I argue that, contrary to some critics, the notion of conscious experience is a good candidate for denoting a distinct and scientifically interesting phenomenon in the brain. I base this claim mainly on an analysis of neuropsychological data concerning deficits resulting from various types of brain damage as well as some additional supporting empirical evidence. These data strongly point to the hypothesis that conscious experience expresses information that is available for global, integrated, and flexible behavior.
ABSTRACT In the past decade, philosophers have started to use philosophical methods of counselling for everyday problems and predicaments, such as decision‐making, inter‐personal conflicts, occupational dissatisfaction, search for meaning, etc. This paper shows, on the basis of two case studies, how philosophical counselling can utilise analytic methods commonly used in academic philosophy, such as conceptual analysis. The paper also discusses the difference between philosophical counselling and psychological therapy.
After a short description of the nature of philosophical counselling, this paper suggests that what makes philosophical counselling philosophical is that it helps the counsellee in philosophical self‐investigations. These are critical non‐empirical investigations of the fundamental principles underlying the counsellee's ‘lived understanding’(i.e. conceptions which the counsellee lives by, though not necessarily articulates in words), aimed at the development of wisdom. In order to illustrate the nature of philosophical self‐investigation, two case studies are presented. The nature and measurability of success in (...) philosophical counselling is then discussed. A questionnaire filled out by a counsellee is quoted as an illustration of the possible effects and success of philosophical counselling. (shrink)
Within the controversy between the combinatorial and the connectionist approaches to cognition it has been argued that our semantic and syntactic capacities provide evidence for the combinatorial approach. In this paper I offer a counter-weight to this argument by pointing out that the same type of considerations, when applied to the pragmatics of adjectives, provide evidence for connectionism.
We argue that the so-called "property-dualist" theory of consciousness is consistent both with current neurobiological data and with modern theories of physics. The hypothesis that phenomenal properties are global properties that are irreducible to microphysical properties, whose role is to integrate information across large portions of the brain, is consistent with current neurobiological knowledge. These properties can exercise their integration function through action on microscopic structures in the neuron without violating the laws of quantum mechanics. Although we offer no positive (...) argument for the existence of irreducibly global properties, the conclusion is that this view is a scientifically respectable hypothesis that deserves to be investigated. (shrink)
For anyone who wishes to make philosophy relevant to our everyday life, the Meditations by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius is a fascinating text. It is fascinating because it not only presents a deep conception about life, but also mentions practical ways of applying this conception to everyday life.The Meditations is a Stoic text which contains some central ideas already found in earlier Stoic writings and develops them in an engaging way. Several prominent historians of philosophy, notably Pierre Hadot2 and (...) A.A. Long3 , interpret it as a personal notebook of Stoic exercises, or what Hadot calls “spiritual exercises.”4 The idea is that the emperor’s primary purpose in writing this text was not to describe or speculate, but rather to practice. His purpose was not to record his thoughts and actions but to influence them, and thus to direct himself towards the good life.The view that the Meditations is a book of Stoic exercises makes this text especially relevant for philosophical practice. Philosophical practice is a modern approach that seeks to use philosophical thought for dealing with our personal predicaments, enriching our self-understanding, and thus living more deeply, fully, and with greater wisdom.5 Philosophical practice can take different shapes: as philosophical counseling between a philosopher and a counselee; as a workshop of self-examination directed by a philosopher; as a companionship of fellow philosophical seekers; but it can also be practiced by an individual who seeks to live philosophically, just like Marcus Aurelius. Thus, the Meditations can be seen as one of the ancient precursors of modern philosophical practice. (shrink)