Jerry Fodor deemed informational encapsulation ‘the essence’ of a system’s modularity and argued that human perceptual processing comprises modular systems, thus construed. Nowadays, his conclusion is widely challenged. Often, this is because experimental work is seen to somehow demonstrate the cognitive penetrability of perceptual processing, where this is assumed to conflict with the informational encapsulation of perceptual systems. Here, I deny the conflict, proposing that cognitive penetration need not have any straightforward bearing on the conjecture that perceptual processing is composed (...) of nothing but informationally encapsulated modules, the conjecture that each and every perceptual computation is performed by an informationally encapsulated module, and the consequences perceptual encapsulation was traditionally expected to have for a perception-cognition border, the epistemology of perception and cognitive science. With these points in view, I propose that particularly plausible cases of cognitive penetration would actually seem to evince the encapsulation of perceptual systems rather than refute/problematize this conjecture. (shrink)
On a now orthodox view, humans and many other animals possess a “number sense,” or approximate number system, that represents number. Recently, this orthodox view has been subject to numerous critiques that question whether the ANS genuinely represents number. We distinguish three lines of critique – the arguments from congruency, confounds, and imprecision – and show that none succeed. We then provide positive reasons to think that the ANS genuinely represents numbers, and not just non-numerical confounds or exotic substitutes for (...) number, such as “numerosities” or “quanticals,” as critics propose. In so doing, we raise a neglected question: numbers of what kind? Proponents of the orthodox view have been remarkably coy on this issue. But this is unsatisfactory since the predictions of the orthodox view, including the situations in which the ANS is expected to succeed or fail, turn on the kind of number being represented. In response, we propose that the ANS represents not only natural numbers, but also non-natural rational numbers. It does not represent irrational numbers, however, and thereby fails to represent the real numbers more generally. This distances our proposal from existing conjectures, refines our understanding of the ANS, and paves the way for future research. (shrink)
This paper refines a controversial proposal: that core systems belong to a perceptual kind, marked out by the format of its representational outputs. Following Susan Carey, this proposal has been understood in terms of core representations having an iconic format, like certain paradigmatically perceptual outputs. I argue that they don’t, but suggest that the proposal may be better formulated in terms of a broader analogue format type. Formulated in this way, the proposal accommodates the existence of genuine icons in perception, (...) and avoids otherwise troubling objections. (shrink)
Joint actions often require agents to track others’ actions while planning and executing physically incongruent actions of their own. Previous research has indicated that this can lead to visuomotor interference effects when it occurs outside of joint action. How is this avoided or overcome in joint actions? We hypothesized that when joint action partners represent their actions as interrelated components of a plan to bring about a joint action goal, each partner’s movements need not be represented in relation to distinct, (...) incongruent proximal goals. Instead they can be represented in relation to a single proximal goal – especially if the movements are, or appear to be, mechanically linked to a more distal joint action goal. To test this, we implemented a paradigm in which participants produced finger movements that were either congruent or incongruent with those of a virtual partner, and either with or without a joint action goal (the joint flipping of a switch, which turned on two light bulbs). Our findings provide partial support for the hypothesis that visuomotor interference effects can be reduced when two physically incongruent actions are represented as mechanically interdependent contributions to a joint action goal. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Berger and Nanay consider, and reject, three ways of addressing the phenomenon of unconscious perception within a naïve realist framework. Since these three approaches seem to exhaust the options open to naïve realists, and since there is said to be excellent evidence that perception of the same fundamental kind can occur, both consciously and unconsciously, this is seen to present a problem for the view. We take this opportunity to show that all three approaches considered remain (...) perfectly plausible ways of addressing unconscious perception within a naïve realist framework. So far from undermining the credibility of naïve realism, Berger and Nanay simply draw our attention to an important question to be considered by naïve realists in future work. Namely, which of the approaches considered is most likely to provide an accurate account of unconscious perception in each of its purported incarnations? (shrink)
A recent empirical study claims to show that the answer to Molyneux’s question is negative, but, as John Schwenkler points out, its findings are inconclusive: Subjects tested in this study probably lacked the visual acuity required for a fair assessment of the question. Schwenkler is undeterred. He argues that the study could be improved by lowering the visual demands placed on subjects, a suggestion later endorsed and developed by Kevin Connolly. I suggest that Connolly and Schwenkler both underestimate the difficulties (...) involved in rectifying the study they seek to fix. The problem is that the experimental paradigm under consideration fails to account for the role that rational inference plays in newly sighted subjects’ ability or inability to recognize spatial properties across modalities. Since answering Molyneux’s question requires establishing whether spatial properties can be recognized, across modalities, by newly sighted subjects without recourse to rational inference, this is a problem. Indeed, it is a problem that may be worsened by Schwenkler and Connolly’s suggestions regarding the lowering of visual demands on subjects in cross-modal matching tasks. (shrink)
It has been claimed that naïve realism predicts phenomenological similarities where there are none and, thereby, mischaracterizes the phenomenal character of perceptual experience. If true, this undercuts a key motivation for the view. Here, we defend naïve realism against this charge, proposing that such arguments fail (three times over). In so doing, we highlight a more general problem with critiques of naïve realism that target the purported phenomenological predictions of the view. The problem is: naïve realism, broadly construed, doesn’t make (...) phenomenological predictions of the required sort. So, as a result, opponents must resign themselves to attacking specific incarnations of naïve realism, or approach matters quite differently. (shrink)
Samuel Clarke was by far the most gifted and influential Newtonian philosopher of his generation, and A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, which constituted the 1704 Boyle Lectures, was one of the most important works of the first half of the eighteenth century, generating a great deal of controversy about the relation between space and God, the nature of divine necessary existence, the adequacy of the Cosmological Argument, agent causation, and the immateriality of the soul. Together with (...) the other texts presented in this edition, it also provides the best introduction to Clarke's philosophical views, which, in addition to their intrinsic interest, are historically important for the light they shed both on the philosophical positions within the Newtonian circle and on the exchange between Clarke and Leibniz, the most famous philosophical controversy of the eighteenth century. (shrink)
We suggest that pain processing has a modular architecture. We begin by motivating the (widely assumed but seldom defended) conjecture that pain processing comprises inferential mechanisms. We then note that pain exhibits a characteristic form of judgement independence. On the assumption that pain processing is inferential, we argue that its judgement independence is indicative of modular (encapsulated) mechanisms. Indeed, we go further, suggesting that it renders the modularity of pain mechanisms a default hypothesis to be embraced pending convincing counterevidence. Finally, (...) we consider what a modular pain architecture might look like, and question alleged counterevidence to our proposal. (shrink)
An important work in the debate between materialists and dualists, the public correspondence between Anthony Collins and Samuel Clarke provided the framework for arguments over consciousness and personal identity in eighteenth-century Britain. In Clarke's view, mind and consciousness are so unified that they cannot be compounded into wholes or divided into parts, so mind and consciousness must be distinct from matter. Collins, by contrast, was a perceptive advocate of a materialist account of mind, who defended the possibility that thinking and (...) consciousness are emergent properties of the brain. Appendices include philosophical writings that influenced, and responded to, the correspondence. (shrink)
It is often claimed that pre-attentive vision has an ‘iconic’ format. This is seen to explain pre-attentive vision’s characteristically high processing capacity and to make sense of an overlap in the mechanisms of early vision and mental imagery. But what does the iconicity of pre-attentive vision amount to? This paper considers two prominent ways of characterising pre-attentive visual icons and argues that neither is adequate: one approach renders the claim ‘pre-attentive vision is iconic’ empirically false while the other obscures its (...) ability to do the explanatory work which motivates positing pre-attentive visual icons in the first place. With this noted, I introduce the (heretofore unarticulated) notion of an ‘Analog Map’ and argue that it provides a superior characterisation of pre-attentive vision’s iconicity. I then argue that this forces a reassessment of debates which have traditionally presupposed the iconicity of pre-attentive vision, emphasising ramifications for the viability of a format-based perception-thought border. (shrink)
In our target article, we argued that the number sense represents natural and rational numbers. Here, we respond to the 26 commentaries we received, highlighting new directions for empirical and theoretical research. We discuss two background assumptions, arguments against the number sense, whether the approximate number system represents numbers or numerosities, and why the ANS represents rational numbers.
For this new edition, Roger Ariew has adapted Samuel Clarke's edition of 1717, modernizing it to reflect contemporary English usage. Ariew's introduction places the correspondence in historical context and discusses the vibrant philosophical climate of the times. Appendices provide those selections from the works of Newton that Clarke frequently refers to in the correspondence. A bibliography is also included.
On a now orthodox view, humans and many other animals are endowed with a “number sense”, or approximate number system (ANS), that represents number. Recently, this orthodox view has been subject to numerous critiques, with critics maintaining either that numerical content is absent altogether, or else that some primitive analog of number (‘numerosity’) is represented as opposed to number itself. We distinguish three arguments for these claims – the arguments from congruency, confounds, and imprecision – and show that none succeed. (...) We then highlight positive reasons for thinking that the ANS genuinely represents numbers. The upshot is that proponents of the orthodox view should not feel troubled by recent critiques of their position. (shrink)