This article presents the case for an approach to consciousness that I call illusionism. This is the view that phenomenal consciousness, as usually conceived, is illusory. According to illusionists, our sense that it is like something to undergo conscious experiences is due to the fact that we systematically misrepresent them as having phenomenal properties. Thus, the task for a theory of consciousness is to explain our illusory representations of phenomenality, not phenomenality itself, and the hard problem is replaced by the (...) illusion problem. Although it has had powerful defenders, illusionism remains a minority position, and it is often dismissed as failing to take consciousness seriously. This article seeks to rebut this accusation. It defines the illusionist programme, outlines its attractions, and defends it against some common objections. It concludes that illusionism is a coherent and attractive approach, which deserves serious consideration. (shrink)
Mind and Supermind offers an alternative perspective on the nature of belief and the structure of the human mind. Keith Frankish argues that the folk-psychological term 'belief' refers to two distinct types of mental state, which have different properties and support different kinds of mental explanation. Building on this claim, he develops a picture of the human mind as a two-level structure, consisting of a basic mind and a supermind, and shows how the resulting account sheds light on a number (...) of puzzling phenomena and helps to vindicate folk psychology. Topics discussed include the function of conscious thought, the cognitive role of natural language, the relation between partial and flat-out belief, the possibility of active belief formation, and the nature of akrasia, self-deception and first-person authority. This book will be valuable for philosophers, psychologists and cognitive scientists. (shrink)
This book explores the idea that we have two minds - automatic, unconscious, and fast, the other controlled, conscious, and slow. In recent years there has been great interest in so-called dual-process theories of reasoning and rationality. According to such theories, there are two distinct systems underlying human reasoning - an evolutionarily old system that is associative, automatic, unconscious, parallel, and fast, and a more recent, distinctively human system that is rule-based, controlled, conscious, serial, and slow. Within the former, processes (...) the former, processes are held to be innate and to use heuristics that evolved to solve specific adaptive problems. In the latter, processes are taken to be learned, flexible, and responsive to rational norms. -/- Despite the attention these theories are attracting, there is still poor communication between dual-process theorists themselves, and the substantial bodies of work on dual processes in cognitive psychology and social psychology remain isolated from each other. This book brings together leading researchers on dual processes to summarize the state-of-the-art, highlight key issues, present different perspectives, explore implications, and provide a stimulus to further work. It includes new ideas about the human mind both by contemporary philosophers interested in broad theoretical questions about mental architecture and by psychologists specialising in traditionally distinct and isolated fields. For all those in the cognitive sciences, this is a book that will advance dual-process theorizing, promote interdisciplinary communication, and encourage further applications of dual-process approaches. (shrink)
Dual-process theories hold that there are two distinct processing modes available for many cognitive tasks: one that is fast, automatic and non-conscious, and another that is slow, controlled and conscious. Typically, cognitive biases are attributed to type 1 processes, which are held to be heuristic or associative, and logical responses to type 2 processes, which are characterised as rule-based or analytical. Dual-system theories go further and assign these two types of process to two separate reasoning systems, System 1 and System (...) 2 – a view sometimes described as ‘the two minds hypothesis’. It is often claimed that System 2 is uniquely human and the source of our capacity for abstract and hypothetical thinking. This study is an introduction to dual-process and dual-system theories. It looks at some precursors, surveys key work in the fields of learning, reasoning, social cognition and decision making, and identifies some recent trends and philosophical applications. (shrink)
There is a duality in our everyday view of belief. On the one hand, we sometimes speak of credence as a matter of degree. We talk of having some level of confidence in a claim (that a certain course of action is safe, for example, or that a desired event will occur) and explain our actions by reference to these degrees of confidence – tacitly appealing, it seems, to a probabilistic calculus such as that formalized in Bayesian decision theory. On (...) the other hand, we also speak of belief as an unqualified, or flat-out, state (‘plain belief’ as it is sometimes called), which is either categorically present or categorically absent. We talk of simply believing or thinking that something is the case, and we cite these flat-out attitudes in explanation of our actions – appealing to classical practical reasoning of the sort formalized in the so-called ‘practical syllogism’.1 This tension in everyday discourse is reflected in the theoretical literature on belief. In formal epistemology there is a division between those in the Bayesian tradition, who treat credence as graded, and those who think of it as a categorical attitude of some kind. The Bayesian perspective also contrasts with the dominant view in philosophy of mind, where belief is widely regarded as a categorical state (a token sentence of a mental language, inscribed in a functionally defined ‘belief box’, according to one popular account). A parallel duality is present in our everyday view of desire. Sometimes we talk of having degrees of preference or desirability; sometimes we speak simply of wanting or desiring something tout court, and, again, this tension is reflected in the theoretical literature. What should we make of these dualities? Are there two different types of belief and desire – partial and flat-out, as they are sometimes called? If so, how are they related? And how could both have a role in guiding rational action, as the everyday view has it? The last question poses a particular challenge in relation to flat-out belief and desire.. (shrink)
About the book: This book explores the idea that we have two minds - automatic, unconscious, and fast, the other controlled, conscious, and slow. In recent years there has been great interest in so-called dual-process theories of reasoning and rationality. According to such theories, there are two distinct systems underlying human reasoning - an evolutionarily old system that is associative, automatic, unconscious, parallel, and fast, and a more recent, distinctively human system that is rule-based, controlled, conscious, serial, and slow. Within (...) the former, processes the former, processes are held to be innate and to use heuristics that evolved to solve specific adaptive problems. In the latter, processes are taken to be learned, flexible, and responsive to rational norms. (shrink)
The meta-problem of consciousness prompts the metaquestion: is it the only problem consciousness poses? If we could explain all our phenomenal intuitions in topic-neutral terms, would anything remain to be explained? Realists say yes, illusionists no. In this paper I defend the illusionist answer. While it may seem obvious that there is something further to be explained -- consciousness itself -- this seemingly innocuous claim immediately raises a further problem -- the hard meta-problem. What could justify our continued confidence in (...) the existence of consciousness once all our intuitions about it have been explained away? The answer would involve heavy-duty metaphysical theorizing, probably including a commitment either to substance dualism or to the existence of a mysterious intrinsic subjectivity. A far less extravagant option is to endorse the illusionist response and conclude that the meta-problem is not a meta-problem at all but the problem of consciousness. (shrink)
This paper defends direct activism-the view that it is possible to form beliefs in a causally direct way. In particular, it addresses the charge that direct activism entails voluntarism-the thesis that we can form beliefs at will. It distinguishes weak and strong varieties of voluntarism and argues that, although direct activism may entail the weak variety, it does not entail the strong one. The paper goes on to argue that strong voluntarism is non-contingently false, sketching a new argument for that (...) conclusion. This argument does not tell against the weak form of voluntarism, however, and the final part of the paper argues that weak voluntarism, and consequently direct activism, remains a coherent and defensible position. (shrink)
In recent years the 'zombie argument' has come to occupy a central role in the case against physicalist views of consciousness, in large part because of the powerful advocacy it has received from David Chalmers.1 In this paper I seek to neutralize it by showing that a parallel argument can be run for physicalism, an argument turning on the conceivability of what I shall call anti-zombies. I shall argue that the result is a stand-off, and that the zombie argument offers (...) no independent reason to reject physicalism. (shrink)
This paper asks whether we can identify a neutral explanandum for theories of phenomenal consciousness, acceptable to all sides. The ‘classic’ conception of qualia, on which qualia are intrinsic, ineffable, and subjective, will not serve this purpose, but it is widely assumed that a watered-down ‘diet’ conception will. I argue that this is wrong and that the diet notion of qualia has no distinctive content. There is no phenomenal residue left when qualia are stripped of their intrinsicality, ineffability, and subjectivity. (...) Thus, if we reject classic qualia realism, we should accept that all that needs explaining are ‘zero’ qualia – our dispositions to judge that our experiences have classic qualia. Diet qualia should, in Dennett’s phrase, be quined. (shrink)
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a cross-disciplinary approach to understanding, modeling, and creating intelligence of various forms. It is a critical branch of cognitive science, and its influence is increasingly being felt in other areas, including the humanities. AI applications are transforming the way we interact with each other and with our environment, and work in artificially modeling intelligence is offering new insights into the human mind and revealing new forms mentality can take. This volume of original essays presents the (...) state of the art in AI, surveying the foundations of the discipline, major theories of mental architecture, the principal areas of research, and extensions of AI such as artificial life. With a focus on theory rather than technical and applied issues, the volume will be valuable not only to people working in AI, but also to those in other disciplines wanting an authoritative and up-to-date introduction to the field. (shrink)
In Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs , Lisa Bortolotti argues that the irrationality of delusions is no barrier to their being classified as beliefs. This comment asks how Bortolotti’s position may be affected if we accept that there are two distinct types of belief, belonging to different levels of mentality and subject to different ascriptive constraints. It addresses some worries Bortolotti has expressed about the proposed two-level framework and outlines some questions that arise for her if the framework is adopted. (...) It also suggests that, rather than being beliefs that fail to meet the relevant standards of rationality, delusions may be non-doxastic acceptances that were never meant to meet them. (shrink)
[About the book] This book explores the idea that we have two minds - automatic, unconscious, and fast, the other controlled, conscious, and slow. In recent years there has been great interest in so-called dual-process theories of reasoning and rationality. According to such theories, there are two distinct systems underlying human reasoning - an evolutionarily old system that is associative, automatic, unconscious, parallel, and fast, and a more recent, distinctively human system that is rule-based, controlled, conscious, serial, and slow. Within (...) the former, processes the former, processes are held to be innate and to use heuristics that evolved to solve specific adaptive problems. In the latter, processes are taken to be learned, flexible, and responsive to rational norms. Despite the attention these theories are attracting, there is still poor communication between dual-process theorists themselves, and the substantial bodies of work on dual processes in cognitive psychology and social psychology remain isolated from each other. This book brings together leading researchers on dual processes to summarize the state-of-the-art, highlight key issues, present different perspectives, explore implications, and provide a stimulus to further work. It includes new ideas about the human mind both by contemporary philosophers interested in broad theoretical questions about mental architecture and by psychologists specialising in traditionally distinct and isolated fields. For all those in the cognitive sciences, this is a book that will advance dual-process theorizing, promote interdisciplinary communication, and encourage further applications of dual-process approaches. (shrink)
While we agree in broad strokes with the characterisation of rationalization as a “useful fiction,” we think that Fiery Cushman's claim remains ambiguous in two crucial respects: the reality of beliefs and desires, that is, the fictional status of folk-psychological entities and the degree to which they should be understood as useful. Our aim is to clarify both points and explicate the rationale of rationalization.
[About the book]: Neuroscience has long had an impact on the field of psychiatry, and over the last two decades, with the advent of cognitive neuroscience and functional neuroimaging, that influence has been most pronounced. However, many question whether psychopathology can be understood by relying on neuroscience alone, and highlight some of the perceived limits to the way in which neuroscience informs psychiatry. Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience is a philosophical analysis of the role of neuroscience in the study of psychopathology. (...) The book examines numerous cognitive neuroscientific methods, such as neuroimaging and the use of neuropsychological models, in the context of a variety of psychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, dependence syndrome, and personality disorders. Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience includes chapters on the nature of psychiatry as a science; the compatibility of the accounts of mental illness derived from neuroscience, information-processing, and folk psychology; the nature of mental illness; the impact of methods such as fMRI, neuropsychology, and neurochemistry, on psychiatry; the relationship between phenomenological accounts of mental illness and those provided by naturalistic explanations; the status of delusions and the continuity between delusions and ordinary beliefs; the interplay between clinical and empirical findings in psychopathology and issues in moral psychology and ethics. With contributions from world class experts in philosophy and cognitive science, this book will be essential reading for those who have an interest in the importance and the limitations of cognitive neuroscience as an aid to understanding mental illness. (shrink)
Cognitive science is a cross-disciplinary enterprise devoted to understanding the nature of the mind. In recent years, investigators in philosophy, psychology, the neurosciences, artificial intelligence, and a host of other disciplines have come to appreciate how much they can learn from one another about the various dimensions of cognition. The result has been the emergence of one of the most exciting and fruitful areas of inter-disciplinary research in the history of science. This volume of original essays surveys foundational, theoretical, and (...) philosophical issues across the discipline, and introduces the foundations of cognitive science, the principal areas of research, and the major research programs. With a focus on broad philosophical themes rather than detailed technical issues, the volume will be valuable not only to cognitive scientists and philosophers of cognitive science, but also to those in other disciplines looking for an authoritative and up-to-date introduction to the field. (shrink)
This chapter outlines a new argument for the view that language has a cognitive role. I suggest that humans exhibit two distinct kinds of belief state, one passively formed, the other actively formed. I argue that actively formed beliefs (_virtual beliefs_, as I call them) can be identified with _premising policies_, and that forming them typically involves certain linguistic operations. I conclude that natural language has at least a limited cognitive role in the formation and manipulation of virtual beliefs.
It can be argued that dual-system theorists should adopt an action - based view of System 2 (S2), on which S2 reasoning is an intentional activity. It can also be argued that they should adopt a dual - attitude theory, on which the two systems have distinct sets of propositional attitudes. However, Peter Carruthers has argued that on the action-based view there are no S2 attitudes. This paper replies to Carruthers, proposing a view of S2 attitudes as virtual ones, which (...) are partially realized in S1 attitudes. This view is compatible with, and a natural extension of, the action-based view. (shrink)
This piece replies to commentators on my target article in this issue, 'Illusionism as a Theory of Consciousness', building on the arguments offered there. It groups commentators together by their attitude to illusionism, classifying them as advocates, explorers, sceptics, and opponents. It expands on the case for illusionism, refines the position, and responds to objections.
It is sometimes suggested that we can think “in” natural language. According to this “cognitive” conception of language, we have a linguistic mind, or level of mentality, which operates by manipulating representations of natural language sentences. This paper outlines two evolutionary questions that the cognitive conception must address and looks at some versions of it to see which provides the best answers to them. The most plausible version, I argue, is the view that the linguistic mind is a virtual system, (...) which arose when early humans learned to engage in private speech and to regulate it using metacognitive skills originally developed for use in public argumentation. (shrink)
In most logical systems, inferences cannot be invalidated simply by the addition of new premises. If an inference can be drawn from a set of premises S, then it can also be drawn from any larger set incorporrating S. The truth of the original premises guarantees the truth of the inferred conclusion, and the addition of extra premises cannot undermine it. This property is known as monotonicity. Nonmonotonic inference lacks this property. The conclusions drawn are provisional, and new information may (...) lead to the withdrawal of a previous conclusion, even though none of the original premises is retracted. (shrink)
This paper takes another look at Davidson's paratactic theory of indirect discourse and evaluates some revisions to it, proposed recently by Ian Rumfitt (Mind, 1993). Davidson's original version of the theory – according to which indirect speech reports refer to token utterances – has a problem dealing with ambiguity. Rumfitt suggests that we can solve this problem by supposing that the immediate objects of verbs in indirect speech are token representations of disambiguated LF tree-structures. I argue that this proposal is (...) inadequate and suggest that it is better to think of indirect speech as relating speakers to utterance types. (shrink)
Carruthers considers and rejects a mixed position according to which we have interpretative access to unconscious thoughts, but introspective access to conscious ones. I argue that this is too hasty. Given a two-level view of the mind, we can, and should, accept the mixed position, and we can do so without positing additional introspective mechanisms beyond those Carruthers already recognizes.
This commentary does three things. First, it offers further support for the view that explicit reasoning evolved for public argumentation. Second, it suggests that promoting effective communication may not be the only, or even the main, function of public argumentation. Third, it argues that the data Mercier and Sperber (M&S) cite are compatible with the view that reasoning has subsequently been co-opted to play a role in individual cognition.
This commentary highlights the distinction between belief and pragmatic acceptance, and asks whether the positive illusions discussed in section 13 of the target article may be judicious pragmatic acceptances rather than adaptive misbeliefs. I discuss the characteristics of pragmatic acceptance and make suggestions about how to determine whether positive illusions are attitudes of this type.
This book explores the idea that we have two minds - one automatic, unconscious, and fast, the other controlled, conscious, and slow. It brings together leading researchers on dual-process theory to summarize the state of the art highlight key issues, present different perspectives, and provide a stimulus to further work.
This book deals with the nature of consciousness. Many philosophers and psychologists today believe that the mind is a physical phenomenon, whose processes can be explained in scientific terms. Consciousness presents the biggest challenge to this view. Can the physical sciences really explain the nature of conscious experience—the way it feels to have a throbbing headache, or see a sunset, or smell freshly ground coffee? Or is there more to these experiences than a physical account can ever capture? If consciousness (...) is non-physical, then it is hard to see how it can have effects within the physical world. But if it is physical, then why does it seem so different from other physical phenomena? And what physical processes does it involve? Is the feel of a conscious experience just a matter of what it represents? Does consciousness involve a form of inner awareness? Finally, could it be that our view of consciousness is mistaken? Do we need to rethink some of our fundamental assumptions about it? These questions go to the heart of our conception of ourselves and our place in the universe, and are the subject of vigorous debate among contemporary philosophers. (shrink)
Dan lloyd (2011) issues a salutary warning against the assumption of what I shall call neural modularity—the view that there is a one-to-one mapping between cognitive functions and distinct brain regions. He shows how the assumption can distort the interpretation of neuroimaging studies and blind researchers to global structures and activity patterns that may be crucial to many aspects of cognitive function and dysfunction.In this note, I want to add a further dimension to the discussion by making connections with the (...) notion of mental modularity developed by evolutionary psychologists. What is the relation between mental and neural modularity? Do the arguments for massive mental modularity also support neural .. (shrink)
This commentary describes another variety of self-deception, highly relevant to von Hippel & Trivers's (VH&T's) project. Drawing on dual-process theories, I propose that conscious thinking is a voluntary activity motivated by metacognitive attitudes, and that our choice of reasoning strategies and premises may be biased by unconscious desires to self-deceive. Such biased reasoning could facilitate interpersonal deception, in line with VH&T's view.
Carruthers suggests that natural language, in the form of inner speech, may be the vehicle of conscious propositional thought, but he argues that its fundamental cognitive role is as the medium of cross-modular thinking, both conscious and nonconscious. I argue that there is no evidence for nonconscious cross-modular thinking and that the most plausible view is that cross-modular thinking, like conscious propositional thinking, occurs only in inner speech.
Questions about the relation between mind and world have long occupied philosophers of mind. In _Consciousness in Action_ Susan Hurley invites us to adopt a ninety-degree shift and consider the relation between perception and action. The central theme of the book is an attack on what Hurley dubs the _Input-Output Picture_ of perception and actionthe picture of perceptions as sensory inputs to the cognitive system and intentions as motor outputs from it, with the mind occupying the buffer zone in between. (...) Hurley argues that this picture confuses the personal level of normatively constrained mental contents and the subpersonal level of causal processes sustaining the mind. The notions of perception and action belong to the former, those of input and output to the latter. In place of the Input-Output picture, Hurley proposes a _Two-level _ _Interdependence View_. At the subpersonal level, she points out, there are not only one-way processes from input to output but also a host of feedback loops from output to inputsome internal to the central nervous system, some of wider orbit, involving proprioception, for example, or visual feedback on movement. The system as a whole can be seen as a _dynamical singularity_a tangle of sensorimotor feedback loops centred on the organism but extending out into the world beyond. The processes at this level are the vehicles of perceptions and actions, but, Hurley insists, the two levels cannot be mapped onto each other in a simple way. Changes on the output side may affect the content of perceptions, and changes on the input side may affect that of intentions. Perception and intention are in this way _interdependent_. The point here is not the uncontroversial one that perceptions and intentions can _cause_ changes in each other. That would be compatible with the Input-Output Picture. The dependency, in Hurleys view, is not instrumental, but _constitutive_: the contents of perceptions and intentions are each constituted by processes involving both inputs and outputs.. (shrink)