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Tom McClelland
Cambridge University
  1. The Philosophy of Film and Film as Philosophy.Tom McClelland - 2011 - Cinema 2:11-35.
    This paper explores the idea that popular narrative film can somehow contribute to our philosophical understanding. I identify a number of problems with this 'film as philosophy' thesis and argue that the capacity of film to contribute to philosophy is not as great as many authors think. Specifically, I argue that film can only offer genuinely distinctive insights into philosophical questions *about film* and explore Hitchcock's Rear Window as an example of this.
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  2. Gappiness and the Case for Liberalism About Phenomenal Properties.Tom McClelland - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly (264):536-558.
    Conservatives claim that all phenomenal properties are sensory. Liberals countenance non-sensory phenomenal properties such as what it’s like to perceive some high-level property, and what it’s like to think that p. A hallmark of phenomenal properties is that they present an explanatory gap, so to resolve the dispute we should consider whether experience has non-sensory properties that appear ‘gappy’. The classic tests for ‘gappiness’ are the invertibility test and the zombifiability test. I suggest that these tests yield conflicting results: non-sensory (...)
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  3.  73
    The Mental Affordance Hypothesis.Tom McClelland - 2020 - Mind 129 (514):401-427.
    Our successful engagement with the world is plausibly underwritten by our sensitivity to affordances in our immediate environment. The considerable literature on affordances focuses almost exclusively on affordances for bodily actions such as gripping, walking or eating. I propose that we are also sensitive to affordances for mental actions such as attending, imagining and counting. My case for this ‘Mental Affordance Hypothesis’ is motivated by a series of examples in which our sensitivity to mental affordances mirrors our sensitivity to bodily (...)
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  4.  46
    Editorial: Consciousness and Inner Awareness.Jonathan Farrell & Tom McClelland - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (1):1-22.
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  5. The Problem of Consciousness: Easy, Hard or Tricky?Tom McClelland - 2017 - Topoi 36 (1):17-30.
    Phenomenal consciousness presents a distinctive explanatory problem. Some regard this problem as ‘hard’, which has troubling implications for the science and metaphysics of consciousness. Some regard it as ‘easy’, which ignores the special explanatory difficulties that consciousness offers. Others are unable to decide between these two uncomfortable positions. All three camps assume that the problem of consciousness is either easy or hard. I argue against this disjunction and suggest that the problem may be ‘tricky’—that is, partly easy and partly hard. (...)
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  6. The Neo-Russellian Ignorance Hypothesis: A Hybrid Account of Phenomenal Consciousness.Tom McClelland - 2013 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (3-4):125 - 151.
    We have reason to believe that phenomenal properties are nothing over and above certain physical properties. However, doubt is cast on this by the apparent epistemic gap that arises for attempts to account for phenomenal properties in physical terms. I argue that the epistemic gap should be divided into two more fundamental conceptual gaps. The first of these pertains to the distinctive subjectivity of phenomenal states, and the second pertains to the intrinsicality of phenomenal qualities. Stoljars ignorance hypothesis (IH) attempts (...)
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  7. Can Self-Representationalism Explain Away the Apparent Irreducibility of Consciousness?Tom McClelland - 2016 - Synthese 193 (6):1-22.
    Kriegel’s self-representationalist theory of phenomenal consciousness pursues two projects. The first is to offer a positive account of how conscious experience arises from physical brain processes. The second is to explain why consciousness misleadingly appears to be irreducible to the physical i.e. to ‘demystify’ consciousness. This paper seeks to determine whether SR succeeds on the second project. Kriegel trades on a distinction between the subjective character and qualitative character of conscious states. Subjective character is the property of being a conscious (...)
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  8.  46
    Ensemble Representation and the Contents of Visual Experience.Tim Bayne & Tom McClelland - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):733-753.
    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. (...)
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  9.  88
    Affording Introspection: An Alternative Model of Inner Awareness.Tom McClelland - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2469-2492.
    The ubiquity of inner awareness thesis states that all conscious states of normal adult humans are characterised by an inner awareness of that very state. UIA-Backers support this thesis while UIA-Skeptics reject it. At the heart of their dispute is a recalcitrant phenomenological disagreement. UIA-Backers claim that phenomenological investigation reveals ‘peripheral inner awareness’ to be a constant presence in their non-introspective experiences. UIA-Skeptics deny that their non-introspective experiences are characterised by inner awareness, and maintain that inner awareness is only gained (...)
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  10.  56
    Ensemble Coding and Two Conceptions of Perceptual Sparsity.Tom McClelland & Tim Bayne - 2016 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 20 (9):641-642.
    Letter in 'Trends in Cognitive Science' regarding recent work on ensemble perception.
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  11.  32
    Against Virtual Selves.Tom McClelland - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (1):21-40.
    According to the virtual self theory, selves are merely virtual entities. On this view, our self-representations do not refer to any concrete object and the self is a merely intentional entity. This contemporary version of the ‘no-self’ theory is driven by a number of psychological and philosophical considerations indicating that our representations of the self are pervasively inaccurate. I present two problems for VST. First, the case for VST fails to rule out a more moderate position according to which the (...)
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  12.  47
    Self-Representational Theories of Consciousness.Tom McClelland - forthcoming - In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
    To understand Self-Representationalism you need to understand its family. Self-Representationalism is a branch of the Meta-Representationalist family, and according to theories in this family what distinguishes conscious mental representations from unconscious mental representations is that conscious ones are themselves the target of a mental meta¬-representational state. A mental state M1 is thus phenomenally conscious in virtue of being suitably represented by some mental state M2. What distinguishes the Self-Representationalist branch of the family is the claim that M1 and M2 must (...)
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  13. In Defence of Kantian Humility.Tom McClelland - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):62-70.
    Kantian Humility (KH) holds that the intrinsic properties of objects are unknowable for agents such as ourselves. Categorial properties, such as being an object, present a potential threat to KH. Cowling (2010) argues that knowing KH to be true requires knowledge of categorial properties. However, if such properties are shown to be intrinsic properties, then KH is committed to their being unknowable. I defend KH by presenting three alternative responses to this challenge. First, that categorial properties are not properties in (...)
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  14. What is It Like to Be John Malkovich?Tom McClelland - 2010 - Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 7 (2):10-25.
    To what extent can film - or individual films - act as a vehicle of or forum for philosophy itself?. Many have responded that films can indeed do philosophy to a substantial degree. Furthermore, it has been claimed that this virtue does not belong solely to ‘art’ films, but that popular cinema too can do philosophy. A case in point is Spike Jonze’s 1999 film Being John Malkovich, the Oscar-winning screenplay of which was written by Charlie Kaufman. The outrageous premise (...)
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  15.  63
    Self-Representationalism and the Neo-Russellian Ignorance Hypothesis: A Hybrid Account of Phenomenal Consciousness.Tom McClelland - 2012 - Dissertation, Sussex
    This thesis introduces the Problem of Consciousness as an antinomy between Physicalism and Primitivism about the phenomenal. I argue that Primitivism is implausible, but is supported by two conceptual gaps. The ‘–tivity gap’ holds that physical states are objective and phenomenal states are subjective, and that there is no entailment from the objective to the subjective. The ‘–trinsicality gap’ holds that physical properties are extrinsic and phenomenal qualities are intrinsic, and that there is no entailment from the extrinsic to the (...)
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  16.  74
    The Varieties of Consciousness. [REVIEW]Tom Mcclelland - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):871-874.
    Review of Uriah Kriegel's 'The Varieties of Consciousness'.
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  17.  74
    Review of Uriah Kriegel, The Varieties of Consciousness. [REVIEW]Tom McClelland - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly:NA.
    Review of Uriah Kriegel's The Varieties of Consciousness.
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  18.  36
    Self-Representationalism.Tom McClelland - forthcoming - In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    To understand Self-Representationalism you need to understand its family. Self-Representationalism is a branch of the Meta-Representationalist family, and according to theories in this family what distinguishes conscious mental representations from unconscious mental representations is that conscious ones are themselves the target of a mental meta¬-representational state. A mental state M1 is thus phenomenally conscious in virtue of being suitably represented by some mental state M2. What distinguishes the Self-Representationalist branch of the family is the claim that M1 and M2 must (...)
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  19.  71
    Review of Mark Rowlands, Can Animals Be Moral? [REVIEW]Tom McClelland - 2013 - Metapsychology Online 17 (29).
    In this vivid and engaging book Mark Rowlands asks whether animals are capable of being moral. His answer is a mitigated 'yes', supported by an ambitious and convincing philosophical argument. A great deal of attention has been given to the question of whether animals deserve our moral consideration. Much less has been given to the question of whether animals themselves are moral beings. The dominant view among both philosophers and scientists has been that they are not. The standard position is (...)
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  20.  54
    Review of Derk Pereboom Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism. [REVIEW]Tom McClelland - 2013 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (9-10):193-200.
  21.  27
    Review of Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism by Pereboom, D. [REVIEW]Tom McClelland - unknown
  22.  19
    The Knowledge Argument is Either Unsound or Redundant.Tom McClelland - unknown
    Jackson’s formulation of the knowledge argument has had an inestimable influence on the discussion of consciousness and the apparent problem it presents for physicalism. A common objection to KA is the ‘ignorance objection’. According to this objection, our intuitions about Mary merely reflect our ignorance of physical facts that are integral to the explanation of phenomenal consciousness. Armed with the insights of a future science, Mary would actually be able to deduce what it’s like to see red. We only have (...)
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  23. Consciousness, Ignorance and the Explanatory Gap.Tom McClelland - 2011 - Philosophical Writings:45-57.