assess its merits. My conclusion will be that qualia realists have little to fear from the argument—provided both qualia and diaphanousness are properly understood. (shrink)
It is widely held that a successful theory of the mind will be neuroscientific. In this paper we ask, first, what this claim means, and, secondly, whether it is true. In answer to the first question, we argue that the claim is ambiguous between two views--one plausible but unsubstantive, and one substantive but highly controversial. In answer to the second question, we argue that neither the evidence from neuroscience itself nor from other scientific and philosophical considerations supports the controversial view.
What is the connection between being in a conscious mental state and believing that you yourself are currently in that state? On the one hand, it is natural to think that this connection is, or involves, a necessary connection of some sort. On the other hand, it is hard to know what the nature of this necessary connection is. For there are plausible arguments according to which this connection is not metaphysically necessary, not rationally necessary, and not merely naturally necessary. (...) If these arguments are correct, and if these options are exhaustive, while there is a necessary connection between a conscious state and the belief that you are in it, there is apparently no necessary connection it could be! This paper sets out this problem—the necessary connection problem, I will call it—and defends and explores a novel proposal about how to solve it. (shrink)
The conceivability argument against physicalism1 starts from the prem- ises that: It is conceivable that I have a zombie-twin, i.e., that there is someone who is physically identical to me and yet who lacks phenomenal con- sciousness; and If it is conceivable that I have a zombie-twin, then it is possible that I have a zombie-twin. These premises entail that physicalism is false, for physicalism is the claim—or can be assumed for our purposes to be the claim2—that.
It is sometimes suggested that expressivism in meta-ethics is to be criticized on grounds which do not themselves concern meta-ethics in particular, but which rather concern philosophy of language more generally. Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit (1998; see also Jackson and Pettit 1999, and Jackson 2001) have recently advanced a novel version of such an argument. They begin by noting that expressivism in its central form makes two claims—that ethical sentences are not truth evaluable, and that to assert an ethical (...) sentence is to express one’s desires or feelings rather than to report a fact. They then argue that, given some plausible premises in the philosophy of language emanating mainly from Locke, the two central claims of expressivism are contradictory: when combined with the plausible premises, they say, the second claim refutes the first. The purpose of this paper is to formulate Jackson and Pettit’s Lockean argument, and to suggest that it fails. (shrink)
1.Puzzle According to a standard view in contemporary metaphysics, there are no necessary connections between distinct properties. But according to a standard view in philosophy of mind there are necessary connections between distinct properties. In short, we have a puzzle: standard metaphysics inconsistent with standard philosophy of mind. By ‘a standard view in contemporary metaphysics’ I mean, of course, Hume’s dictum that there are no necessary connections between distinct existences. I don’t mean the historical Hume; whether the historical Hume held (...) Hume’s dictum I am sure is a controversial issue, and will not concern us. What will concern us rather is the idea that contemporary metaphysicians such as David Lewis and David Armstrong discuss and attribute to Hume (see, e.g., Lewis 1986 and Armstrong 1997). Of course Hume’s dictum does not say anything explicitly about properties; it talks of existences rather than properties. But ‘existences’ I take it, means ‘things that exist’ and, if we set nominalism aside—as I will do here—properties are things that exist. Hence the Humean dictum entails as a special case that there are no necessary connections between distinct properties. (shrink)
By distinguishing between pragmatic and semantic aspects of emotivism, and by distinguishing between inflationary and deflationary conceptions of truth conditions, this paper defends emotivism against a series of objections. First, it is not the case (as Blackburn has argued) that emotivism must explain the appearance that moral sentences have truth conditions. Second, it is not the case (as Boghossian has argued) that emotivism presupposes that non-moral sentences have inflationary truth conditions. Finally, it is not the case (as Geach and Blackburn (...) have argued) that emotivism is inconsistent with the validity of certain simple arguments. (shrink)
According to the deflationary theory of truth, to assert that a statement is true is just to assert the statement itself. For example, to say that ‘snow is white’ is true, or that it is true that snow is white, is equivalent to saying simply that snow is white, and this, according to the deflationary theory, is all that can be said significantly about the truth of ‘snow is white’.
This article explores two consequences of intentionalism. My first line of argument focuses on the impact of intentionalism on the 'hard problem' of phenomenal character. If intentionalism is true, the phenomenal supervenes on the intentional. Furthermore, if physicalism about the intentional is also true, the intentional supervenes on the physical. Therefore, if intentionalism and physicalism are both true, then, by transitivity of supervenience, physicalism about the phenomenal is true. I argue that this transitivity argument is not persuasive, because on any (...) interpretation of its central terms, at least one of its premises is as controversial as its conclusion already is. My second line of argument is about the consequences of intentionalism for the error theory of color perception. I suggest that if intentionalism is true, projectivism must be true also, because under this condition there is no single concept of color that can be used for the qualification of objects as well as for the characterization of experiences. (shrink)
Daniel Stoljar presents a lucid, persuasive rejection of the widespread view that philosophy makes no progress. He defends a reasonable optimism about philosophical progress, showing that we have correctly answered philosophical questions in the past and may expect to do so in the future. He offers a credible vision of how philosophy works.
The aim of this book is to argue that issues in metaphysics—in particular issues about the nature of states and causation—will have a significant impact in philosophy of mind. As Steward puts it: “the category of state has been so grossly misunderstood that some theories of mind which are supposed to encompass entities traditionally regarded as falling under the category, e.g., beliefs and desires, cannot so much as be sensibly formulated, once we are clearer about the nature of states”. According (...) to Steward, there are two different approaches to the metaphysics of states: a view according to which states are events, and a view according to which states are facts. Steward says that many discussions in philosophy of mind proceed on the basis of the first view, and thus proceed on what she calls the particularist approach. Steward argues that the particularist approach is mistaken, that states are facts, and that if we would recognize this, many of the problems and positions in philosophy of mind would disappear. (shrink)
Williamson rejects the stereotype that there is progress in science but none in philosophy on the grounds that it assumes that in science progress consists in the discovery of universal laws and that this assumption is false, since in both science and philosophy progress consists at least sometimes in the development of better models. I argue that the assumption is false for a more general reason as well: that progress in both science and philosophy consists in the provision of better (...) information about dependency structures. (shrink)
Mary is confined to a black-and-white room, is educated through black-and-white books and through lectures relayed on black-and white television. In this way she learns everything there is to know about the physical nature of the world. She knows all the physical facts about us and our environment, in a wide sense of 'physical' which includes everything in completed physics, chemistry, and neurophysiology, and all there is to know about the causal and relational facts consequent upon all this, including of (...) course functional roles. If physicalism is true, she knows all there is to know. For to suppose otherwise is to suppose that there is more to know than every physical fact, and that is just what physicalism denies. … It seems, however, that Mary does not know all there is to know. For when she is let out of the black-and- white room or given a color television, she will learn what it is like to see something red, say. This is rightly described as learning—she will not say “ho, hum.” Hence, physicalism is false. (Jackson 1986, p. 291, Chapter 2, this volume). (shrink)
Gareth Evans famously observed that he can answer the question ‘Do you think there is going to be a third world war?’ by attending to “precisely the same outward phenomena as I would attend to if I were answering the question ‘Will there be a third world war?’”. I argue that this observation follows from two independently plausible ideas in philosophy of mind. The first is about rationality and consciousness: it is that to be rational is in part to be (...) required to believe that you are in a conscious state if you are in one, at least if various background conditions are met. The second is about consciousness and attention: it is that consciousness in a belief state consists in its subject engaging, to a sufficient extent, in a certain sort of world-directed attention. I also argue that this suggestion is superior to others that have been made in the literature regarding Evan’s observation. (shrink)
This article suggests that Chomsky’s notorious ‘London’ argument against semantics looks much more plausible that it is usually interpreted as being when seen in the light of something apparently remote from its concerns, viz., David Lewis’s distinction between natural and non-natural properties.
Consciousness is extremely familiar yet it is at the limits—beyond the limits, some would say—of what one can sensibly talk about or explain. Perhaps this is the reason its study has drawn contributions from many fields including psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, anthropology, cultural and literary theory, artificial intelligence, physics, and others. The focus of this entry is on: the varieties of consciousness, different problems that have been raised about these varieties, and prospects for progress on these problems.
On the self-locating response to the knowledge argument Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9612-2 Authors Daniel Stoljar, Philosophy Program, Research School of Social Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT, 0200 Australia Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Byrne & Hilbert (B&H) combine physicalism about color with intentionalism about color experience. I argue that this combination leads to an “error theory” about color experience, that is, the doctrine that color experience is systematically illusory. But this conflicts with another aspect of B&H's position, namely, the denial of error theory.
I discuss Soames’s proposal that Moore could have avoided a central problem in his moral philosophy if he had utilized a method he himself pioneered in epistemology. The problem in Moore’s moral philosophy concerns what it is for a moral claim to be self-evident. The method in Moore’s epistemology concerns not denying the obvious. In review of the distance between something’s being self-evident and its being obvious, it is suggested that Soames’s proposal is mistaken.