In recent years, several philosophers have defended the idea of phenomenal intentionality : the intrinsic directedness of certain conscious mental events which is inseparable from these events’ phenomenal character. On this conception, phenomenology is usually conceived as narrow, that is, as supervening on the internal states of subjects, and hence phenomenal intentionality is a form of narrow intentionality. However, defenders of this idea usually maintain that there is another kind of, externalistic intentionality, which depends on factors external to the subject. (...) We may ask whether this concession to content externalism is obligatory. In this paper, I shall argue that it isn’t. I shall suggest that if one is convinced that narrow phenomenal intentionality is legitimate, there is nothing stopping one from claiming that all intentionality is narrow. (shrink)
Know -wh ascriptions are ubiquitous in many languages. One standard analysis of know -wh is this: someone knows-wh just in case she knows that p, where p is an answer to the question included in the wh-clause. Additional conditions have also been proposed, but virtually all analyses assume that propositional knowledge of an answer is at least a necessary condition for knowledge-wh. This paper challenges this assumption, by arguing that there are cases where we have knowledge-wh without knowledge- that of (...) an answer, for example in the cases familiar from arguments for the Extended Mind hypothesis. (shrink)
Descartes's philosophy has had a considerable influence on the modern conception of the mind, but many think that this influence has been largely negative. The main project of The Subject's Point of View is to argue that discarding certain elements of the Cartesian conception would be much more difficult than critics seem to allow, since it is tied to our understanding of basic notions, including the criteria for what makes someone a person, or one of us. The crucial feature of (...) the Cartesian view defended here is not dualism--which is not adopted--but internalism. Internalism is opposed to the widely accepted externalist thesis, which states that some mental features constitutively depend on certain features of our physical and social environment. In contrast, this book defends the minority internalist view, which holds that the mind is autonomous, and though it is obviously affected by the environment, this influence is merely contingent and does not delimit what is thinkable in principle. Defenders of the externalist view often present their theory as the most thoroughgoing criticism of the Cartesian conception of the mind; Katalin Farkas offers a defence of an uncompromising internalist Cartesian conception. (shrink)
Hallucinations occur in a wide range of organic and psychological disorders, as well as in a small percentage of the normal population According to usual definitions in psychology and psychiatry, hallucinations are sensory experiences which present things that are not there, but are nonetheless accompanied by a powerful sense of reality. As Richard Bentall puts it, “the illusion of reality ... is the sine qua non of all hallucinatory experiences” (Bentall 1990: 82). The aim of this paper is to find (...) out what lends an experience ‘a sense of reality’: what features are required for an experience to feel ‘real’, in the relevant sense? I will investigate the claim that phenomenological features are largely responsible for a sense of reality, and will find this claim wanting. My suggestion is that a sense of reality is created and sustained by the larger nexus of the subject's beliefs. (shrink)
It is an integral part of the phenomenology of mature perceptual experience that it seems to present to us an experience-independent world. I shall call this feature 'perceptual intentionality'. In this paper, I argue that perceptual intentionality is constructed by the structure of more basic sensory features, features that are not intentional themselves. This theory can explain why the same sensory feature can figure both in presentational and non-presentational experiences. There is a fundamental difference between the intentionality of sensory experiences (...) and the intentionality of thoughts: unlike the former, the latter is not constructed. (shrink)
The central and paradigmatic cases of knowledge discussed in philosophy involve the possession of truth. Is there in addition a distinct type of practical knowledge, which does not aim at the truth? This question is often approached through asking whether states attributed by “know-how” locutions are distinct from states attributed by “know-that”. This paper argues that the question of practical knowledge can be raised not only about some cases of “know-how” attributions, but also about some cases of so-called “know-wh” attributions; (...) and that certain features of this practical knowledge-wh put pressure on the standard analysis of know-wh. (shrink)
It is commonly assumed that besides knowledge of facts or truths, there is also knowledge of things–for example, we say that we know people or know places. We could call this "objectual knowledge". In this paper, I raise doubts about the idea that there is a sui generis objectual knowledge that is distinct from knowledge of truths.
According to the Extended Mind thesis, the mind extends beyond the skull or the skin: mental processes can constitutively include external devices, like a computer or a notebook. The Extended Mind thesis has drawn both support and criticism. However, most discussions—including those by its original defenders, Andy Clark and David Chalmers—fail to distinguish between two very different interpretations of this thesis. The first version claims that the physical basis of mental features can be located spatially outside the body. Once we (...) accept that the mind depends on physical events to some extent, this thesis, though not obvious, is compatible with a large variety of views on the mind. The second version applies to standing states only, and has to do with how we conceive the nature of such states. This second version is much more interesting, because it points to a potential tension in our conception of minds or selves. However, without properly distinguishing between the two theses, the significance of the second is obscured by the comparative triviality of the first. (shrink)
It is usual to distinguish between two kinds of doxastic attitude: standing or dispositional states, which govern our actions and persist throughout changes in consciousness; and conscious episodes of acknowledging the truth of a proposition. What is the relationship between these two kinds of attitude? Normally, the conscious episodes are in harmony with the underlying dispositions, but sometimes they come apart and we act in a way that is contrary to our explicit conscious judgements. Philosophers have often tried to explain (...) these situations in largely doxastic terms, by identifying one or other of the attitudes as our ‘real’ beliefs. This chapter argues that this is not generally realistic and we should appeal to a wider range of psychological attitudes. Such an account would be best supported by a picture of the unconscious mind which does not sharply separate the doxastic from the conative and the affective. (shrink)
On the dust jacket of The Subject's Point of View there is a detail from Vilhelm Hammershoi's Interior with Sitting Woman. It is hard to think of a painter who better captures the inner in his work. From the monochrome colour, to the back that faces us, to the door swung open to reveal yet another doorway, we are led to interiority – to the inner. This is a perfect image for a book whose author wants to persuade us to (...) return to the interior – a Cartesian interior.The Cartesian interior has come in for quite a drubbing in philosophy for some considerable time. In the mid-to-late 1970s, a style of argument emerged, designed to challenge this conception of mind and establish in its place an externalist conception of language and of mind. One version of the argument was due to Hilary Putnam and emerged in the context of considerations concerning linguistic meaning; another was due to Tyler Burge and emerged first in the context of considerations concerning the individual in relation to his/her social environment. In his earliest paper, on this topic, Burge wrote of ‘the elderly Cartesian tradition’ where ‘the spotlight is on what exists or transpires “in” the individual – his secret cognition, his innate cognitive structures, his private perceptions and introspections, his grasping of ideas, concepts or forms’. Farkas wants to defend this ‘elderly tradition’, but she does add to it some interesting twists. First and foremost, she places to one side ideas of privacy, of incorrigibility and infallibility. She also wishes to place the issue of dualism to one side. What Farkas concentrates on is privileged access and argues that this is …. (shrink)
The content of the externalist thesis about the mind depends crucially on how we define the distinction between the internal and the external. According to the usual understanding, the boundary between the internal and the external is the skull or the skin of the subject. In this paper I argue that the usual understanding is inadequate, and that only the new understanding of the external/internal distinction I suggest helps us to understand the issue of the compatibility of externalism and privileged (...) access. (shrink)
Most discussions in epistemology assume that believing that p is a necessary condition for knowing that p. In this paper, I will present some considerations that put this view into doubt. The candidate cases for knowledge without belief are the kind of cases that are usually used to argue for the so-called ‘extended mind’ thesis.
Abstract: This paper introduces and analyses the doctrine of externalism about semantic content; discusses the Twin Earth argument for externalism and the assumptions behind it, and examines the question of whether externalism about content is compatible with a privileged knowledge of meanings and mental contents.
Abstract: How exactly should the relation between a veridical perception and a corresponding hallucination be understood? I argue that the epistemic notion of ‘indiscriminability’, understood as lacking evidence for the distinctness of things, is not suitable for defining this relation. Instead, we should say that a hallucination and a veridical perception involve the same phenomenal properties. This has further consequences for attempts to give necessary and sufficient conditions for the identity of phenomenal properties in terms of indiscriminability, and for considerations (...) about the phenomenal sorites. (shrink)
On a Cartesian conception of the mind, I could be a solitary being and still have the same mental states as I currently have. This paper asks how the lives of other people fit into this conception. I investigate the second-person perspective—thinking of others as ‘you’ while engaging in reciprocal communicative interactions with them—and argue that it is neither epistemically nor metaphysically distinctive. I also argue that the Cartesian picture explains why other people are special: because they matter not just (...) for the effect that they have on us. (shrink)
In this chapter, I revisit the issue of the explanatory gap that is supposed to open when considering identity statements between physical and mental phenomena. I show that the question asked in the original formulation of the explanatory gap was this: ʻwhy this phenomenal character, rather than any other, is attached to this physiological process?ʼ I argue that this question can be answered, because there is a natural fit between the phenomenal character of experiences and their functional roles. For example, (...) pains feel inherently unpleasant, and that explains why they cause avoidance behaviour, and the felt location and intensity of pain indicates the location and extent of damage to the body. I discuss some other possible gaps in our understanding the relationship between the mental and the physical, and conclude that the fit between functional role and phenomenal character goes a long way, though probably not the whole way, to closing the explanatory gap. (shrink)
The subject of mental processes or mental states is usually assumed to be an individual, and hence the boundaries of mental features – in a strict or metaphorical sense – are naturally regarded as reaching no further than the boundaries of the individual. This chapter addresses various philosophical developments in the 20th and 21st century that questioned this natural assumption. I will frame this discussion by fi rst presenting a historically infl uential commitment to the individualistic nature of the mental (...) in Descartes’ theory. I identify various elements in the Cartesian conception of the mind that were subsequently criticized and rejected by various externalist theories, advocates of the extended mind hypothesis and defenders of embodied cognition. Then I will indicate the main trends in these critiques. (shrink)
The focus of the original argument for the Extended Mind thesis was the case of beliefs. It may be asked what other types of mental features can be extended. Andy Clark has always held that consciousness cannot be extended. This paper revisits the question of extending consciousness.
It is common to distinguish between conscious mental episodes and standing mental states — those mental features like beliefs, desires or intentions, which a subject can have even if she is not conscious, or when her consciousness is occupied with something else. This paper presents a view of standing mental states according to which these states are less real than episodes of consciousness. It starts from the usual view that states like beliefs and desires are not directly present to the (...) mind, but are posited to explain thought and behaviour. Ascriptions of these states are attempts to model a subject’s “Worldview”: the totality of their cognitive, conative and affective dispositions. When ascribing standing states, we often significantly simplify the complexity of the Worldview. This simplification is a feature of models in general. The Worldview is also distinguished from the “Habitus” — the totality of dispositions that are associated with character traits. As with the Worldview, modelling the Habitus should be treated as a useful simplification of a very complex reality. It is argued that although these models have some similarities with fictions, these similarities are outweighed by the dissimilarities. (shrink)
It is part of the phenomenology of perceptual experiences that objects seem to be presented to us. The first guide to objects is their perceptual presence. Further reflection shows that we take the objects of our perceptual experiences to be among the causes of our experiences. However, not all causes of the experience are also objects of the experience. This raises the question indicated in the title of this paper. We argue that taking phenomenal presence as the guide to the (...) objects of perception, we can see that at least in two sensory modalities, smell and touch, there is no uniform answer to this question. The objects of olfactory and tactile experiences can move along the causal chain. Accordingly, the content of olfactory and tactile experience may vary. (shrink)
Intentionality is customarily characterised as the mind’s direction upon its objects. This characterisation allows for a number of different conceptions of intentionality, depending on what we believe about the nature of the objects or the nature of the direction. Different conceptions of intentionality may result in classifying sensory experience as intentional and nonintentional in different ways. In the first part of this paper, I present a certain view or variety of intentionality which is based on the idea that the intentional (...) object of a sensory experience must be Independent; that is, an intentional object must be such that its existence doesn’t depend on being experienced (except in some very special cases). This means, for example, that sense-data understood as mind-dependent objects are not intentional objects, because their existence depends on the occurrence of an experience. In the second part of the paper, I will sketch a view of how sensory experiences can acquire an Independent object. (shrink)
A complete and self-contained introduction to metaphysics, this anthology provides an extensive and varied collection of fifty-four of the best classical and contemporary readings on the subject. The readings are organized into ten sections: God, idealism and realism, being, universals and particulars, necessity and contingency, causation, space and time, identity, mind and body, and freewill and determinism. It features a substantial general introduction and detailed section introductions that set the selections in context and guide readers through them. Discussion questions and (...) detailed guides to further reading are also included. (shrink)
Abstract: On several occasions (see e.g. Principles I/48) Descartes claims that sensations, emotions, imagination and sensory perceptions belong neither to the mind or to the body alone, but rather to their union. This seems to conflict with Descartes’s definition of “thought” given elsewhere, which classifies the same events as modes of a thinking substance, and hence depending for their existence only on minds. In this paper I offer an interpretation, which, I hope, will restore the coherence of Descartes’s dualist theory. (...) I argue that the ‘special modes’ of thinking are special because they are the immediate effects of the body on the mind. They thus depend for their existence on the body because of the general metaphysical principle that “Nothing comes from nothing”. Understood properly, this principle does not contradict the principle about the distinctness of substances. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against Twin-Earth externalism. The mistake that Twin Earth arguments rest on is the failure to appreciate the force of the following dilemma. Some features of things around us do matter for the purposes of conceptual classification, and others do not. The most plausible way to draw this distinction is to see whether a certain feature enters the cognitive perspective of the experiencing subject in relation to the kind in question or not. If it does, we (...) can trace conceptual differences to internal differences. If it doesn’t, we do not have a case of conceptual difference. Neither case supports Twin Earth externalism. (shrink)
Abstract: A theory of time is a theory of the nature of temporal reality, and temporal reality determines the truth-value of temporal sentences. Therefore it is reasonable to ask how a theory of time can account for the way the truth of temporal sentences is determined. This poses certain challenges for both the A theory and the B theory of time. In this paper, I outline an account of temporal sentences. The key feature of the account is that the primary (...) bearers of truth-values are not utterances, but sentences evaluated with respect to a time. I argue that unlike other views, the present proposal can meet the challenges faced both by the A and the B theory. (shrink)