Habitual actions unfold without conscious deliberation or reflection, and yet often seem to be intelligently adjusted to situational intricacies. A question arises, then, as to how it is that habitual actions can exhibit this form of intelligence, while falling outside the domain of paradigmatically intentional actions. Call this the intelligence puzzle of habits. This puzzle invites three standard replies. Some stipulate that habits lack intelligence and contend that the puzzle is ill-posed. Others hold that habitual actions can exhibit intelligence because (...) they are guided by automatic yet rational, propositional processes. Others still suggest that habits guide intelligent behaviour without involving propositional states by shaping perception in action-soliciting ways. We develop an alternative fourth answer based on John Dewey’s pragmatist account of habit. We argue that habits promote intelligent behaviour by shaping perception, by forming an interrelated network among themselves, and by cooperating with the environment. (shrink)
What role does habit formation play in the development of sport skills? We argue that motor habits are both necessary for and constitutive of sensorimotor skill as they support an automatic, yet inherently intelligent and flexible, form of action control. Intellectualists about skills generally assume that what makes action intelligent and flexible is its intentionality, and that intentionality must be necessarily cognitive in nature to allow for both deliberation and explicit goal-representation. Against Intellectualism we argue that the habitual behaviours that (...) compose skilful action are accompanied by their specific, non-cognitive form of intentionality: this is motor intentionality, which is purposive and adaptive while involving no explicit deliberation or goal representation. Our account of habit based on Motor Intentionality explains why the formation of motor habits can sometimes act as the sole basis of skilful acquisition: Motor Intentionality is inherently purposeful because it is an embodied source of sensorimotor anticipation, pre-reflective motivation, and pragmatic know-how. Skill development through exercise always builds on a motor intentional component even when it is guided by Deliberate Practice to the point that, pace Intellectualism, Deliberate Practice is disclosed, not constrained, by habit formation. As suggested by the fact that repetitive exercises can play a major role in the development of flexible and intelligent sport skills, automatism is not a drawback for strategic control and improvisation but rather their pragmatic foundation. (shrink)
In opposition to mainstream theory of mind approaches, some contemporary perceptual accounts of social cognition do not consider the central question of social cognition to be the problem of access to other minds. These perceptual accounts draw heavily on phenomenological philosophy and propose that others' mental states are “directly” given in the perception of the others' expressive behavior. Furthermore, these accounts contend that phenomenological insights into the nature of social perception lead to the dissolution of the access problem. We argue, (...) on the contrary, that the access problem is a genuine problem that must be addressed by any account of social cognition, perceptual or non-perceptual, because we cannot cast the access problem as a false problem without violating certain fundamental intuitions about other minds. We elaborate the fundamental intuitions as three constraints on any theory of social perception: the Immediacy constraint; the Transcendence constraint; and the Accessibility constraint. We conclude with an outline of an account of perceiving other minds that meets the three constraints. (shrink)
This paper disputes the theoretical assumptions of mainstream approaches in philosophy of pain, representationalism and imperativism, and advances an enactive approach as an alternative. It begins by identifying three shared assumptions in the mainstream approaches: the internalist assumption, the brain-body assumption, and the semantic assumption. It then articulates an alternative, enactive approach that considers pain as an embodied response to the situation. This approach entails the hypothesis of the sociocultural embeddedness of pain, which states against the brain-body assumption that the (...) intentional character of pain depends on the agent’s sociocultural background. The paper then proceeds to consider two objections. The first questions the empirical basis of this hypothesis. It is argued based on neuroscientific evidence, however, that there is no empirical reason to suppose that the first-order experience of pain is immune to sociocultural influences. The second objection argues that the mainstream approaches can account for sociocultural influences on pain by drawing on the conceptual distinction between narrow and wide content. In response, the semantic conception of pain underpinning the proposal is challenged. Pain experience can occur in pre-reflective, affectively reflective, or cognitively reflective forms, but the semantic conception at most only applies to the last form. The paper concludes that the enactive approach offers a promising alternative framework in philosophy of pain. (shrink)
There are many theories of the functions of consciousness. How these theories relate to each other, how we should assess them, and whether any integration of them is possible are all issues that remain unclear. To contribute to a solution, this paper offers a conceptual framework to clarify the theories of the functions of consciousness. This framework consists of three dimensions: (i) target, (ii) explanatory order, and (iii) necessity/sufficiency. The first dimension, target, clarifies each theory in terms of the kind (...) of consciousness it targets. The second dimension, explanatory order, clarifies each theory in terms of how it conceives of the explanatory relation between consciousness and function. The third dimension, necessity/sufficiency, clarifies each theory in terms of the necessity/sufficiency relation posited between consciousness and function. We demonstrate the usefulness of this framework by applying it to some existing scientific and philosophical theories of the functions of consciousness. (shrink)
This chapter explores a non-intellectualist approach to skilled expertise by comparing modern phenomenological philosopher Hubert Dreyfus’ account of absorbed coping with fifteenth-century Japanese dramatist Zeami Motokiyo’s account of Noh performance. It begins by presenting Dreyfus’ account of skilled performance and skill development, which envisages “conceptual mindedness” as the enemy of expertise. It then moves on to introduce Zeami’s account of skilled expertise in Noh by focusing on three key concepts, namely mushin, shoshin, and hana. By comparing these two similarly non-intellectualist (...) approaches, it argues that Zeami offers a helpful perspective in supplementing Dreyfus’s account by illuminating the role of conceptual knowledge, the open-ended character of skill development, and the cooperative relationship between the actor and the environment. At the same time, it suggests that the phenomenologist’s account of skilled expertise is unjustifiably biased towards young, healthy, able agents, overlooking the inescapable vulnerability of human embodiment. (shrink)
The subjective features of psychological phenomena have been studied intensively in experimental science in recent years. Although various methods have been proposed to identify subjective features of psychological phenomena, there are elusive subjective features such as the spatiotemporal structure of experience, which are difficult to capture without some additional methodological tools. We propose a new experimental method to address this challenge, which we call the contrast-based experimental phenomenological method (CEP). CEP proceeds in four steps: (i) front-loading phenomenology, (ii) online second-personal (...) interview, (iii) questionnaire survey, and (iv) hypotheses testing. It differs from other experimental phenomenological methods in that it takes advantage of phenomenal contrasts in collecting phenomenological data. In this paper, we verify the validity and productivity of this method by applying it to binocular rivalry (BR). The study contributes to empirical research on BR in three respects. First, it provides additional evidence for existing propositions about the subjective features of BR: e.g. the proposition that the temporal dynamics of the experience depend upon subject-dependent parameters such as attentional change. Second, it deepens our understanding of the spatiotemporal structures of the transition phase of BR. Third, it elicits new research questions about depth experience and individual differences in BR. The presence of such contributions demonstrates the validity and productivity of CEP. (shrink)
Narrative views of the self argue that we constitute our self in self-narratives. Embodied views hold that our self is shaped through embodied experiences. In that case, what is the relation between embodiment and narrativity in the process of self-constitution? The question demands a clear definition of embodiment, but existing studies remains unclear on this point (section 2). We offer a correction to this situation by drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s analysis of the body that highlights its habituality. On this account, the (...) body has an inherent tendency to cultivate an organization of habits through its history of engagement with the world (section 3). Next, we explore its role in narrative self-constitution by distinguishing between two aspects of the narrative self, the narrated I and the narrating I (section 4). We argue on phenomenological grounds that self-narratives are informed by bodily perspectives in both respects. Furthermore, a focus on the habituality of the body allows for a better explanation of self-constitution than those based on implicit self-narratives (section 5). For these phenomenological and theoretical reasons, we conclude that narrative self-constitution is an embodied and embedded practice (section 6). (shrink)
We explore the integrated structure of consciousness by examining the “phenomenological axioms” of the “integrated information theory of consciousness ” from the perspective of Husserlian phenomenology. After clarifying the notion of phenomenological axioms by drawing on resources from Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, we develop a critique of the integration axiom by drawing on phenomenological analyses developed by Aron Gurwitsch and Merleau-Ponty. This axiom is ambiguous. It can be read either atomistically as claiming that the phenomenal content of conscious experience (...) is an integrated complex and holistically as claiming that it is an integrated Gestalt. We argue that the latter reading provides a better characterization of the internal structure of the phenomenal content. Furthermore, the integrated structure of consciousness is not confined to the phenomenal content, but it also extends into the subjective attitude. Subjective attitudes and phenomenal contents are interdependent constituents that jointly make up conscious experiences. This implies a novel theoretical challenge to the scientific component of IIT, which is to explain how to accommodate the subjective dimension of consciousness into its explanatory scope. IIT can respond in a few different ways, but most importantly, it cannot just ignore it once and for all. As one possible way to address the challenge, we propose introducing a novel construct, noetic complex, to develop a fine-grained model of the neural underpinning of consciousness. (shrink)
The general idea of enactive perception is that actual and potential embodied activities determine perceptual experience. Some extended mind theorists, such as Andy Clark, refute this claim despite their general emphasis on the importance of the body. I propose a compromise to this opposition. The extended mind thesis is allegedly a consequence of our commonsense understanding of the mind. Furthermore, extended mind theorists assume the existence of non-human minds. I explore the precise nature of the commonsense understanding of the mind, (...) which accepts both extended minds and non-human minds. In the area of philosophy of mind, there are two theories of intentionality based on such commonsense understandings: neo-behaviorism defended, e.g., by Daniel Dennett, and neo-pragmatism advocated, e.g., by Robert Brandom. Neither account is in full agreement with how people ordinarily use their commonsense understanding. Neo-pragmatism, however, can overcome its problem—its inability to explain why people routinely find intentionality in non-humans—by incorporating the phenomenological suggestion that interactional bodily skills determine how we perceive others’ intentionality. I call this integrative position embodied neo-pragmatism . I conclude that the extended view of the mind makes sense, without denying the existence of non-human minds, only by assuming embodied neo-pragmatism and hence the general idea of enactive perception. (shrink)
In one sense of the term, empathy refers to the act of sharing in another person’s experience of and perspective on the world. According to simulation accounts of empathy, we achieve this by replicating the other’s mind in our imagination. We explore a form of empathy, empathic perspective-taking, that is not adequately captured by existing simulationist approaches. We begin by pointing out that we often achieve empathy (or share in another’s perspective) by listening to the other person. This form of (...) empathy, which we call “empathy through listening”, involves four distinctive features: (i) the actual sharing of a perspective; (ii) dynamical unfolding; (iii) collaboration; and (iv) mutual transformation. Next, we consider the individual basis of empathy through listening. We argue that it requires an attitude of “receptivity” and elaborate on this elusive concept in terms of “epistemic respect”. Finally, we consider whether this form of empathy can be adequately explained within the simulationist framework. We argue that simulationist approaches must be complemented by a receptivity-based conception of empathy—that is, a conception that envisions empathy not so much as an individual imaginative enterprise, but rather as a collaborative practice of engaging with the other while paying her due epistemic respect. (shrink)
The gap between the Markov blanket and ontological boundaries arises from the former's inability to capture the dynamic process through which biological and cognitive agents actively generate their own boundaries with the environment. Active inference in the free-energy principle (FEP) framework presupposes the existence of a Markov blanket, but it is not a process that actively generates the latter.
We explore the nature of expert minds in skilled performance by examining classic Japanese dramatist Zeami’s account of skilled expertise in Noh drama. Zeami characterizes expert minds by the co-existence of mushin and riken no ken. Mushin is an empty state of mind devoid of mental contents. Riken no ken is a distinctive form of self-awareness, where the actor embodies a common perspective with the audience upon one’s own performance. Conventional accounts of riken no ken present it as a form (...) of imagination: expert actors deliver their performance by imagining what it looks like from an external point of view. These imagination-based accounts, however, do not square well with the claim that riken no ken co-exists with mushin. We propose an alternative perception-based account that better accounts for this co-existence, drawing on the concept of “situated normativity” from embodied-ecological theories of cognition. The situated normativity account characterizes riken no ken as a form of “direct affective perception” in which actors are aware of their performance’s quality of attunement with the performative situation. Expert Noh actors realise a common perspective with the audience not by imagining an external point of view, but by perceiving the situation that encompasses their own performance from an aesthetic perspective cultivated and shared within the Noh community. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Never Mind the Gap: Neurophenomenology, Radical Enactivism, and the Hard Problem of Consciousness” by Michael D. Kirchhoff & Daniel D. Hutto. Upshot: An exegetical worry about Kirchhoff and Hutto’s exposition of neurophenomenology is pointed out. Combining this exegetical critique with an examination of the “strict identity” in the strict identity thesis, I argue that there is more affinity between neurophenomenology and REC than they think.
How do we understand other people’s minds? This is a descriptive problem of other minds, a question concerning the descriptive nature of social cognition or interpersonal understanding. There are currently three prominent approaches to this problem, namely, the theory theory approach, the simulation theory approach and the direct perception approach. Instead of trying to resolve the conflict between them, I will conduct a preliminary exploration concerning the nature of social perception or the experience of seeing other people. TT, ST and (...) DP are all implicitly or explicitly committed to a particular conception of social perception. Thus, it is necessary to look into the nature of social perception in developing a theory of social cognition. I claim that social perception involves the following three characteristics: In social perception, other people are given to us; other people are given as transcendent; other people are given as transcendent but potentially accessible. They respectively constitute the Immediacy constraint, the Transcendence constraint, and the Accessibility constraint on theories of social cognition. I suggest that TT and ST fail to do justice to the Immediacy constraint and the Accessibility constraint, while DP does not pay due attention to the Accessibility constraint. (shrink)