In this chapter, we discuss a selection of current views of the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC). We focus on the different predictions they make, in particular with respect to the role of prefrontal cortex (PFC) during visual experiences, which is an area of critical interest and some source of contention. Our discussion of these views focuses on the level of functional anatomy, rather than at the neuronal circuitry level. We take this approach because we currently understand more about experimental (...) evidence at this coarse level and because these results are appropriate for arbitrating between current theoretical frameworks. We discuss the Two-Visual-Systems Hypothesis (Milner & Goodale 1995; 2006), Local Recurrency (Lamme 2010; Lamme 2006), Higher Order (Lau 2008; Lau & Rosenthal 2011) and Global Workspace theories (Baars 1997; Baars 2005; Dehaene & Naccache 2001; Dehaene 2014). Despite the apparent stark differences between conscious and unconscious perceptual processing, available evidence suggests that their neural substrates must be largely shared. This indicates that the difference in neural activity between conscious and unconscious perceptual processing is likely to be subtle and highly specialized. We argue that current experimental evidence about the involvement of specific activity in prefrontal cortex supports the higher order neural theory of consciousness. In consequence, imaging techniques that focus only on marked differences between conscious and unconscious level of activity are likely to be insensitive to the relevant neural activity patterns that underlie conscious experiences. Finally, it follows from the evidence we discuss that the functional advantages of conscious over unconscious perceptual processing may be more limited than commonly thought. (shrink)
A record of the words and teachings of Confucius, _The Analects_ is considered the most reliable expression of Confucian thought. However, the original meaning of Confucius's teachings have been filtered and interpreted by the commentaries of Confucianists of later ages, particularly the Neo-Confucianists of the Song dynasty, not altogether without distortion.In this monumental translation by Professor D. C. Lau, an attempt has been made to interpret the sayings as they stand. The corpus of the sayings is taken as an organic (...) whole and the final test of the interpretation rests on the internal consistency it exhibits. In other words, _The Analects_ is read in the light of _The Analects._This results in a truer understanding of Confucius' thought than the traditional interpretation and paves the way for a re-assessment of its importance in the history of Chinese thought and its relevance to the present day world.This volume also contains an introduction to the life and teachings of Confucius, and three appendices on the events in the life of Confucius, on his disciples, and on the composition of _The Analects._. (shrink)
It is usually taken as given that consciousness involves superior or more elaborate forms of information processing. Contemporary models equate consciousness with global processing, system complexity, or depth or stability of computation. This is in stark contrast with the powerful philosophical intuition that being conscious is more than just having the ability to compute. I argue that it is also incompatible with current empirical findings. I present a model that is free from the strong assumption that consciousness predicts superior performance. (...) The model is based on Bayesian decision theory, of which signal detection theory is a special case. It reflects the fact that the capacity for perceptual decisions is fundamentally limited by the presence and amount of noise in the system. To optimize performance, one therefore needs to set decision criteria that are based on the behaviour, i.e. the probability distributions, of the internal signals. One important realization is that the knowledge of how our internal signals behave statistically has to be learned over time. Essentially, we are doing statistics on our own brain. This ‘higherorder’ learning, however, may err, and this impairs our ability to set and maintain optimal criteria for perceptual decisions, which I argue is central to perception consciousness. I outline three possibilities of how conscious perception might be affected by failures of ‘higher-order’ representation. These all imply that one can have a dissociation between consciousness and performance. This model readily explains blindsight and hallucinations in formal terms, and is beginning to receive direct empirical support. I end by discussing some philosophical implications of the model. (shrink)
It has been over a decade and half since Christof Koch and the late Francis Crick first advocated the now popular NCC project (Crick and Koch, 1990), in which one tries to find the neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) for perceptual processes. In his chapter in this book Chris Frith provides a splendid review of how neuroimaging has contributed greatly to this project. For the sake of contrast, this chapter takes a more critical stance on what we have actually learned. (...) Many authors have written on whether looking for the neural correlates would eventually lead to an explanatory theory of consciousness, while the proponents defend that focusing on correlates is a strategically sensible first step, given the complexity of the problem (Crick and Koch, 1998;Crick and Koch, 2003). My point here is not to argue whether studying the NCC is useful, but rather, to question whether we are really studying the NCC at all. I argue that in hoping to sidestep the difficult conceptual issues, we have sometimes also missed the phenomenon of perceptual consciousness itself. (shrink)
People have intuitively assumed that many acts of volition are not influenced by unconscious information. However, the available evidence suggests that under suitable conditions, unconscious information can influence behavior and the underlying neural mechanisms. One possibility is that stimuli that are consciously perceived tend to yield strong signals in the brain, and this makes us think that consciousness has the function of sending such strong signals. However, if we could create conditions where the stimuli could produce strong signals but not (...) the conscious experience of perception, perhaps we would find that such stimuli are just as effective in influencing volitional behavior. (shrink)
Experimenters generally infer whether participants have visual experiences based on metacognitive responses. We showed a well-studied blindsight participant, GY, several definitions of the term “qualia” and then questioned him about whether he felt or he experienced qualia in his normal and blind fields. We found, contrary to others who have used different methods for measuring qualia, that GY does not have qualia for stationary stimuli in his blind field. This novel method for directly assessing qualia embraces the idea that experiences (...) should be related by the experiencer, not the experimenter. (shrink)
Proposals to lower the age of voting, to 15 for example, are regularly met with worries that people that age are not sufficiently ‘competent’. Notice however that we allow people that age to sign binding legal contracts, provided that those contracts are co-signed by their parents. Notice, further, that in a democracy voters are collectively ‘joint authors’ of the laws that they enact. Enfranchising some less competent voters is no worry, the Condorcet Jury Theorem assures us, so long as the (...) electorate's competence averaging across all voters remains better-than-random. (shrink)
One of the methods used at Penn State to teach engineering students about ethics is a one-credit First-Year Seminar entitled “How Good Engineers Solve Tough Problems.” Students meet in class once a week to understand ethical frameworks, develop ethical problem-solving skills, and to better understand the professional responsibilities of engineers. Emphasis is on the ubiquity of ethical problems in professional engineering. A learning objective is the development of moral imagination, similar to the development of technical imagination in engineering design courses. (...) Making sound arguments is also addressed in the process of reasoning through cases, and critiquing other’s arguments. Over the course of the semester, students solve five engineering ethics cases. Each week, a student team of four people is responsible for reading the assigned section of the text, developing a summary, and leading the class discussion. (shrink)
Nussbaum’s theory of the emotions draws heavily on the Stoic account. In her theory, emotions are a kind of value judgment or thought. This is in stark contrast to the well-known proposal from William James, who took emotions to be bodily feelings. There are various motivations for taking emotions as judgments. One main reason is that emotions are intentional mental states. They are always about something, directed at particular objects or state of affairs. For example, fear seems to involve the (...) anticipation of danger. To grief for the passing of a loved one involves the thought that someone dear to us is now gone. In Upheavals of Thought and also in her Hochelaga Lecture, Nussbaum analyzed compassion as a set of judgments, including for example the judgment that someone is experiencing serious suffering, and that the person in question does not deserve the suffering. (shrink)
aFunctional Imaging Laboratory, Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, University College London, 12 Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK bDepartment of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, UK cOxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, UK dDepartment of Psychiatry and Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research, University of Oxford, UK..
New Zealand is one of two OECD countries in the world where direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicine (DTCA-PM) is permitted. Increase in such activity in recent years has resulted in a disproportionate increase in dispensary volume of heavily advertised medicines. Concern for the potential harm to healthcare consumers and the public healthcare system has prompted the medical profession to call for a ban on DTCA-PM as the best way of protecting the public interest. Such blanket prohibition however also interferes with (...) the public’s right of access to information. This paper will examine if banning DTCA-PM would constitute a justified form of paternalism in the context of today’s New Zealand. (shrink)
Increasingly, taxonomies are being developed and used by industry practitioners to facilitate information interoperability and retrieval. Within a single industrial domain, there exist many taxonomies that are intended for different applications. Industry specific taxonomies often represent the vocabularies that are commonly used by the practitioners. Their jobs are multi-faceted, which include checking for code and regulatory compliance. As such, it will be very desirable if industry practitioners are able to easily locate and browse regulations of interest. In practice, multiple sources (...) of government regulations exist and they are often organized and classified by the needs of the issuing agencies that enforce them rather than the needs of the communities that use them. One way to bridge these two distinct needs is to develop methods and tools that enable practitioners to browse and retrieve government regulations using their own terms and vocabularies, for example, via existing industry taxonomies. The mapping from a single taxonomy to a single regulation is a trivial keyword matching task. We examine a relatedness analysis approach for mapping a single taxonomy to multiple regulations. We then present an approach for mapping multiple taxonomies to a single regulation by measuring the relatedness of concepts. Cosine similarity, Jaccard coefficient and market basket analysis are used to measure the semantic relatedness between concepts from two different taxonomies. Preliminary evaluations of the three relatedness analysis measures are performed using examples from the civil engineering and building industry. These examples illustrate the potential benefits of regulatory usage from the mapping between various taxonomies and regulations. (shrink)
The Battle of the Sexes game, which captures both coordination and conflict problems, has been applied to a wide range of situations. We show that, by reducing distributional conflict and enhancing coordination, turn taking supported by a “turn taking with independent randomizations” strategy allows players to engage in intertemporal sharing of the gain from cooperation. Using this insight, we decompose the benefit from turn taking into conflict-mitigating and coordination-enhancing components. Our analysis suggests that an equilibrium measure of the “degree of (...) intertemporal conflict” provides an intuitive way to understand the sources of welfare gain from turn taking in the repeated Battle of the Sexes game. We find that when this equilibrium measure is lower, players behave less aggressively and the welfare gain from turn taking is higher. (shrink)
We question the behavioral premise underlying Ainslie's claims about hyperbolic discounting theory. The alleged evidence for humans can be easily explained as an artefact of experimental procedures that do not control for the credibility of payment over different time horizons. In appropriately controlled and financially motivated settings, human behavior is consistent with conventional exponential preferences.
.Es wird über eine Untersuchung zur Forschungsmethodik der Wirtschaftsinformatik berichtet. Untersuchungsziel war es, den Stellenwert von Forschungsmethodik in der Wirtschaftsinformatik zu bestimmen und den Befund dazu zu erklären. Das Untersuchungsziel wurde mit einer Stichprobenanalyse verfolgt. Als Stichprobe wurden die vierzehn Jahrgänge 1990 bis 2003 der Zeitschrift WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK verwendet. Im Ergebnis wird festgestellt, dass die Wirtschaftsinformatik erhebliche forschungsmethodische Anstrengungen unternehmen muss, wenn sie auf dem Weg von einer Kunstlehre zur Wissenschaft zügig vorankommen will.
In my field of consciousness research, scientists frequently mock philosophers for their apparent uselessness. There are many issues about which philosophers have debated for centuries, and yet there are no satisfying resolutions. However, sometimes one thinks: what really is philosophy but careful thinking? Certainly that cannot be completely useless? It is therefore particularly refreshing to read Machado and Silva's article in this issue, which emphasizes the role of conceptual analysis in psychological research.
(1) It is not clear from Gold and Stoljar’s definition of biological neuroscience whether it includes computational and representational concepts. If so, then their evaluation of Kandel’s theory is problematic. If not, then a more direct refutation of the radical neuron doctrine is available. (2) Objections to the psychological sciences might derive not just from the conflation of the radical and the trivial neuron doctrine. There might also be the implicit belief that for many mental phenomena, adequate theories must invoke (...) neurophysiological concepts and cannot be purely psychological. (shrink)
This paper is about possible worlds semantics for propositional attitude sentences. In particular I shall focus on belief reports in English such as "Lusina believes that tofu is nutritious." It is well-known that possible worlds semantics for such reports suffers from the so-called _problem of equivalence_ . In this paper I shall examine some attempts to deal with this problem and argue that they are unsatisfactory.
Focus+Context techniques are commonly used in visualization systems to simultaneously provide both the details and the context of a particular dataset. This paper proposes a new methodology to empirically investigate the effect of various Focus+Context transformations on human perception. This methodology is based on the shaker paradigm, which tests performance for a visual task on an image that is rapidly alternated with a transformed version of itself. An important aspect of this technique is that it can determine two different kinds (...) of perceptual cost: (i) the effect on the perception of a static transformed image, and (ii) the effect of the dynamics of the transformation itself. This technique has been successfully applied to determine the extent to which human perception is invariant to scaling and rotation [Rensink 2004]. In this paper, we extend this approach to examine nonlinear fisheye transformations of the type typically used in a Focus+Context system. We show that there exists a no-cost zone where performance is unaffected by an abrupt, noticeable fisheye transformation, and that its extent can be determined. The lack of perceptual cost in regards to these sudden changes contradicts the belief that they are necessarily detrimental to performance, and suggests that smoothly animated transformations between visual states are not always necessary. We show that this technique also can map out low-cost zones where transformations result in only a slight degradation of performance. Finally, we show that rectangular grids have no positive effect on performance, acting only as a form of visual clutter. These results therefore demonstrate that the perceptual costs of nonlinear transformations can be successfully quantified. Interestingly, they show that some kinds of sudden transformation can be experienced with minimal or no perceptual cost. This contradicts the belief that sudden changes are necessarily detrimental to performance, and suggests that smoothly animated transformations between visual states are not always necessary.. (shrink)
of (from British Columbia Philosophy Graduate Conference) In moral reasoning, we sometimes encounter situations where what our ethical principles tell us to do and what we actually do conflict. In legal ethics, such anomalies arise for lawyers in defending a client who commits perjury. Wallace argues that such lawyers have not mastered the practice of truth-telling, and thus suffer from some sort of moral deficiency. However, due to the complexities of legal practice, particularly the value of truth and evidence, lawyers (...) must learn to accommodate cases of perjury into their moral taxonomies, and this is not a simple feat. In addition, I examine the ethics of lying in everyday life, such as in cases of protecting reputation or feelings. As such, I posit that Wallace is oversimplifying the situation and individuals in “perjured client” cases actually have a better and more realistic grasp on the exercise of practical ethics than he claims. (shrink)
In the United States, disease screening is offered to the public as a consumer service. It has been proposed that the act of “consumption” is a manifestation of agency and that the decision to consume is an exercise of autonomy. The enthusiasm of the American public for disease screening and the expansion in the demand for all sorts of disease screening in recent years can be viewed as an expression of such autonomy. Here, we argue that the enthusiasm for disease (...) screening witnessed in the American public today may be more a reflection of the constraint on autonomy than its facilitation. It is our opinion that the articulation of socio-historical processes has contributed to a moral imperative which is reflected in the decision making of individuals around disease screening. We suggest medical and health professionals have a responsibility to facilitate the exercise of individual autonomy in health care decision making as an integral component of professional obligation. These professionals need to problematise healthcare activities that constrain individual autonomy. (shrink)
Cognitive science aims to provide scientific explanations of various mental phenomena. Attempts to study the mind, however, go back thousands of years, and what is distinctive about cognitive science is not its aim but the use of computations and representations in psychological explanations. We shall discuss whether the computational approach comes under challenge from dynamics, and look at some of the main themes in recent developments in cognitive science. In the final part of this paper we shall look at two (...) areas where cognitive science might provide significant benefits to the contemporary world. (shrink)
One major obstacle in providing a compositional semantics for natural languages is that it is not clear how we should deal with propositional attitude contexts. In this paper I will discuss the Interpreted Logical Form proposal , focusing on the case of belief. This proposal has been developed in different ways by authors such as Harman (1972), Higginbotham (1986,1991), Segal (1989) and Larson and Ludlow (1993). On this approach, the that-clause of a belief report is treated as a singular term, (...) referring to the interpreted logical form (ILF) of its embedded sentence. The ILF of a sentence is made up of two parts : a syntactic representation of the sentence at the level of logical form, and an assignment of semantic values to parts of the representation. Thus, given a belief report such as. (shrink)
In everyday life, we typically explain what people do by attributing mental states such as beliefs and desires. Such mental states belong to a class of mental states that are _intentional_, mental states that have content. Hoping that Johnny will win, and believing that Johnny will win are of course rather different mental states that can lead to very different behaviour. But they are similar in that they both have the same content : what is being hoped for and believed (...) is the very same thing. According to the thesis of externalism that has been defended most notably by Hilary Putnam and Tyler Burge, not all of the contents of our mental states are determined by our intrinsic properties. Instead, the contents of our beliefs and desires are often determined in part by our relations to the environment. They are, so to speak, "wide" contents that are "not in our heads." Although externalism is accepted by most philosophers, many have argued that mental states with wide contents must also have a kind of content wholly determined by the intrinsic properties of the individuals who are in those states. This kind of content is called "narrow content". The aim of this paper is to distinguish between three rather different motivations for postulating narrow content. I argue that, given a certain conception of narrow content that I shall explain below, none of these three motivations succeed in establishing the existence of narrow content. (shrink)
Hong Kong is a territory of only 400 square miles in size, but with a large population of six million people. We have excellent medical facilities in both the public and private sector and the general health indices of the population are good, with low infant mortality rates and long life expectancies.
Michael Tye’s book is a powerful defense of the controversial theory that the phenomenal properties of our conscious mental states are representational in character. The theory is introduced and defended through discussing ten philosophical problems about consciousness. The book is clearly written and arguments are illustrated with interesting thought-experiments and empirical findings. It is one of those delightful occasions where a book is of interest both to professional philosophers and students.