The central characteristic of cognitive explanations of behavior is the appeal to inner representations. I examine the grounds which justify representational explanations, seeking the minimum conditions which organisms must meet to be candidates for such explanations. I first discuss Fodor's proposal that representationality be attributed to systems which respond to nonnomic properties, arguing that the distinction between the nomic and nonnomic in perception is fatally ambiguous. Then I turn to an illustrative review of the behavior and neurobiology of Hermissenda crassicornis, (...) a marine mollusk. Concerning this "model system," I compare the representational style of explanation with both behaviorist and neurophysiological explanations. Representational explanation is potentially more comprehensive than its rivals, and thus I conclude that representations are useful posits wherever internal information-bearing states mediate behavior. (shrink)
Commonsense psychology and cognitive science both regularly assume the existence of representational states. I propose a naturalistic theory of representation sufficient to meet the pretheoretical constraints of a "folk theory of representation", constraints including the capacities for accuracy and inaccuracy, selectivity of proper objects of representation, perspective, articulation, and "efficacy" or content-determined functionality. The proposed model states that a representing device is a device which changes state when information is received over multiple information channels originating at a single source. The (...) changed state of a representing device is a representation. The unitary information source which would give rise to the information impinging on the representing device, and hence, give rise to the representation, is the content of the representation. The model meets the pretheoretic constraints, and also conforms to available neurobiological data for two invertebrate species. (shrink)
& Functional brain imaging offers new opportunities for the begin with single-subject (preprocessed) scan series, and study of that most pervasive of cognitive conditions, human consider the patterns of all voxels as potential multivariate consciousness. Since consciousness is attendant to so much encodings of phenomenal information. Twenty-seven subjects of human cognitive life, its study requires secondary analysis from the four studies were analyzed with multivariate of multiple experimental datasets. Here, four preprocessed methods, revealing analogues of phenomenal structures, datasets from the (...) National fMRI Data Center are considered: particularly the structures of temporality. In a second Hazeltine et al., Neural activation during response competi- interpretive approach, artificial neural networks were used tion; Ishai et al., The representation of objects in the human to detect a more explicit prediction from phenomenology, occipital and temporal cortex; Mechelli et al., The effects of namely, that present experience contains and is inflected by presentation rate during word and pseudoword reading; and past states of awareness and anticipated events. In all of 21 Postle et al., Activity in human frontal cortex associated with subjects in this analysis, nets were successfully trained to spatial working memory and saccadic behavior. The study of extract aspects of relative past and future brain states, in consciousness also draws from multiple disciplines. In this comparison with statistically similar controls. This exploratory article, the philosophical subdiscipline of phenomenology study thus concludes that the proposed methods for provides initial characterization of phenomenal structures ‘‘neurophenomenology’’ warrant further application, includ- conceptually necessary for an analysis of consciousness. These ing the exploration of individual differences, multivariate structures include phenomenal intentionality, phenomenal differences between cognitive task conditions, and explora- superposition, and experienced temporality.. (shrink)
The continual background awareness of duration is an essential structure of consciousness, conferring temporal extension to the many objects of awareness within the evanescent sensory present. Seeking the possible neural correlates of ubiquitous temporal awareness, this article reexamines fMRI data from off-task “default mode” periods in 25 healthy subjects studied by Grady et al. , 2005). “Brain reading” using support vector machines detected information specifying elapsed time, and further analysis specified distributed networks encoding implicit time. These networks fluctuate; none are (...) continuously active during DM. However, the aggregate regions of greatest variability closely resemble the default mode network. It appears that the default mode network has an important role as a state-dependent monitor of temporality. (shrink)
Our awareness of time and temporal properties is a constant feature of conscious life. Subjective temporality structures and guides every aspect of behavior and cognition, distinguishing memory, perception, and anticipation. This milestone volume brings together research on temporality from leading scholars in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, defining a new field of interdisciplinary research. The book's thirty chapters include selections from classic texts by William James and Edmund Husserl and new essays setting them in historical context; contemporary philosophical accounts of lived (...) time; and current empirical studies of psychological time. These last chapters, the larger part of the book, cover such topics as the basic psychophysics of psychological time, its neural foundations, its interaction with the body, and its distortion in illness and altered states of consciousness. _Contributors_Melissa J. Allman, Holly Andersen, Valtteri Arstila, Yan Bao, Dean V. Buonomano, Niko A. Busch, Barry Dainton, Sylvie Droit-Volet, Christine M. Falter, Thomas Fraps, Shaun Gallagher, Alex O. Holcombe, Edmund Husserl, William James, Piotr Jaskowski, Jeremie Jozefowiez, Ryota Kanai, Allison N. Kurti, Dan Lloyd, Armando Machado, Matthew S. Matell, Warren H. Meck, James Mensch, Bruno Mölder, Catharine Montgomery, Konstantinos Moutoussis, Peter Naish, Valdas Noreika, Sukhvinder S. Obhi, Ruth Ogden, Alan o'Donoghue, Georgios Papadelis, Ian B. Phillips, Ernst Pöppel, John E. R. Staddon, Dale N. Swanton, Rufin VanRullen, Argiro Vatakis, Till M. Wagner, John Wearden, Marc Wittmann, Agnieszka Wykowska, Kielan Yarrow, Bin Yin, Dan Zahavi. (shrink)
Connectionism and phenomenology can mutually inform and mutually constrain each other. In this manifesto I outline an approach to consciousness based on distinctions developed by connectionists. Two core identities are central to a connectionist theory of consciouness: conscious states of mind are identical to occurrent activation patterns of processing units; and the variable dispositional strengths on connections between units store latent and unconscious information. Within this broad framework, a connectionist model of consciousness succeeds according to the degree of correspondence between (...) the content of human consciousness (the world as it is experienced) and the interpreted content of the network. Constitutive self-awareness and reflective self-awareness can be captured in a model through its ability to respond to self-reflexive information, identify self-referential categories, and process information in the absence of simultaneous input. The qualitative feel of sensation appears in a model as states of activation that are not fully discriminated by later processing. Connectionism also uniquely explains several specific features of experience. The most important of these is the superposition of information in consciousness — our ability to perceive more than meets the eye, and to apprehend complex categorical and temporal information in a single highly-cognized glance. This superposition in experience matches a superposition of representational content in distributed representations. (shrink)
For more than a century the paradigm inspiringcognitive neuroscience has been modular and localist.Contemporary research in functional brain imaginggenerally relies on methods favorable to localizingparticular functions in one or more specific brainregions. Meanwhile, connectionist cognitive scientistshave celebrated the computational powers ofdistributed processing, and pioneered methods forinterpreting distributed representations. This papertakes a connectionist approach to functionalneuroimaging. A tabulation of 35 PET (positronemission tomography) experiments strongly indicatesdistributed function for at least the ''medium sized''anatomical units, the cortical Brodmann areas. Moreimportant, when these PET (...) experiments were interpretedas distributed representations, multidimensionalscaling revealed a ''brain activation space'' with asalient structure organized primarily by the sensorymodality of the stimulus, and secondarily by the typeof motor response. These results suggest that currentanalytical techniques in functional neuroimagingshould be augmented by distributed processinganalyses, and that these analyses may lead to manydiscoveries about the structure of ''inner space.''. (shrink)
To william james, conscious life was a stream; to Edmund Husserl, a flow. These metaphors point to the marvelous continuity of experience as it weaves through the world of thought and things. We might similarly talk about the flow of the body, as I reach for my cup of coffee. A physiologist could decompose the action, isolating the contribution of each muscle and joint to the whole. This functional analysis would constitute one form of explanation of the movement. As we (...) replace "I grab the cup" with the physiologist's account, there is a shift in level of description and a turn toward underlying processes, but the physiologist has added nothing to nature. Explanation of this sort, functional reduction, is simply a .. (shrink)
Good research requires, among other virtues,(i) methods that yield stable experimentalobservations without arbitrary (post hoc)assumptions, (ii) logical interpretations ofthe sources of observations, and (iii) soundinferences to general causal mechanismsexplaining experimental results by placing themin larger explanatory contexts. In TheNew Phrenology , William Uttal examines theresearch tradition of localization, and findsit deficient in all three virtues, whetherbased on lesion studies or on new technologiesfor functional brain imaging. In this paper Iconsider just the arguments concerning brainimaging, especially functional MagneticResonance Imaging. I think (...) that Uttal is tooharsh in his methodological critique, butcorrect in his assessment of the conceptuallimitations of localist evidence. I proposeinstead a data-driven test for assessingrelative modularity in brain images, and showits use in a secondary analysis of fMRI datafrom the National fMRI Data Center(www.fmridc.org). Although the analysis is alimited pilot study, it offers additionalempirical challenge to localism. (shrink)
Gallagher’s main claim can be enhanced neurophenomenologically. In his 1907 lectures Thing and Space, Husserl argued that perception in general is enactive. Moreover, the neuroscientific theory of predictive processing connects neatly to a future-oriented phenomenology.
Accounting for phenomenal structure—the forms, aspects, and features of conscious experience—poses a deep challenge for the scientific study of consciousness, but rather than abandon hope I propose a way forward. Connectionism, I argue, offers a bi-directional analogy, with its oft-noted “neural inspiration” on the one hand, and its largely unnoticed capacity to illuminate our phenomenology on the other. Specifically, distributed representations in a recurrent network enable networks to superpose categorical, contextual, and temporal information on a specific input representation, much as (...) our own experience does. Artificial neural networks also suggest analogues of four salient distinctions between sensory and nonsensoty consciousness. The paper concludes with speculative proposals for discharging the connectionist heuristics to leave a robust, detailed empirical theory of consciousness. (shrink)
A philosophical zombie is a being indistinguishable from an ordinary human in every observable respect, but lacking subjective consciousness. Zombiehood implies *linguistic indiscriminability*, the zombie tendency to talk and even do philosophy of mind in language indiscriminable from ordinary discourse. Zombies thus speak *Zombish*, indistinguishable from English but radically distinct in reference for mental terms. The fate of zombies ultimately depends on whether Zombish can be consistently interpreted. If it can be interpreted consistently, then zombies remain possible, but no test (...) could ever reveal whether anyone is speaking Zombish. Any materialist theory of consciousness is therefore already a theory in Zombish, and is equally confirmable in its human language edition and its zombie-language edition . On the other hand, if Zombish cannot be consistently interpreted, then the zombies described in Zombish are logically impossible. Either way, the search for a materialistic theory of consciousness should be untroubled by the zombies among us. (shrink)
Our heads are full of representations, according to cognitive science. It might seem inevitable that conscious states are a type of brain-based representation, but in this paper I argue that representation and consciousness each form conceptually distinct domains. Representational content depends on context, usually causal, as shown by familiar cases in which context varies while brain states do not -- twin earth cases and brains-in-vats, for example. But these same cases show that conscious content does not depend on context. The (...) vatted brain, for example, enjoys the same experiences as its in vivo counterpart. The structure of experience -- its parts and their distinctive characters -- is the dynamic structure of the brain, viewed "from within." I call this position methodological phenomenalism (MP), and consider its prospects as a foundation for a science of consciousness. I close with a consideration of MP on the subjective "character" of conscious states. Turning away from representation dissolves the perplexity of subjectivity, leaving hopeful prospects for the scientific study of consciousness. (shrink)
Could "cognitive neuroscience" be an oxymoron? "Cognitive" and "neuroscience" cohere only to the extent that the entities identified as "cognitive" can be coordinated with entities identified as neural. This coordination is typically construed as intertheoretic reduction between "levels" of scientific description. On the cognitive side, folk psychological concepts crystallize into behavioral taxonomies, which are further analyzed into purported cognitive capacities. These capacities are expressed or operationalized in paradigmatic experimental tasks. These cogs comprise a stable ontology, sustaining more than a century (...) of psychology. On the neural side, the biological hierarchy from cells to brains also affords a . (shrink)
Context: Neurophenomenology lies at a rich intersection of neuroscience and lived human experience, as described by phenomenology. As a new discipline, it is open to many new questions, methods, and proposals. Problem: The best available scientific ontology for neurophenomenology is based in dynamical systems. However, dynamical systems afford myriad strategies for organizing and representing neurodynamics, just as phenomenology presents an array of aspects of experience to be captured. Here, the focus is on the pervasive experience of subjective time. There is (...) a need for concepts that describe synchronic (parallel) features of experience as well as diachronic (dynamic) structures of temporal objects. Method: The paper includes an illustrative discussion of the role of temporality in the construction of the awareness of objects, in the tradition of Husserl, James, and most of 20th century phenomenology. Temporality illuminates desiderata for the dynamical concepts needed for experiment and explanation in neurophenomenology. Results: The structure of music – rather than language – is proposed as a source for descriptive and explanatory concepts in a neurophenomenology that encompasses the pervasive experience of duration, stability, passing time, and change. Implications: The toolbox of cognitive musicology suddenly becomes available for dynamical systems approaches to the neurophenomenology of subjective time. The paper includes an illustrative empirical study of consonance and dissonance in application to an fMRI study of schizophrenia. Dissonance, in a sense strongly analogous to its acoustic musical meaning, characterizes schizophrenia at all times, while emerging in healthy brains only during distracting and demanding tasks. Constructivist content: Our experience of the present is a continuous and elaborate construction of the retention of the immediate past and anticipation of the immediate future. Musical concepts are almost entirely temporal and constructivist in this temporal sense – almost every element of music is constructed from relations to non-present musical/temporal contexts. Musicology may offer many new constructivist concepts and a way of thinking about the dynamical system that is the human brain. (shrink)
“Sensation’s Ghost” identifies one type of non-sensory experience, the quasi-feelings that attend perception, inflecting them vaguely and globally. Following Husserl, I suggest that non-sensory awareness includes much more than the fringe elements Mangan discusses. Every perceptual property can be either sensed, or apprehended in a non-sensory manner. Non-sensory apprehensions are nonetheless part of the occurrent conscious awareness of objects and scenes.
O'Brien & Opie's vehicle hypothesis is an attractive framework for the study of consciousness. To fully embrace the hypothesis, however, two of the authors' claims should be extended: first, since phenomenal content is entirely dependent on occurrent brain events and only contingently correlated with external events, it is no longer necessary to regard states of consciousness as representations. Second, the authors' insistence that only stable states of a neural network are conscious seems ad hoc.
Not too long ago I came across a notebook from my first year in college. The course was Philosophy 101, and the first author we read was Plato. Reading my own scribbles 25 years later, I was surprised to see that my dutifully recorded lecture notes remained fairly accurate in their portrayal of the Meno. But in the middle of a page on Plato I found the following comment: "Vittgenstein ‹ private language argument." Here was my first encounter with the (...) great Wittgenstein, as I now call him, a philosopher I now know to approximately the same depth as Plato. My professor had probably mentioned Wittgenstein in an aside, and I had done my best with a phonetic spelling. (shrink)
Many recovering dualists find that the old Cartesian demons are hard to exorcise. Dual substance abuse manifests itself not only as metaphysical dualism, but as a pervasive epistemological framework that creates an unhealthy codependent relationship between scientific realism and phenomenology. Daniel Dennett has led philosophers to recognize many of the symptoms of creeping crypto Cartesianism. In this paper, I try to take Dennett to the limit: Descartes lives on, I argue, in the very heart of cognitive science, in the concept (...) of representation. I outline a five-step program for overcoming this lingering, fundamental, allegiance to Cartesianism, and discuss Dennett's own progress along this path. (shrink)
It wasn't that hard to be a polymath in ancient Greece. All it meant, when you come down to it, was that you could write a poem, speak classical Greek (not very difficult in the circumstances) and understand the mechanics of the Archimedes' screw. Today it's not so easy. Arts and sciences have, for the most part, diverged to an alarming extent, with those on the arts side likely to be as hard-pressed to explain the technologies that increasingly govern our (...) world as a member of a "lost" tribe in the Brazilian rainforest. (shrink)
Not too long ago the trustees of my college decided to update the artistic holdings of our campus, and to this end they set out to acquire a contemporary work of art for permanent display in the College art museum. Not being timid, the trustees wanted a challenging, cutting-edge work, preferably from the West Coast, but they felt they lacked the expertise to find and buy the right piece. As it happened, a few of them had heard of my interest (...) in modernism and its philosophical challenges, and so I found myself with an unusual assignment: I was to fly to Los Angeles with a ten thousand dollar check and bring back something distinguished, a unique object to be discussed and appreciated for years to come. (shrink)
adiant Cool" has the makings of a gripping noir thriller: a missing body, a tough-talking female sleuth and a mustachioed Russian agent mixed up in a shadowy plot to take over the world. But the novel, by Dan Lloyd, a neurophilosopher at Trinity College in Hartford, is also a serious work of scholarship, the unlikely vehicle for an abstruse new theory of consciousness.
The “Gestalt Bubble” model of Lehar is not supported by the evidence offered. The author invalidly concludes that spatial properties in experience entail an explicit volumetric spatial representation in the brain. The article also exaggerates the extent to which phenomenology reveals a completely three-dimensional scene in perception.