This paper attempts a sympathetic comparison between John Dewey and Richard Rorty. In particular I establish the ways in which both Dewey's and Rorty's aesthetical modes require qualitative starting points (or some indeterminate-event trajectory) as a condition for any poetic/novel movement into the future. I show how Dewey's notions of "indeterminate situation," highlighted in his event-metaphysics, resonates with Rorty's notion of metaphor, and that finally Rorty does in fact (wittingly or not) harbor a place for the noncognitive and nonlinguistic via, (...) interestingly enough, a linguistic device. How Rorty uses his notion of metaphor (inspired by Donald Davidson's groundbreaking work) starts very much to take on the feel of what Dewey meant by "primary experience." My emphasis, then, falls on the necessity to both of their respective pragmatic positions of a qualitative starting point (QSP). In this way, the troubling dualism that has developed between experience and language starts to dissolve. (shrink)
Game theory has proved a useful tool in the study of simple economic models. However, numerous foundational issues remain unresolved. The situation is particularly confusing in respect of the non-cooperative analysis of games with some dynamic structure in which the choice of one move or another during the play of the game may convey valuable information to the other players. Without pausing for breath, it is easy to name at least 10 rival equilibrium notions for which a serious case can (...) be made that here is the “right” solution concept for such games. (shrink)
v. 1. The spectrum of consciousness ; No boundary ; Selected essays -- v. 2. The Atman Project ; Up from Eden -- v. 3. A sociable god ; Eye to eye -- v. 4. Integral psychology ; Transformations of consciousness ; Selected essays -- v. 5. Grace and grit : spirituality and healing in the life and death of Treya Killam Wilber. 2nd ed. -- v. 6. Sex, ecology, spirituality : the spirit of evolution. 2nd, rev. ed. -- v. (...) 7. A brief history of everything ; The eye of spirit -- v. 8. The marriage of sense and soul ; One taste. (shrink)
This is the second part of a two-part paper. It can be read independently of the first part provided that the reader is prepared to go along with the unorthodox views on game theory which were advanced in Part I and are summarized below. The body of the paper is an attempt to study some of the positive implications of such a viewpoint. This requires an exploration of what is involved in modeling “rational players” as computing machines.
Ever since the publication of his first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness, written when he was twenty-three, Ken Wilber has been identified as the most comprehensive philosophical thinker of our times. This introductory sampler, designed to acquaint newcomers with his work, contains brief passages from his most popular books, ranging over a variety of topics, including levels of consciousness, mystical experience, meditation practice, death, the perennial philosophy, and Wilber's integral approach to reality, integrating matter, body, mind, soul, and spirit. Here (...) is Wilber's writing at its most reader-friendly, discussing essential ideas of the world's great psychological, philosophical, and spiritual traditions in language that is lucid, engaging, and inspirational. (shrink)
To understand Self-Representationalism you need to understand its family. Self-Representationalism is a branch of the Meta-Representationalist family, and according to theories in this family what distinguishes conscious mental representations from unconscious mental representations is that conscious ones are themselves the target of a mental meta¬-representational state. A mental state M1 is thus phenomenally conscious in virtue of being suitably represented by some mental state M2. What distinguishes the Self-Representationalist branch of the family is the claim that M1 and M2 must (...) be the same token mental state, so a mental state is phenomenally conscious in virtue of suitably representing itself. This Self-Representationalist branch of the family divides into further branches, giving us specific implementations of the Self-Representationalist approach. But before asking whether we should adopt Self-Representationalism, and in what form, we should reflect on why Meta-Representationalism is an attractive family in the first place. After all, Self-Representationalist theories trade on their family name, claiming to deliver on the promises that drive the Meta-Representationalist approach. The two most important promises of Meta-Representationalism are: a) the promise of capturing the transitivity of consciousness and; b) the promise of rendering consciousness naturalisable. I discuss each in turn. (shrink)
Ken Binmore's previous game theory textbook, Fun and Games, carved out a significant niche in the advanced undergraduate market; it was intellectually serious and more up-to-date than its competitors, but also accessibly written. Its central thesis was that game theory allows us to understand many kinds of interactions between people, a point that Binmore amply demonstrated through a rich range of examples and applications. This replacement for the now out-of-date 1991 textbook retains the entertaining examples, but changes the organization to (...) match how game theory courses are actually taught, making Playing for Real a more versatile text that almost all possible course designs will find easier to use, with less jumping about than before. In addition, the problem sections, already used as a reference by many teachers, have become even more clever and varied, without becoming too technical. Playing for Real will sell into advanced undergraduate courses in game theory, primarily those in economics, but also courses in the social sciences, and serve as a reference for economists. (shrink)
Natural Justice is a bold attempt to lay the foundations for a genuine science of morals using the theory of games. Since human morality is no less a product of evolution than any other human characteristic, the book takes the view that we need to explore its origins in the food-sharing social contracts of our prehuman ancestors. It is argued that the deep structure of our current fairness norms continues to reflect the logic of these primeval social contracts, but the (...) particular fairness norm a society operates is largely a product of cultural evolution. In pursuing this point, the book proposes a naturalistic reinterpretation of John Rawls' original position that reconciles his egalitarian theory of justice with John Harsanyi's utilitarian theory by identifying the environment appropriate to each. (shrink)
The on-going debate over the ‘admissible contents of perceptual experience’ concerns the range of properties that human beings are directly acquainted with in perceptual experience. Regarding vision, it is relatively uncontroversial that the following properties can figure in the contents of visual experience: colour, shape, illumination, spatial relations, motion, and texture. The controversy begins when we ask whether any properties besides these figure in visual experience. We argue that ‘ensemble properties’ should be added to the list of visually admissible properties. (...) Ensemble properties are features that belong to a set of perceptible objects as a whole as opposed to the individuals that constitute that set. They include such features as the mean size of an array of shapes or the average emotional expression of an array of faces. Recent work in vision science has yielded compelling evidence that the visual system routinely encodes such properties. We argue that epistemological considerations provide strong reasons to think that these properties figure in visual experience. Judgements about ensemble properties are immediately warranted by our perceptual experience, and the only plausible way that a perceptual experience could confer this warrant is if it confers awareness of ensemble properties. (shrink)
Conservatives claim that all phenomenal properties are sensory. Liberals countenance non-sensory phenomenal properties such as what it’s like to perceive some high-level property, and what it’s like to think that p. A hallmark of phenomenal properties is that they present an explanatory gap, so to resolve the dispute we should consider whether experience has non-sensory properties that appear ‘gappy’. The classic tests for ‘gappiness’ are the invertibility test and the zombifiability test. I suggest that these tests yield conflicting results: non-sensory (...) properties lend themselves to zombie scenarios but not to inversion scenarios. Which test should we trust? Against Carruthers & Veillet (2011), I argue that invertibility is not a viable condition of phenomenality. In contrast, being zombifiable is credibly necessary and sufficient for phenomenality. I conclude that there are non-sensory properties of experience that are ‘gappy’ in the right way, and that liberalism is therefore the most plausible position. (shrink)
The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977)--one of the founding texts of transpersonal psychology--introduces the full-spectrum model, showing how the psychological systems of the West can be integrated with the contemplative traditions of the East. No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth (1979) is a simple yet comprehensive guide to psychologies and therapies available from both Western and Eastern sources. Several important early articles: "The Psychologia Perennis," "Are the Chakras Real?" and "Where It Was, I Shall Become.".
Our successful engagement with the world is plausibly underwritten by our sensitivity to affordances in our immediate environment. The considerable literature on affordances focuses almost exclusively on affordances for bodily actions such as gripping, walking or eating. I propose that we are also sensitive to affordances for mental actions such as attending, imagining and counting. My case for this ‘Mental Affordance Hypothesis’ is motivated by a series of examples in which our sensitivity to mental affordances mirrors our sensitivity to bodily (...) affordances. Specifically, subjects perceive opportunities to perform a mental action and their doing so leads, under the right conditions, to the automatic preparation of that action. I conclude by sketching a mental affordance research program that would reinforce my case for the Mental Affordance Hypothesis and establish its ramifications for a number of debates across philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
The goal of an "integral psychology" is to honor and embrace every legitimate aspect of human consciousness under one roof. This book presents one of the first truly integrative models of consciousness, psychology, and therapy.
According to the virtual self theory, selves are merely virtual entities. On this view, our self-representations do not refer to any concrete object and the self is a merely intentional entity. This contemporary version of the ‘no-self’ theory is driven by a number of psychological and philosophical considerations indicating that our representations of the self are pervasively inaccurate. I present two problems for VST. First, the case for VST fails to rule out a more moderate position according to which the (...) self exists but is systematically misrepresented by us. This position regards the self as a real entity that has illusory appearances, rather than as a hallucinated entity that has a merely intentional existence. Second, I suggest that this ‘illusion model’ of self-misrepresentation is preferable to VST. Advocates of VST must acknowledge the existence of an entity—typically the brain—that is the bearer of our misrepresentations of the self. I argue that, other things being equal, we should regard the bearer of our self-representations as the self, even if that entity diverges dramatically from the way we represent the self to be. So by acknowledging the existence of a bearer of self-representations, advocates of VST are in a poor position to deny the existence of the self. I conclude that VST not only fails to rule out the illusion model, but that we have prima facie reason to prefer the illusion model to VST. (shrink)
We have reason to believe that phenomenal properties are nothing over and above certain physical properties. However, doubt is cast on this by the apparent epistemic gap that arises for attempts to account for phenomenal properties in physical terms. I argue that the epistemic gap should be divided into two more fundamental conceptual gaps. The first of these pertains to the distinctive subjectivity of phenomenal states, and the second pertains to the intrinsicality of phenomenal qualities. Stoljars ignorance hypothesis (IH) attempts (...) to undermine the epistemic gap by arguing that the apparent inexplicability of the phenomenal is merely a symptom of our limited conception of the non-experiential world. I establish some obstacles to IH, and argue that the correct analysis of the epistemic gap means these obstacles can only partially be overcome. I propose, nonetheless, that IH can still be put to good use as half of a hybrid account of phenomenal consciousness. The proposal combines a self-representationalist account of the subjectivity of phenomenal states with a Russellian version of IH that accommodates the qualitative character of those states. This neo-Russellian ignorance hypothesis (NRIH) credibly undermines the appearance of an epistemic gap between the physical and the phenomenal. (shrink)
The ubiquity of inner awareness thesis states that all conscious states of normal adult humans are characterised by an inner awareness of that very state. UIA-Backers support this thesis while UIA-Skeptics reject it. At the heart of their dispute is a recalcitrant phenomenological disagreement. UIA-Backers claim that phenomenological investigation reveals ‘peripheral inner awareness’ to be a constant presence in their non-introspective experiences. UIA-Skeptics deny that their non-introspective experiences are characterised by inner awareness, and maintain that inner awareness is only gained (...) when they explicitly introspect. Each camp has put forward a range of arguments designed to resolve this dispute, but I argue that none of these arguments has genuine dialectical purchase. This leads me to develop a compromise position that trades on the contribution that affordances can make to our phenomenology. According to the Affordance Model of inner awareness, all conscious states of normal adult humans are characterised by an affordance of introspectability. In line with the UIA-Skeptic, non-introspective experiences are not characterised by inner awareness. But against the traditional UIASkeptic, non-introspective experiences are characterised by an awareness of the opportunity for introspection. On this view, our capacity to gain inner awareness of our current experience is a ubiquitous feature of our phenomenology. I show how the Affordance Model respects the driving phenomenological intuitions of both the UIA-Backers and the traditional UIA-Skeptics, and suggest that it is able to explain why neither camp achieves an accurate description of how inner awareness figures in their phenomenology. (shrink)
In a seminal 1977 article, Rumelhart argued that perception required the simultaneous use of multiple sources of information, allowing perceivers to optimally interpret sensory information at many levels of representation in real time as information arrives. Building on Rumelhart's arguments, we present the Interactive Activation hypothesis—the idea that the mechanism used in perception and comprehension to achieve these feats exploits an interactive activation process implemented through the bidirectional propagation of activation among simple processing units. We then examine the interactive activation (...) model of letter and word perception and the TRACE model of speech perception, as early attempts to explore this hypothesis, and review the experimental evidence relevant to their assumptions and predictions. We consider how well these models address the computational challenge posed by the problem of perception, and we consider how consistent they are with evidence from behavioral experiments. We examine empirical and theoretical controversies surrounding the idea of interactive processing, including a controversy that swirls around the relationship between interactive computation and optimal Bayesian inference. Some of the implementation details of early versions of interactive activation models caused deviation from optimality and from aspects of human performance data. More recent versions of these models, however, overcome these deficiencies. Among these is a model called the multinomial interactive activation model, which explicitly links interactive activation and Bayesian computations. We also review evidence from neurophysiological and neuroimaging studies supporting the view that interactive processing is a characteristic of the perceptual processing machinery in the brain. In sum, we argue that a computational analysis, as well as behavioral and neuroscience evidence, all support the Interactive Activation hypothesis. The evidence suggests that contemporary versions of models based on the idea of interactive activation continue to provide a basis for efforts to achieve a fuller understanding of the process of perception. (shrink)
The study of human intelligence was once dominated by symbolic approaches, but over the last 30 years an alternative approach has arisen. Symbols and processes that operate on them are often seen today as approximate characterizations of the emergent consequences of sub- or nonsymbolic processes, and a wide range of constructs in cognitive science can be understood as emergents. These include representational constructs (units, structures, rules), architectural constructs (central executive, declarative memory), and developmental processes and outcomes (stages, sensitive periods, neurocognitive (...) modules, developmental disorders). The greatest achievements of human cognition may be largely emergent phenomena. It remains a challenge for the future to learn more about how these greatest achievements arise and to emulate them in artificial systems. (shrink)
[Ken Gemes] In some texts Nietzsche vehemently denies the possibility of free will; in others he seems to positively countenance its existence. This paper distinguishes two different notions of free will. Agency free will is intrinsically tied to the question of agency, what constitutes an action as opposed to a mere doing. Deserts free will is intrinsically tied to the question of desert, of who does and does not merit punishment and reward. It is shown that we can render Nietzsche's (...) prima facie conflicting assertions regarding free will compatible by interpreting him as rejecting deserts free will while accepting the possibility of agency free will. It is argued that Nietzsche's advances an original form of compatibilism which takes agency free will to be a rare achievement rather than a natural endowment. /// [Christopher Janaway] This paper aims to distinguish a conception of 'free will' that Nietzsche opposes and one that he supports. In Human, All Too Human Nietzsche propounds the 'total unfreedom' of the will. But by the time of Beyond Good and Evil and the Genealogy he is more concerned to trace the affective psychological states underlying beliefs in both free will and 'unfree will', to suggest that the will might become free in certain individuals, a matter of having a consistent strong character, self-knowledge, and ability to create values. The paper explores the kind of autonomy required in agents who would 'revalue' existing values. (shrink)
Few would argue that race, class, and gender are unrelated, now that scholars of inequality have spent decades making the once devalued but now widely accepted case that structures of oppression like these cannot be understood in isolation from one another. Yet the imagery on which the field has relied--race, class, and gender as "intersecting" or "interlocking"--has limited our ability to explore the characteristics of their relationships in empirical and theoretical work. In this article I build on the gender framework (...) articulated by Leslie Salzinger to articulate new imagery--via a metaphor of sugar--which highlights how race, class, and gender are produced, used, experienced, and processed in our bodies, human and institutional. This metaphor allows us to emphasize structural and individual forces at work in their continual and mutual constitution. (shrink)