What is attention? How does attention shape consciousness? In an approach that engages with foundational topics in the philosophy of mind, the theory of action, psychology, and the neurosciences this book provides a unified and comprehensive answer to both questions. Sebastian Watzl shows that attention is a central structural feature of the mind. The first half of the book provides an account of the nature of attention. Attention is prioritizing, it consists in regulating priority structures. Attention is not another (...) element of the mind, but constituted by structures that organize, integrate, and coordinate the parts of our mind. Attention thus integrates the perceptual and intellectual, the cognitive and motivational, and the epistemic and practical. The second half of the book concerns the relationship between attention and consciousness. Watzl argues that attentional structure shapes consciousness into what is central and what is peripheral. The center-periphery structure of consciousness cannot be reduced to the structure of how the world appears to the subject. What it is like for us thus goes beyond the way the world appears to us. On this basis, a new view of consciousness is offered. In each conscious experience we actively take a stance on the world we appear to encounter. It is in this sense that our conscious experience is our subjective perspective. (shrink)
Introduction: Middle-Earth, The lord of the rings, and international relations -- Order, justice, and Middle-Earth -- Thinking about international relations and Middle-Earth -- Middle-Earth and three great debates in international relations -- Middle-Earth, levels of analysis, and war -- Middle-Earth and feminist theory -- Middle-Earth and feminist analysis of conflict -- Middle-Earth as a source of inspiration and enrichment -- Conclusion: international relations and our many worlds.
The effects of public announcements, private communications, deceptive messages to groups, and so on, can all be captured by a general mechanism of updating multi-agent models with update action models, now in widespread use. There is a natural extension of the definition of a bisimulation to action models. Surely enough, updating with bisimilar action models gives the same result (modulo bisimulation). But the converse turns out to be false: update models may have the same update effects without being bisimilar. We (...) propose action emulation as a notion of equivalence more appropriate for action models, and generalizing standard bisimulation. It is proved that action emulation provides a full characterization of update effect. We first concentrate on the general case, and next focus on the important case of action models with propositional preconditions. Our notion of action emulation yields a simplification procedure for action models, and it gives designers of multi-agent systems a useful tool for comparing different ways of representing a particular communicative action. (shrink)
This paper defends and develops the structuring account of conscious attention: attention is the conscious mental process of structuring one’s stream of consciousness so that some parts of it are more central than others. In the first part of the paper, I motivate the structuring account. Drawing on a variety of resources I argue that the phenomenology of attention cannot be fully captured in terms of how the world appears to the subject, as well as against an atomistic conception of (...) attention. In the second part of the paper, I show how the structuring account can be made precise: attention causes and causally sustains phenomenal relations to hold between the parts of the stream of consciousness; most importantly the relation of one part being peripheral to another. I end by pointing out consequences for both the scientific study of attention as well as for several areas of central philosophical interest. (shrink)
The debate between critics of syntactic and semantic approaches to the formalization of scientific theories has been going on for over 50 years. I structure the debate in light of a recent exchange between Hans Halvorson, Clark Glymour, and Bas van Fraassen and argue that the only remaining disagreement concerns the alleged difference in the dependence of syntactic and semantic approaches on languages of predicate logic. This difference turns out to be illusory.
The publication of Frege’s Begriffsschrift in 1879 forever altered the landscape for many Western philosophers. Here, Sebastian Rödl traces how the Fregean influence, written all over the development and present state of analytic philosophy, led into an unholy alliance of an empiricist conception of sensibility with an inferentialist conception of thought. -/- According to Rödl, Wittgenstein responded to the implosion of Frege’s principle that the nature of thought consists in its inferential order, but his Philosophical Investigations shied away from (...) offering an alternative. Rödl takes up the challenge by turning to Kant and Aristotle as ancestors of this tradition, and in doing so identifies its unacknowledged question: the relation of judgment and truth to time. Rödl finds in the thought of these two men the answer he urges us to consider: the temporal and the sensible, and the atemporal and the intelligible, are aspects of one reality and cannot be understood independently of one another. In demonstrating that an investigation into the categories of the temporal can be undertaken as a contribution to logic, Rödl seeks to transform simultaneously our philosophical understanding of both logic and time. (shrink)
In a reconstruction of the theories of Freud and Klein, Sebastian Gardner asks: what causes irrationality, what must the mind be like for it to be irrational, to what extent does irrationality involve self-awareness, and what is the point of irrationality? Arguing that psychoanalytic theory provides the most penetrating answers to these questions, he rejects the widespread view of the unconscious as a 'second mind', in favour of a view of it as a source of inherently irrational desires seeking (...) expression through wish-fulfilment and phantasy. He meets scepticism about psychoanalytic explanation by exhibiting its continuity with everyday psychology. (shrink)
This edition contains the last radio essay of the church-historian Kurt Nowak. It has the title: “Is it able, to write the history of the GDR yet?” The introduction takes up this question in the context of his reflections about the former GDR in other texts.
The effects of public announcements, private communications, deceptive messages to groups, and so on, can all be captured by a general mechanism of updating multi-agent models with update action models, now in widespread use. There is a natural extension of the definition of a bisimulation to action models. Surely enough, updating with bisimilar action models gives the same result. But the converse turns out to be false: update models may have the same update effects without being bisimilar. We propose action (...) emulation as a notion of equivalence more appropriate for action models, and generalizing standard bisimulation. It is proved that action emulation provides a full characterization of update effect. We first concentrate on the general case, and next focus on the important case of action models with propositional preconditions. Our notion of action emulation yields a simplification procedure for action models, and it gives designers of multi-agent systems a useful tool for comparing different ways of representing a particular communicative action. (shrink)
In having an experience one is aware of having it. Having an experience requires some form of access to one's own state, which distinguishes phenomenally conscious mental states from other kinds of mental states. Until very recently, Higher-Order (HO) theories were the only game in town aiming at offering a full-fledged account of this form of awareness within the analytical tradition. Independently of any objections that HO theories face, First/Same-Order (F/SO) theorists need to offer an account of such access to (...) become a plausible alternative. My aim in this paper is twofold. In the first place, I wish to widen the logical space of the discussion among theories of consciousness by offering a distinction, orthogonal to that between F/SO and HO theories, between what I will call 'Self-Involving' (SI) and 'Mental-State-Involving' (MSI) theories and argue in favor of the former one. In the second place, I will present the basics of a characterization of such a Self-Involving theory in Same-Order terms. (shrink)
What is attention? Attention is often seen as a subject matter for the hard sciences of cognitive and brain processes, and is understood in terms of sub-personal mechanisms and processes. Correspondingly, there still is a stark contrast between the central role attention plays for the empirical investigation of the mind in psychology and the neurosciences, and its relative neglect in philosophy. Yet, over the past years, several philosophers have challenged the standard conception. A number of interesting philosophical questions concerning the (...) nature of attention arise. This article provides an introduction to contemporary debates concerning these questions. In particular, it discusses the question of how the pre-theoretic conception of attention might be reconciled with a scientific conception, arguments that provide support for an anti-reductivist theory of attention, and sketches several recent anti-reductivist theories and their inter-relations. (shrink)
Meta-ethical expressivism was traditionally seen as the view that normative judgements are not beliefs. Recently, quasi-realists have argued, via a minimalist conception of “belief”, that expressivism is fully compatible with normative judgements being beliefs. This maneuver is successful, however, only if quasi-realists have really offered an expressivist-friendly account of belief that captures all platitudes characterizing belief. But, quasi-realists’ account has a crucial gap, namely how to account for the propositional contents of normative beliefs in an expressivist-friendly manner. In particular, quasi-realists (...) haven’t yet developed their preferred option, a “minimalist” or “deflationist” account of such contents. This paper aims to close that gap. I argue that expressivists who accepts conceptual role semantics and use an account of that-clauses in their use in belief-attributions based on Wilfrid Sellars’ work can give a deflationary account of the contents of beliefs that is compatible with normative judgements being beliefs, even if expressivism is true. (shrink)
The latter half of the nineteenth and the early part of the twentieth century witnessed a remarkable resurgence of interest in Kant’s philosophy in Continental Europe, the effects of which are still being felt today. _The Neo-Kantian Reader_ is the first anthology to collect the most important primary sources in Neo-Kantian philosophy, with many being published here in English for the first time. It includes extracts on a rich and diverse number of subjects, including logic, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of science, (...) and transcendental idealism. Sebastian Luft, together with other scholars, provides clear introductions to each of the following sections, placing them in historical and philosophical context: the beginnings of Neo-Kantianism: including the work of Hermann von Helmholtz, Otto Liebman, Friedrich Lange, and Hermann Lotze the Marburg School: including Hermann Cohen, Paul Natorp, and Ernst Cassirer the Southwest School: including Wilhelm Windelband, Heinrich Rickert, Emil Lask, and Hans Vaihinger responses and critiques: including Moritz Schlick, Edmund Husserl; Rudolf Carnap, and the 'Davos dispute' between Martin Heidegger and Ernst Cassirer. The Neo-Kantian Reader is essential reading for all students of Kant, nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy, history and philosophy of science, and phenomenology, as well as to those studying important philosophical movements such as logical positivism and analytic philosophy and its history. (shrink)
It has recently been suggested that meta-normative expressivism is best seen as a meta-semantic, rather than a semantic view. One strong motivation for this is that expressivism becomes, thereby, compatible with truth-conditional semantics. While this approach is promising, however, many of its details are still unexplored. One issue that still needs to be explored in particular, is what accounts of propositional contents are open to meta-semantic expressivists. This paper makes progress on this issue by developing an expressivist-friendly deflationary account of (...) such contents. (shrink)
This comprehensive treatment of Neo-Kantianism discusses the main topics and key figures of the movement and their intersection with other 20th-century philosophers. With the advent of phenomenology, existentialism, and the Frankfurt School, Neo-Kantianism was deemed too narrowly academic and science-oriented to compete with new directions in philosophy. These essays bring Neo-Kantianism back into contemporary philosophical discourse. They expand current views of the Neo-Kantians and reassess the movement and the philosophical traditions emerging from it. This groundbreaking volume provides new and important (...) insights into the history of philosophy, the scope of transcendental thought, and Neo-Kantian influence on the sciences and intellectual culture. (shrink)
This paper pursues the double task of presenting Cassirer’s Philosophy of Symbolic Forms as a systematic critique of culture and assessing this systematic approach with regards to the question of reason vs. relativism. First, it reconstructs the development of his theory to its mature presentation in his Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. Cassirer here presents a critique of culture as fulfilling Kant’s critical work by insisting on the plurality of reason as spirit, manifesting itself in symbolic forms. In the second part, (...) the consequences of this approach will be drawn by considering the systematics Cassirer intended with this theory. As can be reconstructed from his metaphilosophical reflections, the strength of Cassirer’s philosophy is that it accounts for the plurality of rational-spiritual activity while at the same time not succumbing to a relativism. The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms steers a middle course between a rational fundamentalism and a postmodern relativism. (shrink)
Part 1. Husserl: the outlines of the transcendental-phenomenological system -- 1. Husserl's phenomenological discovery of the natural attitude -- 2. Husserl's theory of the phenomenological reduction: between lifeworld and Cartesianism -- 3. Some methodological problems arising in Husserl's late reflections on the phenomenological reduction -- 4. Facticity and historicity as constituents of the lifeworld in Husserl's late philosophy -- 5. Husserl's concept of the "transcendental person": another look at the Husserl-Heidegger relationship -- 6. Dialectics of the absolute: the systematics of (...) the phenomenological system in Husserl's last period -- Part 2. Husserl, Kant, and neo-Kantianism: from subjectivity to lifeworld as a world of culture -- 7. From being to givenness and back: some remarks on the meaning of transcendental idealism in Kant and Husserl -- 8. Reconstruction and reduction: Natorp and Husserl on method and the question of subjectivity -- 9. A hermeneutic phenomenology of subjective and objective spirit: Husserl, Natorp, and Cassirer -- 10. Cassirer's philosophy of symbolic forms: between reason and relativism: a critical appraisal -- Part 3. Toward a Husserlian hermeneutics -- 11. The subjectivity of effective history and the suppressed husserlian elements in Gadamer's hermeneutics -- 12. Husserl's "hermeneutical phenomenology" as a philosophy of culture. (shrink)
There is a way of understanding “the philosophical problem of the self” that makes it unquestionably central to and ineliminable from the entire endeavor of philosophy, ancient as much as modern: if by asking about the self we mean to ask what we really, fundamentally are, then the problem of the self comprehends a great range of problems, and every philosophical position worth the name will include a theory of the self. In analytic philosophy, however, the problem of the self (...) has come to be understood differently: what it refers to in the first instance is the puzzle presented by knowledge claims regarding one’s own psychological states, a problem that is distinguished from, while enjoying some connections with, the problem of the conditions for personal identity and the mind-body problem, and that resolves itself into a set of finer problems concerning the conditions of psychological self-ascription, the reference of the first-person pronoun, the notion of immunity to error through misidentification, and so forth. (shrink)
This dissertation investigates the nature, the phenomenal character and the philosophical significance of attention. According to its central thesis, attention is the ongoing mental activity of structuring the stream of consciousness or phenomenal field. The dissertation connects the scientific study of attention in psychology and the neurosciences with central discussions in the philosophy of mind. Once we get clear on the nature and the phenomenal character of attention, we can make progress toward understanding foundational issues concerning the nature and the (...) structure of conscious mentality itself. We understand better how consciousness is connected to self-awareness and to agency, and we get a better grip on the nature of perceptual experience, the unity of consciousness, and its subjective character. The dissertation also aims at showing that the current empirical investigation of attention should be complemented with work at the level of generality that a philosophical analysis can provide; it shows how such an analysis is relevant for the scientific study of attention by providing a new conceptual framework and suggesting several new areas of research. (shrink)
Sebastian Luft explores the philosophy of culture championed by the Marburg School of Neo-Kantianism. Following a historical trajectory from Hermann Cohen to Paul Natorp and through to Ernst Cassirer, he defends the attractiveness of a philosophical culture in the transcendental vein.
The present paper is an attempt at the investigation of the nature of polarity contrast in natural languages. Truth conditions for natural language sentences are incomplete unless they include a proper definition of the conditions under which they are false. It is argued that the tertium non datur principle of classical bivalent logical systems is empirically invalid for natural languages: falsity cannot be equated with non-truth. Lacking a direct intuition about the conditions under which a sentence is false, we need (...) an independent foundation of the concept of falsity. The solution I offer is a definition of falsity in terms of the truth of a syntactic negation of the sentence. A definition of syntactic negation is proposed for English. (shrink)
There are several known Lindström-style characterization results for basic modal logic. This paper proves a generic Lindström theorem that covers any normal modal logic corresponding to a class of Kripke frames definable by a set of formulas called strict universal Horn formulas. The result is a generalization of a recent characterization of modal logic with the global modality. A negative result is also proved in an appendix showing that the result cannot be strengthened to cover every first-order elementary class of (...) frames. This is shown by constructing an explicit counterexample. (shrink)
Perceptual illusions have often served as an important tool in the study of perceptual experience. In this paper I argue that a recently discovered set of visual illusions sheds new light on the nature of time consciousness. I suggest the study of these silencing illusions as a tool kit for any philosopher interested in the experience of time and show how to better understand time consciousness by combining detailed empirical investigations with a detailed philosophical analysis. In addition, and more speciﬁcally, (...) I argue against an initially plausible range of views that assume a close match between the temporal content of visual experience and the temporal layout of experience itself. Against such a widely held structural matching thesis I argue that which temporal changes we are experiencing bears no close relation to how our experience itself is changing over time. Explanations of the silencing illusions that are compatible with the structural matching thesis fail. (shrink)
In his Logic, Hegel argues that evaluative judgments are comparisons between the reality of an individual object and the standard for that reality found in the object's own concept. Understood in this way, an object is bad insofar as it fails to be what it is according to its concept. In his recent Life and Action, Michael Thompson has suggested that we can understand various kinds of natural defect in a similar way, and that if we do, we can helpfully (...) see intellectual and moral badness—irrationality and vice—as themselves varieties of natural defect. In this paper, I argue that Hegel's position on animal individuality denies the claim that irrationality and vice are forms of natural defect. Hegel's account of the individuality proper to the animal organism in the Philosophy of Nature clearly disallows evaluative judgments about animals and thereby establishes a well-defined conceptual distinction between natural defect and intellectual or ethical—i.e., broadly spiritual or geistliche—defect. Hegel thus provides a way of maintaining the difference between nature and spirit within his broader commitment to a post-Kantian conception of substantial form. (shrink)
Carnap’s search for a criterion of empirical significance is usually considered a failure. I argue that the results from two out of his three different approaches are at the very least problematic, but that one approach led to success. Carnap’s criterion of translatability into logical syntax is too vague to allow for definite results. His criteria for terms—introducibility by chains of reduction sentences and his criterion from “The Methodological Character of Theoretical Concepts”—are almost trivial and have no clear relation to (...) the empirical significance of sentences. However, his criteria for sentences—translatability, verifiability, falsifiability, confirmability—are usable, and under the assumptions needed for the Carnap sentence approach, verifiability, falsifiability, and translatability become equivalent. As a result of the Carnap sentence approach, metaphysics is rendered analytic. (shrink)
Quasi-realists argue that meta-ethical expressivism is fully compatible with the central assumptions underlying ordinary moral practice. In a recent paper, Andy Egan has developed a vexing challenge for this project, arguing that expressivism is incompatible with central assumptions about error in moral judgments. In response, Simon Blackburn has argued that Egan's challenge fails, because Egan reads the expressivist as giving an account of moral error, rather than an account of judgments about moral error. In this paper I argue that the (...) challenge can be reinstated, even if we focus only on the expressivist's account of judgments about moral error. (shrink)
This dissertation consists of three parts. Part I is a defense of an artificial language methodology in philosophy and a historical and systematic defense of the logical empiricists' application of an artificial language methodology to scientific theories. These defenses provide a justification for the presumptions of a host of criteria of empirical significance, which I analyze, compare, and develop in part II. On the basis of this analysis, in part III I use a variety of criteria to evaluate the scientific (...) status of intelligent design, and further discuss confirmation, reduction, and concept formation. (shrink)
Recently, individualized or personalized medicine (PM) has become a buzz word in the academic as well as public debate surrounding health care. However, PM lacks a clear definition and is open to interpretation. This conceptual vagueness complicates public discourse on chances, risks and limits of PM. Furthermore, stakeholders might use it to further their respective interests and preferences. For these reasons it is important to have a shared understanding of PM. In this paper, we present a sufficiently precise as well (...) as adequate definition of PM with the potential of wide acceptance. (shrink)
The paper develops a uniform analysis of the definite article in its various uses and of definite NPs in general. Starting from the observation that singular and plural mass and count definites all refer to single, though possibly complex objects (Ch. 1), it is argued that the logical role of definites is that of individual expressions (terms). To treat definites as quantifiers is logically inadequate, but (referential) quantification involves definite reference to the domain of quantification (Ch. 2). In Ch. 3 (...) a distinction between functional, relational, and sortal concepts is introduced along with a corresponding subcategorization of noun occurrences. This enables a systematic categorization of the uses of definites, the main distinction being that between semantic and pragmatic definites (Ch. 4). Semantic definites represent functional concepts which exist independently of the particular situation referred to, whereas pragmatic definites depend on that situation for unambiguous reference. In sketching a more elaborated theory of anaphors it is finally argued that the definite article always indicates that the noun is to be taken as a functional concept. Definites in general receive functional concept interpretations, but the definite article is unique in its role: all other determiners require a sortal or relational concept interpretation of the noun. (shrink)
I show that the central notion of Constructive Empiricism, empirical adequacy, can be expressed syntactically and specifically in the Received View of the logical empiricists. The formalization shows that the Received View is superior to Constructive Empiricism in the treatment of theories involving constants or functions from observable to unobservable objects. It also suggests a formalization of ‘full empirical informativeness’ in Constructive Empiricism.
Recent psychological research shows that attention affects appearances. An “attended item looks bigger, faster, earlier, more saturated, stripier.” (Block 2010, p. 41). What is the significance of these findings? Ned Block has argued that they undermine representationism, roughly the view that the phenomenal character of perception is determined by its representational content. My first goal in this paper is to show that Block’s argument has the structure of a Problem of Arbitrary Phenomenal Variation and that it improves on other instances (...) of arguments of the same form along several dimensions (most prominently, these are arguments based on the possibility of spectral inversion). My second goal is to consider responses to Block’s version of the arbitrariness problem. I will show that most of them have serious drawbacks. Overall, the best view is to accept that attention may distort perception, sacrificing veridicality for usability. I end my discussion by showing how to develop that view. (shrink)
Syntactic approaches in the philosophy of science, which are based on formalizations in predicate logic, are often considered in principle inferior to semantic approaches, which are based on formalizations with the help of structures. To compare the two kinds of approach, I identify some ambiguities in common semantic accounts and explicate the concept of a structure in a way that avoids hidden references to a specific vocabulary. From there, I argue that contrary to common opinion (i) unintended models do not (...) pose a significant problem for syntactic approaches to scientific theories, (ii) syntactic approaches can be at least as language-independent as semantic ones, and (iii) in syntactic approaches, scientific theories can be as well connected to the world as in semantic ones. Based on these results, I argue that syntactic and semantic approaches fare equally well when it comes to (iv) ease of application, (v) accommodating the use of models in the sciences, and (vi) capturing the theory-observation relation. (shrink)
Animal models of human diseases are often used in biomedical research in place of human subjects. However, results obtained by animal models may fail to hold true for humans. One way of addressing this problem is to make animal models more similar to humans by placing human tissue into animal models, rendering them chimeric. Since technical and ethical limitations make neurological disorders difficult to study in humans, chimeric models with human neural tissue could help advance our understanding of neuropathophysiology. In (...) this article, we examine whether the introduction of human neural tissue and any consequent cognitive change is relevant to the way we ought to treat chimeras. We argue that changes in cognitive abilities are morally relevant to the extent that they increase the capacities that affect the moral status of any entity, including awareness, autonomy, and sociability. We posit that no being, regardless of species, should be treated in a way that is incommensurate with its moral status. Finally, we propose a framework that can be used to guide ethical assessment of research involving chimeras with advanced cognitive capacities. We advance this framework as a useful tool for bringing relevant considerations to the forefront for those considering the ethical merit of proposed chimeric research. In doing so, we examine concepts relevant to the question of how any entity may be treated, including moral status, dignity, and capacities. (shrink)
I defend the Received View on scientific theories as developed by Carnap, Hempel, and Feigl against a number of criticisms based on misconceptions. First, I dispute the claim that the Received View demands axiomatizations in first order logic, and the further claim that these axiomatizations must include axioms for the mathematics used in the scientific theories. Next, I contend that models are important according to the Received View. Finally, I argue against the claim that the Received View is intended to (...) make the concept of a theory more precise. Rather, it is meant as a generalizable framework for explicating specific theories. (shrink)
While the meta-ethical error theory has been of philosophical interest for some time now, only recently a debate has emerged about the question what is to be done if the error theory turns out to be true. This paper argues for a novel answer to this question, namely revolutionary expressivism: if the error theory is true, we should become expressivists. Additionally, the paper explores certain important but largely ignored methodological issues that arise for reforming definitions generally and with a vengeance (...) in the context of a radical error theory about all practical normative judgements, and suggests how these issues can be resolved. (shrink)