Does thought have distinctive experiential features? Is there, in addition to sensory phenomenology, a kind of cognitive phenomenology--phenomenology of a cognitive or conceptual character? Leading philosophers of mind debate whether conscious thought has cognitive phenomenology and whether it is part of conscious perception and conscious emotion.
Tim Bayne draws on philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience in defence of the claim that consciousness is unified. He develops an account of what it means to say that consciousness is unified, and then applies this account to a variety of cases - drawn from both normal and pathological forms of experience - in which the unity of consciousness is said to break down. He goes on to explore the implications of the unity of consciousness for theories of consciousness, for the (...) sense of embodiment, and for accounts of the self. The Unity of Consciousness draws on a wide range of findings within philosophy and the sciences of the mind to construct an account of the unity of consciousness that is both conceptually sophisticated and scientifically informed. (shrink)
The phenomenal character of perceptual experience involves the representation of colour, shape and motion. Does it also involve the representation of high-level categories? Is the recognition of a tomato as a tomato contained within perceptual phenomenality? Proponents of a conservative view of the reach of phenomenal content say ’No’, whereas those who take a liberal view of perceptual phenomenality say ’Yes’. I clarify the debate between conservatives and liberals, and argue in favour of the liberal view that high-level content can (...) directly inform the phenomenal character of perception. (shrink)
The notion of a level of consciousness is a key construct in the science of consciousness. Not only is the term employed to describe the global states of consciousness that are associated with post-comatose disorders, epileptic absence seizures, anaesthesia, and sleep, it plays an increasingly influential role in theoretical and methodological contexts. However, it is far from clear what precisely a level of consciousness is supposed to be. This paper argues that the levels-based framework for conceptualizing global states of consciousness (...) is untenable and develops in its place a multidimensional account of global states. (shrink)
At any given time, a subject has a multiplicity of conscious experiences. A subject might simultaneously have visual experiences of a red book and a green tree, auditory experiences of birds singing, bodily sensations of a faint hunger and a sharp pain in the shoulder, the emotional experience of a certain melancholy, while having a stream of conscious thoughts about the nature of reality. These experiences are distinct from each other: a subject could experience the red book without the singing (...) birds, and could experience the singing birds without the red book. But at the same time, the experiences seem to be tied together in a deep way. They seem to be unified, by being aspects of a single encompassing state of consciousness. (shrink)
In this paper we defend the doxastic conception of delusions against the metacognitive account developed by Greg Currie and collaborators. According to the metacognitive model, delusions are imaginings that are misidentified by their subjects as beliefs: the Capgras patient, for instance, does not believe that his wife has been replaced by a robot, instead, he merely imagines that she has, and mistakes this imagining for a belief. We argue that the metacognitive account is untenable, and that the traditional conception of (...) delusions as beliefs should be retained. (shrink)
The phenomenology of agency has, until recently, been rather neglected, overlooked by both philosophers of action and philosophers of consciousness alike. Thankfully, all that has changed, and of late there has been an explosion of interest in what it is like to be an agent. 1 This burgeoning field crosses the traditional boundaries between disciplines: philosophers of psychopathology are speculating about the role that unusual experiences of agency might play in accounting for disorders of thought and action; cognitive scientists are (...) developing models of how the phenomenology of agency is generated; and philosophers of mind are drawing connections between the phenomenology of agency and the nature of introspection, phenomenal character, and agency itself. My aim in this paper is not to provide an exhaustive survey of this recent literature, but to provide a.. (shrink)
In 1997, a Scottish surgeon by the name of Robert Smith was approached by a man with an unusual request: he wanted his apparently healthy lower left leg amputated. Although details about the case are sketchy, the would-be amputee appears to have desired the amputation on the grounds that his left foot wasn’t part of him – it felt alien. After consultation with psychiatrists, Smith performed the amputation. Two and a half years later, the patient reported that his life had (...) been transformed for the better by the operation . A second patient was also reported as having been satisfied with his amputation . (shrink)
This paper contrasts two approaches to agentive self-awareness: a high-level, narrative-based account, and a low-level comparator-based account. We argue that an agent's narrative self-conception has a role to play in explaining their agentive judgments, but that agentive experiences are explained by low-level comparator mechanisms that are grounded in the very machinery responsible for action-production.
Viewed from a certain perspective, nothing can seem more secure than introspection. Consider an ordinary conscious episode—say, your current visual experience of the colour of this page. You can judge, when reflecting on this experience, that you have a visual experience as of something white with black marks before you. Does it seem reasonable to doubt this introspective judgement? Surely not—such doubt would seem utterly fanciful. The trustworthiness of introspection is not only assumed by commonsense, it is also taken for (...) granted by many of theorists about the mind. Within both philosophy and the science of consciousness it is widely held that introspection is generally reliable, at least with respect to the question of one’s current (or immediately prior) conscious states. Without this assumption, we could not make sense of theorists’ widespread use of introspection, both in support of their own position and to undermine that of their opponents. (shrink)
According to conventional wisdom, the split-brain syndrome puts paid to the thesis that consciousness is necessarily unified. The aim of this paper is to challenge that view. I argue both that disunity models of the split-brain are highly problematic, and that there is much to recommend a model of the split-brain—the switch model—according to which split-brain patients retain a fully unified consciousness at all times. Although the task of examining the unity of consciousness through the lens of the split-brain syndrome (...) is not a new one—such projects date back to Nagel’s seminal paper on the topic—the time is ripe for a re-evaluation of the issues. (shrink)
Consciousness in experimental subjects is typically inferred from reports and other forms of voluntary behaviour. A wealth of everyday experience confirms that healthy subjects do not ordinarily behave in these ways unless they are conscious. Investigation of consciousness in vegetative state patients has been based on the search for neural evidence that such broad functional capacities are preserved in some vegetative state patients. We call this the standard approach. To date, the results of the standard approach have suggested that some (...) vegetative state patients might indeed be conscious, although they fall short of being demonstrative. The fact that some vegetative state patients show evidence of consciousness according to the standard approach is remarkable, for the standard approach to consciousness is rather conservative, and leaves open the pressing question of how to ascertain whether patients who fail such tests are conscious or not. We argue for a cluster-based ‘natural kind’ methodology that is adequate to that task, both as a replacement for the approach that currently informs research into the presence or absence of consciousness in vegetative state patients and as a methodology for the science of consciousness more generally. IntroductionThe Vegetative StateThe Standard ApproachThe Natural Kind MethodologyIs Consciousness a Special Case? 5.1 Is consciousness a natural kind?5.2 A special obstacle?Conclusion. (shrink)
Where in cognitive architecture do experiences of agency lie? This chapter defends the claim that such states qualify as a species of perception. Reference to ‘the sense of agency’ should not be taken as a mere façon de parler but picks out a genuinely perceptual system. The chapter begins by outlining the perceptual model of agentive experience before turning to its two main rivals: the doxastic model, according to which agentive experience is really a species of belief, and the telic (...) model, according to which agentive experience is really a species of agency. I conclude by defending the perceptual model against a number of objections to it, and by briefly exploring its implications for the question of how to approach the study of perception. (shrink)
A popular approach to monothematic delusions in the recent literature has been to argue that monothematic delusions involve broadly rational responses to highly unusual experiences. Campbell calls this the empiricist approach to monothematic delusions, and argues that it cannot account for the links between meaning and rationality. In place of empiricism Campbell offers a rationalist account of monothematic delusions, according to which delusional beliefs are understood as Wittgensteinian framework propositions. We argue that neither Campbell's attack on empiricism nor his rationalist (...) alternative to empiricism is successful. (shrink)
Disorders of volition are often accompanied by, and may even be caused by, disruptions in the phenomenology of agency. Yet the phenomenology of agency is at present little explored. In this paper we attempt to describe the experience of normal agency, in order to uncover its representational content.
Explanation does not exist in a metaphysical vacuum. Conceptions of the structure of a phenomenon play an important role in guiding attempts to explain it, and erroneous conceptions of a phenomenon may direct investigation in misleading directions. I believe that there is a case to be made for thinking that much work on the neural underpinnings of consciousness—what is often called the neural correlates of consciousness—is driven by an erroneous conception of the structure of consciousness. The aim of this paper (...) is lay bare some connections between the explanation of consciousness and the structure of consciousness, and to argue for a conception of the structure of consciousness that is more adequate than that which currently drives much research into the neural correlates of consciousness. (shrink)
The on-going debate over the ‘admissible contents of perceptual experience’ concerns the range of properties that human beings are directly acquainted with in perceptual experience. Regarding vision, it is relatively uncontroversial that the following properties can figure in the contents of visual experience: colour, shape, illumination, spatial relations, motion, and texture. The controversy begins when we ask whether any properties besides these figure in visual experience. We argue that ‘ensemble properties’ should be added to the list of visually admissible properties. (...) Ensemble properties are features that belong to a set of perceptible objects as a whole as opposed to the individuals that constitute that set. They include such features as the mean size of an array of shapes or the average emotional expression of an array of faces. Recent work in vision science has yielded compelling evidence that the visual system routinely encodes such properties. We argue that epistemological considerations provide strong reasons to think that these properties figure in visual experience. Judgements about ensemble properties are immediately warranted by our perceptual experience, and the only plausible way that a perceptual experience could confer this warrant is if it confers awareness of ensemble properties. (shrink)
Is consciousness multisensory? Obviously it is multisensory in certain ways. Human beings typically possess the capacity to have experiences in at least the five familiar sensory modalities, and quite possibly in a number of other less commonly recognised modalities as well. But there are other respects in which it is far from obvious that consciousness is multisensory. This chapter is concerned with one such respect. Οur concern here is with whether consciousness contains experiences associated with distinct modalities at the same (...) time. We will describe those who endorse a positive answer to this question as endorsing a multisensory view (MSV) of the structure of consciousness, and those who endorse a negative answer to this question as having a unisensory view (USV) of the structure of consciousness. (shrink)
In his 1996 paper Neurophenomenology: A methodological remedy for the hard problem, Francisco Varela called for a union of Husserlian phenomenology and cognitive science. Varela''s call hasn''t gone unanswered, and recent years have seen the development of a small but growing literature intent on exploring the interface between phenomenology and cognitive science. But despite these developments, there is still some obscurity about what exactly neurophenomenology is. What are neurophenomenologists trying to do, and how are they trying to do it? To (...) what extent is neurophenomenology a distinctive and unified research programme? In this paper I attempt to shed some light on these questions. (shrink)
Mentalistic (or Lockean) accounts of personal identity are normally formulated in terms of causal relations between psychological states such as beliefs, memories, and intentions. In this paper we develop an alternative (but still Lockean) account of personal identity, based on phenomenal relations between experiences. We begin by examining a notorious puzzle case due to Bernard Williams, and extract two lessons from it: first, that Williams's puzzle can be defused by distinguishing between the psychological and phenomenal approaches, second, that so far (...) as personal identity is concerned, it is phenomenal rather than psychological continuity that matters. We then consider different ways in which the phenomenal approach may be developed, and respond to a number of objections. That with which the consciousness of this present thinking thing can join itself, makes the same person, and is one self with it, and with nothing else; and so attributes to itself and owns all the actions of that thing, as its own, as far as that consciousness reaches, and no farther; as every one who reflects will perceive. Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding [II.xxvii.17]. (shrink)
At present, the science of consciousness is structured around the search for the neural correlates of consciousness. One of the alleged advantages of the NCCs framework is its metaphysical neutrality—the fact that it begs no contested questions with respect to debates about the fundamental nature of consciousness. Here, we argue that even if the NCC framework is metaphysically neutral, it is structurally committed, for it presupposes a certain model—what we call the Lite-Brite model—of consciousness. This, we argue, represents a serious (...) liability for the NCC framework for the plausibility of the Lite-Brite model is very much an open question, and the science of consciousness would be better served by a framework that does not presuppose it. Drawing on interventionist ideas in the philosophy of science, we suggest that the Difference-Maker framework can provide just such an alternative. Instead of searching for the neural correlates of consciousness, we ought to be searching for the difference makers of consciousness. We detail how a shift to searching DMCs will change both the practice of consciousness science and the interpretation of existing results. (shrink)
Free will sceptics claim that we do not possess free will—or at least, that we do not possess nearly as much free will as we think we do. Some free will sceptics hold that the very notion of free will is incoherent, and that no being could possibly possess free will (Strawson this volume). Others allow that the notion of free will is coherent, but hold that features of our cognitive architecture prevent us from possessing free will. My concern in (...) this chapter is with views of the second kind. According to an increasingly influential line of thought, our common-sense commitment to the existence of free will is threatened in unique ways by what we are learning from the sciences of human agency. (shrink)
The papers in this volume are drawn from a workshop on delusion and self-deception, held at Macquarie University in November of 2004. Our aim was to bring together theorists working on delusions and self-deception with an eye towards identifying and fostering connections—at both empirical and conceptual levels—between these domains. As the contributions to this volume testify, there are multiple points of contact between delusion and self-deception. This introduction charts the conceptual space in which these points of contact can be located (...) and introduces the reader to some of the general issues that frame the discussion of subsequent chapters. (shrink)
Actions performed in a state of automatism are not subject to moral evaluation, while automatic actions often are. Is the asymmetry between automatistic and automatic agency justified? In order to answer this question we need a model or moral accountability that does justice to our intuitions about a range of modes of agency, both pathological and non-pathological. Our aim in this paper is to lay the foundations for such an account.
Elisabeth Pacherie is a research fellow in philosophy at Institut Jean Nicod, Paris. Her main research and publications are in the areas of philosophy of mind, psychopathology and action theory. Her publications include a book on intentionality (_Naturaliser_ _l'intentionnalité_, Paris, PUF, 1993) and she is currently preparing a book on action and agency.
What exactly is it that makes someone a parent? Many people hold that parenthood is grounded, in the first instance, in the natural derivation of one person's genetic constitution from the genetic constitutions of others. We refer to this view as "Geneticism". In Part I we distinguish three forms of geneticism on the basis of whether they hold that direct genetic derivation is sufficient, necessary, or both sufficient and necessary, for parenthood. Parts two through four examine three arguments for geneticism: (...) the property argument, the causal argument, and the parity argument. We conclude that none of these arguments succeeds. (shrink)
Current models of delusion converge in proposing that delusional beliefs are based on unusual experiences of various kinds. For example, it is argued that the Capgras delusion (the belief that a known person has been replaced by an impostor) is triggered by an abnormal affective experience in response to seeing a known person; loss of the affective response to a familiar person’s face may lead to the belief that the person has been replaced by an impostor (Ellis & Young, 1990). (...) Similarly, the Cotard delusion (which involves the belief that one is dead or unreal in some way) may stem from a general.. (shrink)
Although worship has a pivotal place in religious thought and practice, philosophers of religion have had remarkably little to say about it. In this paper we examine some of the many questions surrounding the notion of worship, focusing on the claim that human beings have obligations to worship God. We explore a number of attempts to ground our supposed duty to worship God, and argue that each is problematic. We conclude by examining the implications of this result, and suggest that (...) it might be taken to provide an argument against God's existence, since theists generally regard it is a necessary truth that we ought to worship God. (shrink)
We have various everyday measures for identifying the presence of consciousness, such as the capacity for verbal report and the intentional control of behavior. However, there are many contexts in which these measures are difficult to apply, and even when they can be applied one might have doubts as to their validity in determining the presence/absence of consciousness. Everyday measures for identifying consciousness are particularly problematic when it comes to ‘challenging cases’—human infants, people with brain damage, nonhuman animals, and AI (...) systems. There is a pressing need to identify measures of consciousness that can be applied to challenging cases. This paper explores one of the most promising strategies for identifying and validating such measures—the natural-kind strategy. The paper is in two broad parts. Part I introduces the natural-kind strategy, and contrasts it with other influential approaches in the field. Part II considers a number of objections to the approach, arguing that none succeeds. (shrink)
Given its ubiquitous presence in everyday experience, it is surprising that the phenomenology of doing—the experience of being an agent—has received such scant attention in the consciousness literature. But things are starting to change, and a small but growing literature on the content and causes of the phenomenology of first-person agency is beginning to emerge.2 One of the most influential and stimulating figures in this literature is Daniel Wegner. In a series of papers and his book The Illusion of Conscious (...) Will (ICW) Wegner has developed.. (shrink)
VI—Gist!Tim Bayne - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (2):107-126.details
A central debate in the philosophy of perception concerns the range of properties that can be represented in perceptual experience. Are the contents of perceptual experience restricted to ‘low-level’ properties such as location, shape and texture, or can ‘high-level’ properties such as being a tomato, being a pine tree or being a watch also be represented in perceptual experience? This paper explores the bearing of gist perception on the admissible contents debate, arguing that it provides qualified support for the claim (...) that certain kinds of high-level properties—such as being a natural scene —can be perceptually represented. (shrink)
One of the central problems in the study of consciousness concerns the ascription of consciousness. We want to know whether certain kinds of creatures—such as non-human animals, artificially created organisms, and even members of our own species who have suffered severe brain-damage—are conscious, and we want to know what kinds of conscious states these creatures might be in if indeed they are conscious. The identification of accurate markers of consciousness is essential if the science of consciousness is to have any (...) chance of success. (shrink)
After being sorely neglected for some time, consciousness is well and truly back on the philosophical and scientific agenda. This entry provides a whistle-stop tour of some recent debates surrounding consciousness, with a particular focus on issues relevant to the scientific study of consciousness. The first half of this entry (the first to fourth sections) focuses on clarifying the explanandum of a science of consciousness and identifying constraints on an adequate account of consciousness; the second half of this entry (the (...) fifth to seventh sections) examines a number of the methodological challenges facing the science of consciousness. (shrink)
Although delusions are typically regarded as beliefs of a certain kind, there have been worries about the doxastic conception of delusions since at least Bleuler’s time. ‘Anti-doxasticists,’ as we might call them, do not merely worry about the claim that delusions are beliefs, they reject it. Reimer’s paper weighs into the debate between ‘doxasticists’ and ‘anti-doxasticists’ by suggesting that one of the main arguments given against the doxastic conception of delusions—what we might call the functional role objection—is based on a (...) fallacy. She also draws attention to certain parallels between delusions and what she calls “nihilistic philosophical doctrines,” such as the skeptical position that we have no .. (shrink)
What is it that makes someone a parent? Many writers – call them ‘monists’– claim that parenthood is grounded solely in one essential feature that is both necessary and sufficient for someone's being a parent. We reject not only monism but also ‘necessity’ views, in which some specific feature is necessary but not also sufficient for parenthood. Our argument supports what we call ‘pluralism’, the view that any one of several kinds of relationship is sufficient for parenthood. We begin by (...) challenging monistic versions of gestationalism, the view that gestation uniquely grounds parenthood. Monistic and necessity gestationalism are implausible. First, we raise the ‘paternity problem’– necessity gestationalists lack an adequate account of how men become fathers. Second, the positive arguments that necessity gestationalists give are not compelling. However, although gestation may not be a necessary condition for parenthood, there is good reason to think that it is sufficient. After further rebutting an ‘intentionalist’ account of parenthood, in which having and acting on intentions to procreate and rear is necessary for parenthood, we end by sketching a pluralist picture of the nature of parenthood, rooted in causation, on which gestation, direct genetic derivation, extended custody, and even, sometimes, intentions, may be individually sufficient for parenthood. (shrink)
This paper develops a novel problem for representationalism (also known as "intentionalism"), a popular contemporary account of perception. We argue that representationalism is incompatible with supervaluationism, the leading contemporary account of vagueness. The problem generalizes to naive realism and related views, which are also incompatible with supervaluationism.
Consciousness has a number of puzzling features. One such feature is its unity: the experiences and other conscious states that one has at a particular time seem to occur together in a certain way. I am currently enjoying visual experiences of my computer screen, auditory experiences of bird-song, olfactory experiences of coffee, and tactile experiences of feeling the ground beneath my feet. Conjoined with these perceptual experiences are proprioceptive experiences, experiences of agency, affective and emotional experiences, and conscious thoughts of (...) various kinds. These experiences are unified in a variety of ways, but the kind of unity that I’m interested in here concerns their phenomenal character. Take just two of these experiences: the sound of bird-song and the smell of coffee. There is something it is like to have the auditory experience, there is something it is like to have the olfactory experience, and there is something it is like to have both the auditory and olfactory experiences together. These two experiences occur as parts or components or aspects of a larger, more complex experience. And what holds of these two experiences seems to hold – at least in normal contexts – of all of one’s simultaneous experiences: they seem to be subsumed by a single, maximal experience.2 We could think of this maximal experience as an experiential perspective on the world. What it is like to be me right now is (or involves) an extremely complex conscious state that subsumes the various simpler experiences that I outlined above (seeing my computer screen, hearing bird-song, smelling coffee, and so on). I will follow recent literature in using the term “co-consciousness” for the relation that a set of conscious states bear to each other when they have a complex phenomenology (Bayne and Chalmers 2003; Dainton 2000; Hurley 1998; Lockwood 1989). (shrink)
In _Consciousness and persons_, Michael Tye. Consciousness and persons. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.) develops and defends a novel approach to the unity of consciousness. Rather than thinking of the unity of consciousness as involving phenomenal relations between distinct experiences, as standard accounts do, Tye argues that we should regard the unity of consciousness as involving relations between the contents of consciousness. Having developed an account of what it is for consciousness to be unified, Tye goes on to apply his account (...) of the unity of consciousness to the split-brain syndrome. I provide a critical evaluation of Tye's account of the unity of consciousness and the split-brain syndrome. (shrink)
Five years in the making and including over 250 concise entries written by leaders in the field, the volume covers both fundamental knowledge as well as more recent advances in this rapidly changing domain.
Unlike surrogacy and cloning, reproduction via gamete donation is widely assumed to be morally unproblematic. Recently, a number of authors have argued that this assumption is mistaken: gamete donors, they claim, have parental responsibilities that they typically treat too lightly. In this paper I argue that the ‘parental neglect’ case against gamete donation fails. I begin by examining and rejecting the view that gamete donors have parental responsibilities; I claim that none of the current accounts of parenthood provides good reason (...) for ascribing parenthood to gamete donors. I then argue that even if gamete donors do have parental responsibilities for ‘their’ children, it is not clear that they treat these responsibilities too lightly. I conclude the paper by examining the wider question of just what kind of responsibilities gamete donors might have towards the children that they have a role in creating. (shrink)
Thomas Morris and Richard Swinburne have recently defended what they call the ‘two-minds’ model of the Incarnation. This model, which I refer to as the ‘inclusion model’ or ‘inclusionism’, claims that Christ had two consciousnesses, a human and a divine consciousness, with the former consciousness contained within the latter one. I begin by exploring the motivation for, and structure of, inclusionism. I then develop a variety of objections to it: some philosophical, others theological in nature. Finally, I sketch a variant (...) of inclusionism which I call ‘restricted inclusionism’ (RI); RI can evade many, but not all, of the objections to standard inclusionism. (shrink)
Can a person be harmed or wronged by being brought into existence? Can a person be benefited by being brought into existence? Following David Heyd, I refer to these questions as “genethical questions”. This chapter examines three broad approaches to genethics: the no-faults model, the dual-benchmark model, and the parity model. The no-faults model holds that coming into existence is not properly subject to moral evaluation, at least so far as the interests of the person that is to be brought (...) into existence are concerned. The dual benchmark model allows that coming into existence can be subject to moral evaluation, but holds that our judgments about the kinds of lives worth starting ought not be aligned with our judgments about the kinds of lives worth sustaining. I argue against both the no-faults and dual benchmark models. In their place, I argue for a parity approach to genethics, according to which our judgments about the conditions under which life is worth creating ought to be constrained by our judgments about the conditions under which life is worth continuing. (shrink)