One of the greatest challenges of consciousness research is to understand the relationship between consciousness and its implementing substrate. Current research into the neural correlates of consciousness regards the biological brain as being this substrate, but largely fails to clarify the nature of the brain-consciousness connection. A popular approach within this research is to construe brain-consciousness correlations in causal terms: the neural correlates of consciousness are the causes of states of consciousness. After introducing the notion of the neural correlate of (...) consciousness, we argue (in section 2) that this causal strategy is misguided. It implicitly involves an undesirable dualism of matter and mind and should thus be avoided. A non-causal account of the brain-mind correlations is to be preferred. We favor the theory of the identity of mind and brain, according to which states of phenomenal consciousness are identical with their neural correlates. Research into the neural correlates of consciousness and the theory of identity (in the philosophy of mind) are two major research paradigms that hitherto have had very little mutual contact. We aim to demonstrate that they can enrich each other. This is the task of the third part of the paper in which we show that the identity theory must work with a suitably defined concept of type. Surprisingly, neither philosophers nor neuroscientists have taken much care in defining this central concept; more often than not, the term is used only implicitly and vaguely. We attempt to open a debate on this subject and remedy this unhappy state of affairs, proposing a tentative hierarchical classification of phenomenal and neurophysiological types, spanning multiple levels of varying degrees of generality. The fourth part of the paper compares the theory of identity with other prominent conceptions of the mind-body connection. We conclude by stressing that scientists working on consciousness should engage more with metaphysical issues concerning the relation of brain processes and states of consciousness. Without this, the ultimate goals of consciousness research can hardly be fulfilled. (shrink)
Predictive Processing theory, hotly debated in neuroscience, psychology and philosophy, promises to explain a number of perceptual and cognitive phenomena in a simple and elegant manner. In some of its versions, the theory is ambitiously advertised as a new theory of conscious perception. The task of this paper is to assess whether this claim is realistic. We will be arguing that the Predictive Processing theory cannot explain the transition from unconscious to conscious perception in its proprietary terms. The explanations offer (...) by PP theorists mostly concern the preconditions of conscious perception, leaving the genuine material substrate of consciousness untouched. (shrink)
The present paper was written as a contribution to ongoing methodological debates within the NCC project. We focus on the neural correlates of conscious perceptual episodes. Our claim is that the NCC notion, as applied to conscious perceptual episodes, needs to be reconceptualized. It mixes together the processing related to the perceived contents and the neural substrate of consciousness proper, i.e. mechanisms making the perceptual contents conscious. We thus propose that the perceptual NCC be divided into two constitutive subnotions. The (...) main theoretical idea that emerges as a consequence of this reconceptualization is that the neural correlate of a perceptual episode is formed in the neural interaction between content-processing and consciousness-conferring mechanisms. The paper elaborates this distinction, marshals some initial arguments in its favour, and tests it against some of the most debated theories of consciousness. (shrink)
We present a theoretical view of the cellular foundations for network-level processes involved in producing our conscious experience. Inputs to apical synapses in layer 1 of a large subset of neocortical cells are summed at an integration zone near the top of their apical trunk. These inputs come from diverse sources and provide a context within which the transmission of information abstracted from sensory input to their basal and perisomatic synapses can be amplified when relevant. We argue that apical amplification (...) enables conscious perceptual experience and makes it more flexible, and thus more adaptive, by being sensitive to context. Apical amplification provides a possible mechanism for recurrent processing theory that avoids strong loops. It makes the broadcasting hypothesized by global neuronal workspace theories feasible while preserving the distinct contributions of the individual cells receiving the broadcast. It also provides mechanisms that contribute to the holistic aspects of integrated information theory. As apical amplification is highly dependent on cholinergic, aminergic, and other neuromodulators, it relates the specific contents of conscious experience to global mental states and to fluctuations in arousal when awake. We conclude that apical dendrites provide a cellular mechanism for the context-sensitive selective amplification that is a cardinal prerequisite of conscious perception. (shrink)
In this article we aim to reconstruct some aspects of Davidson's idea of triangulation, and against this reconstruction, ask whether the idea is viciously circular. We begin by looking at the claim that without a triangularn setting, there is no saying what the cause of a being's responses is. In the first section we discuss the notion of relevant similarity, and what difference the presence of a second non‐linguistic being could make for the individuation of a common focus of attention. (...) In the second section we look at the role of a second person in language‐acquisition. It is important that being corrected to ‘go on as others do’ does not yet presuppose thought, and similarity standards can be applied to a learner's reactions even before she is aware of these standards. We also show why Davidson is not committed to any consensus view of correctness. In the last section we discern three charges of circularity that can be levelled against the idea of triangulation. We argue that Davidson can respond to the first two charges, and point to a way of answering the third. But the response we propound raises a new question, namely, why does the second being have to be a speaker or thinker even before the learner is aware of the three points of the triangle? (shrink)
Abstract: Daniel Wegner’s theory of apparent mental causation is often misread. His aim was not to question the causal effectiveness of conscious mental states like intentions. Rather, he attempted to show that our subjective sense of agency is not a completely reliable indicator of the actual causality of action, and needs to be replaced by more objective means of inquiry.
We provide a brief overview of the shift toward the intrinsic view of brain activity, describing in particular the structural and functional connectivity patterns of the “Default mode network”. We then consider the Default mode network in a specifically cognitive setting and ask what changes the focus on the Default mode network and other sorts of intrinsic activity require from models put forward by cognitive neuroscientists.
Studie recenzuje díla: Sam HARRIS, The Moral Landscape a Patricia Smith CHURCHLAND, Braintrust. Cílem recenzní stati je vyzdvihnout hlubokou shodu v naturalistickém pojetí etiky u obou autorů a upozornit na některé nedostatky jejich argumentace.
Text kriticky hodnotí tvrzení o pojmu fenomenálního vědomí, která jsou obsažena v šesté kapitole knihy Tomáše Hříbka Jaké to je, nebo o čem to je? Mým východiskem je teze Erica Schwitzgebela, že fenomenální vědomí můžeme definovat natolik neutrálně a minimalisticky, že se na jeho existenci mohou shodnout i teoretikové vědomí z velmi rozdílných táborů. Hříbek tento názor nesdílí, snažím se ale ukázat, že na základě lichých argumentů. Značnou pozornost v textu věnuji názorům Daniela Dennetta na podstatu vědomí, především pak „iluzionismu“ (...) jakožto teorii vědomí. Ten pokládám za teorii se značně nejasným obsahem a navrhuji, aby se o něm ve filozofii vědomí vedly soustředěné diskuze. (shrink)
Text se formou polemiky zabývá otázkou, zda je možné rozřešit filozofický spor mezi realismem a konstruktivismem. Oproti mínění Jaroslava Peregrina hájí autor tezi, že tento spor rozřešit lze, a to ve prospěch realismu. Argumenty pro realismus jsou výrazně přesvědčivější, zatímco konstruktivistické argumenty nejsou ničím podložené a zároveň vedou k absurdním důsledkům. The text adresses, in a polemical fashion, the question whether the philosophical dispute between realism and constructivism can be resolved. Against the opinion of Jaroslav Peregrin, the author defends the (...) thesis that this dispute can be resolved, in favor of realism. The arguments for realism are much more convincing, while constructivist arguments are baseless and at the same time lead to absurd consequences. (shrink)
This volume contains papers based on invited lectures from the 16th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and Technology, descriptions of congress symposia, and other materials relating to the congress and DLMPST.
Článek se pokouší o koherentní interpretaci Quinových nečetných vyjádření na téma realismus. Autor konstatuje, že Quinovy názory vykazují různorodé tendence: Quine ve svých textech přechází od úvah, které bychom označili za idealistické , k pozici spíš realistické. Článek má dvě části. První je věnována Quinovu chápání positů a jeho tezím o naturalizaci filosofie a imanenci pravdy teorii. Druhá část pak obsahuje úvahu o Quinově známé tezi o nevymezitelnosti reference a jejích důsledcích pro otázku realismu. Autor dochází k závěru, že diskrepance (...) epistemologického a ontologického hlediska, přítomná v mnoha Quinových pracích, vede k permenantnímu rozštěpu dvou hledisek na realitu vnějšího světa, která se zdají být neslučitelná v jedné koherentní filosofické pozici. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is twofold. First, it expounds the thesis of ‘conceptual relativity’ propounded in a series of writings of the well-known philosopher Hilary Putnam and indicates the alleged manner in which the thesis, according to Putnam, undermines the foundations of metaphysical realism (understood in a peculiar way spelled out in the paper). Second, a critical examination of Putnam’s anti-metaphysical-realist argument is offered. It is argued that Putnam offers examples only of a trivial, so-called indexical relativity, and that (...) his strategy leaves the foundations of metaphysical realism intact. (shrink)
The paper addresses the recurrent charge that Richard Rorty is a “linguistic idealist”. I show what the charge consists of and try to explain that there is a charitable reading of Rorty’s works, according to which he is not guilty of linguistic idealism. This reading draws on Putnam’s well-known conception of “internal realism” and accounts for the causal independence of the world on our linguistic practices. I also show how we can reconcile this causal independence of things and the sense (...) of our discourse being guided by them with our autonomy with regard to the construction of various “vocabularies” with which we describe, or cope with, reality. In the final part, I address in some detail Rorty’s animadversions concerning the idea of the intrinsic nature of reality. I show them to be only partly successful. (shrink)
The paper adresses the debate between Donald Davidson and W. V. O. Quine on the nature of meanings and knowledge. It is argued that Davidson’s misgivings, though interesting, are not devastating for Quine’s version of empiricism, which is not easily translateble into traditional philosophical categories.
The introductory section of the paper attempts to clarify the theoretical frame-work of truth-relativism. The paper then presents three obstacles to those who would like to relativise truth of a statement. These concern the distinction between absolutely and relatively true statements, the identity of a proposition across different perspectives and the possibility of distinguishing between various ways of construing the truth predicate.
Článek na příkladu názorů R. Descarta a J. Locka zkoumá, nakolik adekvátní je Rortyho kritická interpretace novověké „reprezentační epistemologie“. Autor postupně probírá čtyři Rortyho hlavní argumenty a dospívá k závěru, že některé z nich se míjí s názory raně novověkých filosofů.
The paper distinguishes between various versions of conceptual relativism and tries to reduce their number to two final alternatives: those of weak and strong conceptual relativism. The author argues that while a weak, pluralist version of conceptual relativity might be acceptable, the stronger version, as defined in the paper, cannot be coherently formulated. The argument of the paper draws on recent criticism of conceptual relativism by Anthony Brueckner, and tries to extend it further.