A popular idea at present is that emotions are perceptions of values. Most defenders of this idea have interpreted it as the perceptual thesis that emotions present (rather than merely represent) evaluative states of affairs in the way sensory experiences present us with sensible aspects of the world. We argue against the perceptual thesis. We show that the phenomenology of emotions is compatible with the fact that the evaluative aspect of apparent emotional contents has been incorporated from outside. We then (...) deal with the only two views that can make sense of the perceptual thesis. On the response–dependence view, emotional experiences present evaluative responsedependent properties (being fearsome, being disgusting, etc.) in the way visual experiences present response-dependent properties such as colors. On the response–independence view, emotional experiences present evaluative response-independent properties (being dangerous, being indigestible, etc.), conceived as ‘Gestalten’ independent of emotional feelings themselves. We show that neither view can make plausible the idea that emotions present values as such, i.e., in an open and transparent way. If emotions have apparent evaluative contents, this is in fact due to evaluative enrichments of the non-evaluative presentational contents of emotions. (shrink)
Episodic memory involves the sense that it is “first-hand”, i.e., originates directly from one’s own past experience. An account of this phenomenological dimension is offered in terms of an affective experience or feeling specific to episodic memory. On the basis of recent empirical research in the domain of metamemory, it is claimed that a recollective experience involves two separate mental components: a first-order memory about the past along with a metacognitive, episodic feeling of knowing. The proposed two-tiered account is contrasted (...) with other, reductionist two-tiered accounts as well as with reflexive accounts of episodic memory to be found in the literature. (shrink)
Awe seems to be a complex emotion or emotional construct characterized by a mix of positive (contentment, happiness), and negative affective components (fear and a sense of being smaller, humbler or insignificant). It is striking that the elicitors of awe correspond closely to what philosophical aesthetics, and especially Burke and Kant, have called “the sublime.” As a matter of fact, awe is almost absent from the philosophical agenda, while there are very few studies on the experience of the sublime as (...) such in the psychological literature. The aim of this paper is to throw light on the complex relationship between awe (as understood by psychologists) and the experience of the sublime (as discussed by philosophers). We distinguish seven ways of conceiving this relationship and highlight those that seem more promising to us. Once we have a clearer picture of how awe and the experience of the sublime are related, we can use it to enhance collaboration between these domains. We would be able to use empirical results about awe in a philosophical analysis of the experience of the sublime, which in turn can help us to design novel experimental hypotheses about the contexts in which we experience awe. (shrink)
In chapter 5 of Knowledge and its Limits, T. Williamson formulates an argument against the principle (KK) of epistemic transparency, or luminosity of knowledge, namely “that if one knows something, then one knows that one knows it”. Williamson’s argument proceeds by reductio: from the description of a situation of approximate knowledge, he shows that a contradiction can be derived on the basis of principle (KK) and additional epistemic principles that he claims are better grounded. One of them is a reflective (...) form of the margin for error principle defended by Williamson in his account of knowledge. We argue that Williamson’s reductio rests on the inappropriate identification of distinct forms of knowledge. More specifically, an important distinction between perceptual knowledge and non-perceptual knowledge is wanting in his statement and analysis of the puzzle. We present an alternative account of this puzzle, based on a modular conception of knowledge: the (KK) principle and the margin for error principle can coexist, provided their domain of application is referred to the right sort of knowledge. (shrink)
We discuss the distinction between the sensory modalities; the metaphysics of sounds; and the structure of sound space. We defend a physicalist conception of sounds, without accepting the identification of sounds with sound-waves in the medium. Sounds, we hold, are events in resonating objects. We evaluate the two main accounts of orientation in perceptual space: relationism and absolutism. We then address Strawson's problem of whether the logical space of sounds could be spatial in the full sense of the term. In (...) the Appendix, we discuss the logic of perceptual auditory reports, and show their compatibility with our theory of sounds. (shrink)
Following Meinong, many philosophers have been attracted by the view that emotions have intrinsically evaluative correctness conditions. On one version of this view, emotions have evaluative contents. On another version, emotions are evaluative attitudes; they are evaluative at the level of intentional mode rather than content. We raise objections against the latter version, showing that the only two ways of implementing it are hopeless. Either emotions are manifestly evaluative or they are not. In the former case, the Attitudinal View threatens (...) to collapse into the Perception View or any other view according to which emotions are evaluative at the level of content. In the latter case, the Attitudinal View does not stand up to an obvious alternative, namely that emotions can only be assessed with respect to extrinsic norms or conditions of correctness. (shrink)
The discovery of mirror neurons has given rise to a number of interpretations of their functions together with speculations on their potential role in the evolution of specifically human capacities. Thus, mirror neurons have been thought to ground many aspects of human social cognition, including the capacity to engage in cooperative collective actions and to understand them. We propose an evaluation of this latter claim. On the one hand, we will argue that mirror neurons do not by themselves provide a (...) sufficient basis for the forms of agentive understanding and shared intentionality involved in cooperative collective actions. On the other hand, we will also argue that mirror neurons can nevertheless play an important role in an account of the production and understanding of joint action, insofar as they provide the basic constituents of implicit agent-neutral representations and are useful elements in a process of online mutual adjustment of participants' actions. (shrink)
There is one character too many in the triad sound, event source, thing source. As there are neither phenomenological nor metaphysical grounds for distinguishing sounds and sound sources, we propose to identify them.
We investigate the nature of the sense of presence that usually accompanies perceptual experience. We show that the notion of a sense of presence can be interpreted in two ways, corresponding to the sense that we are acquainted with an object, and the sense that the object is real. In this essay, we focus on the sense of reality. Drawing on several case studies such as derealization disorder, Parkinson’s disease and virtual reality, we argue that the sense of reality is (...) two-way independent from the spatial and sensory contents of experience. We suggest that the sense of reality is an affective experience akin to a metacognitive feeling. Finally, we present a potentially important implication of our account for the current debate between Intentionalism and Naïve Realism. Since perception is “opaque” with respect to the reality of what is perceived, Intentionalism cannot refer to the sense of reality as what differentiates perception from sensory-like experiences such as imaginings. In contrast, Naïve Realism has an independent explanation of the specificity of perception. (shrink)
Imagine that in entering a café, you are struck by the absence of Pierre, with whom you have an appointment. Or imagine that you realize that your keys are missing because they are not hanging from the usual ring-holder. What is the nature of these absence experiences? In this article, we discuss a recent view defended by Farennikova (2012) according to which we literally perceive absences of things in much the same way as we perceive present things. We criticize and (...) reject the perceptual interpretation of absence experiences but we also reject the cognitive view which reduces them to beliefs. We propose an intermediary, metacognitive account according to which absence experiences belong to a specific kind of affective experience, involving the feeling of surprise. (shrink)
We provide some meta-theoretical constraints for the evaluation of a-spatial theories of sounds and auditory perception. We point out some forms of spatial content auditory experience can have. If auditory experience does not necessarily have a rich egocentric spatial content, it must have some spatial content for the relevant mode of perception to be recognizably auditory. An auditory experience devoid of any spatial content, if the notion makes sense at all, would be very different from the auditory experiences we actually (...) enjoy. This is enough to dismiss current a-spatial theories of auditory perception. As a consequence, our initial taxonomy of proximal, medial, and distal theories, as well as our phenomenological argument in favor of distal theories, are still topical. (shrink)
This essay explores the prospects of grounding an account of pictorial experience or ‘seeing-in’ on a theory of presence in ordinary perception. Even though worldly objects can be perceptually recognized in a picture, they do not feel present as when they are perceived face to face. I defend a dual view of perceptual phenomenology according to which the sense of presence is dissociated from the contents of perception. On the one hand, the sense of presence is best conceived as a (...) non-sensory feeling. Ordinary objects are felt but not seen to be present. On the other hand, the contents of perception are determined by the actualization of perceptual-recognitional abilities. Unlike current versions of the feeling-based account of the sense of presence, I claim that these abilities enable us to perceive worldly (partial or overall) appearances. This claim justifies the strongest interpretation of recognition theories which does not fall back on the view that pictorial experience involves a kind of perceptual illusion. (shrink)
The book introduces Ramsey's main doctrines and assesses their contemporary significance. In particular, Jérôme Dokic and Pascal Engel are interested in Ramsey's thoughts on truth and belief, and his pragmatic thesis that the truth of one's beliefs guarantees the success of one's actions. From this, it is a short step to what may be called "Ramsey's principle": the content of a belief is constituted by the success of one's actions. This principle finds its current expression in the work of philosophers (...) who offer evolutionary conceptions of mental states, according to which the success conditions of a belief are constituted by its biological functions. (shrink)
Perceptual experiences have been construed either as representational mental states—Representationalism—or as direct mental relations to the external world—Disjunctivism. Both conceptions are critical reactions to the so-called ‘Argument from Hallucination’, according to which perceptions cannot be about the external world, since they are subjectively indiscriminable from other, hallucinatory experiences, which are about sense-data ormind-dependent entities. Representationalism agrees that perceptions and hallucinations share their most specific mental kind, but accounts for hallucinations as misrepresentations of the external world. According to Disjunctivism, the phenomenal (...) character of perceptions is exhausted by worldly objects and features, and thus must be different from the phenomenal character of hallucinations. Disjunctivism claims that subjective indiscriminability is not the result of a common experiential ground, but is because of our inability to discriminate, from the inside, hallucinations from perceptions. At first sight, Representationalism is more congenial to the way cognitive science deals with perception. However, empirically oriented revisions of Disjunctivism could be developed and tested by giving a metacognitive account of hallucinations. Two versions of this account can be formulated, depending on whether metacognition is understood as explicit metarepresentation or as implicit monitoring of first-order informational states. The first version faces serious objections, but the second is more promising, as it embodies a more realistic view of perceptual phenomenology as having both sensory and affective aspects. Affectbased phenomenology is constituted by various metacognitive feelings, such as the feeling of being perceptually confronted with the world itself, rather than with pictures or mere representations. (shrink)
In this paper, we put forward a position we call “situationalism” (or “situated minimalism”), which is a middle-ground view between minimalism and contextualism in recent philosophy of language. We focus on the notion of free enrichment, which first arose within contextualism as underlying the claim that what is said is typically enriched relative to the logical form of the uttered sentence. However, minimalism also acknowledges some process of pragmatic intrusion in its claim that what is thought and communicated is typically (...) enriched relative to what is said. We show that situationalism dispenses with free enrichment both at the level of what is said (proposition expressed) and of what is thought (mental level). According to situationalism, an alleged underdetermined utterance can, pace minimalism, be true in one situation while false in another, and two people using the same alleged underdetermined sentence can be characterized, pace contextualism, as having said the same thing. (shrink)
The notion of perceptual content is commonly introduced in the analysis of perception. It stems from an analogy between perception and propositional attitudes. Both kinds of mental states, it is thought, have conditions of satisfaction. I try to show that on the most plausible account of perceptual content, it does not determine the conditions under which perceptual experience is veridical. Moreover, perceptual content must be bipolar, whereas perception as a mental state is not. This has profound consequences for the epistemological (...) view that perception is a source of knowledge. I sktech a two-level epistemology which is consistent with this view. I conclude that the analogy between perception and propositional attitudes, from which the notion of perceptual content is born, may be more misleading than it is usually thought. (shrink)
Our utterances are typically if not always "situated," in the sense that they are true or false relative to unarticulated parameters of the extra-linguistic context. The problem is to explain how these parameters are determined, given that nothing in the uttered sentences indicates them. It is tempting to claim that they must be determined at the level of thought or intention. However, as many philosophers have observed, thoughts themselves are no less situated than utterances. Unarticulated parameters need not be mentally (...) represented. In this paper, I try to make precise the notion of representation at stake here. In one sense of 'representation', something is represented if it is inferentially relevant. In another, less demanding sense, something is represented if it is relevant to the construction of a context-sensitive, ad hoc concept. Ad hoc concepts act as "proxies" for cognitively more demanding representations. They "imitate" the latter's epistemic and pragmatic roles while being inferentially less sophisticated. Thus, there are two senses in which a thought can be said to be situated: (1) its truth-value is relative to a non-represented contextual parameter, (2) its truth-value is not itself relative, but it involves a context-sensitive, ad hoc concept. (shrink)
In this paper we present some benefits of semantic minimalism. In particular, we stress how minimalism allows us to avoid cognitive overloading, in that it does not posit hidden indexicals or variables at the LF or representational level and it does not posit the operation of free enrichment processes when we produce or hear a sentence. We nonetheless argue that a fully adequate semantic minimalism should embrace a form of relativism—that is, the view that semantic content must be evaluated, pace (...) Cappelen and Lepore, vis-à-vis a given situation, the latter being a fragment of a possible world or a partial world. In so doing we shall show how Cappelen and Lepore damage the insight of semantic minimalism insofar as they insist that the semantic content should be evaluated with respect to a whole possible world. This move fails to capture the powerful contextualist intuition that it does not make much sense to evaluate the content of, say, Naomi is rich, or Jon is tall, with respect to, for instance, the actual world. (shrink)
Cet article porte sur une distinction familière entre deux formes de souvenirs: les souvenirs factuels ('Je me souviens que p', où 'p' est une proposition) et les souvenirs épisodiques ('Je me souviens de x', où x est une entité particulière). Les souvenirs épisodiques ont, contrairement aux souvenirs factuels, un rapport immédiat et interne à une expérience particulière que le sujet a eue dans le passé. Les souvenirs épisodique et factuel sont des souvenirs explicites au sens de la psychologie cognitive. J'esquisse (...) une théorie du souvenir épisodique qui rend compte de ce trait essentiel. L'une des conséquences de cette théorie est que lorsque je me souviens de quelque chose au sens épisodique, je me souviens que ce même souvenir remonte directement à l'une des mes expériences passées. Le souvenir épisodique est un souvenir factuel réflexif. (shrink)
When we remember a past situation, the emotional import of the latter often transpires in a modified form at the phenomenological level of our present memory. When it does, we experience what is sometimes called an “affective memory.” Theorists of memories have disagreed about the status of affective memories. Sceptics claim that the relationship between memory and emotion can only be of two types: either the memory is about a past emotion (the emotion is part of what is remembered), or (...) it causes a present emotion (the emotion is a separable effect of the memory). We argue that there is a third option, which points to an emotional way of representing the past situation. Drawing from Peter Goldie’s account of mental narratives, we show that three levels of mental perspective are involved in memories: the perspective of the represented subject (the character, if there is one), the perspective of the representing subject (the author), and the intermediary perspective of the narrator (who may remain virtual). Affective memories are cases in which the narrator’s emotional perspective has direct implications for the author’s emotional perspective, even if the former typically differs from the latter. (shrink)
La perception est au cœur de notre rapport au monde, mais son statut philosophique reste cependant difficile à cerner : laperception est-elle une forme de connaissance? A-t-elle un contenu conceptuel? Quel est son rapport à l’espace?
The image of perception as openness to fact is best understood as the claim that the contents of perception are mind-independent facts. However, I argue against John McDowell that this claim, which he accepts, is incompatible with his conceptualism, namely the thesis that the contents of perception are fully conceptual. If we want to give justice to the image of perception as openness to facts, we have to acknwoledge that perception relates us to a non-conceptual world.
Situation theorists such as Jon Barwise, John Etchemendy, and John Perry have advanced the hypothesis that linguistic and mental representations are ‘situated' in the sense that they are true or false only relative to partial situations. François Recanati has done an important task in reviving and in many respects deepening situation theory. In this chapter, I explore some aspects of Recanati's own account. I focus on situated mental representations, and stress the connection between them and ad hoc or temporary concepts.
Three commitments guide Dennett’s approach to the study of consciousness. First, an ontological commitment to materialist monism. Second, a methodological commitment to what he calls ‘heterophenomenology.’ Third, a ‘doxological’ commitment that can be expressed as the view that there is no room for a distinction between a subject’s beliefs about how things seem to her and what things actually seem to her, or, to put it otherwise, as the view that there is no room for a reality/appearance distinction for consciousness. (...) We investigate how Dennett’s third doxological commitment relates to his first two commitments and whether its acceptance should be seen as a mere logical consequence of acceptance of the first two. We will argue that this is not the case, that Dennett’s doxological commitment is in need of independent motivation, and that this independent motivation is not forthcoming. (shrink)
It is widely assumed, both in philosophy and in the cognitive sciences, that perception essentially involves a relative or egocentric frame of reference. Levinson has explicitly challenged this assumption, arguing instead in favour of the 'neo-Whorfian' hypothesis that the frame of reference dominant in a given language infiltrates spatial representations in non-linguistic, and in particular perceptual, modalities. Our aim in this paper is to assess Levinson's neo-Whorfian hypothesis at the philosophical level and to explore the further possibility that perception may (...) not just use frames of reference other than the relative one but may also, in some cases at least, be perspective-free. (shrink)
Situation theorists such as John Barwise, John Etchemendy, John Perry and François Recanati have put forward the hypothesis that linguistic representations are situated in the sense that they are true or false only relative to partial situations which are not explicitly represented as such. Following Recanati's lead, I explore this hypothesis with respect to mental representations. First, I introduce the notion of unarticulated constituent, due to John Perry. I suggest that the question of whether there really are such constituents should (...) divide in two issues, one concerning language and the other concerning thought. Then I formulate a dilemma that any friend of cognitive unarticulated constituents must face: alleged unarticulated constituents seem to be either articulated or non-constituents after all. The dilemma is strengthened by the fact that unarticulated constituents cannot be inferentially relevant. In §4, three constraints on entertaining situated representations are spelled out. First, although the situation within which one is immersed is not represented as such, there must be cognitive facts that make immersion possible, and explain why one is implicitly related to a particular situation as opposed to another. Second, the move from a given representation to one which articulates the situation requires the capacity to contrast the latter with others in the same range. Third, I suggest that conceptual representations differ from non-conceptual ones in the permanent possibility of detachment that they allow. I then illustrate how these constraints work in three sorts of cases. In the first, thoughts like It's raining and It's over are implicitly related to their situations via some practical capacity of keeping track of particular places or times. In the second sort of cases, the relevant situations are not given, but stipulated, like in In Constance, it's raining. Cases of the third sort are those in which an unarticulated constituent is relevant to a whole system of representations, for instance the perceptual system. In the last section, I use the notion of ad hoc representation to defend the cognitive application of situation semantics against an important objection. (shrink)
Aristotle famously claimed that we perceive that we see or hear, and that this metaperception necessarily accompanies all conscious sensory experiences. In this essay I compare Aristotle’s account of metaperception with three main models of self-awareness to be found in the contemporary literature. The first model countenances introspection or inner sense as higher-order perception. The second model rejects introspection altogether, and maintains that judgments that we see or hear can be directly extracted from the first-order experience, using a procedure sometimes (...) called “an ascent routine.” The third model insists that the first-order experience has a twofold intentional structure: it is directed both at the perceived external object and at itself, i.e., reflexively. Although Aristotle’s own account is certainly closer to the third model , the latter does not exhaust Aristotle’s insights on metaperception. One function of the common sense in Aristotle’s theory of perception is apparently to monitor the activity of our sensory modalities, and to make us aware that we see or hear independently of the sensory contents of our experience. I shall suggest that the monitoring function of perception is best understood in relation with contemporary cognitive science research on metacognition. Common sense is or involves a metaperceptual practical ability distinct from both object level sensory perception and metarepresentational knowledge about our senses. (shrink)
El libro E-physicalism - A Physicalist Theory of PhenomenalConsciousness presenta una teoría en el área de la metafísica de laconciencia fenomenal. Está basada en las convicciones de que la experienciasubjetiva -en el sentido de Nagel - es un fenómeno real,y de que alguna variante del fisicalismo debe ser verdadera.
This paper is about Ramsey's Principle, according to which a belief's truth-conditions are those that guarantee the success of an action based on that belief whatever the underlying motivating desires. Some philosophers have argued that the Principle should be rejected because it leads to the apparently implausible consequence that any failure of action is the result of some false belief on the agent's part. There is a gap between action and success that cannot be bridged by the agent's cognitive state. (...) At best, the Principle should be relativized to circumstances. We show on the contrary that when the Principle is properly understood, it does not amount to “overburdening” belief. We exploit an analogy between knowledge and action in order to show that intentional action is a source of knowledge relative to a set of beliefs whose collective truth guarantees the success of the action. It does not follow that the agent is explicitly representing all possible obstacles to her action. Most of the relevant beliefs are implicit, in the sense that if they were to be formed, they would be directly or indirectly justified by the agent's experience of acting. (shrink)
This paper proposes a methodological strategy to investigate the question of the individuation of the senses both from a commonsensical and a scientific point of view. We start by discussing some traditional and recent criteria for distinguishing the senses and argue that none of them taken in isolation seems to be able to handle both points of views. We then pay close attention to the faculty of hearing which offers promising examples of the strategy we pursue of combining commonsense and (...) science. In particular, we argue in favour of a distinction between two kinds of modes of presentation associated with sound perception: a mechanical mode of presentation that makes sounds perceptible by other modalities than audition such as touch and a tonal mode of presentation that makes people conceive of sounds as the proper objects of auditory perception. (shrink)
Qualia, conceived as intrinsic properties of experiences, are not always welcomed by materialists, who prefer to see them as intentional properties presented in our experience. I ask whether this form of reductionism applies to the qualia of bodily awareness. According to the standard materialist theory, the intentional object of pain experience, for instance, is a bodily damage. This theory, though, is unable to account for the phenomenal difference between feeling pain 'inside' and perceiving it 'outside' (seeing oneself or another in (...) pain). I sketch another reductionist analysis which is compatible with materialism, and according to which the intentional object of bodily awareness, unlike that of external perception, constitutively depends on the subject's experience. (shrink)