The relation between subjective consciousness and the physical brain is widely regarded as the last mystery facing science. David Papineau argues that there is no real puzzle here. Consciousness seems mysterious, not because of any hidden essence, but only because we think about it in a special way. Papineau exposes the confusion, and dispels the mystery: we see consciousness in its place in the material world, and we are on the way to a proper understanding of the mind.
What is going on when we are consciously aware of a visual scene, or hear sounds, or otherwise enjoy sensory experience? David Papineau argues controversially for a purely qualitative account: conscious sensory experiences are intrinsic states with no essential connection to external circumstances or represented properties.
This paper aims to build a bridge between two areas of philosophical research, the structure of kinds and metaphysical modality. Our central thesis is that kinds typically involve super-explanatory properties, and that these properties are therefore metaphysically essential to natural kinds. Philosophers of science who work on kinds tend to emphasize their complexity, and are generally resistant to any suggestion that they have “essences”. The complexities are real enough, but they should not be allowed to obscure the way that kinds (...) are typically unified by certain core properties. We shall show how this unifying role offers a natural account of why certain properties are metaphysically essential to kinds. (shrink)
The term ‘naturalism’ has no very precise meaning in contemporary philosophy. Its current usage derives from debates in America in the first half of the last century. The self-proclaimed ‘naturalists’ from that period included John Dewey, Ernest Nagel, Sidney Hook and Roy Wood Sellars. These philosophers aimed to ally philosophy more closely with science. They urged that reality is exhausted by nature, containing nothing ‘supernatural’, and that the scientific method should be used to investigate all areas of reality, including the (...) ‘human spirit’ (Krikorian 1944, Kim 2003). (shrink)
I argue that the concept of knowledge is a relic of a bygone age, erroneously supposed to do no harm. I illustrate this claim by showing how a concern with knowledge distorts the use of statistical evidence in criminal courts, and then generalize the point to show that this concern hampers our enterprises across the board and not only in legal contexts.
Mainstream teleosemantics is the view that mental representation should be understood in terms of biological functions, which, in turn, should be understood in terms of selection processes. One of the traditional criticisms of teleosemantics is the problem of novel contents: how can teleosemantics explain our ability to represent properties that are evolutionarily novel? In response, some have argued that by generalizing the notion of a selection process to include phenomena such as operant conditioning, and the neural selection that underlies it, (...) we can resolve this problem. Here, we do four things: we develop this suggestion in a rigorous way through a simple example, we draw on recent neurobiological research to support its empirical plausibility, we defend the move from a host of objections in the literature, and we sketch how the picture can be extended to help us think about more complex “conceptual” representations and not just perceptual ones. (shrink)
Functionalism faces a problem in accounting for the semantic powers of beliefs and other mental states. Simple causal considerations will not solve this problem, nor will any appeal to the social utility of semantic interpretations. The correct analysis of semantic representation is a teleological one, in terms of the biological purposes of mental states: whereas functionalism focuses, so to speak, only on the structure of the cognitive mechanism, the semantic perspective requires in addition that we consider the purposes of the (...) cognitive mechanism's parts. (shrink)
On the Friday afternoon of the 3 rd test at Trent Bridge in 2001, the series was in the balance. The Australians had won the first two tests easily, but England now found themselves in a position of some strength. They had restricted Australia to a first-innings lead of just 5 runs, and had built a lead of 120 with six wickets in hand. Mark Ramprakash was in and had been batting steadily for well over an hour. Even though this (...) Australian side was as strong as any in cricket history, England had real hopes of getting back into the series. (shrink)
This precis explains that _Philosophical naturalism contains three parts. Part I examines arguments for physicalism and maintains I) that all causally relevant special science properties must be realized by physical ones, and II) that all special science laws must reduce to physical ones, apart from the significant category of special laws that result from selection processes. Part II defends a teleological theory of representation and an identity theory of consciousness. Part III defends reliabilism and applies it to inductive scepticism and (...) also defends a fictionalist account of mathematics. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that causation is an essentially macroscopic phenomenon, and that mental causes are therefore capable of outcompeting their more specific physical realizers as causes of physical effects. But I also argue that any causes must be type-identical with physical properties, on pain of positing inexplicable physical conspiracies. I therefore allow macroscopic mental causation, but only when it is physically reducible.
This paper is about the nature of conscious sensory properties. My initial thesis is that these properties should not be equated with representational properties. I argue that any such representationalist view is in danger of implying that conscious sensory properties are constituted by relations to propositions or other abstract objects outside space and time; and I add that, even if this implication can be avoided, the broadness of representational properties in any case renders them unsuitable to constitute conscious properties. In (...) place of the representational account, I then defend an equation of conscious sensory properties with intrinsic non‐relational properties of subjects, and I show how this view deals naturally with all the difficulties facing representationalism. I conclude by defending this non‐relational account of conscious experience against arguments from the ‘transparency’ and the ‘intrinsic intentionality’ of experience. (shrink)
The main puzzle about theoretical definitions is that nothing seems to decide which assumptions contribute to such definitions and which do not. I argue that theoretical definitions are indeed imprecise, but that this does not normally matter, since the definitional imprecision does not normally produce indeterminacy of referential value. Sometimes, however, the definitional imprecision is less benign, and does generate referential indeterminacy. In these special cases, but not otherwise, it is necessary to refine the term's definition.
The newest addition to the successful Oxford Readings in Philosophy series, this collection contains the most important contributions to the recent debate on the philosophy of science. The contributors crystallize the often heated arguments of the last two decades, assessing the skeptical attitudes within philosophy of science and the counter-challenges of the scientific realists. Contributors include Nancy Cartwright, Brian Ellis, Arthur Fine, Clark Glymour, Larry Laudan, Peter Lipton, Alan Musgrave, Wesely C. Salmon, Lawrence Sklar, Bas C. van Fraassen, and John (...) Worrall. (shrink)
On the first page of The Problem of Consciousness , Colin McGinn asks "How is it possible for conscious states to depend on brain states? How can technicolour phenomenology arise from soggy grey matter?" Many philosophers feel that questions like these pose an unanswerable challenge to physicalism. They argue that there is no way of bridging the "explanatory gap" between the material brain and the lived world of conscious experience , and that physicalism about the mind can therefore provide no (...) answer to the "hard problem" of why brains give rise to consciousness. (shrink)
It is widely assumed that the normativity of conceptual judgement poses problems for naturalism. Thus John McDowell urges that 'The structure of the space of reasons stubbornly resists being appropriated within a naturalism that conceives nature as the realm of law' (1994, p 73). Similar sentiments have been expressed by many other writers, for example Robert Brandom (1994, p xiii) and Paul Boghossian (1989, p 548).
I argue that philosophy is like science in three interesting and non-obvious ways. First, the claims made by philosophy are synthetic, not analytic: philosophical claims, just like scientific claims, are not guaranteed by the structure of the concepts they involve. Second, philosophical knowledge is a posteriori, not a priori: the claims established by philosophers depend on the same kind of empirical support as scientific theories. And finally, the central questions of philosophy concern actuality rather than necessity: philosophy is primarily aimed (...) at understanding the actual world studied by science, not some further realm of metaphysical modality. (shrink)
IntroductionSporting skills divide contemporary theorists into two camps. Let us call them the habitualists and the intellectualists. The habitualists hold that thought is the enemy of sporting excellence. In their view, skilled performers need to let their bodies take over; cognitive effort only interferes with skill. The intellectualists retort that sporting performance depends crucially on mental control. As they see it, the exercise of skill is a matter of agency, not brute reflex; the tailoring of action to circumstance requires intelligent (...) conceptual guidance.On the habitualist side are Dreyfus, Beilock and ; intellectualism is defended in various ways by McDowell, Stanley, Sutton, Sutton et al., Montero and Fridland.I think that both sides are right, and that both are wrong. We need to distinguish different aspects of sporting performance. When we do so, we w. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to defend the teleological theory of representation against an objection by Jerry Fodor. I shall argue that previous attempts to answer this objection fail to recognize the importance of belief-desire structure for the teleological theory of representation.
Teleosemantics seeks to explain meaning and other intentional phenomena in terms of their function in the life of the species. This volume of new essays from an impressive line-up of well-known contributors offers a valuable summary of the current state of the teleosemantics debate.
It is widely agreed among contemporary philosophers of mind that science leaves us with an ‘explanatory gap’—that even after we know everything that science can tell us about the conscious mind and the brain, their relationship still remains mysterious. I argue that this agreed view is quite mistaken. The feeling of a ‘explanatory gap’ arises only because we cannot stop ourselves thinking about the mind–brain relation in a dualist way.
It is very natural to suppose that conscious sensory experience is essentially representational. However this thought gives rise to any number of philosophical problems and confusions. I shall argue that it is quite mistaken. Conscious phenomena cannot be constructed out of representational materials.
Peter Urbach has argued, on Bayesian grounds, that experimental randomization serves no useful purpose in testing causal hypothesis. I maintain that he fails to distinguish general issues of statistical inference from specific problems involved in identifying causes. I concede the general Bayesian thesis that random sampling is inessential to sound statistical inference. But experimental randomization is a different matter, and often plays an essential role in our route to causal conclusions.
Since the publication of Elga's seminal paper in 2000, the Sleeping Beauty paradox has been the source of much discussion, particularly in this journal. Over the past few decades the Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics 1 has also been much debated. There is an interesting connection between the way these two topics raise issues about subjective probability assignments.This connection is often alluded to, but as far as we know Peter J. Lewis's ‘Quantum Sleeping Beauty’ is the first attempt to examine (...) it explicitly. Lewis claims that the two debates are not independent: to be specific, he argues that accepting the Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics requires you to be a ‘halfer’ about Sleeping Beauty, in opposition to the more widely accepted ‘thirder’ solution.This paper will argue that Lewis is wrong. Everettians do not have to be halfers. It is perfectly cogent to be both an Everettian and a thirder. (shrink)
This book is concerned with those aspects of the theory of meaning for scientific terms that are relevant to questions about the evaluation of scientific theories. The contemporary debate about theory choice in science is normally presented as a conflict between two sets of ideas. On the one hand are notions of objectivity, realism, rationality, and progress in science. On the other is the view that meanings depend on theory, with associated claims about the theory dependence of observation, the theoretical (...) context account of meaning, incommensurability, and so on. The book shows that there is no real contest here; that the two sets of ideas are in fact quite compatible. More specifically, it argues that the meanings of all scientific terms, including those used to report observations, are inseparable from the total context of surrounding theory and so will inevitably vary with theoretical change, but that this is quite consistent with a broadly objectivist account of science. The first half of the book shows how ideas about the theory dependence of observation and meaning have led to the breakdown of the traditional empiricist account of science, and how some of the more obvious responses to these ideas are inadequate. The second half shows how these ideas can satisfactorily be accommodated within a non-relativist account of science. (shrink)
In 'How Many Lives Has Schrödinger's Cat?' David Lewis argues that the Everettian no-collapse interpretation of quantum mechanics is in a tangle when it comes to probabilities. This paper aims to show that the difficulties that Lewis raises are insubstantial. The Everettian metaphysics contains a coherent account of probability. Indeed it accounts for probability rather better than orthodox metaphysics does.
This paper applies a teleosemantic perspective to the question of whether there is genuine representation outside the familiar realm of belief‐desire psychology. I first explain how teleosemantics accounts for the representational powers of beliefs and desires themselves. I then ask whether biological states which are simpler than beliefs and desires can also have representational powers. My conclusion is that such biologically simple states can be ascribed representational contents, but only in a system‐relative way: such states must be ascribed varying contents (...) when viewed as components in different biological systems. I conclude by arguing that ‘the genetic code’ does not even embody this kind of system‐relative representation. (shrink)