In this paper I propose a model of demonstrative thought. I distinguish token-demonstratives, that pick out individuals, from type-demonstratives, that pick out kinds, or properties, and provide a similar treatment for both. I argue that it follows from my model of demonstrative thought, as well as from independent considerations, that demonstration, as a mental act, operates directly on mental representations, not external objects. That is, though the relation between a demonstrative and the object or property demonstrated is semantically direct, the (...) mechanism by which a demonstrative acquires its referent involves mediation by a perceptual representation. Finally, I argue that so-called 'demonstrative concepts'—which I treat as type-demonstratives—cannot perform the various philosophical functions that have been assigned to them. (shrink)
Type-B materialists (to use David Chalmers's jargon) claim that though zombies are conceivable, they are not metaphysically possible. This article calls this position regarding the relation between metaphysical and epistemic modality “modal autonomism,” as opposed to the “modal rationalism” endorsed by David Chalmers and Frank Jackson, who insist on a deep link between the two forms of modality. This article argues that the defense of modal rationalism presented in Chalmers and Jackson (2001) begs the question against the type-B materialist/modal autonomist. (...) The argument proceeds as follows. Modal rationalists claim that for all nonphenomenal macro properties, the appropriate supervenience conditional is both necessary and a priori. Hence, type-B materialists must engage in special pleading when they claim that the relevant supervenience conditional for phenomenal properties, expressing the supervenience of the phenomenal on the physical, is necessary but not a priori. However, what Chalmers and Jackson demonstrate, if anything, is that the conditional that includes all the microphysical plus the phenomenal in the antecedent, and nonphenomenal macro facts (such as facts about water and other natural kinds, among other things) in the consequent, is a priori. The question arises why, since facts about water and the like do not metaphysically supervene on the phenomenal facts, is it appropriate to include the phenomenal facts in the antecedent of the relevant supervenience conditional. This article argues for the following claims: First, that it's crucial to the general semantic framework Chalmers and Jackson defend that they do include the phenomenal facts in the supervenience conditional; without them, the conditional would not be a priori. Second, that the only way to argue from the a priori character of these conditionals to the applicability of modal rationalism to the nonphenomenal cases is to rely either on modal rationalism itself or on the denial of type-B materialism. Obviously, in the context of this argument, either way would beg the question. (shrink)
Materialism, as traditionally conceived, has a contingent side and a necessary side. The necessity of materialism is reflected by the metaphysics of realization, while its contingency is a matter of accepting the possibility of Cartesian worlds, worlds in which our minds are roughly as Descartes describes them. In this paper we argue that the necessity and the contingency of materialism are in conflict. In particular, we claim that if mental properties are realized by physical properties in the actual world, Cartesian (...) worlds are impossible. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that color is a relational feature of the distal objects of perception, a way of appearing. I begin by outlining three constraints any theory of color should satisfy: (i) physicalism about the non-mental world, (ii) consistency with what is known from color science, and (iii) transparency about color experience. Traditional positions on the ontological status of color, such as physicalist reduction of color to spectral re?ectance, subjectivism, dispositional- ism, and primitivism, fail, I claim, to meet (...) all three constraints. By treating color as a relational property, a way of appearing, the three constraints can be met. However, serious problems for this view emerge when considering the relation between illusory color experiences (particularly hallucinations) and veridical color experiences. I do not propose a solution to these problems. (shrink)
I explore the implications of recognizing two forms of access that might be constitutively related to phenomenal consciousness. I argue, in support of Block, that we don't have good reason to think that the link to reporting mechanisms is the kind of access that distinguishes an experience from a mere state.
This paper discusses the debate between atomists and molecularists regarding the nature of mental content. A molecularist believes that some, but not all, of a mental symbol's inferential connections to other mental symbols, are at least partly constitutive of that symbol's intentional content. An atomist believes that none of the symbol's inferential connections play such a constitutive role. The paper is divided into two principal parts. First, attempts by Michael Devitt and Georges Rey to defend molecularism against traditional Quinean arguments (...) are evaluated. The conclusion is that their attempts fall short of providing an adequate defense. Second, the prospects for an atomistic theory are investigated, building on the various remarks of Fodor and LePore in their book. Holism: A Shopper's Guide. It is argued that the prospects are better than at first they appear. (shrink)
Siewert's book revolves around three theses: that there is a distinctive style of epistemic warrant associated with the first-person point of view, that if we pay close attention to the deliverances of this first-person point of view, we will see that phenomenal consciousness is both real and yet neglected by many current theories that purport to explain consciousness, and that phenomenal consciousness is inherently intentional; one cannot divorce what phenomenal character presents to us from what it's like to have it. (...) Among several points made on the relations among these three theses, it is argued that Siewert's argument for the distinctive status of first-person warrant does not provide him with the support necessary to employ that thesis in his defense of the significance of phenomenal consciousness. (shrink)
This paper surveys current theories on the nature of conscious experience, from traditional central state identity theories and functionalism, to more recent higher-order and representationalist theories. It is concluded that no current theory really solves the fundamental problem of how to incorporate conscious experience into the physical world, though much progress has been made.