Most ?theories of consciousness? are based on vague speculations about the properties of conscious experience. We aim to provide a more solid basis for a science of consciousness. We argue that a theory of consciousness should provide an account of the very processes that allow us to acquire and use information about our own mental states ? the processes underlying introspection. This can be achieved through the construction of information processing models that can account for ?Type-C? processes. Type-C processes can (...) be specified experimentally by identifying paradigms in which awareness of the stimulus is necessary for an intentional action. The Shallice (1988b) framework is put forward as providing an initial account of Type-C processes, which can relate perceptual consciousness to consciously performed actions. Further, we suggest that this framework may be refined through the investigation of the functions of prefrontal cortex. The formulation of our approach requires us to consider fundamental conceptual and methodological issues associated with consciousness. The most significant of these issues concerns the scientific use of introspective evidence. We outline and justify a conservative methodological approach to the use of introspective evidence, with attention to the difficulties historically associated with its use in psychology. (shrink)
Cognitive science has wholeheartedly embraced functional brain imaging, but introspective data are still eschewed to the extent that it runs against standard practice to engage in the systematic collection of introspective reports. However, in the case of executive processes associated with prefrontal cortex, imaging has made limited progress, whereas introspective methods have considerable unfulfilled potential. We argue for a re-evaluation of the standard ‘cognitive mapping’ paradigm, emphasizing the use of retrospective reports alongside behavioural and brain imaging techniques. Using all three (...) sources of evidence can compensate for their individual limitations, and so triangulate on higher cognitive processes. (shrink)
Cognitive science is shamelessly materialistic. It maintains that human beings are nothing more than complex physical systems, ultimately and completely explicable in mechanistic terms. But this conception of humanity does not ?t well with common sense. To think of the creatures we spend much of our day loving, hating, admiring, resenting, comparing ourselves to, trying to understand, blaming, and thanking -- to think of them as mere mechanisms seems at best counterintuitive and unhelpful. More often it may strike us as (...) ludicrous, or even abhorrent. We are. (shrink)
In this article, we present evidence of a bidirectional coupling between moral concern and the attribution of properties and states that are associated with experience (e.g., conscious awareness, feelings). This coupling is also shown to be stronger with experience than for the attribution of properties and states more closely associated with agency (e.g., free will, thoughts). We report the results of four studies. In the first two studies, we vary the description of the mental capacities of a creature, and assess (...) the effects of these manipulations on moral concern. The third and fourth studies examine the effects of variations in moral concern on attributions of mindedness. Results from the first two studies indicate that moral concern depends primarily on the attribution of experience, rather than the attribution of agency. The results of the latter two studies demonstrate that moral concern increases attributions of mindedness, and that this effect is stronger for attributions of experience than for attributions of agency. (shrink)
Wegner's thesis that the experience of will is an illusion is not just wrong, it is an impediment to progress in psychology. We discuss two readings of Wegner's thesis and find that neither can motivate his larger conclusion. Wegner thinks science requires us to dismiss our experiences. Its real promise is to help us to make better sense of them.
One of the best gimmicks on the cognitive science conference circuit is the demonstration of inattentional blindness. Many readers of this journal must have already been exposed to it. For the rest we will briefly describe a striking and popular demonstration. It typically evolves during a conference talk, where the presenter provides the audience with a stimulus in the form of a small video clip of six people, three in white, three in black, who pass two basket balls around. The (...) instruction is to count the number of passes made by the players in white. When the movie is over, the presenter asks for a response, someone provides it, and he then goes on to elicit a report: 'Did anyone notice something strange during the film?' Usually, only those who have seen the film before have, but they are not allowed to answer. The film is then replayed, but this time, the audience is instructed to look out for anything unusual. Muted, surprised laughter goes through the auditorium when someone dressed as a gorilla enters into the scene of kids playing, confronts the spectators, bangs his chest, and slowly walks out again. It seems incredible that it went unnoticed the first time around, and yet those who have been exposed to the experiment before can testify that the gorilla was indeed there in both showings of the film. (shrink)
This paper argues that ross's theory is an unsatisfactory compromise between moore's ideal utilitarianism and prichard's intuitionism. by including an 'optimific' principle, ross is exposed like moore to such difficulties as having to grant that we never know our duty and that logically we have a duty to pursue our own pleasure. in addition, this paper attributes to moore's influence ross's very inadequate treatment of justice; difficulties in his basic distinction of prima facie versus actual duties; and his unsatisfactory treatments (...) of the deontological/teleological issue. (shrink)
Bering contends that belief in the afterlife is explained by the simulation constraint hypothesis: the claim that we cannot imagine what it is like to be dead. This explanation suffers from some difficulties. First, it implies the existence of a corresponding belief in the “beforelife.” Second, a simpler explanation will suffice. Rather than appeal to constraints on our thoughts about death, we suggest that belief in the afterlife can be better explained by the lack of such constraints.
In a recent article in Philosophy Professor Knox makes a plea for a philosophic treatment of economic activity by way of contrast to either the specialized study of economic history or of economic science. The conclusion which was reached was embodied in the statement that “the historical and scientific methods of the study of economic activity leave incompletely satisfied the curiosity of students , and reach results which need special interpretation before they can be useful to politicians, let alone to (...) business men” . Each of these methods is said to involve unreal abstractions which detract from the usefulness of the study. A philosophic. (shrink)
Professor S. F. Barker has recently argued that the theory of the status of theoretical concepts in natural science put forward by Hempel and Braithwaite is mistaken. Essentially this "formalistic" theory says that these concepts "take on" meaning from their place in a total theoretical system which as a whole implies testable observation statements. In the paper it is argued that Barker's criticism of the Hempel-Braithwaite theory is mistaken because (a) he does not sufficiently consider the operative empirical restrictions on (...) concept formation in scientific theorizing, and (b) his criticisms are based on an acceptance of a narrow empiricism which would reject most existing theoretical natural science as empirically meaningless. (shrink)
Those who are optimistic about the prospects of a science of consciousness, and those who believe that it lies beyond the reach of standard scientific methods, have something in common: both groups view consciousness as posing a special challenge for science. In this paper, we take a close look at the nature of this challenge. We show that popular conceptions of the problem of consciousness, epitomized by David Chalmers’ formulation of the ‘hard problem’, can be best explained as a cognitive (...) illusion, which arises as a by-product of our cognitive architecture. We present evidence from numerous sources to support our claim that we have a specialized system for thinking about phenomenal states, and that an inhibitory relationship exists between this system and the system we use to think about physical mechanisms. Even though the ‘hard problem’ is an illusion, unfortunately it appears that our cognitive architecture forces a closely related problem upon us. The ‘genuine problem’ of consciousness shares many features with the hard problem, and it also represents a special challenge for psychology. Nonetheless, researchers should be careful not to mistake the hard problem for the genuine problem, since the strategies appropriate for dealing with these problems differ in important respects. (shrink)
The complexity of crisis situations allows for corporate responses to create multiple interpretations for organizational stakeholders concerning crisis evidence, the organization's intentions, and the locus of responsibility. Hence, organizations have the ability to emphasize an interpretation where the organization is viewed most favorably. Using Jack in the Box as a case study, we apply stakeholder theory to ascertain the ethical implications of employing strategic ambiguity in organizational crisis communication. We conclude that the crisis response provided by Jack in (...) the Box's leaders was ethically questionable in the areas of evidence, intent, and locus because the ambiguity they introduced privileged their financial stakeholders over others. Ultimately, this strategic use of ambiguity diminished the deliberative ability of Jack in the Box's publics. (shrink)
During the 1970s, a "revolution" in American paleobiology took place. It came about in part because a group of mostly young, ambitious paleontologists adapted many of the quantitative methodologies and techniques developed in fields including biology and ecology over the previous several decades to their own discipline. Stephen Jay Gould, who was then just beginning his career, joined others in articulating a singular vision for transforming paleontology from an isolated and often ignored science to a "nomothetic discipline" that could sit (...) at evolution's "high table." Over the course of a single decade, between 1970 and 1980, this transformation had in large part been accomplished. Among those most centrally involved in this process were Gould, Thomas Schopf, David Raup, and Gould's graduate student Jack Sepkoski, all of whom made major contributions in theoretical and quantitative analysis of the fossil record and evolutionary history. Recognizing that an ideological agenda was not enough, Gould and others developed and promoted new outlets, technologies, and pedagogical strategies to nurture their new discipline. This paper describes this process of transformation, and presents Sepkoski's education and participation as exemplary of the "new model paleontologist", which Gould hoped to produce. (shrink)
This article introduces the special section on the contribution of Jack Goody, which focuses on The Theft of History . Goody attacks the notion of a radical division between Europe and Asia, which has become built into the commonsense academic wisdom and categorical apparatus of the social sciences and humanities. Eurocentrism is a constant target as he scrutinizes and finds wanting the claims of the West to have invented modern science, cultural renaissances, the free city, capitalism, democracy, love and (...) secularism. Goody’s approach favours a dynamic long-term basis for comparisons between societies and focuses on the exchange of information and goods across Eurasia to argue that the comparative advantage one society gains has been only temporary, swinging between different parts of Eurasia a number of times over the millennia. Goody suggests that China developed an active mercantile urban culture before Europe. Cities and towns with their mixture of luxury and learning, should not be seen as inevitably subordinate to centralized power structures in both eastern and western Eurasia. Goody criticizes the theoretical assumptions and the handling of evidence of Perry Anderson, Fernand Braudel, Norbert Elias, Moses Finlay, David Landes, Karl Marx, Joseph Needham, Immanuel Wallerstein and Max Weber. His concern is that the master categories of world history, such as antiquity, feudalism and capitalism, have been developed against a background of the particular European trajectory, then projected onto the world at large. Goody remains sceptical, not just about eurocentrism, but also the additional danger of being eurocentric about ethnocentricity, which he regards as a trap that postcolonialism and postmodernism frequently fall into. (shrink)
Phenomenal intentionality and the evidential role of perceptual experience: comments on Jack Lyons, Perception and Basic Beliefs Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9604-2 Authors Terry Horgan, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.