According to the Self-Location Thesis, one’s own location can be among the things that visual experience represents, even when one’s body is entirely out of view. By contrast, the Minimal View denies this, and says that visual experience represents things only as "to the right", etc., and never as "to the right of me". But the Minimal View is phenomenologically inadequate: it cannot explain the difference between a visual experience of self-motion and one of an oppositely moving world. To (...) show this, I argue (i) that these experiences are different in an important respect, (ii) that this difference is genuinely experiential, (iii) that it is visual, (iv) that it is not purely phenomenal, and (v) that it cannot be identified with anything other than the apparent motion of the self. So the Self-Location Thesis is upheld: reports of one’s own motion can correspond to aspects of visual experiences every bit as basic to their contents as the apparent motion or rest of the things one has in view. (shrink)
We perceive things in the external world as spatially located both with respect to each other and to ourselves, such that they are in principle accessible from where we seem to be. I hear the door bang behind me; I feel the pen on the desk over to my right; and I see you walking beneath the line of pictures, from left to right in front of me. By displaying these spatial relations between its objects and us, the perceivers, perception (...) places us in the perceived world: our world and the world we perceive are one. Clearly this is not achieved by our continually perceiving ourselves along with the things around us, and thus recovering our position with respect to them. Indeed I shall argue that there are serious difficulties with the suggestion that this might be the basic mechanism for perceptual self- location. Furthermore, I shall argue that our existence as an element of the objective order cannot be inferred from the raw given in sense perception. Hence it cannot even be on the right lines as an answer to the question 'What is it for perception to represent its objects as environmental to the subject?', that it should present these objects, along with the perceiving subject himself, or along with something from which his existence in the perceived world could be deduced, in the very same frame so to speak. Nevertheless it yields him an awareness of himself as there in the wings of that scene, genuinely located with respect to the action, yet somehow not normally quite getting onto the stage. And I shall argue here, that perceptual contents succeed in being self-locating in this way in.. (shrink)
Self-locating attitudes and assertions provide a challenge to the received view of mental and linguistic intentionality. In this paper I try to show that the best way to meet this challenge is to adopt relativistic, centred possible worlds accounts for both belief and communication. First, I argue that self-locating beliefs support a centred account of belief. Second, I argue that self-locating utterances support a complementary centred account of communication. Together, these two claims motivate a unified centred conception of belief and (...) communication. (shrink)
Beliefs are commonly analyzed as binary relations between subjects and propositions. Perry and Lewis have shown that the standard account has difficulties in handling self-locating beliefs. Robert Stalnaker has recently put forward a version of the standard account that is supposed to overcome this problem. Stalnaker's motivation for defending the propositional account of belief is that it comes with a simple and powerful propositional model of communication. In this paper I argue that Stalnaker's proposal fails. The only way of upholding (...) the propositional account of belief is by abandoning the simple account of communication. (shrink)
There is a strong pull to the idea that there is some metaphysically interesting distinction between the fully real, objective, observer-independent qualities of things as they are in themselves, and the less-than-fully-real, subjective, observer-dependent qualities of things as they are for us. Call this distinction the primary/secondary quality distinction. The distinction between primary and secondary qualities is philosophically interesting because it is often quite attractive to draw such a distinction, and incredibly hard to spell it out in any kind of (...) satisfying and sensible way. I attempt such a spelling-out after first trying to pin down in more detail what we want from the primary/secondary quality distinction, and saying a bit about why that is such a hard thingto get. (shrink)
At the phenomenal level, consciousness can be described as a singular, unified field of recursive self-awareness, consistently coherent in a particualr way; that of a subject located both spatially and temporally in an egocentrically-extended domain, such that conscious self-awareness is explicitly characterized by I-ness, now-ness and here-ness. The psychological mechanism underwriting this spatiotemporal self-locatedness and its recursive processing style involves an evolutionary elaboration of the basic orientative reference frame which consistently structures ongoing spatiotemporal self-location computations as i-here-now. Cognition computes (...) action-output in the midst of ongoing movement, and consequently requires a constant self-locating spatiotemporal reference frame as basis for these computations. Over time, constant evolutionary pressures for energy efficiency have encouraged both the proliferation of anticipative feedforward processing mechansims, and the elaboration, at the apex of the sensorimotor processing hierarchy, of self-activating, highly attenuated recursively-feedforward circuitry processing the basic orientational schema independent of external action output. As the primary reference frame of active waking cognition, this recursive i-here-now processing generates a zone of subjective self-awareness in terms of which it feels like something to be oneself here and now. This is consciousness. (shrink)
The Sleeping Beauty problem is test stone for theories about self-locating belief, i.e. theories about how we should reasons when data or theories contain indexical information. Opinion on this problem is split between two camps, those who defend the "1/2 view" and those who advocate the "1/3 view". I argue that both these positions are mistaken. Instead, I propose a new "hybrid" model, which avoids the faults of the standard views while retaining their attractive properties. This model _appears_ to violate (...) Bayesian conditionalization, but I argue that this is not the case. By paying close attention to the details of conditionalization in contexts where indexical information is relevant, we discover that the hybrid model is in fact consistent with Bayesian kinematics. If the proposed model is correct, there are important lessons for the study of self-location, observation selection theory, and anthropic reasoning. (shrink)
We defend the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics against the objection that it cannot explain why measurement outcomes are predicted by the Born probability rule. We understand quantum probabilities in terms of an observer's self-location probabilities. We formulate a probability postulate for the MWI: the probability of self-location in a world with a given set of outcomes is the absolute square of that world's amplitude. We provide a proof of this postulate, which assumes the quantum formalism and two (...) principles concerning symmetry and locality. We also show how a structurally similar proof of the Born rule is available for collapse theories. We conclude by comparing our account to the recent account offered by Sebens and Carroll. (shrink)
In Chapter 7 of The Varieties of Reference Evans implicitly outlines a view to the effect that bodily awareness plays no role in perceptual self-location or in the specification of our perceptual perspective of the world. In this paper I discuss this story and offer an alternative proposal. Then I explore some consequences of this account for our understanding of the elusiveness of the self in perceptual experience.
The main problem with the many‐worlds theory is that it is not clear how the notion of probability should be understood in a theory in which every possible outcome of a measurement actually occurs. In this paper, I argue for the following theses concerning the many‐worlds theory: If probability can be applied at all to measurement outcomes, it must function as a measure of an agent’s self‐location uncertainty. Such probabilities typically violate reflection. Many‐worlds branching does not have sufficient structure to (...) admit self‐location probabilities. Decision‐theoretic arguments do not solve this problem. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, P.O. Box 248054, Coral Gables, FL 33124‐4670; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
How do temporal and eternal beliefs interact? I argue that acquiring a temporal belief should have no effect on eternal beliefs for an important range of cases. Thus, I oppose the popular view that new norms of belief change must be introduced for cases where the only change is the passing of time. I defend this position from the purported counter-examples of the Prisoner and Sleeping Beauty. I distinguish two importantly different ways in which temporal beliefs can be acquired and (...) draw some general conclusions about their impact on eternal beliefs. (shrink)
I offer an explanation of how subjects are able to perceive the intrinsic spatial properties of objects, given that subjects always perceive from a particular location. The argument proceeds in two steps. First, I argue that a conception of space is necessary to perceive the intrinsic spatial properties of objects. This conception of space is spelled out by showing that perceiving intrinsic properties requires perceiving objects as the kind of things that are perceivable from other locations. Second, I show that (...) having such a conception of space presupposes that a subject represent her location in relation to perceived objects. More precisely the thesis is that a subject represents her location as the location from which she both perceives objects and would act in relation to objects were she to act. So I argue that perception depends on the capacity to know what it would be to act in relation to objects. (shrink)
According to one tradition in the philosophy of language and mind, the content of a psychological attitude can be characterized by a set of possibilities. On the classic version of this account, advocated by Hintikka (1962) and Stalnaker (1984) among others, the possibilities in question are possible worlds, ways the universe might be. Lewis (1979, 1983a) proposed an alternative to this account, according to which the possibilities in question are possible individuals or centered worlds, ways an individual might be. The (...) motivation for the centered worlds theory has primarily to do with self-locating – or de se – attitudes. The focus of this paper is on the less-discussed question of how other-locating – or de re – attitudes ought to be treated within this framework. Most advocates of what we might call the modal approach to attitudes, Stalnaker and Lewis included, offer some kind of descriptivist solution to the well-known problems that other-locating attitudes raise. There are intramural differences between Stalnaker, Lewis, and other modal theorists (e.g. two-dimensionalists) on a number of issues: on the precise nature of the descriptivism involved, how attitude content relates to the asserted content of the sentences we utter, and on the proper semantic treatment of attitude reports. I pass over these differences to focus on a problem common to these various approaches: all face a problem when it comes to characterizing the contents of counterfactual attitudes like imagining, dreaming, and wishing. (shrink)
All parties to the Sleeping Beauty debate agree that it shows that some cherished principle of rationality has to go. Thirders think that it is Conditionalization and Reflection that must be given up or modified; halfers think that it is the Principal Principle. I offer an analysis of the Sleeping Beauty puzzle that allows us to retain all three principles. In brief, I argue that Sleeping Beauty’s credence in the uncentered proposition that the coin came up heads should be 1/2, (...) but her credence in the centered proposition that the coin came up heads and it is Monday should be 1/3. I trace the source of the earlier mistakes to an unquestioned assumption in the debate, namely that an uncentered proposition is just a special kind of centered proposition. I argue that the falsity of this assumption is the real lesson of the Sleeping Beauty case. (shrink)
Colors aren't as real as shapes. Shapes are full?fledged qualities of things in themselves, independent of how they're perceived and by whom. Colors aren't. Colors are merely qualities of things as they are for us, and the colors of things depend on who is perceiving them. When we take the fully objective view of the world, things keep their shapes, but the colors fall away, revealed as the mere artifacts of our own subjective, parochial perspective on the world that they (...) are. (shrink)
This work is comprised of two papers which are meant to be relatively independent, so that each may stand alone. Nonetheless, both papers are part of a common project. My goal in this introduction is to say something about what links them to one another: the general form of this connection is the following – the theory advanced in the first paper offers an attractive alternative to the theory criticized in the second.
‘Like the shadow of one’s own head, [the referent of one’s ‘I’ thoughts] will not wait to be jumped on. And yet it is never very far ahead; indeed, sometimes it does not seem to be ahead of the pursuer at all. It evades capture by lodging itself in the very inside of the muscles of the pursuer. It is too near even to be within arm’s reach.’(C of M 177-89).
E. J. Lowe argues in Personal Agency that the self is physically embodied yet not identical with any physical body, nor with any part of a physical body, such as the brain. For Lowe, the self is an agent that is capable of carrying out intentional actions. Call this the thesis about the self (TS). In this paper my purpose is to develop and defend TS and argue that Frank Jackson’s serious metaphysics (SM) fails to account for the nature of (...) the self. This paper is outlined as follows: Section I presents Lowe’s theory of the self. In section II, I present Jackson’s central claims of SM. In section III, I develop Jackson’s SM as an objection against Lowe’s TS. In section IV, I respond to objections raised against Lowe’s TS and then critique Jackson’s claim that if an entity is not locatable within the framework of physicalism it should be eliminated. In section V, I conclude that Lowe’s TS is superior to Jackson’s SM. (shrink)
Can self-locating beliefs be relevant to non-self-locating claims? Traditional Bayesian modeling techniques have trouble answering this question because their updating rule fails when applied to situations involving contextsensitivity. This essay develops a fully general framework for modeling stories involving context-sensitive claims. The key innovations are a revised conditionalization rule and a principle relating models of the same story with different modeling languages. The essay then applies the modeling framework to the Sleeping Beauty Problem, showing that when Beauty awakens her degree (...) of belief in heads should be one-third. This demonstrates that it can be rational for an agent who gains only self-locating beliefs between two times to alter her degree of belief in a non-self-locating claim. (shrink)
A plea: If you're going to propose a Bayesian framework for updating self-locating degrees of belief, please read this piece first. I've tried to survey all the extant formalisms, group them by their general approach, then describe challenges faced by every formalism employing a given approach. Hopefully this survey will prevent further instances of authors' re-inventing updating rules already proposed elsewhere in the literature.
How should we update our beliefs when we learn new evidence? Bayesian confirmation theory provides a widely accepted and well understood answer – we should conditionalize. But this theory has a problem with self-locating beliefs, beliefs that tell you where you are in the world, as opposed to what the world is like. To see the problem, consider your current belief that it is January. You might be absolutely, 100%, sure that it is January. But you will soon believe it (...) is February. This type of belief change cannot be modelled by conditionalization. We need some new principles of belief change for this kind of case, which I call belief mutation. In part 1, I defend the Relevance-Limiting Thesis, which says that a change in a purely self-locating belief of the kind that results in belief mutation should not shift your degree of belief in a non-self-locating belief, which can only change by conditionalization. My method is to give detailed analyses of the puzzles which threaten this thesis: Duplication, Sleeping Beauty, and The Prisoner. This also requires giving my own theory of observation selection effects. In part 2, I argue that when self-locating evidence is learnt from a position of uncertainty, it should be conditionalized on in the normal way. I defend this position by applying it to various cases where such evidence is found. I defend the Halfer position in Sleeping Beauty, and I defend the Doomsday Argument and the Fine-Tuning Argument. (shrink)
David Lewis argues that centered worlds give us a way to capture de se, or self-locating, contents in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. In recent years, centered worlds have also gained other uses in areas ranging widely from metaphysics to ethics. In this paper, I raise a problem for centered worlds and discuss the costs and benefits of different solutions. My investigation into the nature of centered worlds brings out potentially problematic implicit commitments of the theories that employ (...) them. In addition, my investigation shows that the conception of centered worlds widely attributed to David Lewis is not only problematic, but in fact not his. (shrink)
Self-deception poses tantalizing conceptual conundrums and provides fertile ground for empirical research. Recent interdisciplinary volumes on the topic feature essays by biologists, philosophers, psychiatrists, and psychologists (Lockard & Paulhus 1988, Martin 1985). Self-deception's location at the intersection of these disciplines is explained by its significance for questions of abiding interdisciplinary interest. To what extent is our mental life present--or even accessible--to consciousness? How rational are we? How is motivated irrationality to be explained? To what extent are our beliefs subject to (...) our control? What are the determinants of belief, and how does motivation bear upon belief? In what measure are widely shared psychological propensities products of evolution? (shrink)
I defend a general rule for updating beliefs that takes into account both the impact of new evidence and changes in the subject’s location. The rule combines standard conditioning with a shifting operation that moves the center of each doxastic possibility forward to the next point where information arrives. I show that well-known arguments for conditioning lead to this combination when centered information is taken into account. I also discuss how my proposal relates to other recent proposals, what results it (...) delivers for puzzles like the Sleeping Beauty problem, and whether there are diachronic constraints on rational belief at all. (shrink)
“Double-halfers” think that throughout the Sleeping Beauty Problem, Beauty should keep her credence that a fair coin flip came up heads equal to 1/2. I introduce a new wrinkle to the problem that shows even double-halfers can't keep Beauty's credences equal to the objective chances for all coin-flip propositions. This leaves no way to deny that self-locating information generates an unexpected kind of inadmissible evidence.
Two lines of investigation into the nature of mental content have proceeded in parallel until now. The first looks at thoughts that are attributable to collectives, such as bands' beliefs and teams' desires. So far, philosophers who have written on collective belief, collective intentionality, etc. have primarily focused on third-personal attributions of thoughts to collectives. The second looks at de se, or self-locating, thoughts, such as beliefs and desires that are essentially about oneself. So far, philosophers who have written on (...) the de se have primarily focused on de se thoughts of individuals. This paper looks at where these two lines of investigations intersect: collective de se thoughts, such as bands' and teams' beliefs and desires that are essentially about themselves. There is a surprising problem at this intersection: the most prominent framework for modeling de se thoughts, the framework of centered worlds, cannot model a special class of collective de se thoughts. A brief survey of this problem's solution space shows that collective de se thoughts pose a new challenge for modeling mental content. (shrink)
Contemporary theories of self-consciousness typically begin by dividing experiences of the self into types, each requiring separate explanation. The stereotypical case of an out of body experience may be seen to suggest a distinction between the sense of oneself as an experiencing subject, a mental entity, and a sense of oneself as an embodied person, a bodily entity. Point of view, in the sense of the place from which the subject seems to experience the world, in this case is tied (...) to the sense of oneself as a mental entity and seems to be the ‘real’ self. Closer reading of reports, however, suggests a substantially more complicated picture. For example, the ‘real’ self that is experienced as separate from the body in an OBE is not necessarily experienced as disembodied. Subjects may experience themselves as having two bodies. In cases classed as heautoscopy there is considerable confusion regarding the apparent location of the experiencing subject; is it the ‘real mind’ in the body I seem to be looking out from, or is it in the body that I see? This suggests that visual point of view can dissociate from the experience of one’s own “real mind” or experience of self-identification. I provide a tripartite distinction between the sense of ownership, the sense of embodiment and the sense of subjectivity to better describe these experiences. The phenomenology of OBEs suggests that there are three distinct forms of self-consciousness which need to be explained. (shrink)
The rubric autoimmunity currently encompasses sixty to seventy diverse illnesses which affect many of the tissues of the human body. Western medical practice asserts that the crisis known as autoimmune disease arises when a biological organism compromises its own integrity by misrecognising parts of itself as other than itself and then seeks to eliminate these unrecognised and hence antagonistic aspects of itself. That is, autoimmune illnesses seem to manifest the contradictory and sometimes deadly proposition that the “identity”: body/self both is (...) and is not “itself”. Based on the assumption that under normal circumstances “the self” ought to coincide naturally with “the body”—or at the very least the self ought to inhabit the living location of the body more or less unproblematically—this scientific paradigm depicts autoimmune illness as a vital paradox. Yet for those of us who have lived through the experience of an autoimmune crisis, the living paradox that we embody may also lead us to question the basis upon which these medical assumptions rest. This essay raises some of these questions. (shrink)
It has recently been proposed that the framework of semantic relativism be put to use to describe mental content, as deployed in some of the fundamental operations of the mind. This programme has inspired in particular a novel strategy of accounting for the essential egocentricity of first-personal or de se thoughts in relativist terms, with the advantage of dispensing with a notion of self-representation. This paper is a critical discussion of this strategy. While it is based on a plausible appeal (...) to cognitive economy, the relativist theory does not fully account for the epistemic profile that distinguishes de se thinking, as some of its proponents hope to do. A deeper worry concerns the reliance of the theory on a primitive notion of “centre” that hasn’t yet received enough critical attention, and is ambiguous between a thin and a rich reading. I argue that while the rich reading is required if the relativist analysis of the de se is to achieve its most ambitious aims, it also deprives the theory of much of its explanatory power. (shrink)
Reflection names the central activity of Western philosophical practice; the mirror and its attendant metaphors of reflection are omnipresent in the self-image of Western philosophy and in metaphilosophical reflection on reflection. But the physical experiences of being reflected by glass mirrors have been inadequately theorized contributors to those metaphors, and this has implications not only for the self-image and the self of philosophy but also for metaphilosophical practice. This article begins to rethink the metaphor of reflection anew. Paying attention to (...) the history of the glass mirror in Europe reveals and challenges the modern emergence of clear ontological distinctions between disembodied subjects and the objects of their knowledge, and suggests a compelling terrain of metaphilosophical analysis. On the reading offered by the article, the inherent complexity of the relationship between selves and their mirror images, a complexity mediated by social location, historical situation, and particular projects, points to significant spaces of unknowing, of indeterminacy, and of ontological ambiguity. (shrink)
Dependency stands for manygrievances and is generally considered asymptom of oppression. An opposing concept,offered as the preferred state, isself-reliance. Dependency and self-reliance arekey concepts in sustainable developmentprograms that feature participatory approaches.Some of the ways in which development projectsemploy the concepts of dependency andself-reliance, however, are troubling.Dependency and self-reliance in two programsfor participatory sustainable development areexamined, one in Canada and the other in NewZealand. Frameworks for dependency and self-reliance aredrawn from social psychology and philosophy toexamine problematic aspects associated with theconcepts. Analysis (...) produced a proposal foruse of the term situatedinterdependence as a way to cast the outcomesof participatory sustainable development moreprecisely. The location of the cases (Canadaand New Zealand) centers the discussion withina context of industrialized agriculture, butalso points to issues pertinent to developingcountries. (shrink)
This article defends the Doomsday Argument, the Halfer Position in Sleeping Beauty, the Fine-Tuning Argument, and the applicability of Bayesian confirmation theory to the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. It will argue that all four problems have the same structure, and it gives a unified treatment that uses simple models of the cases and no controversial assumptions about confirmation or self-locating evidence. The article will argue that the troublesome feature of all these cases is not self-location but selection effects.
There has recently been a wave of attempts to make sense of the role of de se thoughts in linguistic communication. A majority of the attempts assume a Perryan or a Lewisian view of de se thought. Views with these assumptions, I suggest, come in four varieties: uncentering (Egan 2007, Kölbel 2013, Moss 2012), recentering (Heim 2004, Weber 2012), multicentering (Kindermann 2014, Ninan 2010, Torre 2009), and no centering (Kaplan 1989, Perry 1979). I argue first that all four varieties of (...) centering are committed to what I call a shifting operation on the hearer's part. I argue second that, against common assumption, there is no real choice to make between the views. By showing that attempts to establish an advantage for some view over the others fail across the board, I make the case for neutralism regarding the varieties of centering – the claim that coverage of the empirical data is exactly the same for each view, and that the views are broadly equal in simplicity and elegance. (shrink)
Colin Howson (1995 ) offers a counter-example to the rule of conditionalization. I will argue that the counter-example doesn't hit its target. The problem is that Howson mis-describes the total evidence the agent has. In particular, Howson overlooks how the restriction that the agent learn 'E and nothing else' interacts with the de se evidence 'I have learnt E'.
Visual, somatosensory, and perspectival cues normally provide congruent information about where the self is experienced. Separating those cues by virtual reality techniques, recent studies found that self-location was systematically biased to where a visual–tactile event was seen. Here we developed a novel, repeatable and implicit measure of self-location to compare and extend previous protocols. We investigated illusory self-location and associated phenomenological aspects in a lying body position that facilitates clinically observed abnormal self-location . The results confirm (...) that the self is located to where touch is seen. This leads to either predictable lowering or elevation of self-localization, and the latter was accompanied by sensations of floating, as during out-of-body experiences. Using a novel measurement we show that the unitary and localized character of the self can be experimentally separated from both the origin of the visual perspective and the location of the seen body, which is compatible with clinical data. (shrink)