In this dissertation, the author articulates and defends a version of the historically important view that all consciousness involves self-consciousness. In Chapter 1, the author defends a certain conception of the role of phenomenology in the theory of consciousness. The author argues that any theory of consciousness must account for the properties that phenomenology reveals consciousness to have. The most important properties in this regard are structural: temporality, synchronic unity, and self-referentiality. It is argued that these properties can be given (...) a rigorous description and that mathematical models of the structure of consciousness can be developed. ;In Chapter 2, the author argues that there are no phenomenological data that preclude a theory that identifies consciousness with a brain process. By carefully attending to what consciousness can and cannot reveal about itself in introspection, the author argues, one can see clearly that phenomenology can play its necessary role in the theory of consciousness without at the same time undermining physicalism. ;In Chapter 3, the author discusses the structural phenomenological data. The discussion is informed by the classic work of William James as well as the work of the Phenomenological philosophers, Edmund Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Aron Gurwitsch. ;In Chapter 4, the author examines various versions of the view that all consciousness involves self-consciousness. The author argues that any adequate theory of the type must maintain that states or phases of consciousness must be genuinely self-referential. The author then goes on to present a model of the self-referential structure of consciousness using some tools from contemporary Set Theory. ;In Chapter 5, the author replies to certain important objections to the self-referentialist theory of consciousness. ;In Chapter 6, the author examines some connections the theory defended bears to the mathematico-computational theory of consciousness suggested by Douglas Hofstadter and to the outstanding neurobiological theories of consciousness presented by Antonio Damasio and Gerald Edelman. ;In Chapter 7, the author argues that the supposition that consciousness is the embodiment of a certain self-referential structure implies elegant solutions to some outstanding problems in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Millikan and Her Critics offers a unique critical discussion of Ruth Millikan's highly regarded, influential, and systematic contributions to philosophy of mind and language, philosophy of biology, epistemology, and metaphysics. These newly written contributions present discussion from some of the most important philosophers in the field today and include replies from Millikan herself.
Leading theorists examine the self-representational theory of consciousness as an alternative to the two dominant reductive theories of consciousness, the representational theory of consciousness and the higher-order monitoring theory. In this pioneering collection of essays, leading theorists examine the self-representational theory of consciousness, which holds that consciousness always involves some form of self-awareness. The self-representational theory of consciousness stands as an alternative to the two dominant reductive theories of consciousness, the representational theory of consciousness and the higher-order monitoring theory, combining (...) elements of both RTC and HOM theory in a novel fashion that may avoid the fundamental deficiencies of each. Although self-representationalist views have been common throughout the history of both Western and Eastern philosophy, they have been largely neglected in the recent literature on consciousness. This book approaches the self-representational theory from a range of perspectives, with contributions from scholars in analytic philosophy, phenomenology, and history of philosophy, as well as two longer essays by Antonio Damasio and David Rudrauf and Douglas Hofstadter. The book opens with six essays that argue broadly in favor of self-representationalist views, which are followed by five that argue broadly against them. Contributors next consider connections to such philosophical issues as the nature of propositional attitudes, knowledge, attention, and indexical reference. Finally, Damasio and Rudrauf link consciousness as lived with consciousness as described in neurobiological terms; and Hofstadter compares consciousness to the "strange loop" of mathematical self-reference brought to light by Gödel's incompleteness theorems. Contributors Andrew Brook, Peter Carruthers, Antonio Damasio, John J. Drummond, Jason Ford, Rocco J. Gennaro, George Graham, Christopher S. Hill, Douglas R. Hofstadter, Terry Horgan, Tomis Kapitan, Uriah Kriegel, Keith Lehrer, Joseph Levine, Robert W. Lurz, David Rudrauf, David Woodruff Smith, John Tienson, Robert Van Gulick, Kathleen Wider, KennethWilliford, Dan Zahavi. (shrink)
Dan Zahavi has argued persuasively that some versions of self- representationalism are implausible on phenomenological and dialectical grounds: they fail to make sense of primitive self-knowledge and lead to an infinite regress. Zahavi proposes an alternative view of ubiquitous prereflective self-consciousness.
In the Logical Investigations, Ideas I and many other texts, Husserl maintains that perceptual consciousness involves the intentional “animation” or interpretation of sensory data or hyle, e.g., “color-data,” “tone-data,” and algedonic data. These data are not intrinsically representational nor are they normally themselves objects of representation, though we can attend to them in reflection. These data are “immanent” in consciousness; they survive the phenomenological reduction. They partly ground the intuitive or “in-the-flesh” aspect of perception, and they have a determinacy of (...) character that we do not create but can only discover. This determinate, non-representational stratum of perceptual consciousness also serves as a bridge between consciousness and the world beyond it. I articulate and defend this conception of perceptual consciousness. I locate the view in the space of contemporary positions on phenomenal character and argue for its superiority. I close by briefly arguing that the Husserlian account is perfectly compatible with physicalism (this involves disarming the Grain Problem). (shrink)
Giulio Tononi's integrated information theory proposes explaining consciousness by directly identifying it with integrated information. We examine the construct validity of IIT's measure of consciousness, phi, by analyzing its formal properties, its relation to key aspects of consciousness, and its co-variation with relevant empirical circumstances. Our analysis shows that IIT's identification of consciousness with the causal efficacy with which differentiated networks accomplish global information transfer is mistaken. This misidentification has the consequence of requiring the attribution of consciousness to a range (...) of natural systems and artifacts that include, but are not limited to, large-scale electrical power grids, gene-regulation networks, some electronic circuit boards, and social networks. Instead of treating this consequence of the theory as a disconfirmation, IIT embraces it. By regarding these systems as bearers of consciousness ex hypothesi, IIT is led toward the orbit of panpsychist ideation. This departure from science as we know it can be avoided by recognizing the functional misattribution at the heart of IIT's identity claim. We show, for example, what function is actually performed, at least in the human case, by the cortical combination of differentiation with integration that IIT identifies with consciousness. Finally, we examine what lessons may be drawn from IIT's failure to provide a credible account of consciousness for progress in the very active field of research concerned with exploring the phenomenon from formal and neural points of view. (shrink)
The three classic regress problems related to the Self-Awareness Thesis can all be elegantly resolved by a self-acquaintance postulate. This resolution, however, entails that consciousness has an irreducibly circular structure and that self-acquaintance should not be conceived of in terms of an independent entity bearing an external or mediated relation to itself but rather in terms of a realized relation-instance relating to itself as well as to something other than itself. Consciousness, on this account, has a categorially curious status. It (...) is like a relation-particular hybrid. This can be formalized in terms of the theory of hypersets, which in turn can be used to elucidate the problem of individuality, one source of the conceptual difficulty with adequately characterizing de se content. (shrink)
I aim to provide some evidence that Husserl’s description of perceptual updating actually fits very nicely into the Bayesian Brain paradigm, articulated by Karl Friston and others, and that that paradigm, in turn, can be taken as an excellent example of “Neurophenomenology”. The apparently un-phenomenological Helmholtzian component of the Bayesian Brain paradigm, according to which what one consciously seems to see is a product of unconscious causal reasoning to the best explanation of one’s sensory stimulations, can be finessed, I claim, (...) in a way that makes it compatible with a phenomenological orientation. I begin by roughly characterizing the Bayesian Brain paradigm as it relates to perceptual cognition. I then show how Husserl’s descriptions of the conscious perceptual process relate to the paradigm. I conclude with some considerations about how to understand the relation between conscious and unconscious brain process in the present case and in relation to Neurophenomenology generally. (shrink)
This paper explores the logical consequences of the the thesis that all of the essential properties of consciousness can be known introspectively (Completeness, called "Strong Transparency" in the paper, following D.M. Armstrong's older terminology). It is argued that it can be known introspectively that consciousness does not have complete access to its essential properties; and it is show how this undermines conceivability arguments for dualism.
In our response to a truly diverse set of commentaries, we first summarize the principal topical themes around which they cluster, then address two “outlier” positions. Next, we address ways in which commentaries by non-integrated information theory authors engage with the specifics of our IIT critique, turning finally to the four commentaries by IIT authors.
I discuss the main features of Moore’s characterization of consciousness in his well-known 1903 “The Refutation of Idealism” and his little-known 1910 “The Subject-Matter of Psychology.” The presentation is somewhere between an expository exercise in the history of analytical ontology and a philosophical engagement with Moore’s interesting claims. Among other things, I argue that Moore’s famous thesis of the “diaphanousness” of consciousness cannot, contrary to Moore’s own claims, be used to undermine physicalism but in fact can be used to undercut (...) some common arguments against physicalism. (shrink)
Several influential philosophers and scientists have advanced a framework, often called Neo-Cartesianism (NC), according to which animal suffering is merely apparent. Drawing upon contemporary neuroscience and philosophy of mind, Neo-Cartesians challenge the mainstream position we shall call Evolutionary Continuity (EC), the view that humans are on a nonhierarchical continuum with other species and are thus not likely to be unique in consciously experiencing negative pain affect. We argue that some Neo-Cartesians have misconstrued the underlying science or tendentiously appropriated controversial views (...) in the philosophy of mind. We discuss recent evidence that undermines the simple neuroanatomical structure-function correlation thesis that undergirds many Neo-Cartesian arguments, has an important bearing on the recent controversy over pain in fish, and places the underlying epistemology framing the debate between NC and EC in a new light that strengthens the EC position. (shrink)
Hume's examination of the causal maxim in 1.3.3 of A Treatise of Human Nature can be considered, at least in part, a thinly veiled critique of the cosmological argument, attacking as it does the privileged status of the principle upon which that proof rests. As well, Hume's remarks on the impossibility of demonstrating matters of fact a priori in Part 3 of Section 12 of An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding clearly strike at the heart of the ontological argument, even if (...) not explicitly. Unfortunately, it is only in the very brief Part 9 of his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion that Hume directly discusses, at any length, the attempt to demonstrate a priori the existence of a deity. The argument, put forward by Demea, and Cleanthes's criticism of that argument take up so little space that for ease of reference I will reproduce them before we proceed any further. Part 9 consists of eleven paragraphs, and in accordance with a now fairly common convention, I will refer to the paragraphs by number. I reproduce only those paragraphs that will be the focus of this paper. (shrink)
Kenneth Burke is, at long last, beginning to get the attention he de- serves. Among anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, and rhetori- cians his "dramatism" is increasingly recognized as something that must at least appear in one's index, whether one has troubled to understand him or not. Even literary critics are beginning to see him as not just one more "new critic" but as someone who tried to lead a revolt against "narrow formalism" long before the currently fashionable explosion into the (...) "extrinsic" had been dreamed of. I have recently heard him called a structuralist-before-his-time-and what could be higher praise than that! But in almost everything said about his literary criticism, there is an air of condescension that is puzzling. The tone seems usually to echo that of Rene Wellek , who, as Burke himself laments , "almost overwhelms me with praise," referring to "men of great gifts, nimble powers of combination and association, and fertile imagination," but then deplores Burke's irresponsibility, repudiates his critical judgments, condemns his general method without bothering to look closely at it, and in general makes him look like some sort of idiot savant-a buffoon with a high IQ.Wayne C. Booth received the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award in 1962 for his book The Rhetoric of Fiction. His most recent works, A Rhetoric of Irony and Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent, appeared this year. His contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Irony and Pity Once Again: Thais Revisited" , "M.H. Abrams: Historian as Critic, Critic as Pluralist" , "THE LIMITS OF PLURALISM: 'Preserving the Exemplar': Or, How Not to Dig our Own Graves" , "CRITICAL RESPONSE: Notes and Exchanges" , "Metaphor as Rhetoric: The Problem of Evaluation" ,"Ten Literal 'Theses" , with Wright Morris: "The Writing of Organic Fiction: A Conversation" , and with Robert E. Streeter and W.J.T. Mitchell: "EDITORS' NOTE: Sheldon Sacks 1930-1979". (shrink)
This essay reviews a collection of thirteen critical essays on the work of Ruth Millikan. The collection covers a broad range of her work, focusing in particular on her account of simple intentionality, her theory of concepts and her metaphysical views. I highlight and briefly discuss three issues that crop up repeatedly though the collection: (1) Millikan’s externalism (and in particular, her emphasis on how intentional states are used, rather than how they are produced); (2) the nature of intentional explanation; (...) and (3) the normativity of meaning. (shrink)
Confusion has long reigned over the circumstances in which this early work by Sartre was published, as well as its place among other, better-known texts. In 1927, Sartre completed a thesis for his diplôme d’études supérieures, entitled, “L’Image dans la vie psychologique: Role et nature.” In 1936, he submitted a revised and expanded version of that thesis, simply titled L’Image, for publication in a series called Nouvelle Encyclopedie philosophique. That work consisted of a propaedeutic first half, an analysis of various (...) philosophical and psychological theories about the imagination, and a phenomenological second half, an investigation into the various forms of imaginative consciousness. Sartre’s publisher, F. Alcan, rejected the second half and opted to publish only the first half, as L’Imagination (1936). It wasn’t until 1940 that the second half of the text appeared, as L’Imaginaire.Whether or not this has been clear to those who read Sartre in French, those who rely on English tran. (shrink)
The basis of science is the hypothetico-deductive method and the recording of experiments in sufficient detail to enable reproducibility. We report the development of Robot Scientist "Adam," which advances the automation of both. Adam has autonomously generated functional genomics hypotheses about the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and experimentally tested these hypotheses by using laboratory automation. We have confirmed Adam's conclusions through manual experiments. To describe Adam's research, we have developed an ontology and logical language. The resulting formalization involves over 10,000 different (...) research units in a nested treelike structure, 10 levels deep, that relates the 6.6 million biomass measurements to their logical description. This formalization describes how a machine contributed to scientific knowledge. (shrink)
What I am calling for is not as radically new as it may sound to ears that are still tuned to positivist frequencies. A very large part of what we value as our cultural monuments can be thought of as metaphoric criticism of metaphor and the characters who make them. The point is perhaps most easily made about the major philosophies. Stephen Pepper has argued, in World Hypotheses,1 that the great philosophies all depend on one of the four "root metaphors," (...) formism, mechanism, organicism, and contextualism, and they are great precisely because they have so far survived the criticism of rival metaphors. Each view of the totality of things claims supremacy, but none has been able to annihilate the others. They all thus survive as still plausible, pending further criticism through further philosophical inquiry. In this view, even the great would-be literalists like Hobbes and Locke are finally metaphorists—simply committed to another kind of metaphor, one that to them seems literal. Without grossly oversimplifying we could say that the whole work of each philosopher amounts to an elaborate critique of the inadequacy of all other philosophers' metaphors. What is more, the very existence of a tradition of a small group of great philosophies is a sign that hundreds of lesser metaphors for the life of mankind have been tested in the great philosophical—that is, critical—wars and found wanting. · 1. World Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence . In Concept and Quality: A World Hypothesis , Pepper suggests that "the purposive act" is a fifth root metaphor. Wayne C. Booth's is the author of, among other works, Critical Understanding: The Powers and Limits of Pluralism. His contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Kenneth Burke's Way of Knowing" , "Irony and Pity Once Again: Thais Revisited" , "M. H. Abrams: Historian as Critic, Critic as Pluralist" , "'Preserving the Exemplar': Or, How Not to Dig our Own Graves" , "Notes and Exchanges" , with Wright Morris: "The Writing of Organic Fiction: A Conversation" , and with Robert E. Streeter, W. J. T. Mitchell: "Sheldon Sacks 1930-1979". (shrink)
When M. H. Abrams published a defense, in 1972, of "theorizing about the arts,"1 some of his critics accused him, of falling into subjectivism. He had made his case so forcefully against "the confrontation model of aesthetic criticism," and so effectively argued against "simplified" and "invariable" models of the art work and of "the function of criticism," that some readers thought he had thrown overboard the very possibility of a rational criticism tested by objective criteria. In his recent reply to (...) these critics,2 Abrams concentrates almost entirely on whether his critical pluralism is finally a skeptical relativism. He does not even mention his great historical works, The Mirror and the Lamp and Natural Supernaturalism, and he has nothing to say about how his pluralistic theories would be applied to the writing of history. But then, surprising as it seems once we think about it, neither of the two histories has much about his method either. What is the true achievement of these aggressive raids into our past, and how does Abrams see them in relation to other possible histories of the same subjects? Knowing in advance that he has agreed to reply to my nudging, I should like both to propose that everyone has—with Abrams' own encouragement—understated the importance of what he has done and to ask: What kind of pluralist is he? · 1. "What's the Use of Theorizing about the Arts," In Search of Literary Theory, ed. Morton Bloomfield , pp. 3-54. · 2. "A Note on Wittgenstein and Literary Criticism," ELH 41 : 541-54. Wayne C. Booth's other contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Kenneth Burke's Way of Knowing" , "Irony and Pity Once Again: Thais Revisited" , >"Preserving the Exemplar: Or, How Not to Dig our Own Graves" , "Notes and Exchanges" , "Metaphor as Rhetoric: The Problem of Evaluation" ,"Ten Literal 'Theses" , with Wright Morris: "The Writing of Organic Fiction: A Conversation" , and with Robert E. Streeter, W.J.T. Mitchell: “Sheldon Sacks 1930-1979”. (shrink)
Mad about it they still were, in 1926, when Hemingway's splendid spoofing appeared in The Sun Also Rises. But it was not everybody who had been responsible. It was mainly Anatole France, abetted by his almost unanimously enthusiastic critics. And of all his works, the one that must have seemed to fit the formula best was Thaïs, already a quarter of a century old when Jake Barnes learned of irony and pity. It is not a bad formula for the effect (...) of Thaïs, as formulas go. It is at least as useful—and at least as misleading—as "pity and fear" for tragedy. There is, however, a surprising difference. If I tell you the story of any classical tragedy, even in very brief form, you will know at once why someone might talk about that story using the terms "pity" and "fear." But if I tell you of the priest who lost his soul converting the prostitute, you will not be able to predict any determinate reaction—except perhaps that the story will have for everyone a slight bit of ironic wonder at the grand reversal. In other words, a teller will be able to turn such material almost any direction he chooses, making it into a tragedy, a comedy, a farce, a celebration of God's wonder and mystery—or a tale playing with pity and irony. Wayne C. Booth's most recent books are A Rhetoric of Irony and Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent. He is now completing a book on critical warfare and critical pluralism . A version of one chapter from that book, "M.H. Abrams: Historian as Critic, Critic as Pluralist," will appear in the Spring issue of Critical Inquiry. Other contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Kenneth Burke's Way of Knowing" , "'Preserving the Exemplar': Or, How Not to Dig our Own Graves" , "Notes and Exchanges" , "Metaphor as Rhetoric: The Problem of Evaluation" , "Ten Literal ‘Theses’" , with Wright Morris: "The Writing of Organic Fiction: A Conversation" , and with Robert E. Streeter, W.J.T. Mitchell: "Sheldon Sacks 1930-1979". (shrink)
At first thought, our question of the day seems to be "about the text itself." Is there, in all texts, or at least in some texts, what Abrams calls "a core of determinate meanings," "the central core of what they [the authors] undertook to communicate"? Miller has seemed to find in the texts of Nietzsche a claim that there is not, that "the same text authorizes innumerable interpretations: There is no 'correct' interpretation. . . . reading is never the objective (...) identifying of a sense but the importation of meaning into a text which has no meaning 'in itself.'" Abrams claims that Miller cannot report on Nietzsche's deconstructionist claims without violating them: Miller seems to claim that he has found something that Nietzsche's text really says, not something that Miller himself merely brought to it. Is this objection a quibble or a clincher?1 · 1. See my "M.H. Abrams: Historian as Critic, Critic as Pluralist," Critical Inquiry 2 : 411-45, and Abrams' reply, "Rationality and Imagination in Cultural History," pp. 447-64, esp. 456-58. Wayne C. Booth's other contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Kenneth Burke's Way of Knowing" , "Irony and Pity Once Again: Thais Revisited" , "Notes and Exchanges" , "Metaphor as Rhetoric: The Problem of Evaluation" ,"Ten Literal 'Theses" , with Wright Morris: "The Writing of Organic Fiction: A Conversation" , and with Robert E. Streeter, W.J.T. Mitchell: "Sheldon Sacks 1930-1979". (shrink)
MORRIS: But come back to that other kind of fiction, in which the author himself is involved with his works, not merely in writing something for other people but in writing what seems to be necessary to his conscious existence, to his sense of well-being. For such a writer, when he finished with something he finishes with it; he is not left with continuations that he can go on knitting until he runs out of yarn. This conceit reflects my own (...) experience as a writer, relying on the sap that keeps rising, the force that drives the flower, as Dylan Thomas put it. It is plantlike. We put it in the sun and when it doesn't grow, we take it and put it in another room. I don't think of repotting the plant. The plant must make its own way. BOOTH: I like the organic metaphor, but I keep wanting to come back to particular cases to see how you actually work, in literal detail. Even the organic novelist obviously still has the matter of collecting notes, starting a novel, having it fail to go. Let me put a simple question, and move out from there. How many actual novels, whether they ever reach fruition or not, do you have "growing" at a given time? MORRIS: You don't mean simultaneously? BOOTH: I mean actual notes that exist in some kind of manuscript form, starts on a novel, something you are actually working on. MORRIS: It is so unusual for me to have more than one or two things in mind at once that I don't find this a fruitful question. Wright Morris's work as a novelist, essayist, and photographer is examined by prominent critics in Conversations with Wright Morris; the collection, edited by Robert E. Knoll, was published in the spring of 1977 by the University of Nebraska Press. "The Writing of Organic Fiction" is a chapter in that book. Wayne C. Booth's other contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Kenneth Burke's Way of Knowing" ,"Irony and Pity Once Again: Thais Revisited" , "M.H. Abrams: Historian as Critic, Critic as Pluralist" , “'Preserving the Exemplar': Or, How Not to Dig our Own Graves" , "Notes and Exchanges" , "Metaphor as Rhetoric: The Problem of Evaluation" ,"Ten Literal 'Theses" , and, with Robert E. Streeter, W.J.T. Mitchell: "Sheldon Sacks 1930-1979". (shrink)
Previously unpublished writings by and about Kenneth Burke plus essays by such Burkean luminaries as Wayne C. Booth, William H. Rueckert, Robert Wess, Thomas Carmichael, and Michael Feehan make the publication of Unending Conversations a ...