It is widely accepted among philosophers that neuroscientists are conducting a search for the neural correlates of consciousness, or NCC. Chalmers conceptualized this research program as the attempt to correlate the contents of conscious experience with the contents of representations in specific neural populations. A notable claim on behalf of this interpretation is that the neutral language of “correlates” frees us from philosophical disputes over the mind/body relation, allowing the science to move independently. But the experimental paradigms and explanatory canons (...) of neuroscience are not neutral about the mechanical relation between consciousness and the brain. I argue that NCC research is best characterized as an attempt to locate a causally relevant neural mechanism and not as an effort to identify a discrete neural representation, the content of which correlates with some actual experience. It might be said that the first C in “NCC” should stand for “causes” rather than “correlates.”. (shrink)
An influential thesis in contemporary philosophy of mind is that subjectivity is best conceived as inner awareness of qualia. has argued that this unique subjective awareness generates a paradox which resists empirical explanation. On account of this “paradox of subjective duality,” Levine concludes that the hardest part of the hard problem of consciousness is to explain how anything like a subjective point of view could arise in the world. Against this, I argue that the nature of subjective thought is not (...) correctly characterized as inner awareness, that a non-paradoxical approach to the first-person perspective is available, and that the problem about subjectivity should be distinguished from the perennial problem of qualia or phenomenal properties. (shrink)
Consciousness, subjectivity, and the history of the organism -- Subjectivity considered as the first-person perspective -- Subjectivity and reference -- Unconscious subjectivity -- What subjectivity is not -- Subjectivity in the neurobiological image -- Subjectivity in the neurobiological image -- The science of subjectivity -- Putting the neuro in neurophenomenology -- Neural correlates of consciousness reconsidered -- Neurophilosophy, Darwinian naturalism, and subjectivity.
Metacognitive attitudes can affect behavior but do they do so, as Koriat claims, because they enhance voluntary control? This Commentary makes a case for saying that metacognitive consciousness may enhance not control but subjective predictability and may be best studied by examining not just healthy, well-integrated cognizers, but victims of multilevel mental disorders.
How is it that metaphors are meaningful, yet we have so much trouble saying exactly what they mean? I argue that metaphoric thought is an act of imagination, mediated by the contingent form of human embodiment. Metaphoric cognition is an example of the productive interplay between intentional imagery and the body scheme, a process of imaginal modeling. The case of metaphor marks the intersection of linguistic and psychological processes and demonstrates the need for a multi-disciplinary approach not only in philosophy (...) of language, but in cognitive science and consciousness studies as well. (shrink)
Dasein is one of several twentieth-century notions which paint a portrait of the “post-Cartesian subject.” Critics of cognitivism such as Dreyfus (1992) have invoked Dasein in arguing that computational models cannot be sufficient to account for situated cognition. Van Gelder (1995) argues that dynamic systems theory provides an empirical model of cognition as practical activity which avoids the Cartesianism implicit in the computational approach. I assess Van Gelder’s claim for dynamic systems as a model of being-in-the-world. Contra Van Gelder, I (...) argue that the force of the “Dasein objection” is that the significance of a mental process, whether representational or not, depends on a lived background of value. While dynamic systems can help model the diachronic interplay between organism and environment, the semantic context for this interplay is no more accounted for here than in traditional computer models. (shrink)
Traditionally, questions about consciousness and subjectivity are treated separately from questions about the self and identity. But sometimes 'the self' is spoken of as 'the subject,' which suggests that the first-person perspective may be constituted in the same way as the self. Narrative provides a powerful model of the self in contemporary psychology, philosophy of mind, and moral psychology. On some versions of narrative theory, narrative is held fundamental not only to self-understanding but to the phenomenology of the first-person point (...) of view, too. I call this approach the narrative self-subject model. I argue that the narrative model does not apply to subjectivity, and that the narrative self should be distinguished from the 'I' of the first- person perspective. Roughly, this is because first-person narratives employ the first-person pronoun 'I' to identify some person, but the distinctive features of subjectivity are marked by a different, non-identifying use of the pronoun 'I'. (shrink)
I argue in defense of a new research program in cognitive science, which I call the embodied approach. This approach holds that cognition must be understood as the situated activity of an animal in an environment. The embodied approach supplements orthodox cognitive science by embedding computational processes in their physiological, ecological, and cultural contexts. Barbara Von Eckardt holds that cognitive science is a single theoretical project unified under the banner of computationalism, which explains cognition as the processing of discrete, text-like (...) representations. But her view cannot account for the accumulating mass of empirical research which differs from the orthodox approach both substantively and methodologically. In fact, there have always been dissidents working outside the orthodox approach. By contrast, the embodied approach is designed to accommodate "unorthodox" cognitive science. It is a broad-based perspective which includes connectionism, ecological psychology, developmental psychology, evolutionary theory, autonomous agent theory, and meaning externalism. (shrink)
I contrast Bickle's new wave reductionismwith other relevant views about explanation across intertheoretic contexts. I then assess Bickle's empirical argument for psychoneural reduction. Bickle shows that psychology is not autonomous from neuroscience, and concludes that at least some versions of nonreductive physicalism are false. I argue this is not sufficient to establish his further claim that psychology reduces to neuroscience. Examination of Bickle's explanations reveals that they do not meet his own reductive standard. Furthermore, there are good empirical reasons to (...) doubt that the cognitive approach to mind should be abandoned. I suggest that the near future will not see a reduction of psychology to neuroscience, so much as a replacement of both sciences by an improved form of neuropsychology. (shrink)