Perception is our key to the world. It plays at least three different roles in our lives. It justifies beliefs and provides us with knowledge of our environment. It brings about conscious mental states. It converts informational input, such as light and sound waves, into representations of invariant features in our environment. Corresponding to these three roles, there are at least three fundamental questions that have motivated the study of perception. How does perception justify beliefs and yield knowledge of our (...) environment? How does perception bring about conscious mental states? How does a perceptual system accomplish the feat of converting varying informational input into mental representations of invariant features in our environment? -/- This book presents a unified account of the phenomenological and epistemological role of perception that is informed by empirical research. So it develops an account of perception that provides an answer to the first two questions, while being sensitive to scientific accounts that address the third question. The key idea is that perception is constituted by employing perceptual capacities - for example the capacity to discriminate instances of red from instances of blue. Perceptual content, consciousness, and evidence are each analyzed in terms of this basic property of perception. Employing perceptual capacities constitutes phenomenal character as well as perceptual content. The primacy of employing perceptual capacities in perception over their derivative employment in hallucination and illusion grounds the epistemic force of perceptual experience. In this way, the book provides a unified account of perceptual content, consciousness, and evidence. (shrink)
Unity of science was once a very popular idea among both philosophers and scientists. But it has fallen out of fashion, largely because of its association with reductionism and the challenge from multiple realisation. Pluralism and the disunity of science are the new norm, and higher-level natural kinds and special science laws are considered to have an important role in scientific practice. What kind of reductionism does multiple realisability challenge? What does it take to reduce one phenomenon to another? (...) How do we determine which kinds are natural? What is the ontological basis of unity? In this Element, Tuomas Tahko examines these questions from a contemporary perspective, after a historical overview. The upshot is that there is still value in the idea of a unity of science. We can combine a modest sense of unity with pluralism and give an ontological analysis of unity in terms of natural kind monism. This title is available as Open Access on Cambridge Core. (shrink)
Richard Gaskin analyses what is distinctive about sentences and the propositions they express--what marks them off from mere aggregates of words and meanings respectively. Since he identifies the world with all the true and false propositions, his account has significant implications for our understanding of the nature of reality.
In the section ‘Unity and Objectivity’ of The Bounds of Sense, P. F. Strawson argues for the thesis that unity of consciousness requires experience of an objective world. My aim in this essay is to evaluate this claim. In the first and second parts of the essay, I explicate Strawson's thesis, reconstruct his argument, and identify the point at which the argument fails. Strawson's discussion nevertheless raises an important question: are there ways in which we must think of (...) our experiences if we are to self-ascribe them? In the third part of the essay, I use Kant's remarks concerning the passivity of experience to suggest one answer to this question: in self-ascribing experiences, we must be capable of thinking of them as passive to their objects. This can be used to provide an alternative route from unity to objectivity. (shrink)
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)
Most philosophers treat ontological dependence and metaphysical dependence as distinct relations. A number of key differences between the two relations are usually cited in support of this claim: ontological dependence's unique connection to existence, differing respective connections to metaphysical necessitation, and a divergence in their formal features. Alongside reshaping some of the examples used to maintain the distinction between the two, I argue that the additional resources offered by the increased attention the notion of grounding has received in recent years (...) potentially offer us a way to unite the two relations, promising the attendant benefits parsimony offers, as a result. (shrink)
The unity of consciousness has so far been studied only as a relation holding among the many experiences of a single subject. I investigate whether this relation could hold between the experiences of distinct subjects, considering three major arguments against the possibility of such ‘between-subjects unity’. The first argument, based on the popular idea that unity implies subsumption by a composite experience, can be deflected by allowing for limited forms of ‘experience-sharing’, in which the same token experience (...) belongs to more than one subject. The second argument, based on the phenomenological claim that unified experiences have interdependent phenomenal characters, I show to rest on an equivocation. Finally, the third argument accuses between-subjects unity of being unimaginable, or more broadly a formal possibility corresponding to nothing we can make sense of. I argue that the familiar experience of perceptual co-presentation gives us an adequate phenomenological grasp on what between-subjects unity might be like. (shrink)
I argue—contra moderate grounding pluralists such as Kit Fine and more extreme grounding pluralists such as Jessica Wilson—that there is fundamentally only one grounding/in-virtue-of relation. I also argue that this single relation is indispensable for normative theorizing—that we can’t make sense of, for example, the debate over consequentialism without it. It follows from what I argue that there is no metaethically-pure normative ethics.
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)
As a leading member of the Vienna Circle, Rudolph Carnap's aim was to bring about a "unified science" by applying a method of logical analysis to the empirical data of all the sciences. This work, first published in English in 1934, endeavors to work out a way in which the observation statements required for verification are not private to the observer. The work shows the strong influence of Wittgenstein, Russell, and Frege.
Grounding, understood as a primitive posit operative in contexts where metaphysical dependence is at issue, is not able on its own to do any substantive work in characterizing or illuminating metaphysical dependence---or so I argue in 'No Work for a Theory of Grounding' (Inquiry, 2014). Such illumination rather requires appeal to specific metaphysical relations---type or token identity, functional realization, the determinable-determinate relation, the mereological part-whole relation, and so on---of the sort typically at issue in these contexts. In that case, why (...) posit 'big-G' Grounding in addition to the 'small-g' grounding relations already in the metaphysician's toolkit? The best reasons for doing so stem from the Unity argument, according to which the further posit of Grounding is motivated as an apt unifier of the specific relations, and the Priority argument, according to which Grounding is needed in order to fix the direction of priority of the specific relations. I previously considered versions of these arguments, and argued that they did not succeed; in two papers, however, Jonathan Schaffer aims to develop a better version of the Unity argument, and offers certain objections to my reasons for rejecting the Priority argument. Here I consider these new arguments for Grounding. (shrink)
John Collins presents a new analysis of the problem of the unity of the proposition-how propositions can be both single things and complexes at the same time. He surveys previous investigations of the problem and offers his own novel and uniquely satisfying solution, which is defended from both philosophical and linguistic perspectives.
Consciousness has many elements, from sensory experiences such as vision and bodily sensation, to nonsensory aspects such as memory and thought. All are presented as experiences of a single subject, and all seem to be contained within a unified field of experience. This unity raises many questions: How do diverse systems in the brain co-operate to produce a unified experience? Are there conditions under which this unity breaks down? Is conscious experience really unified at all? Such questions are (...) addressed in this thought-provoking book. (shrink)
The problem of the unity of the proposition asks what binds together the constituents of a proposition into a fully formed proposition that provides truth conditions for the assertoric sentence that expresses it, rather than merely a set of objects. Hanks’ solution is to reject the traditional distinction between content and force. If his theory is successful, then there is a plausible extension of it that readily solves the Frege–Geach problem for normative propositions. Unfortunately Hanks’ theory isn’t successful, but (...) it does point to significant connections between expressivism, unity, and embedding. (shrink)
The question of the unity of consciousness is often treated as the question of how different conscious experiences are related to each other in order to be unified. Many contemporary views on the unity of consciousness are based on this bottom-up approach. In this paper I explore an alternative, top-down approach, according to which (to a first approximation) a subject undergoes one single conscious experience at a time. From this perspective, the problem of unity of consciousness becomes (...) rather the problem of how we can distinguish a multiplicity of goings-on within our conscious experience at any time, given that it is unique. I will present three possible top-down approaches to unity of consciousness, which I call Priority unity monism, Existence unity monism, and Brentanian unity monism. Priority monism and Existence monism are defined in analogy with the homonymous metaphysical theories of object constitution. Brentanian monism retraces Franz Brentano’s view on unity of consciousness, and is defined by appeal to some of his mereological ideas. I will argue that the latter is the best top-down approach to unity of consciousness. (shrink)
At least since Russell’s influential discussion in The Principles of Mathematics, many philosophers have held there is a problem that they call the problem of the unity of the proposition. In a recent paper, I argued that there is no single problem that alone deserves the epithet the problem of the unity of the proposition. I there distinguished three problems or questions, each of which had some right to be called a problem regarding the unity of the (...) proposition; and I showed how the account of propositions formulated in my book The Nature and Structure of Content [2007 Oxford University Press] solves each of these problems. In the present paper, I take up two of these problems/questions yet again. For I want to consider other accounts of propositions and compare their solutions to these problems, or lack thereof, to mine. I argue that my account provides the best solutions to the unity problems. (shrink)
The Unity of Reason is the first major study of Kant's account of reason. It argues that Kant's wide-ranging interests and goals can only be understood by redirecting attention from epistemological questions of his work to those concerning the nature of reason. Rather than accepting a notion of reason given by his predecessors, a fundamental aim of Kant's philosophy is to reconceive the nature of reason. This enables us to understand Kant's insistence on the unity of theoretical and (...) practical reason as well as his claim that his metaphysics was driven by practical and political ends. Neiman begins by discussing the historical roots of Kant's conception of reason, and by showing Kant's solution to problems which earlier conceptions left unresolved. Kant's notion of reason itself is examined through a discussion of all the activities Kant attributes to reason. In separate chapters discussing the role of reason in science, morality, religion, and philosophy, Neiman explores Kant's distinctions between reason and knowledge, and his difficult account of the regulative principles of reason. Through examination of these principles in Kant's major and minor writings, The Unity of Reason provides a fundamentally new perspective on Kant's entire work. (shrink)
Hegel's _Phenomenology_ is considered by many to be the most difficult book in the philosophical canon. While some authors have published excellent essays on various chapters and aspects of the book, few authors have successfully tackled the whole. In _The Unity of Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit_", Jon Stewart interprets Hegel's work as a dialectical transformation of Kantian transcendental philosophy, providing from this unified standpoint a case for Hegel's own conception of philosophy as a system. In restoring them to their (...) larger systematic contexts, Stewart clarifies Hegel's individual analyses, as well as indicating the meaning and significance of the transitions and illustrating the parallelisms between the respective analyses. Many of Hegel's main themes- universal-particular, mediacy-immediacy-are traced through the text, demonstrating Hegel's formal continuity. By examining at the microlevel the particulars of the dialectical movement, and by analyzing at the macrolevel the role of the argument in question in the context of the work as a whole, Stewart provides a detailed analysis of the _Phenomenology_ and a significant scholarly demonstration of Hegel's own conception of the _Phenomenology_ as a part of a systematic philosophy. (shrink)
As a working hypothesis for philosophy of science, the unity of science thesis has been decisively challenged in all its standard formulations; it cannot be assumed that the sciences presuppose an orderly world, that they are united by the goal of systematically describing and explaining this order, or that they rely on distinctively scientific methodologies which, properly applied, produce domain-specific results that converge on a single coherent and comprehensive system of knowledge. I first delineate the scope of arguments against (...) global unity theses. However implausible old-style global unity theses may now seem, I argue that unifying strategies of a more local and contingent nature do play an important role in scientific inquiry. This is particularly clear in archaeology where, to establish evidential claims of any kind, practitioners must exploit a range of inter-field and inter-theory connections. At the same time, the robustness of these evidential claims depends on significant disunity between the sciences from which archaeologists draw background assumptions and auxiliary hypotheses. This juxtaposition of unity with disunity poses a challenge to standard positions in the debate about scientific unity. (shrink)
In the context of a critique of James Conant’s (2016) important new reading of the main argument of the Deduction, I present my current, most detailed interpretation of the well-known Leitfaden passage at A79, which in my view has been misinterpreted by a host of prominent readers. The Leitfaden passage is crucial to understanding the argument of, not just the so-called Metaphysical Deduction, but also the Transcendental Deduction. This new account expands and improves upon the account of the Leitfaden I (...) gave in Chap. 5 of Kant’s Deduction From Apperception. While I agree with the core of Conant’s critique of what he calls the ‘layer-cake’ reading of the Deduction argument, in this new account I make clearer my position on why the unity of judgement, in which concepts and intuitions are a priori synthetically unified, is wholly determined in virtue of the unity of apperception as the unitary function of the understanding, without this leading to a strong form of conceptualism such as that of Conant and others. (shrink)
In Consciousness and Persons: Unity and Identity, Michael Tye takes on the thorny issue of the unity of consciousness and answers these important questions: What exactly is the unity of consciousness? Can a single person have a divided consciousness? What is a single person? Tye argues that unity is a fundamental part of human consciousness -- something so basic to everyday experience that it is easy to overlook. For example, when we hear the sound of waves (...) crashing on a beach and at the same time see a red warning flag, there is an overall unity to our experience; the sound and the red shape are presented together in our consciousness. Similarly, when we undergo a succession of thoughts as we think something through, there is an experience of succession that unifies the thoughts into a conscious whole. But, Tye shows, consciousness is not always unified. Split-brain subjects, whose corpus callosum has been severed, are usually taken to have a divided or disunified consciousness. Their behavior in certain situations implies that they have lost the unity normal human subjects take for granted; it is sometimes even supposed that a split-brain subject is really two persons.Tye begins his account by proposing an account of the unity of experience at a single time; this account is extended over the succeeding chapters to cover bodily sensations at a single time and perceptual experience, bodily sensations, conscious thoughts, and felt moods at a single time. Tye follows these chapters with a discussion of the unity of experience through time. Turning to the split-brain phenomenon, he proposes an account of the mental life of split-brain subjects and argues that certain facts about these subjects offer support for his theory of unity. Finally, addressing the topic of the nature of persons and personal identity, Tye finds the two great historical accounts -- the ego theory and the bundle theory -- lacking and he makes an alternative proposal. He includes an appendix on the general representational approach to consciousness and its many varieties, because of the relevance of representationalism to the theory of unity being adanced. (shrink)
The problem, or cluster of problems, of the unity of the proposition, along with the cluster of problems that tend to go under the name of Bradley’s regress, has recently again become a going concern for philosophers, after having for some time been regarded as primarily of historical interest. In this paper, I distinguish between the different problems that tend to be brought up under the heading of the unity of the proposition, and between different related regress arguments. (...) I present my favored solutions to these problems. (shrink)
Psychology has always defined itself as a science and yet it has lacked the theoretical and methodological unity regarded as characteristic of the natural sciences. Nicolò Gaj explores the topical question of unification in psychology, setting out a conceptual framework for considerations of unity and disunity, and exploring the evidence of its fragmentation. He takes a critical look at the history of the most prominent attempts at unification, and at the desirability and feasibility of the whole project. The (...) book represents a unique and valuable attempt to address the issue of unification from a philosophical perspective, and via a combination of theoretical and empirical research. (shrink)
The focus of Norton's book is the distinction between objectives and values in developing environmental policies. Norton argues that environmentalism is a coalition of many groups working toward common objectives, but unlike other social action movements the environmental coalition does not have shared moral principles.
Cases of reasonable, mistaken belief figure prominently in discussions of the knowledge norm of assertion and practical reason as putative counterexamples to these norms. These cases are supposed to show that the knowledge norm is too demanding and that some weaker norm ought to put in its place. These cases don't show what they're intended to. When you assert something false or treat some falsehood as if it's a reason for action, you might deserve an excuse. You often don't deserve (...) even that. (shrink)
Renewed worries about the unity of the proposition have been taken as a crucial stumbling block for any traditional conception of propositions. These worries are often framed in terms of how entities independent of mind and language can have truth conditions: why is the proposition that Desdemona loves Cassio true if and only if she loves him? I argue that the best understanding of these worries shows that they should be solved by our theory of truth and not our (...) theory of content. Specifically, I propose a version of the redundancy theory according to which ‘it is true that Desdemona loves Cassio’ expresses the same proposition as ‘Desdemona loves Cassio’. Surprisingly, this variant of the redundancy theory treats ‘is true’ as an ordinary predicate of the language, thereby defusing many standard criticisms of the redundancy theory. (shrink)
_Stream of Consciousness_ is about the phenomenology of conscious experience. Barry Dainton shows us that stream of consciousness is not a mosaic of discrete fragments of experience, but rather an interconnected flowing whole. Through a deep probing into the nature of awareness, introspection, phenomenal space and time consciousness, Dainton offers a truly original understanding of the nature of consciousness.
This book has been written for eighteen year olds (or anyone who will listen) as an honest attempt to face their justified questionings and to offer them a metaphysical framework with which to confront the twenty-first century. It is vitally important that certain modes of thought are uprooted and new modes put in their place if mankind and planet Earth are not soon to suffer an historic global catastrophe. Apart from the continuing world-wide proliferation of conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear (...) weaponry, the temperature of the planet has risen more rapidly in the last twenty-five years than it has since the year 900AD, which confirms global warming by some cause or other. These and the many intensifying human conflicts and natural disasters demand that some fundamental changes to our thinking are made as soon as possible. These 120 pages begin with an original examination of the quantum-theoretical understanding of reason (logic) and reality (existence) and find both to be at odds with common sense. A theory of everything is a reduction to a single grand idea! A quantum theory of everything is a mathematical theory of a consciousness realizing this grand idea! That is what this book tries to comprehend by means of five indisputable propositions. (shrink)
This paper is an articulation and defense of a trope-bundle theory of material objects. After some background remarks about objects and tropes, I start the main defense in Section III by answering a charge frequently made against the bundle theory, namely that it commits a conceptual error by saying that properties are parts of objects. I argue that there’s a general and intuitive sense of “part” in which properties are in fact parts of objects. This leads to the question of (...) qualitative unity: in virtue of what are certain properties unified as parts of an object? In Section IV I defend an account of unity for complex material objects. It turns on the thesis that the properties of such objects are structural properties. After addressing some objections, I turn in Section V to the question of unity for simple material objects. Here a different and more radical account is needed, for simples, since they do not have structural properties, are not subsumed by the account of Section IV. I defend the view that a simple object just is a simple property, so that identity delivers the desired unity. (shrink)
My primary aim in this article is to provide a philosophical account of the unity of hallucinations, which can capture both perceptual hallucinations (which are subjectively indistinguishable from perceptions) and non-perceptual hallucinations (all others). Besides, I also mean to clarify further the division of labour and the nature of the collaboration between philosophy and the cognitive sciences. Assuming that the epistemic conception of hallucinations put forward by M. G. F. Martin and others is largely on the right track, I (...) will focus on two main tasks: (a) to provide a satisfactory phenomenology of the subjective character of perceptions and perceptual hallucinations and (b) to redress the philosophers’ neglect of non-perceptual hallucinations. More specifically, I intend to apply one of the central tenets of the epistemic conception—that hallucinations can and should be positively characterised in terms of their phenomenological connections to perceptions—to non-perceptual hallucinations as well. That is, I will try to show that we can positively specify the class of non-perceptual hallucinations by reference to the distinctive ways in which we first-personally experience them and perceptions in consciousness. The task of saying more about their underlying third-personal nature may then be left to the cognitive sciences. (shrink)
In these essays Stephen White examines the forms of psychological integration that give rise to self-knowable and self-conscious individuals who are responsible, concerned for the future, and capable of moral commitment. The essays cover a wide range of basic issues in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, moral psychology, and political philosophy, providing a coherent, sophisticated, and forcefully argued view of the nature of the self. Beginning with mental content and ending with Rawls and utilitarianism, each essay argues a distinctive line. Together (...) they are a unified and powerful philosophical position of considerable scope, one that provides a unique vision of the mind, consciousness, personhood, and morality. White argues that the unity of the self revealed in personal identity and moral responsibility is best understood in normative terms. Basic to such features of the self are the patterns of self-concern in which they are characteristically displayed and the internal justification that supports such concern. The treatment of intentionality and consciousness that grounds this account emphasizes privileged selfknowledge and practical rationality and their corresponding contributions to the unity of the self. A final source of unity emerges from the analysis of our fundamental commitments, an analysis that ensures a central place in moral theory for the notion of the self. Preface Introduction I Content 1 Partial Character and the Language of Thought 2 Narrow Content and Narrow Interpretation II Qualia 3 Curse of the Qualia 4 Transcendentalism and Its Discontents III Identity and Consciousness 5 Metapsychological Relativism and the Self 6 What Is It Like to Be a Homunculus? IV Rationality and Responsibility 7 Self-Deception and Responsibility for the Self 8 Moral Responsibility 9 Rationality, Responsibility, and Pathological Indifference V Moral Theory 10 Rawls and Ideal Reflective Equilibria 11 Utilitarianism, Realism, and Rights Notes Bibliography Index. (shrink)
ABSTRACT The manifest fact of experiential unity—namely, that a single experience often seems to be composed of multiple features and multiple objects—was lodged as a key objection to the Buddhist no-self view by Nyāya philosophers in the classical Indian tradition. We revisit the Nyāya-Buddhist debate on this issue. The early Nyāya experiential unity arguments depend on diachronic unification of experiences in memory, but later Nyāya philosophers explicitly widened the scope to incorporate new unity arguments that invoke synchronic (...) unification in experiences. We argue that classical responses to this objection in the Buddhist traditions are not satisfactory. We offer a new solution on behalf of the Buddhists, with some help from cognitive sciences. We argue that there are different kinds of experiential unity and that, once we distinguish between these kinds, the Nyāya argument becomes difficult to sustain. (shrink)
It is common to hold that our conscious experiences at a single moment are often unified. But when consciousness is unified, what are the fundamental facts in virtue of which it is unified? On some accounts of the unity of consciousness, the most fundamental fact that grounds unity is a form of singularity or oneness. These accounts are similar to Newtonian views of space according to which the most fundamental fact that grounds relations of co-spatiality between various points (...) (or regions) of a space is the fact that these points (or regions) are parts of the same single space. In this paper, I sketch and defend an alternative account of unity of consciousness. Very roughly, the view holds that experiences are unified when they are connected in the right way. In this respect, the view is analogous to Leibnizian views of space according to which the oneness of space emerges from certain conditions over spatial relations. The Leibnizian alternative has significant implications for our understanding of the metaphysics of conscious experience, the cognitive architecture of the mind and our assessment of the conditions under which unity of consciousness breaks. (shrink)
relation between, say, a lump of clay and a statue that it makes up, or between a red and white piece of metal and a stop sign, or between a person and her body? Assuming that there is a single relation between members of each of these pairs, is the relation “strict” identity, “contingent” identity or something else?1 Although this question has generated substantial controversy recently,2 I believe that there is philo- sophical gain to be had from thinking through the (...) issues from scratch. Many of the charges and countercharges are based on the following dichotomy: For any x and y that are related as the lump of clay is to the statue that it makes up, either x is identical to y, or x and y are separate entities, independent of each other. By giving up this dichotomy, we will be able to begin to make sense, I hope, of an intermediate unity relation that holds promise for solving a raft of philosophical problems, including the problem of how persons are related to their bodies.3 And if I am correct, then this relation—constitution without identity—is ubiquitous and interesting in its own right, apart from the light that it sheds on human persons. (shrink)
What is the relationship between unconscious and conscious intentionality? Contemporary philosophy of mind treats the contents of conscious 10 intentional mental states as the same kind of thing as the contents of un- conscious mental states. According to the standard view that beliefs and desires are propositional attitudes, for example, the contents of these states are propositions, whether or not the states are conscious or unconscious. I dispute this way of thinking of conscious and unconscious content, and propose an alternative, (...) which helps to explain why the various mental things that are called unconscious deserve that label. (shrink)
Philosophers have recently revived the study of the ancient Greek topics of virtue and the virtues—justice, honesty, temperance, friendship, courage, and so on as qualities of mind and character belonging to individual people. But one issue at the center of Greek moral theory seems to have dropped out of consideration. This is the question of the unity of virtue, the unity of the virtues. Must anyone who has one of these qualities have others of them as well, indeed (...) all of them—all the ones that really do deserve to be counted as virtues? Even further, is there really no set of distinct and separate virtuous qualities at all, but at bottom only a single one—so that the person who has this single condition of “virtue” is entitled also to the further descriptions “honest” and “well-controlled” and “just” and “friendly” and “courageous” and “fostering” and “supportive,” and so on, as distinguishable aspects or immediate effects of his unitary “virtue”? (shrink)
Inspired by Kant, Merleau-Ponty and Sellars, I illustrate and identify certain kinds of unity which are typical features of our conscious experience, and argue that Kant was right to claim that such unities are produced by unconscious processes of synthesis: A perceptual experience of succession is not reducible to a succession of perceptual experiences. The experience of perceiving one object as having several features is not reducible to a conjunction of perceptual experiences of those features. A cross-modal perceptual experience (...) is not reducible to a conjunction of single-modality perceptual experiences. Incoming perceptual information is synthesized into a single scene-a representation of the world as perceived from a spatio-temporal point of view. Any two of the simultaneous features of the experience of a subject S can be thought of together by S. Many of the experiences of a subject S can be thought of by S at a later time as part of his or her history of experience. These can be summarized in the general principle: An experience of a complex is not a complex of experiences. This is consistent with Sellars' principle that: A sense-impression of a complex is a complex of impressions because the latter applies at the sub-personal, unconceptualized level, and the former at the conscious level of conceptualized experiences. (shrink)
Many philosophers hold that the phenomenology of thinking (also known as cognitive phenomenology) reduces to the phenomenology of the speech, sensory imagery, emotions or feelings associated with it. But even if this reductionist claim is correct, there is still a properly cognitive dimension to the phenomenology of at least some thinking. Specifically, conceptual content makes a constitutive contribution to the phenomenology of at least some thought episodes, in that it constitutes what I call their thematic unity. Often, when a (...) thought episode has a phenomenal character, the various associated speech, sensory imagery, emotions or feelings are often organized around a common theme, constituted by the conceptual content of one's thinking. (shrink)
This essay chiefly concerns the unity of self-consciousness expounded under the heading "the original synthetic unity of apperception" in Kant's transcendental deduction. It focuses mainly on Kant's identification of this unity with the understanding, the faculty of knowledge, with the aim of throwing light on the understanding and on knowledge as well as on synthetic unity.
Human consciousness usually displays a striking unity. When one experiences a noise and, say, a pain, one is not conscious of the noise and then, separately, of the pain. One is conscious of the noise and pain together, as aspects of a single conscious experience. Since at least the time of Immanuel Kant (1781/7), this phenomenon has been called the unity of consciousness . More generally, it is consciousness not of A and, separately, of B and, separately, of (...) C, but of A-and-B- and-C together, as the contents of a single conscious state. (shrink)
A number of contemporary philosophers have suggested that the recent revival of interest in panpsychism within philosophy of mind could reinvigorate a pantheistic philosophy of religion. This project explores whether the combination and individuation problems, which have dominated recent scholarship within panpsychism, can aid the pantheist’s articulation of a God/universe unity. Constitutive holistic panpsychism is seen to be the only type of panpsychism suited to aid pantheism in articulating this type of unity. There are currently no well-developed solutions (...) to the individuation problem for this type of panpsychism. Moreover, the gestures towards a solution appear costly to the religious significance of pantheism. This article concludes that any hope that contemporary panpsychism might aid pantheists in articulating unity is premature and possibly misplaced. (shrink)
What constitutes personhood? How are persons and their bodies related? What is the relationship between personhood and value? The Unity of a Person: Philosophical Perspectives explores the current debates surrounding the philosophy of personal identity and offers a fresh approach to this important topic. It is original in bringing together three approaches to personal identity that are traditionally treated separately: the metaphysical, the phenomenological and the social. By examining these three areas this volume establishes connections between the underlying metaphysical (...) issues surrounding personal identity and the specific forms of personal existence such as self-consciousness, action, and normativity. Topics discussed include personhood and animalism, process ontology, self-identity over time, sociality and personhood, and the normative status of personhood. With chapters by an outstanding international roster of contributors, this collection will be of great interest to those studying personal identity and the nature of the self in metaphysics, philosophy of mind and phenomenology. (shrink)