What is the relationship between perception and action, between an organism and its environment, in explaining consciousness? These are issues at the heart of philosophy of mind and the cognitive sciences. This book explores the relationship between perception and action from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, ranging from theoretical discussion of concepts to findings from recent scientific studies. It incorporates contributions from leading philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, and an artificial intelligence theorist. The contributions take a range of positions with respect to (...) the view that perception is an achievement by an agent acting in a complex environment in which sensorimotor dynamics constitute an essential ingredient to perceptual experience. A key focus of the book is on the debate about action-oriented theories of visual perception versus the dual-visual systems hypothesis The former champions the role of sensorimotor dynamics in perceptual awareness while the latter favours a functional dichotomy between perception and action. At least on the surface, these two approaches are in conflict. Where one emphasizes the interdependence of action and perception, the other suggests that action and perception are functionally distinct. The dialogue between these two approaches brings out wider theoretical issues underlying the research paradigm of cognitive sciences and philosophy of mind. Exploring one of the major debates in the philosophy and psychology, this book is fascinating reading for all those in the cognitive sciences and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
This book is an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationship between perception and action, with a focus on the debate about the dual visual systems hypothesis, against action oriented theories of perception.
Among the results of recent investigation of epistemic intuitions by experimental philosophers is the finding that epistemic intuitions show cultural variability between subjects of Western, East Asian and Indian Sub-continent origins. In this paper I ask whether the finding of this variation is evidence of cross-cultural variation in the folk-epistemological competences that give rise to these intuitions—in particular whether there is evidence of variation in subjects’ explicit or implicit theories of knowledge. I argue that positing cross-cultural variation in subjects’ implicit (...) theories of knowledge is not the only possible explanation of the intuitions, and I suggest other explanations, including the hypothesis that each subject’s implicit theory of knowledge might contain a heterogeneous set of heuristics for ascribing knowledge. Variation in intuitions, then, might be the result of within-subject heterogeneity rather than across-subject heterogeneity. (shrink)
Philosophers concerned with the question ‘ what is a person?’ have often appealed to the claim that persons are essentially rational beings. Those who make this appeal, though, tend to develop it by spelling out the key notion of rationality in terms of practical rationality: to be a person, one must be able to deliberate, choose a course of action and intentionally act according to one's chosen course. In this book, Simon Evnine argues that epistemic rationality is essential to being (...) a person: personhood requires that one must possess certain logical concepts and live up to certain epistemic norms. This is a novel suggestion – one that I am sure many theorizers about personhood would agree with, but which has not been worked out in this level of detail before. The book promises, then, to be a valuable addition to the literature on personhood, and also promises to be an interesting read – weaving a set of interesting connections between our notion of a person and logical and epistemic notions and norms. In fact, though, the book does not live up to its promise, for reasons I will elaborate later in this review. Getting into more detail, Evnine argues that it …. (shrink)
There are a number of strands to the knowledge we have of our own minds; two strands are these: we often know with ease what we are thinking and we often know with ease what it is we believe. This paper concerns the knowledge of what we are thinking; it pursues questions as to what kind of judgment subjects make about their own thoughts, how those judgments are formed and why they constitute knowledge; it also asks how these judgments relate (...) to the judgments subjects make about their own beliefs when they know with ease what they believe. It focuses on the account developed by Tyler Burge as part of his project of reconciling externalism about thought content with privileged self-knowledge. Burge's account is well known and influential; as such it is a fitting target for examination and criticism. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the way appeals to pretheoretic intuition are used to support epistemological theses in general and the thesis of epistemic contextualism in particular. After outlining the sceptical puzzle and the contextualist's resolution of that puzzle, I explore the question of whether this solution fits better with our intuitive take on the puzzle than its invariantist rivals. I distinguish two kinds of fit a theory might have with pretheoretic intuitions--accommodation and explanation, and consider whether achieving either kind (...) of fit would be a virtue for a theory. I then examine how contextualism could best claim to accommodate and explain our intuitions, building the best case that I can for contextualism, but concluding that there is no reason to accept contextualism either in the way it accommodates nor the way it explains our intuitions about the sceptical puzzle. (shrink)
In our everyday psychologising, emotions figure large. When we are trying to explain and predict what a person says and does, that person’s emotions are very much among the objects of our thoughts. Despite this, emotions do not figure large in our philosophical reconstruction of everyday psychological practice—in philosophical accounts of the rational production and control of behaviour. Barry Smith has noted this point: We frequently mention people’s emotional sates when assessing how they behave, when trying to understand why they (...) say and do the things they say and do, and when deciding how to deal with them. A large part of our awareness of others and our ability to make sense of them depends on their emotional make-up and our appreciation of how this affects their thoughts and actions. All of this is missing from the standard accounts of folk psychology, and the key question is why? (2002, 111-2). Before beginning to answer to Smith’s question, I want to say more to characterise the approach in philosophical psychology which he is questioning. There are many detailed philosophical accounts of the rational production and control of behaviour. My aim here isn’t to examine these details, but to characterise a certain species of philosophical psychology—one which holds that one can explain the rational production and control of behaviour in terms of a narrow set of mental state types: belief, desire (and perhaps a few others: perception or intention). Hence my label for this species: ‘Humean psychology’. The orthodox Humean view is that rational agency can be explained adequately by appeal to the agent’s beliefs and desires. So, to borrow an example from Davidson (1978), we can explain a person’s adding salt to the stew by citing her desire that the will stew taste better and her belief that if.. (shrink)
This paper looks at how neo-descriptivism grew out of Kripke's anti-descriptivist arguments and examines two arguments for neo-descriptivism: one from Frank Jackson and one from Christian Nimtz. The former argument is that neo-descriptivism best explains how we are able to judge the referent of a term at a possible world when presented with a description of that world; the second argument is that only neo-descriptivism can account for our ability to gain new knowledge from testimony. The paper concludes that neither (...) argument is successful. (shrink)
In this paper I describe two ways in which cogito-like judgments might be self-verifying. I then defend my claim that the only one of these is available to Burge as a coherent way for him to elaborate his claim that cogito-like judgments are both self-verifying and central to our rationality.