Kant made a number of highly original discoveries about the mind - about its ability to synthesise a single, coherent representation of self and world, about the unity it must have to do so, and about the mind's awareness of itself and the semantic apparatus it uses to achieve this awareness. The past fifty years have seen intense activity in research on human cognition. Even so, Kant's discoveries have not been superseded, and some of them have not even been assimilated (...) into current thinking. That is particularly true of his work on unity and on the semantic apparatus of self-awareness. The first four chapters of this book present a comprehensive overview of Kant's model for non-specialists, an overview largely unencumbered by detailed exegesis. The work then offers a close study of five major discussions of the mind in the Critique of Pure Reason and Anthropology. (shrink)
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)
Despite being there from the beginning, philosophical approaches have never had a settled place in cognitive research and few cognitive researchers not trained in philosophy have a clear sense of what its role has been or should be. We distinguish philosophy in cognitive research and philosophy of cognitive research. Concerning philosophy in cognitive research, after exploring some standard reactions to this work by nonphilosophers, we will pay particular attention to the methods that philosophers use. Being neither experimental nor computational, they (...) can leave others bewildered. Thought experiments are the most striking example but not the only one. Concerning philosophy of cognitive research, we will pay particular attention to its power to generate and test normative claims, claims about what should and should not be done. (shrink)
This volume provides an up to date and comprehensive overview of the philosophy and neuroscience movement, which applies the methods of neuroscience to traditional philosophical problems and uses philosophical methods to illuminate issues in neuroscience. At the heart of the movement is the conviction that basic questions about human cognition, many of which have been studied for millennia, can be answered only by a philosophically sophisticated grasp of neuroscience's insights into the processing of information by the human brain. Essays in (...) this volume are clustered around five major themes: data and theory in neuroscience; neural representation and computation; visuomotor transformations; color vision; and consciousness. (shrink)
Tracking persons, that is, determining that a person now is or is not a specific earlier person, is extremely common and widespread in our way of life and extremely important. If so, figuring out what we are tracking, what it is to persist as a person over a period of time, is also important. Trying to figure this out will be the main focus of this chapter.
Some of Kant's ideas about the mind have had a huge influence on cognitive science, in particular his view that sensory input has to be worked up using concepts or concept-like states and his conception of the mind as a system of cognitive functions. We explore these influences in the first part of the paper. Other ideas of Kant's about the mind have not been assimilated into cognitive science, including important ideas about processes of synthesis, mental unity, and consciousness and (...) self-consciousness. They are the topic of the second part of the paper. (shrink)
Through nineteenth-century intermediaries, the model of the mind developed by Immanuel Kant has had an enormous influence on contemporary cognitive research. Indeed, Kant could be viewed as the intellectual godfather of cognitive science. In general structure, Kant's model of the mind shaped nineteenth-century empirical psychology and, after a hiatus during which behaviourism reigned supreme , became influential again toward the end of the twentieth century, especially in cognitive science. Kantian elements are central to the models of the mind of thinkers (...) otherwise as different as Sigmund Freud and Jerry Fodor, for example. (shrink)
Talk of levels is everywhere in cognitive science. Whether it is in terms of adjudicating longstanding debates or motivating foundational concepts, one cannot go far without hearing about the need to talk at different ‘levels’. Yet in spite of its widespread application and use, the concept of levels has received little sustained attention within cognitive science. This paper provides an analysis of the various ways the notion of levels has been deployed within cognitive science. The paper begins by introducing and (...) motivating discussion via four representative accounts of levels. It then turns to outlining and relating the four accounts using two dimensions of comparison. The result is the creation of a conceptual framework that maps the logical space of levels talk, which offers an important step toward making sense of levels talk within cognitive science. (shrink)
This is the only contemporary text to cover both epistemology and philosophy of mind at an introductory level. It also serves as a general introduction to philosophy: it discusses the nature and methods of philosophy as well as basic logical tools of the trade. The book is divided into three parts. The first focuses on knowledge, in particular, skepticism and knowledge of the external world, and knowledge of language. The second focuses on mind, including the metaphysics of mind and freedom (...) of will. The third brings together knowledge and mind, discussing knowledge of mind and naturalism and how epistemology and philosophy of mind come together in contemporary cognitive science. Throughout, the authors take into account the needs of the beginning philosophy student. They have made very effort to ensure accessibility while preserving accuracy. (shrink)
A movement dedicated to applying neuroscience to traditional philosophical problems and using philosophical methods to illuminate issues in neuroscience began about twenty-five years ago. Results in neuroscience have affected how we see traditional areas of philosophical concern such as perception, belief-formation, and consciousness. There is an interesting interaction between some of the distinctive features of neuroscience and important general issues in the philosophy of science. And recent neuroscience has thrown up a few conceptual issues that philosophers are perhaps best trained (...) to deal with. After sketching the history of the movement, we explore the relationships between neuroscience and philosophy and introduce some of the specific issues that have arisen. (shrink)
My comments will focus on the issue of what, according to Gallagher and Zahavi (2008, hereafter G&Z; all references will be to this book unless otherwise noted), the phenomenological approach can contribute to the cognitive sciences (including cognitive neuroscience), one of their major themes. Toward the end of the paper, I will say something about a second major theme of theirs, the relationship of phenomenology to philosophy of mind. Conventional wisdom within cognitive science has it is that phenomenology is hostile (...) to the scientific study of human cognition. Hubert Dreyfus, a self-declared phenomenologist, writes works with titles such as What computers can’t do (1972) and What computers still can’t do (1992), both of which urge that the attempt to understand the mind as a computational information-processor, at any rate, is doomed to failure. Since the computational, information-processing model is the only remotely worked-out scientific model of cognition that we have, it is not too surprising that phenomenology and cognitive science have generally been viewed as being at loggerheads. (shrink)
Contemporary Philosophy in Focus will offer a series of introductory volumes to many of the dominant philosophical thinkers of the current age. Each volume will consist of newly commissioned essays that will cover all the major contributions of a preeminent philosopher in a systematic and accessible manner. Author of such groundbreaking and influential books as Consciousness Explained and Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Daniel C. Dennett has reached a huge general and professional audience that extends way beyond the confines of academic philosophy. (...) He has made significant contributions to the study of consciousness, the development of the child's mind, cognitive ethnology, explanation in the social sciences, artificial intelligence, and evolutionary theory. This volume is the only truly introductory collection that traces these connections, explores the implications of Dennett's work, and furnishes the non-specialist with a fully-rounded account of why Dennett is such an important voice on the philosophical scene. (shrink)
Current views of consciousness can be divided by whether the theorist accepts or rejects cognitivism about consciousness. Cognitivism as we understand it is the view that consciousness is just a form of representation or an information-processing property of a system that has representations or perhaps both.<b> </b>Anti-cognitivists deny this, appealing to thought experiments about inverted spectra, zombies and the like to argue that consciousness could change while nothing cognitive or representational changes. Nearly everyone agrees, however, that consciousness has a _representational (...) base._ Whether consciousness _simply is_ representational or cognitive, it at least _requires _representation (and cognition). In an ecumenical spirit, we will focus on this point of agreement and sketch a theory of what this representational base might be. We hope that the result will be a framework useful for investigating consciousness empirically. (shrink)
Now that some years have passed, how does this picture of consciousness look? On the one hand, Dennett's work has vastly expanded the range of options for thinking about conscious experiences and conscious subjects. On the other hand, I suspect that the implications of his picture have been oversold (perhaps more by others than by Dennett himself). The rhetoric of _CE_ is radical in places but I do not sure that the actual implications for commonsense views of Seemings and Subjects (...) are nearly as radical. (shrink)
I am in complete sympathy with Galen Strawson's conclusions in ‘The Self’ . He takes a careful, measured approach to a topic that lends itself all too easily to speculation and intellectual extravaganzas. The results are for the most part balanced and plausible. I am even in sympathy with his claim that a memory-produced sense of continuity over time is less central to selfhood than many researchers think, though he may go too far in the opposite direction. Thus my purpose (...) in these comments is not to criticise his conclusions. Instead, I want to look at certain aspects of the framework of argument and observation that he uses to reach them. In particular, I want to look at elements and in his list of features that we conceive a self to possess. concerns synchronic singularity, i.e. being one mental being at a time, and concerns diachronic singularity, i.e. being one mental being over time. I will argue that the spirit of Strawson's claims about and is supportable but that the letter of them is flawed, due mainly to a failure to distinguish singleness of self from a self being unified. The feature relevant to Strawson's overall analysis is being unified, not being single. (shrink)
I am in virtually complete sympathy with Galen Strawson's conclusions in 'The Self'. He takes a careful, measured approach to a topic that lends itself all too easily to speculation and intellectual extravaganzas. The results he achieves are for the most part balanced and plausible. I even have a lot of sympathy with his claim that a memory-produced sense of continuity across time is less central to selfhood than many philosophers think, though I will argue that he goes too far (...) in the opposite direction. (shrink)
In this commentary, we do two things. First, we sketch two further routes to psychological constructionism. They are complementary to Lindquist et al.'s meta-analyses and have potential to add new evidence. Second, we look at a challenging kind of case for constructionism, namely, emotional anomalies where there are correlated, and probably relevant, brain anomalies. Psychopaths are our example.
In the 1890's, Freud attempted to lay out the foundations of a complete, interdisciplinary neuroscience of the mind. The conference that gave rise to this collection of papers, Neuroscience of the Mind on the Centennial of Freud's Project for a Scientific Psychology, celebrated the centrepiece of this work, the famous Project (1895a). Freud never published this work and by 1896 or 1897 he had abandoned the research programme behind it. As he announced in the famous Ch. VII of The Interpretation (...) of Dreams (1900), he would thereafter restrict himself to psychology proper, i.e., what could be done within the ambit of psychological descriptions. The task of characterizing the neural implementation of the psychological was impossible to carry out given the state of knowledge in his time. As Pribram and Gill (1976), Kitcher (1992) and others have demonstrated, Freud's attempt to sketch an interdisciplinary model of the mind using the language of neurons, quantities of energy, etc., was extremely advanced for its time and was probably about as good as could have been done with what was known in 1895. Knowledge of the brain, evolutionary biology, etc., was too limited to allow more. (shrink)
In "How language helps us think", Jackendoff explores some of the relationships between language, consciousness, and thought, with a foray into attention and focus. In this paper, we will concentrate on his treatment of consciousness. We will examine three aspects of it: I. the method he uses to arrive at his views; 2. the extent to which he offers us a theory of consciousness adequate to assess his views; and 3. some of the things that we might need to add (...) to what he offers to achieve an adequate theory. (shrink)
Externalism is the view that some crucial element in the content of our representational states is outside of not just the states whose content they are but even the person who has those states. If so, the contents of such states (and, many hold, the states themselves) do not supervene on anything local to the person whose has them. There are a number of different candidates for what that element is: function (Dretske), causal connection (Putnam, Kripke, Fodor), and social context (...) (Davidson). (Burge has foot in both the causal connection and the social context camps and Dennett fits in here somewhere, too.) This diversity will turn out to be important. The paper starts with Dretske but gets to other varieties of. (shrink)
Though there has been a huge resurgence of interest in consciousness in the past decade, little attention has been paid to what the philosopher Immanuel Kant and others call the unity of consciousness. The unity of consciousness takes different forms, as we will see, but the general idea is that each of us is aware of many things in the world at the same time, and often many of one's own mental states and of oneself as their single common subject, (...) too. (shrink)
In the neglected 'Amphiboly of the Concepts of Reflection,' Kant introduces a new transcendental activity, Transcendental Deliberation. It aims to determine to which faculty a representation belongs and does so by examining the representation's relationships to other representations. This enterprise yields some powerful ideas. Some of the relationships studied have great interest, numerical identity in particular. Indeed, seeing Kant discuss it here, one wonders why he did not include it in the Table of Categories. Kant gives a solid argument for (...) the necessity of a sensible element in representations, something not found elsewhere in the Transcendental Analytic. (shrink)
Baumard et al. make a good case that a sense of fairness evolved and that showing this requires reciprocity games with choice of partner. However, they oversimplify both morality and the evolution of morality. Where fairness is involved in morality, other things are, too, and fairness is often not involved. In the evolution of morality, other things played a role. Plus, the motive for being fair originally was self-interest, not anything moral.