Abstract The rise of social neuroscience has brought the second-person perspective back into the focus of philosophy. Although this is not a new topic, it is certainly less well understood than the first-person and third-person perspectives, and it is even unclear whether it can be reduced to one of these perspectives. The present paper argues that no such reduction is possible because the second-person perspective provides a unique kind of access to certain facts, namely other persons' mental states, particularly, but (...) not only, in social contexts. The paper starts with the idea that perspectives are ways of epistemic access that determine an epistemic subject's recognition of a certain object. While the first-person perspective is subjective because it is based on, and directed at, the epistemic subject's experiences, the third-person perspective, which is based on objective evidence and gives access to all kinds of entities, is objective. The second-person perspective, by contrast, is intersubjective because it is a relation between an epistemic subject and another sentient being's mental states. It involves the epistemic subject's replication of those states, a basic self/other distinction and a basic awareness of the relevant situational differences between the epistemic subject and the other being. This is why the second-person perspective is a perspective on a perspective, which involves a basic awareness of perspectivalness, even if second-person perspective taking may be subpersonal to a large extent. (shrink)
According to qualia-epiphenomenalism, phenomenal properties are causally inefficacious, they are metaphysically distinct from, and nomologically connected with certain physical properties. The present paper argues that the claim of causal inefficacy undermines any effort to establish the alleged nomological connection. Epiphenomenalists concede that variations of phenomenal properties in the absence of any variation of physical/functional properties are logically possible, however they deny that these variations are nomologically possible. But if such variations have neither causal nor functional consequences, there is no way (...) to detect themanot only in scientific experiments, but also from the first-person perspective. Since neither third- nor first- person evidence can rule out the actual occurrence of such dissociations, the alleged nomological connection between phenomenal and physical properties cannot be established, in principle. As a consequence, the distinction between logical and nomological possibility breaks down and it cannot be ruled out that such dissociations occur in an unlimited number of cases. (shrink)
According to many philosophers, an 'explanatory gap' exists between third-person scientific theories and qualitative firstperson experience of mental states like pain feelings or colour experiences such that the former can't explain the latter. Here it is argued that the thought experiments that are invoked by this position are inconsistent, that the position requires a specific kind of first-person privilege which actually does not exist, and that the underlying argument is circular because it is based on the very 'intuition of distinctness'which (...) it allegedly confirms. The second part of the paper argues that the intuition of distinctness which has seen a significant change during the history of science is itself a product of scientific development. It would follow that future scientific developments can change this intuition and even make the explanatory gap problem disappear. (shrink)
Many philosophers agree that mental states are subject to privileged first-person access. Exactly what privileged, first-person access means is controversial, but it seems that, while our third-person access to mental states is only indirect because it depends on behavioral observation, first-person access seems to be direct because it depends on no such mediation.
It is commonly believed that there is a fundamental incompatibility between multiple realization and type identity in the philosophy of mind. This claim can be challenged, however, since a single neural type may be realized by different microphysical types. In this case, the identity statement would connect the psychological and the neural type, while the neural type, in turn, could be multiply realized by different microphysical types. Such a multiple realization of higher level types occurs quite frequently even within physics (...) and it should be acceptable for physicalism in general. (shrink)
Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility is an edited collection of new essays by an internationally recognized line-up of contributors. It is aimed at readers who wish to explore the philosophical and scientific arguments for free will skepticism and their implications.
An analysis of our commonsense concept of freedom yields two “minimal criteria”: Autonomy distinguishes freedom from compulsion; Authorship distinguishes freedom from chance. Translating freedom into “self-determination” can account for both criteria. Self-determination is understood as determination by “personal-preferences” which are constitutive for a person. Freedom and determinism are therefore compatible; the crucial question is not whether an action is determined at all but, rather, whether it is determined by personal preferences. This account can do justice to the most important intuitions (...) concerning freedom, including the ability to do otherwise. Waiving determination, by contrast, would violate the minimal criteria rather than providing “more” freedom. It is concluded that self-determination provides everything that we can ask for if we ask for freedom. (shrink)
Dissociation thought experiments like Zombie and Inverted Spectrum cases play an essential role in the qualia debate. Critics have long since argued that these cases raise serious epistemic issues, undermining first person access to phenomenal states also in normal subjects. Proponents have denied this because, due to their phenomenal experience, normal subjects have epistemic abilities that Zombies don’t have. Here I will present a modified version of these thought experiments: Part-time Zombies and Part-time Inverts switch between normal and abnormal states (...) every now and then. Thus they provide insight into their epistemic situation showing that the mere possibility of Zombies and Inverts has consequences which undermine essential epistemic features of phenomenal properties even in normals. This line of reasoning will be corroborated by theoretical considerations on the epistemic requirements of phenomenal states. All this provides support for the “functional mapping hypothesis.” According to this hypothesis, any significant phenomenal difference can be mapped to a specific functional difference which is accessible from the third person perspective as well. (shrink)
Eine Analyse unseres auf dem gesunden Menschenverstand beruhenden Freiheitskonzeptes ergibt zwei „minimale Kriterien“: 1) Autonomie bedeutet einen Unterschied zwischen Freiheit und Zwang; 2) Urheberschaft bedeutet einen Unterschied zwischen Freiheit und Zufall. Die Auslegung von Freiheit als „Selbstbestimmung“ kann für beide Kriterien in Anspruch genommen werden. „Selbstbestimmung“ wird verstanden als Bestimmung anhand „persönlicher Vorlieben“, die für die betreffende Person konstituierend sind. Freiheit und Determinismus sind also kompatibel. Die Schlüsselfrage ist nicht, ob unser Handeln überhaupt determiniert ist, sondern eher, ob dies durch (...) persönliche Vorlieben geschieht. Diese Erklärung kann den meisten freiheitsbezogenen Intuitionen gerecht werden, einschließlich der Fähigkeit, anders [als gewohnt] zu handeln. Im Gegensatz dazu würde der Verzicht auf eine Determinierung eher das genannte Minimalkriterium verletzen, als „mehr“ Freiheit zu ermöglichen. Der Verfasser kommt zum Schluss, dass Selbstbestimmung die Verwirklichung aller unserer Ansprüche ermöglicht, wenn wir Freiheit fordern. (shrink)
L’analyse de la conception commune de la liberté produit deux « critères minimaux » : 1) L’autonomie distingue la liberté de la contrainte ; 2) La responsabilité distingue la liberté du hasard. Interpréter la liberté comme « autodétermination » correspond aux deux critères. L’autodétermination se comprend comme une détermination par les « préférences personnelles », constitutives de la personne. La liberté et le déterminisme sont ainsi compatibles. La question essentielle n’est pas de savoir si une action est déterminée ou pas, (...) mais plutôt de savoir si elle est déterminée par les préférences personnelles. Cette explication est juste à l’égard des intuitions les plus importantes concernant la liberté, y compris le pouvoir d’agir autrement. Abandonner la détermination, par contraste, violerait les critères minimaux au lieu de procurer « davantage » de liberté. Dans la conclusion, il est indiqué que l’autodétermination procure tout ce qu’on peut demander si on demande la liberté. (shrink)
Palmer's principled distinction between first-person experience and scientific access is called into question. First, complete color transformations of experience and memory may be undetectable even from the first-person perspective. Second, transformations of (say) pain experiences seem to be intrinsically connected to certain effects, thus giving science access to these experiences, in principle. Evidence from pain research and emotional psychology indicates that further progress can be made.
According to a widespread view, neuroscientific basic research tells us more about the essence of the mind than psychology and may, in the long run, even replace those higher level approaches. Contrary to this view, it is demonstrated that many features can only be observed and explained on a certain level of complexity. This is particularly obvious in the case of neuromarketing and neuroeconomics. In both cases, neuroscientific methods depend on behavioral paradigms. Still, neuroscientific research in these fields may enhance (...) our understanding of the underlying neural mechanisms. In addition, neuroeconomics provide excellent conditions for the study of human decision making. (shrink)