§I schematises the evidence for an understanding of ‘know’ and other terms of epistemic appraisal that embodies contextualism or subject-sensitive invariantism, and distinguishes between those two approaches. §II argues that although the cases for contextualism and sensitive invariantism rely on a principle of charity in the interpretation of epistemic claims, neither approach satisfies charity fully, since both attribute metalinguistic errors to speakers. §III provides an equally charitable anti-sceptical insensitive invariantist explanation of much of the same evidence as the result of (...) psychological bias caused by salience effects. §IV suggests that the explanation appears to have implausible consequences about practical reasoning, but also that applications of contextualism or sensitive invariantism to the problem of scepticism have such consequences. §V argues that the inevitable difference between appropriateness and knowledge of appropriateness in practical reasoning, closely related to the difference between knowledge and knowledge of knowledge, explains the apparent implausibility. (shrink)
Some mental events are conscious, some are unconscious. What is the difference between the two? Uriah Kriegel offers an answer. His aim is a comprehensive theory of the features that all and only conscious mental events have. The key idea is that consciousness arises when self-awareness and world-awareness are integrated in the right way. Conscious mental events differ from unconscious ones in that, whatever else they may represent, they always also represent themselves, and do so in a very specific way. (...)Subjective Consciousness is a fascinating new move forward towards a full understanding of the mind. (shrink)
Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective is the long-awaited third volume of philosophical writings by Donald Davidson, whose influence on philosophy since the 1960s has been deep and broad. Davidson 's first two collections, published by OUP in the early 1980s, are recognized as contemporary classics. His ideas have continued to flow, and now he presents a selection of his best work on knowledge, mind, and language from the last two decades--a rich and rewarding feast for anyone interested in philosophy today, and (...) essential reading for anyone working on these topics. (shrink)
Numbers and other mathematical objects are exceptional in having no locations in space or time or relations of cause and effect. This makes it difficult to account for the possibility of the knowledge of such objects, leading many philosophers to embrace nominalism, the doctrine that there are no such objects, and to embark on ambitious projects for interpreting mathematics so as to preserve the subject while eliminating its objects. This book cuts through a host of technicalities that have obscured previous (...) discussions of these projects, and presents clear, concise accounts of a dozen strategies for nominalistic interpretation of mathematics, thus equipping the reader to evaluate each and to compare different ones. The authors also offer critical discussion, rare in the literature, of the aims and claims of nominalistic interpretation, suggesting that it is significant in a very different way from that usually assumed. (shrink)
_Nomadic Subjects_ argues for a new kind of philosophical thinking, one that would include the insights of feminism and abandon the hegemonic mode that is conventionally adopted in high theory. Braidotti's personal, surprising, and lively prose insists on an integration of feminism in mainstream discourse. The essays explore problems that are central to current feminist debates including Western epistemology's relation to the "woman question," feminism and biomedical ethics, European feminism, and how American feminists might relate to European movements.
This book investigates the subjective and objective representations of the world, developing analogies between secondary qualities and indexical thoughts and arguing that subjective representations are ineliminable. Throughout, McGinn brings together historical and contemporary discussions to illuminate old problems in a novel way.
Twentieth century philosophers introduced the distinction between “objective rightness” and “subjective rightness” to achieve two primary goals. The first goal is to reduce the paradoxical tension between our judgments of (i) what is best for an agent to do in light of the actual circumstances in which she acts and (ii) what is wisest for her to do in light of her mistaken or uncertain beliefs about her circumstances. The second goal is to provide moral guidance to an agent (...) who may be uncertain about the circumstances in which she acts, and hence is unable to use her standard moral principle directly in deciding what to do. This paper distinguishes two important senses of “moral guidance”; proposes criteria of adequacy for accounts of subjective rightness; canvasses existing definitions for “subjective rightness”; finds them all deficient; and proposes a new and more successful account. It argues that each comprehensive moral theory must include multiple principles of subjective rightness to address the epistemic situations of the full range of moral decision-makers, and shows that accounts of subjective rightness formulated in terms of what it would reasonable for the agent to believe cannot provide that guidance. -/- . (shrink)
In this innovative study of the relationship between persons and their bodies, E. J. Lowe demonstrates the inadequacy of physicalism, even in its mildest, non-reductionist guises, as a basis for a scientifically and philosophically acceptable account of human beings as subjects of experience, thought and action. He defends a substantival theory of the self as an enduring and irreducible entity - a theory which is unashamedly committed to a distinctly non-Cartesian dualism of self and body. Taking up the physicalist challenge (...) to any robust form of psychophysical interactionism, he shows how an attribution of independent causal powers to the mental states of human subjects is perfectly consistent with a thoroughly naturalistic world view. He concludes his study by examining in detail the role which conscious mental states play in the human subject's exercise of its most central capacities for perception, action, thought and self-knowledge. (shrink)
Diana Tietjens Meyers examines the political underpinnings of psychoanalytic feminism, analyzing the relation between the nature of the self and the structure of good societies. She argues that impartial reason--the approach to moral reflection which has dominated 20th-century Anglo-American philosophy--is inadequate for addressing real world injustices. ____Subjection and Subjectivity__ is central to feminist thought across a wide range of disciplines.
The enactive approach offers a distinctive view of how mental life relates to bodily activity at three levels: bodily self-regulation, sensorimotor coupling, and intersubjective interaction. This paper concentrates on the second level of sensorimotor coupling. An account is given of how the subjectively lived body and the living body of the organism are related via dynamic sensorimotor activity, and it is shown how this account helps to bridge the explanatory gap between consciousness and the brain. Arguments by O'Regan, Noë, and (...) Myin that seek to account for the phenomenal character of perceptual consciousness in terms of ‘bodiliness’ and ‘grabbiness’ are considered. It is suggested that their account does not pay sufficient attention to two other key aspects of perceptual phenomenality: the autonomous nature of the experiencing self or agent, and the pre-reflective nature of bodily self-consciousness. (shrink)
I would like to suggest another way to go further toward a new economy of power relations, a way which is more empirical, more directly related to our present situation, and which implies more relations between theory and practice. It consists of taking the forms of resistance against different forms of power as a starting point. To use another metaphor, t consists of using this resistance as a chemical catalyst so as to bring to light power relations, locate their position, (...) and find out their point of application and the methods used. Rather than analyzing power from the point of view of its internal rationality, it consists of analyzing power relations through the antagonism of strategies.[…]Let us come back to the definition of the exercise of power as a way in which certain actions may structure the field of other possible actions. What, therefore, would be proper to a relationship of power is that it be a mode of action upon actions. That is to say, power relations are rooted deep in the social nexus, not reconstituted "above" society as a supplementary structure whose radical effacement one could perhaps dream of. In any case, to live in a society is to live in such a way that action upon other actions is possible-- and in fact ongoing. A society without power relations can only be an abstraction. Which, be it said in passing, makes all the more politically necessary the analysis of power relations in a given society, their historical formation, the source of their strength or fragility, the conditions which are necessary to transform some or to abolish others. For to say that there cannot be a society without power relations is not to say either that those which are established are necessary or, in any case, that power constitutes a fatality at the heart of societies, such that it cannot be undermined. Instead, I would say that the analysis, elaboration, and bringing into question of power relations and the "agonism" between power relations and the instransitivity of freedom is a permanent political task inherent in all social existence.[…]In effect, between a relationship of power and a strategy of struggle there is a reciprocal appeal, a perpetual linking and a perpetual reversal. At every moment the relationship of power may become a confrontation between two adversaries. Equally, the relationship between adversaries in society may, at every moment, give place to the putting into operation of mechanisms of power. The consequence of this instability is the ability to decipher the same events and the same transformations either from inside the history of struggle or from the standpoint of the power relationships. The interpretations which result will not consist of the same elements of meaning or the same links or the same types of intelligibility, although they refer to the same historical fabric, and each of the two analyses must have reference to the other. In fact, it is precisely the disparities between the two readings which make visible those fundamental phenomena of "domination" which are present in a large number of human societies.Michel Foucault has been teaching at the Collège de France since 1970. His works include Madness and Civilization , The Birth of the Clinic , Discipline and Punish , and History of Sexuality , the first volume of a projected five-volume study. (shrink)
Introduction -- By way of nomadism -- Context and generations -- Sexual difference theory -- On the female feminist subject : from "she-self" to "she-other" -- Sexual difference as a nomadic political project -- Organs without bodies -- Images without imagination -- Mothers, monsters, and machines -- Discontinuous becomings : Deleuze and the becoming-woman of philosophy -- Envy and ingratitude: men in feminism -- Conclusion. Geometries of passion : a conversation.
Are mental states "in the head"? Or do they intrinsically involve aspects of the subject's physical and social context? This volume presents a number of essays dealing with the compass of the mind. The contributors broach a range of issues with a commmon view that physical and social magnets do act upon mental states. The approaches that run through these papers make the volume challenging to cognitive psychologists, theorists of artificial intelligence, social theorists, and philosophers.
Subjects of ectogenesis—human beings that are developing in artificial wombs (AWs)—share the same moral status as newborns. To demonstrate this, I defend two claims. First, subjects of partial ectogenesis—those that develop in utero for a time before being transferred to AWs—are newborns (in the full sense of the word). Second, subjects of complete ectogenesis—those who develop in AWs entirely—share the same moral status as newborns. To defend the first claim, I rely on Elizabeth Chloe Romanis’s distinctions between fetuses, newborns and (...) subjects of ectogenesis. For Romanis, the subject of partial ectogenesis ‘is neither a fetus nor a baby’ but is, instead, a ‘new product of human reproduction’. In this essay, I begin by, expanding upon Romanis’s argument that subjects of partial ectogenesis are not fetuses while arguing that those subjects are newborns. Next, I show that the distinction that Romanis draws between subjects of partial ectogenesis and newborns needs to be revised. The former is a kind of the latter. This leads us to an argument that shows why different moral statuses cannot be justifiably assigned to subjects of partial ectogenesis and subjects of complete ectogenesis, respectively. As subjects of partial ectogenesis share the same moral status as newborns, it follows that subjects of complete ectogenesis share the same moral status as newborns as well. I conclude by considering implications that this essay may have for the research and development of AW technology and conceptual links between a subject’s moral status and birth. (shrink)
A subjective list theory of well-being is one that accepts both pluralism (the view that there is more than one basic good) and subjectivism (the view, roughly, that every basic good involves our favourable attitudes). Such theories have been neglected in discussions of welfare. I argue that this is a mistake. I introduce a subjective list theory called disjunctive desire satisfactionism, and I argue that it is superior to two prominent monistic subjectivist views: desire satisfactionism and subjective (...) desire satisfactionism. In the course of making this argument, I introduce a problem for desire satisfactionism: it cannot accommodate the fact that whenever someone experiences an attitudinal pleasure, his welfare is (other things equal) higher during the pleasure. Finally, I argue that any subjectivist about welfare should find disjunctive desire satisfactionism highly attractive. (shrink)
In recent years, the notion of a reason has come to occupy a central place in both metaethics and normative theory more broadly. Indeed, many philosophers have come to view reasons as providing the basis of normativity itself . The common conception is that reasons are facts that count in favor of some act or attitude. More recently, philosophers have begun to appreciate a distinction between objective and subjective reasons, where (roughly) objective reasons are determined by the facts, while (...)subjective reasons are determined by one's beliefs. My goal in this paper is to offer a plausible theory of subjective reasons. Although much attention has been focused on theories of objective reasons, very little has been offered in the literature regarding what sort of account of subjective reasons we should adopt; and what has been offered is rather perfunctory, and requires filling-out. Taking what has been said thus far as a starting point, I will consider several putative theories of subjective reasons, offering objections and amendments along the way, will settle on what I take to be a highly plausible account, and will defend that account against objections. (shrink)
The subjective deontic "ought" generates counterexamples to classical inference rules like modus ponens. It also conflicts with the orthodox view about modals and conditionals in natural language semantics. Most accounts of the subjective ought build substantive and unattractive normative assumptions into the semantics of the modal. I sketch a general semantic account, along with a metasemantic story about the context sensitivity of information-sensitive operators.
This is the long-awaited third volume of philosophical writings by Davidson, whose influence on philosophy since the 1960s has been deep and broad. His first two collections, published by Oxford in the early 1980s, are recognized as contemporary classics. His ideas have continued to flow; now, in this new work, he presents a selection of his best work on knowledge, mind, and language from the last two decades. It is a rich and rewarding feast for anyone interested in philosophy, and (...) essential reading for anyone working on these topics. (shrink)
This book offers a concise survey of basic probability theory from a thoroughly subjective point of view whereby probability is a mode of judgment. Written by one of the greatest figures in the field of probability theory, the book is both a summation and synthesis of a lifetime of wrestling with these problems and issues. After an introduction to basic probability theory, there are chapters on scientific hypothesis-testing, on changing your mind in response to generally uncertain observations, on expectations (...) of the values of random variables, on de Finetti's dissolution of the so-called problem of induction, and on decision theory. (shrink)
. When I have a conscious experience of the sky, there is a bluish way it is like for me to have that experience. We may distinguish two aspects of this "bluish way it is like for me": the bluish aspect and the for-me aspect. Let us call the bluish aspect of the experience its qualitative character and the for-me aspect its subjective character . What is this elusive for-me-ness, or subjective character , of conscious experience? In this (...) paper, I examine six different attempts to account for subjective character in terms of the functional and representational properties of conscious experiences. After arguing against the first five, I defend the sixth. (shrink)
In this paper I want to introduce and defend what I call the "subject mode account" of collective intentionality. I propose to understand collectives from joint attention dyads over small informal groups of various types to organizations, institutions and political entities such as nation states, in terms of their self-awareness. On the subject mode account, the self-consciousness of such collectives is constitutive for their being. More precisely, their self-representation as subjects of joint theoretical and practical positions towards the world – (...) rather than as objects of such positions – makes them what they are. Members of such collectives represent each other as co-subjects of such positions and thus represent the world from the point of view of the collective. (shrink)
_Levinas, Subjectivity, Education_ explores how the philosophical writings of Emmanuel Levinas lead us to reassess education and reveals the possibilities of a radical new understanding of ethical and political responsibility. Presents an original theoretical interpretation of Emmanuel Levinas that outlines the political significance of his work for contemporary debates on education Offers a clear analysis of Levinas’s central philosophical concepts, including the place of religion in his work, demonstrating their relevance for educational theorists Examines Alain Badiou’s critique of Levinas’s work (...) Considers the practical implications of Levinas’ theories for concrete educational practices and frameworks. (shrink)
Before one can even begin to model consciousness and what exactly it means that it is a subjective phenomenon one needs a theory about what a first-person perspective really is. This theory has to be conceptually convincing, empirically plausible and, most of all, open to new developments. The chosen conceptual framework must be able to accommodate scientific progress. Its ba- sic assumptions have to be plastic as it were, so that new details and empirical data can continuously be fed (...) into the theoretical model as it grows and becomes more refined. This paper makes an attempt at sketching the outlines of such a theory, offering a representationalist analysis of the phenomenal first-person perspective. Three phenomenal target properties are centrally relevant. (shrink)
Subjective probability plays an increasingly important role in many fields concerned with human cognition and behavior. Yet there have been significant criticisms of the idea that probabilities could actually be represented in the mind. This paper presents and elaborates a view of subjective probability as a kind of sampling propensity associated with internally represented generative models. The resulting view answers to some of the most well known criticisms of subjective probability, and is also supported by empirical work (...) in neuroscience and behavioral psychology. The repercussions of the view for how we conceive of many ordinary instances of subjective probability, and how it relates to more traditional conceptions of subjective probability, are discussed in some detail. (shrink)
In the first part of the paper I try to explain why the disjunctive theory of perception can seem so counterintuitive by focusing on two of the standard arguments against the view-the argument from subjective indiscriminability and the causal argument. I suggest that by focusing on these arguments, and in particular the intuitions that lie behind them, we gain a clearer view of what the disjunctive theory is committed to and why. In light of this understanding, I then present (...) an argument for the disjunctive theory based on the claim that the content of experience is particular and not general. (shrink)
Can love be an appropriate response to a person? In this paper, I argue that it can. First, I discuss the reasons why we might think this question should be answered in the negative. This will help us clarify the question itself. Then I argue that, even though extant accounts of reasons for love are inadequate, there remains the suspicion that there must be something about people which make our love for them appropriate. Being lovable, I contend, is what makes (...) our love for them appropriate, just as being fearsome is what makes our fear of certain situations appropriate. I finally propose a general account of this property which avoids the major problems facing the extant accounts of reasons for love. (shrink)
In this essay I address the question, “What is the subject matter of phenomenological research?” I argue that in spite of the increasing popularity of phenomenology, the answers to this question have been brief and cursory. As a result, contemporary phenomenologists lack a clear framework within which to articulate the aims and results of their research, and cannot easily engage each other in constructive and critical discourse. Examining the literature on phenomenology’s identity, I show how the question of phenomenology’s subject (...) matter has been systematically neglected. It has been overshadowed by an unending concern with phenomenology’s methodological identity. However, an examination of recent contributions to this literature reveals that a concern with articulating phenomenology’s subject matter has gradually increased, although such articulations remain preliminary. In light of this, I delineate, define, and illustrate three layers of phenomenological research, which I term “existentials,” “modes,” and “prejudices.” While the delineation of these layers is drawn primarily from classical phenomenological texts, they are defined and illustrated through the use of more contemporary literature. Following the articulation of this subject matter, I briefly consider some of the debates—both foundational and applied—that can be facilitated by the adoption of this framework. (shrink)
Descartes's philosophy has had a considerable influence on the modern conception of the mind, but many think that this influence has been largely negative. The main project of The Subject's Point of View is to argue that discarding certain elements of the Cartesian conception would be much more difficult than critics seem to allow, since it is tied to our understanding of basic notions, including the criteria for what makes someone a person, or one of us. The crucial feature of (...) the Cartesian view defended here is not dualism--which is not adopted--but internalism. Internalism is opposed to the widely accepted externalist thesis, which states that some mental features constitutively depend on certain features of our physical and social environment. In contrast, this book defends the minority internalist view, which holds that the mind is autonomous, and though it is obviously affected by the environment, this influence is merely contingent and does not delimit what is thinkable in principle. Defenders of the externalist view often present their theory as the most thoroughgoing criticism of the Cartesian conception of the mind; Katalin Farkas offers a defence of an uncompromising internalist Cartesian conception. (shrink)
Subjective theories of well-being claim that how well our lives go for us is a matter of our attitudes towards what we get in life rather than the nature of the things themselves. This article explains in more detail the distinction between subjective and objective theories of well-being; describes, for each approach, some reasons for thinking it is true; outlines the main kinds of subjective theory; and explains their advantages and disadvantages.
This classic work by one of the most important philosophers and critics of our time charts the genesis and trajectory of the desiring subject from Hegel's formulation in Phenomenology of Spirit to its appropriation by Kojève, Hyppolite, Sartre, Lacan, Deleuze, and Foucault. Judith Butler plots the French reception of Hegel and the successive challenges waged against his metaphysics and view of the subject, all while revealing ambiguities within his position. The result is a sophisticated reconsideration of the post-Hegelian tradition that (...) has predominated in modern French thought, and her study remains a provocative and timely intervention in contemporary debates over the unconscious, the powers of subjection, and the subject. (shrink)
Recent work on consciousness has distinguished between the qualitative character of an experience and its subjective character or subjectivity. It is often suggested that subjectivity is a characteristic inner awareness subjects enjoy of their own occurrent experiences. A number of thinkers have also suggested that not only is each subject aware of her own experiences, but that in having these experiences she is aware of them as her own. This is the subjectivity-mineness thesis: necessarily, an experience which is given (...) to its subject is given as the subject’s own experience. I shall argue against the subjectivity-mineness thesis. While I agree that experiences are characterised by inner awareness, it is questionable whether inner awareness entails an awareness of my experiences as mine. I shall offer an alternative account of inner awareness, the impersonal account. On this account the subject of the experience is not presented in the content of inner awareness, but the mode of inner awareness is such that necessarily, this awareness is an awareness of experiences which belong to this subject. This is what makes inner awareness a characteristically first-personal form of awareness. (shrink)
This is the first systematic survey of modern nominalistic reconstructions of mathematics, and for this reason alone it should be read by everyone interested in the philosophy of mathematics and, more generally, in questions concerning abstract entities. In the bulk of the book, the authors sketch a common formal framework for nominalistic reconstructions, outline three major strategies such reconstructions can follow, and locate proposals in the literature with respect to these strategies. The discussion is presented with admirable precision and clarity, (...) and should be accessible even to readers with only minimal background in logic and mathematics. There will be many who will turn directly to these pages and use them as a brief manual on the state of the art of nominalism in mathematics. But the most intriguing parts of this elegant book—at least in my view—are the introduction and the conclusion, where the authors examine the significance of reconstructive nominalism. (shrink)
Growing concern with the panpsychist's ostensive inability to solve the ‘combination problem’ has led some authors to adopt a view titled ‘Cosmopsychism’. This position turns panpsychism on its head: rather than many tiny atomic minds, there is instead one cosmos-sized mind. It is supposed that this view voids the combination problem, however I argue that it does not. I argue that there is a ‘de-combination problem’ facing the cosmopsychist, which is equivalent to the combination problem as they are both concerned (...) with subjects being proper parts of other subjects. I then propose two methods for both theorists to avoid the problem of subject-subject proper parthood relations: a distinction between absolute and relative phenomenal unity, and a modification of the essential nature of subjects. Of these two options, I find the latter option wanting and propose that the first should be adopted. (shrink)
An important theme running through D.H. Mellor’s work is his realism, or as I shall call it, his objectivism: the idea that reality as such is how it is, regardless of the way we represent it, and that philosophical error often arises from confusing aspects of our subjective representation of the world with aspects of the world itself. Thus central to Mellor’s work on time has been the claim that the temporal A-series (previously called ‘tense’) is unreal while the (...) B-series (the series of ‘dates’) is real. The A-series is something which is a product of our representation of the world, but not a feature of reality itself. And in other, less central, areas of his work, this kind of theme has been repeated: ‘Objective decision making’ (1980) argues that the right way to understand decision theory is as a theory of what is the objectively correct decision, the one that will actually as a matter of fact achieve your intended goal, rather than the one that is justified purely in terms of what you believe, regardless of whether the belief is true or false. ‘I and now’ (1989) argues against a substantial subjective conception of the self, using analogies between subjective and objective ways of thinking about time and subjective and objective ways of thinking about the self. And in the paper which shall be the focus of my attention here, ‘Nothing like experience’ (1992), Mellor contests arguments which try and derive anti-physicalist conclusions from reflections on the subjective character of experience. A common injunction is detectable: when doing metaphysics, keep the subjective where it belongs: inside the subject’s representation of the world. (shrink)
A central subject is the main strand around which the fabric of an historical narrative is woven. Such a subject must possess both spatial and temporal continuity. It is integrated into an historical entity through the relationship between those properties which make it an individual, and their interaction with the historical event. Scientific theory is useful in the reconstruction of past events and the definition of the central subject. Ideas used as central subjects present the problem of finding internal principles (...) of integration which will make the idea continuous over time. The purpose of narratives is to explain an event by integrating it into an organized whole. (shrink)
Many have claimed that unspecific evidence sometimes demands unsharp, indeterminate, imprecise, vague, or interval-valued probabilities. Against this, a variant of the diachronic Dutch Book argument shows that perfectly rational agents always have perfectly sharp probabilities.
Part 1. Husserl: the outlines of the transcendental-phenomenological system -- 1. Husserl's phenomenological discovery of the natural attitude -- 2. Husserl's theory of the phenomenological reduction: between lifeworld and Cartesianism -- 3. Some methodological problems arising in Husserl's late reflections on the phenomenological reduction -- 4. Facticity and historicity as constituents of the lifeworld in Husserl's late philosophy -- 5. Husserl's concept of the "transcendental person": another look at the Husserl-Heidegger relationship -- 6. Dialectics of the absolute: the systematics of (...) the phenomenological system in Husserl's last period -- Part 2. Husserl, Kant, and neo-Kantianism: from subjectivity to lifeworld as a world of culture -- 7. From being to givenness and back: some remarks on the meaning of transcendental idealism in Kant and Husserl -- 8. Reconstruction and reduction: Natorp and Husserl on method and the question of subjectivity -- 9. A hermeneutic phenomenology of subjective and objective spirit: Husserl, Natorp, and Cassirer -- 10. Cassirer's philosophy of symbolic forms: between reason and relativism: a critical appraisal -- Part 3. Toward a Husserlian hermeneutics -- 11. The subjectivity of effective history and the suppressed husserlian elements in Gadamer's hermeneutics -- 12. Husserl's "hermeneutical phenomenology" as a philosophy of culture. (shrink)
Subjectivity is that feature of consciousness whereby there is something it is like for a subject to undergo an experience. One persistent challenge in the study of consciousness is to explain how subjectivity relates to, or arises from, purely physical brain processes. But, in order to address this challenge, it seems we must have a clear explanation of what subjectivity is in the first place. This has proven challenging in its own right. For the nature of subjectivity itself seems to (...) resist straightforward characterization. In this paper, I won't address how subjectivity relates to the physical. Instead, I'll address subjectivity itself. I'll do this by introducing and defending a model of subjectivity based on self-acquaintance. My model does not purport to reduce, eliminate, or naturalize subjectivity, but it does make subjectivity more tractable, less paradoxical, and perhaps less dubious to those averse to obscurity. (shrink)
There has been much recent interest in imprecise probabilities, models of belief that allow unsharp or fuzzy credence. There have also been some influential criticisms of this position. Here we argue, chiefly against Elga, that subjective probabilities need not be sharp. The key question is whether the imprecise probabilist can make reasonable sequences of decisions. We argue that she can. We outline Elga's argument and clarify the assumptions he makes and the principles of rationality he is implicitly committed to. (...) We argue that these assumptions are too strong and that rational imprecise choice is possible in the absence of these overly strong conditions. (shrink)
The paper links discussions of two topics: biological individuality and the simplest forms of mentality. I discuss several attempts to locate the boundary between metabolic activity and ‘minimal cognition.’ I then look at differences between the kinds of individuality present in unicellular life, multicellular life in general, and animals of several kinds. Nervous systems, which are clearly relevant to cognition and subjectivity, also play an important role in the form of individuality seen in animals. The last part of the paper (...) links these biological transitions to the evolutionary history of subjective experience. (shrink)
Confirmation is commonly identified with positive relevance, E being said to confirm H if and only if E increases the probability of H. Today, analyses of this general kind are usually Bayesian ones that take the relevant probabilities to be subjective. I argue that these subjective Bayesian analyses are irremediably flawed. In their place I propose a relevance analysis that makes confirmation objective and which, I show, avoids the flaws of the subjective analyses. What I am proposing (...) is in some ways a return to Carnap's conception of confirmation, though there are also important differences between my analysis and his. My analysis includes new accounts of what evidence is and of the indexicality of confirmation claims. Finally, I defend my analysis against Achinstein's criticisms of the relevance concept of confirmation. (shrink)
Do philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in the same way? In this article, we argue that they do not and that the philosophical concept of phenomenal consciousness does not coincide with the folk conception. We first offer experimental support for the hypothesis that philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in markedly different ways. We then explore experimentally the folk conception, proposing that for the folk, subjective experience is closely linked to valence. We (...) conclude by considering the implications of our findings for a central issue in the philosophy of mind, the hard problem of consciousness. (shrink)