We describe a strategy for integration of data that is based on the idea of semantic enhancement. The strategy promises a number of benefits: it can be applied incrementally; it creates minimal barriers to the incorporation of new data into the semantically enhanced system; it preserves the existing data (including any existing data-semantics) in their original form (thus all provenance information is retained, and no heavy preprocessing is required); and it embraces the full spectrum of data sources, types, models, and (...) modalities (including text, images, audio, and signals). The result of applying this strategy to a given body of data is an evolving Dataspace that allows the application of a variety of integration and analytic processes to diverse data contents. We conceive semantic enhancement (SE) as a lightweight and flexible process that leverages the richness of the structured contents of the Dataspace without adding storage and processing burdens to what, in the intelligence domain, will be an already storage- and processing-heavy starting point. SE works not by changing the data to which it is applied, but rather by adding an extra semantic layer to this data. We sketch how the semantic enhancement approach can be applied consistently and in cumulative fashion to new data and data-models that enter the Dataspace. (shrink)
According to recent accounts of the imagination, mental mechanisms that can take input from both imagining and from believing will process imagination-based inputs (pretense representations) and isomorphic beliefs in much the same way. That is, such a mechanism should produce similar outputs whether its input is the belief that p or the pretense representation that p. Unfortunately, there seem to be clear counterexamples to this hypothesis, for in many cases, imagining that p and believing that p have quite different psychological (...) consequences. This paper sets out some central problem cases and argues that the cases might be accommodated by adverting to the role of desires concerning real and imaginary situations. (shrink)
With 'How the body shapes the mind', Shaun Gallagher provides a general panoptic of the importance of the body in cognition, based on significant experimental results. His main goals here are (1) to describe body awareness in detail and (2) to investigate the influence of the body on self-consciousness, perception, language and social cognition. Here, I focus on two points: the distinction between the body schema and the body image and the structuring role of the body.
The stated aim of Shaun Gallagher’s book is to provide, “an account of embodiment that is sufficiently detailed, and that is articulated in a vocabulary that can integrate discussions across the cognitive sciences...to remap the terrain that lies between phenomenology and cognitive neuroscience” (10). With this in mind, the book must be considered a success. The book provides a unified account of embodiment, and its relations to a number of aspects of experience, that is genuinely accessible from the perspectives (...) of the philosophy of mind, phenomenology, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience. The book is divided into two parts. The first presents an admirably lucid account of the different ways in which embodiment informs and structures experience. The second attempts to “extend the results of the scientific and phenomenological studies developed in the first part into various philosophical problem areas that border on the cognitive sciences.” (12). A large amount of the material that appears here has appeared, in some form or other, before. This is perhaps partly responsible for the feel, especially in the second part of the book, that we are being given a collection of essays on a loosely connected theme. However, this does not detract from its philosophical and scientific significance, and there is genuine value in having this impressive body of work to hand in a single book. It must be said that some chapters are more successful (for example, chapters 5 and 7 on gesture and on Molyneux’s Problem respectively) than others (for example, chapters 6 and 10 on perception and free will respectively), and some of them appear rather well distanced from the general picture of embodiment presented in the first part of the book (for example, chapter 9 on other minds). It also has to be admitted that the book’s primary strength, the vast and interdisciplinary range of resources under its command, occasionally becomes a weakness. This happens in chapter 8 where we are promised an exploration of, “a variety of issues that pertain to the structure of self-awareness and the capacity for self-reference...[demonstrating] just how complex and fragile these phenomena are.” (173). Yet what we get is an account of how thought insertion is explained by deficiencies in the temporal structure of experience. Whilst this is fascinating in its own right, and does speak, to a certain extent, to issues concerning self-awareness, the vexed issue of self-reference is not even mentioned again. Minor gripes aside, this book contains such an incredible wealth of information and argumentation that it must surely be considered required reading for anyone working on embodiment, embodied cognition and the philosophy of mind more generally. (shrink)
Nichols’ Bound presents interesting new angles on traditional debates about free will and moral responsibility, relating them to the latest empirical research in psychology, social sciences and experimental philosophy. In experimental philosophy, he cites numerous recent studies showing that there are strong incompatibilist strands in folk intuitions about free will and responsibility, taking issue with other recent studies claiming that folk intuitions are predominantly compatibilist. But he also argues that incompatibilist folk intuitions are based on faulty reasoning and cannot be (...) realized. We are left with a choice between an eliminativism about free will and moral responsibility or revising ordinary beliefs and practices in a compatibilist direction. Though Nichols sees problems with both these positions, he ultimately opts for the latter. Despite agreeing with Nichols on many points, I argue in this paper that he takes the libertarian view of free will off the table too precipitously, leaving us with too narrow a choice of options. I argue that we can make sense of an incompatibilist view of free will and responsibility without reducing it to mere chance or mystery and that it remains an open scientific question whether we can have such a free will. (shrink)
This paper explores the phenomenon of thought insertion, an experience reported by some schizophrenics where it is believed that other persons or forces are inserting thoughts into their minds. This relatively circumscribed symptom of schizophrenia raises difficult questions concerning our sense of agency for our thoughts. How is it possible that persons can think that their thoughts are not their own? Gallagher, drawing on Husserl’s early work on timeconsciousness, provides a subtle and sophisticated answer to this problem, suggesting that protention (...) may underlie our sense of agency for thinking and that the experience of inserted thoughts may occur in the event of an intermittent failure in this protentional function. More recent Husserl scholarship suggests, however, that this account may face problems on phenomenological grounds. It is argued here that our sense of agency for thinking requires more than protention, and, consequently, that the absence of protention cannot fully explain the loss of agency for thinking characterizing the experience of thought insertion. In order to contextualize this discussion of the phenomenon theoretically and, in the process, to provide an introduction to the difficulties in explaining it, this paper proceeds with a consideration of Frith’s early cognitive account of thought insertion and the contribution of Stephens and Graham in this regard. In conclusion, it is argued that, despite the merits of all three accounts presented, they remain unable to account for the phenomenon of inserted thoughts, and that we might more fruitfully understand this experience as bein a type of uncontrollable passive or autochthonous thinking. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology , Volume 6, Edition 2 August 2006. (shrink)
One might interpret the locution “the phenomenological mind” as a declaration of a philosophical thesis that the mind is in some sense essentially phenomenological. Authors Gallagher & Zahavi appear to have intended it, however, to refer more to the phenomenological tradition and its methods of analysis. From the subheading of this book, one gains an impression that readers will see how the resources and perspectives from the phenomenological tradition illuminate various issues in philosophy of mind and cognitive science in particular. (...) This impression is reinforced upon finding that many analytic philosophers’ names appear throughout the book. That appearance notwithstanding, as well as the distinctiveness of the book as an introduction, the authors do not sufficiently engage with analytic philosophy. (shrink)
Upshot: Neuroscience is at the crossroads between past beliefs that are still accepted by contemporary common sense and new, emergent findings, which are often counterintuitive for non-specialists. Gallagher’s work provides a brilliant overview of this emerging knowledge that is redrawing the map of the body--mind relationship.