In recent years deflationary accounts of self-deception, under the banner of motivationalism, have proven popular. On these views the deception at work is simply a motivated bias. In contrast, we argue for an account of self-deception that involves more robustly deceptive unconscious processes. These processes are strategic, flexible, and demand some retention of the truth. We offer substantial empirical support for unconscious deceptive processes that run counter to certain philosophical and psychological claims that the unconscious is rigid, ballistic, and of (...) limited cognitive sophistication. (shrink)
Piccinini and Craver (Synthese 183:283–311, 2011) argue for the surprising view that psychological explanation, properly understood, is a species of mechanistic explanation. This contrasts with the ‘received view’ (due, primarily, to Cummins and Fodor) which maintains a sharp distinction between psychological explanation and mechanistic explanation. The former is typically construed as functional analysis, the analysis of some psychological capacity into an organized series of subcapacities without specifying any of the structural features that underlie the explanandum capacity. The latter idea, of (...) course, sees explanation as a matter of describing structures that maintain (or produce) the explanandum capacity. In this paper, I defend the received view by criticizing Piccinini and Craver’s argument for the claim that psychological explanation is not distinct from mechanistic explanation, and by showing how psychological explanations can possess explanatory force even when nothing is known about the underlying neurological details. I conclude with a few brief criticisms about the enterprise of mechanistic explanation in general. (shrink)
In the literature on multiple realizability and the identity theory, cases of neural plasticity have enjoyed a very limited role. The present article attempts to remedy this small influence by arguing that clinical and experimental evidence of quite extensive neural reorganization offers compelling support for the claim that psychological kinds are multiply realized in neurological kinds, thus undermining the identity theory. In particular, cases are presented where subjects with no measurable psychological deficits also have vast, though gradually received, neurological damage. (...) Common objections and concerns are also discussed and rejected. 1 Introduction2 The GRP, Serial Lesion Effect, and Multiple Realizability2.1 A case study of the serial lesion effect2.2 Evaluating the case study’s evidence for multiple realizability3 The GRP More Generally4 Objections to the GRP as Evidence for Multiple Realizability4.1 Small plastic effects and neurological taxonomies4.2 But do neural regions and locations even matter at all?4.3 But are there not other options besides location?5 Conclusion. (shrink)
In an earlier paper, we appealed to various empirical studies to make the case that the unconscious mind is capable of robust self-deception. Paul Doody has challenged our interpretations of that empirical evidence. In this reply we defend our interpretations, arguing that the unconscious is engaged in strategic and flexible goal pursuit.
Though multiple realization has been an important concept in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology for more than fifty years, it has not been until quite recently that anyone proposed an actual theory of what multiple realization is. This paper argues that the most dominant current theories of multiple realization are unacceptable. It does so by mainly arguing for a particular methodology for theorizing about multiple realization. Rather than being mostly constrained by intuitions, as theorizing about folk notions (...) usually is, theorizing about multiple realization is, it argues, constrained by the theoretical context in which the concept was born. By the lights of this method for constructing theories of multiple realization, these current theories are unacceptable. (shrink)
Brette contends that the neural coding metaphor is an invalid basis for theories of what the brain does. Here, we argue that it is an insufficient guide for building an artificial intelligence that learns to accomplish short- and long-term goals in a complex, changing environment.
A popular issue in mind is to explain why conscious mental states are conscious. Prinz (2012) defends three claims in an effort to make such an explanation: (i)mental states become conscious when and only when we attend to them; (ii)attention is a process by which mental states become available to working memory; so (iii) mental states are conscious when and only when they become available to working memory. Here I attack Prinz's theory, made explicit in (iii), by showing that there (...) is strong empirical reason to doubt each of the foregoing claims. I rehearse defenses of the claims Prinz has made, as well as possible replies he does not explicitly employ, and show how they are inadequate to save his view. (shrink)