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Jonathan Opie
University of Adelaide
  1. Notes Toward a Structuralist Theory of Mental Representation.Jonathan Opie & Gerard O'Brien - 2004 - In Hugh Clapin, Phillip Staines & Peter Slezak (eds.), Representation in Mind: New Approaches to Mental Representation. Elsevier. pp. 1--20.
    Any creature that must move around in its environment to find nutrients and mates, in order to survive and reproduce, faces the problem of sensorimotor control. A solution to this problem requires an on-board control mechanism that can shape the creature’s behaviour so as to render it “appropriate” to the conditions that obtain. There are at least three ways in which such a control mechanism can work, and Nature has exploited them all. The first and most basic way is for (...)
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  2. A Connectionist Theory of Phenomenal Experience.Jonathan Opie & Gerard O'Brien - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):127-148.
    When cognitive scientists apply computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, as many of them have been doing recently, there are two fundamentally distinct approaches available. Either consciousness is to be explained in terms of the nature of the representational vehicles the brain deploys; or it is to be explained in terms of the computational processes defined over these vehicles. We call versions of these two approaches _vehicle_ and _process_ theories of consciousness, respectively. However, while there may be space (...)
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  3.  38
    Intentionality Lite or Analog Content?: A Response to Hutto and Satne.Gerard O’Brien & Jon Opie - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (3):723-729.
    In their target article, Hutto and Satne eloquently articulate the failings of most current attempts to naturalize mental content. Furthermore, we think they are correct in their insistence that the only way forward is by drawing a distinction between two kinds of intentionality, one of which is considerably weaker than—and should be deployed to explain—the propositional variety most philosophers take for granted. The problem is that their own rendering of this weaker form of intentionality—contentless intentionality—is too weak. What’s needed is (...)
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  4. How Do Connectionist Networks Compute?Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie - 2006 - Cognitive Processing 7 (1):30-41.
    Although connectionism is advocated by its proponents as an alternative to the classical computational theory of mind, doubts persist about its _computational_ credentials. Our aim is to dispel these doubts by explaining how connectionist networks compute. We first develop a generic account of computation—no easy task, because computation, like almost every other foundational concept in cognitive science, has resisted canonical definition. We opt for a characterisation that does justice to the explanatory role of computation in cognitive science. Next we examine (...)
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  5.  48
    The Role of Representation in Computation.Gerard O'Brien & Jon Opie - 2009 - Cognitive Processing 10 (1):53-62.
    Reformers urge that representation no longer earns its explanatory keep in cognitive science, and that it is time to discard this troublesome concept. In contrast, we hold that without representation cognitive science is utterly bereft of tools for explaining natural intelligence. In order to defend the latter position, we focus on the explanatory role of representation in computation. We examine how the methods of digital and analog computation are used to model a relatively simple target system, and show that representation (...)
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  6. The Disunity of Consciousness.Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie - 1998 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (3):378-95.
    It is commonplace for both philosophers and cognitive scientists to express their allegiance to the "unity of consciousness". This is the claim that a subject’s phenomenal consciousness, at any one moment in time, is a single thing. This view has had a major influence on computational theories of consciousness. In particular, what we call single-track theories dominate the literature, theories which contend that our conscious experience is the result of a single consciousness-making process or mechanism in the brain. We argue (...)
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  7. Cognitive Science and Phenomenal Consciousness: A Dilemma, and How to Avoid It.Gerard O'Brien & Jon Opie - 1997 - Philosophical Psychology 10 (3):269-86.
    When it comes to applying computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, cognitive scientists appear to face a dilemma. The only strategy that seems to be available is one that explains consciousness in terms of special kinds of computational processes. But such theories, while they dominate the field, have counter-intuitive consequences; in particular, they force one to accept that phenomenal experience is composed of information processing effects. For cognitive scientists, therefore, it seems to come down to a choice between (...)
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  8.  89
    Connectionist Vehicles, Structural Resemblance, and the Phenomenal Mind.Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie - 2001 - Communication and Cognition: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly Journal 34 (1-2):13-38.
    We think the best prospect for a naturalistic explanation of phenomenal consciousness is to be found at the confluence of two influential ideas about the mind. The first is the _computational _ _theory of mind_: the theory that treats human cognitive processes as disciplined operations over neurally realised representing vehicles.1 The second is the _representationalist theory of _ _consciousness_: the theory that takes the phenomenal character of conscious experiences (the “what-it-is-likeness”) to be constituted by their representational content.2 Together these two (...)
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  9.  38
    Disunity Defended: A Reply to Bayne.Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie - 2000 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (2):255-263.
  10.  18
    A Schizophrenic Defense of a Vehicle Theory of Consciousness.G. O'Brien & J. Opie - 2015 - In R. Gennaro (ed.), Disturbed Consciousness: New Essays on Psychopathology and Theories of Consciousness. Cambridge, U.K: MIT Press. pp. 265-292.
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  11. Consciousness: A Connectionist Perspective.Jonathan Opie - 1998 - Dissertation, University of Adelaide
    To my father, who got me thinking, and to Tricia, who provided the love, support, and encouragement that enabled me to see this through.
     
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  12. A Defense of Cartesian Materialism.Jonathan Opie - 1999 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (4):939 - 963.
    One of the principal tasks Dennett sets himself in Consciousness Explained is to demolish the Cartesian theater model of phenomenal consciousness, which in its contemporary garb takes the form of Cartesian materialism: the idea that conscious experience is a process of presentation realized in the physical materials of the brain. The now standard response to Dennett is that, in focusing on Cartesian materialism, he attacks an impossibly naive account of consciousness held by no one currently working in cognitive science or (...)
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  13. Consciousness.J. Opie - 2011 - In Graham Oppy & Nick Trakakis (eds.), A Companion to Philosophy in Australia & New Zealand. Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia:
    Understanding consciousness and its place in the natural world is one of the principal targets of contemporary philosophy of mind. Australian philosophers made seminal contributions to this project during the twentieth century which continue to shape the way philosophers and scientists think about the conceptual, metaphysical and empirical aspects of the problem. After some scene setting, I will discuss the main players and their work in the context of broader developments in the philosophy of mind.
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  14. Radical Connectionism: Thinking with (Not in) Language.Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie - 2002 - Language and Communication 22 (3):313-329.
    In this paper we defend a position we call radical connectionism. Radical connectionism claims that cognition _never_ implicates an internal symbolic medium, not even when natural language plays a part in our thought processes. On the face of it, such a position renders the human capacity for abstract thought quite mysterious. However, we argue that connectionism is committed to an analog conception of neural computation, and that representation of the abstract is no more problematic for a system of analog vehicles (...)
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  15.  18
    A Defense of Cartesian Materialism.Gerard O’Brien & Jonathan Opie - 1999 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 59 (4):939-963.
    One of the principal tasks Dennett sets himself in Consciousness Explained is to demolish the Cartesian theater model of phenomenal consciousness, which in its contemporary garb takes the form of Cartesian materialism: the idea that conscious experience is a process of presentation realized in the physical materials of the brain. The now standard response to Dennett is that, in focusing on Cartesian materialism, he attacks an impossibly naive account of consciousness held by no one currently working in cognitive science or (...)
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  16. Putting Content Into a Vehicle Theory of Consciousness.Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):175-196.
    The connectionist vehicle theory of phenomenal experience in the target article identifies consciousness with the brain’s explicit representation of information in the form of stable patterns of neural activity. Commentators raise concerns about both the conceptual and empirical adequacy of this proposal. On the former front they worry about our reliance on vehicles, on representation, on stable patterns of activity, and on our identity claim. On the latter front their concerns range from the general plausibility of a vehicle theory to (...)
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  17.  33
    Sins of Omission and Commission.Gerard O'Brien & Jon Opie - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):997-998.
    O'Regan & Noë (O&N) fail to address adequately the two most historically important reasons for seeking to explain visual experience in terms of internal representations. They are silent about the apparently inferential nature of perception, and mistaken about the significance of the phenomenology accompanying dreams, hallucinations, and mental imagery.
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  18. Gestalt Theories of Cognitive Representation and Processing.J. Opie - 1999 - Psycoloquy 10 (021).
    Latimer & Stevens (1997) develop a useful framework for discussing issues surrounding the definition and explanation of perceptual gestalts. They use this framework to raise some doubts about the possibility of “holistic” perceptual processing. However, I suspect that these doubts ultimately stem from assumptions about the nature of representation and processing in the brain, rather than from an analysis of part/whole concepts. I attempt to spell out these assumptions, and sketch an alternative perspective (deriving from Gestalt theory) that has the (...)
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  19.  22
    The Multiplicity of Consciousness and the Emergence of Self.G. O'Brien & J. Opie - unknown
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  20.  28
    Levels and Explanations.J. Opie - unknown
    It is a mainstay of the philosophy of science that reduction is a relationship between theories pitched at different levels of nature. But the relevant sense of “level” is notoriously difficult to pin down. A promising recent analysis links the notion of level to the compositional relations associated with mechanistic explanation. Such relations do not order objects by scale or physical type; one and the same kind of entity can occur at several levels in a single mechanism. I will sketch (...)
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  21.  58
    Finding a Place for Experience in the Physical-Relational Structure of the Brain.Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (6):966-967.
    In restricting his analysis to the causal relations of functionalism, on the one hand, and the neurophysiological realizers of biology, on the other, Palmer has overlooked an alternative conception of the relationship between color experience and the brain - one that liberalises the relation between mental phenomena and their physical implementation, without generating functionalism.
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  22.  94
    What's Really Doing the Work Here? Knowledge Representation or the Higher-Order Thought Theory of Consciousness?Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):778-779.
    Dienes & Perner offer us a theory of explicit and implicit knowledge that promises to systematise a large and diverse body of research in cognitive psychology. Their advertised strategy is to unpack this distinction in terms of explicit and implicit representation. But when one digs deeper one finds the “Higher-Order Thought” theory of consciousness doing much of the work. This reduces both the plausibility and usefulness of their account. We think their strategy is broadly correct, but that consensus on the (...)
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  23.  90
    The Multiplicity of Consciousness and the Emergence of the Self.Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie - 2003 - In A. S. David & T. T. J. Kircher (eds.), The Self and Schizophrenia: A Neuropsychological Perspective. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 107-120.
    One of the most striking manifestations of schizophrenia is thought insertion. People suffering from this delusion believe they are not the author of thoughts which they nevertheless own as experiences. It seems that a person’s sense of agency and their sense of the boundary between mind and world can come apart. Schizophrenia thus vividly demonstrates that self awareness is a complex construction of the brain. This point is widely appreciated. What is not so widely appreciated is how radically schizophrenia challenges (...)
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  24.  36
    Designing a Critical Thinking Model for a Comprehensive Technological University.Norbert Elliot, Robert Lynch, John Opie & Karl Schweizer - 1991 - Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines 7 (4):8-10.
  25.  64
    The Computational Baby, the Classical Bathwater, and the Middle Way.Gerard O'Brien & Jon Opie - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (3):348-349.
    We are sympathetic with the broad aims of Perruchet & Vinter's “mentalistic” framework. But it is implausible to claim, as they do, that human cognition can be understood without recourse to unconsciously represented information. In our view, this strategy forsakes the only available mechanistic understanding of intelligent behaviour. Our purpose here is to plot a course midway between the classical unconscious and Perruchet &Vinter's own noncomputational associationism.
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  26. Jonathan Edwards and the Enlightenment.John Opie - 1969 - Lexington, Mass., Heath.
  27. David Braddon-Mitchell and Frank Jackson, Philosophy of Mind and Cognition. [REVIEW]J. Opie - 1998 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (4):642.
     
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  28.  52
    Connectionist Modelling Strategies.Jonathan Opie - 1998 - Psycoloquy 9 (30).
    Green offers us two options: either connectionist models are literal models of brain activity or they are mere instruments, with little or no ontological significance. According to Green, only the first option renders connectionist models genuinely explanatory. I think there is a third possibility. Connectionist models are not literal models of brain activity, but neither are they mere instruments. They are abstract, IDEALISED models of the brain that are capable of providing genuine explanations of cognitive phenomena.
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  29.  46
    The Next Step, or a Misstep?Jon Opie - 2006 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (4):144-145.
    Reviews the book, Reconstructing the Cognitive World: The Next Step by Michael Wheeler (2005). In this ambitious book, the author considers afresh the conceptual foundations of cognitive science, with the aim of carving out a place for what he calls 'embodied-embedded cognitive science'- a rival and successor, to orthodox computational approaches. The central argument of the book is that the embodied-embedded framework promises to resolve the frame problem that famously plagues cognitive science- the problem of explaining how intelligent agents rapidly (...)
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  30.  25
    American Wilderness: A New History.John Opie - 2009 - Environmental Ethics 31 (1):85-88.
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  31.  26
    Explorations in Environmental History.John Opie - 2000 - Environmental Ethics 22 (3):325-326.
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  32. Consciousness in the Loops. Review of Cotterill, Enchanted Looms: Conscious Networks in Brains and Computers[REVIEW]Jonathan Opie - 2000 - Metascience 9 (2):277-82.
    Consciousness is a pretty sexy topic right now, as the plethora of recent books on the subject demonstrate. Everyone is having a go at it: philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists and physicists, to mention just a few. And for every discipline or sub-discipline that pretends to some insight on the matter we find not only a different explanatory strategy, but a different take on the explanandum – there is widespread disagreement about what a theory of consciousness should actually explain. However, one thing (...)
     
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  33.  18
    Encyclopedia of World Environmental History.John Opie - 2005 - Environmental Ethics 27 (3):323-328.
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  34.  25
    Prolegomena for a Cognitive Biology.P. Lyon & J. Opie - unknown
    In general, there are two ways to approach cognition. One is to start with the features of the human case and try to generalize to other species. Another is to start with the biological conditions under which natural cognition evolved and currently operates and ask what organisms do such that they might require cognition. A full account of cognition requires both. Cognitive biology, however, requires a biogenic approach. Tight integration with biological knowledge places strong constraints on cognitive explanation. These constraints (...)
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  35.  29
    Functional Resemblance and the Internalization of Rules.Gerard O'Brien & Jon Opie - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (4):695-696.
    Kubovy and Epstein distinguish between systems that follow rules, and those that merely instantiate them. They regard compliance with the principles of kinematic geometry in apparent motion as a case of instantiation. There is, however, some reason to believe that the human visual system internalizes the principles of kinematic geometry, even if it does not explicitly represent them. We offer functional resemblance as a criterion for internal representation. [Kubovy & Epstein].
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  36.  22
    Managing the Environment, Managing Ourselves: A History of American Environmental Policy.John Opie - 2001 - Environmental Ethics 23 (2):219-222.
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  37.  15
    Could Everything Be True?, Graham Priest.Jonathan Opie - 2000 - European Journal of Philosophy 8 (2).
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  38.  21
    Language and Thought.G. O'Brien & J. Opie - unknown
    This issue brings together papers by Australasian philosophers on language, thought, and their relationship. Contributors were given complete freedom to treat these topics in any way they saw fit. The results reflect the diverse interests of Australasian philosophers, and, perhaps even more strikingly, the diversity of philosophical methods they employ to pursue these interests.
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  39.  9
    Explorations in Environmental History. [REVIEW]John Opie - 2000 - Environmental Ethics 22 (3):325-326.
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  40.  19
    Vehicles of Consciousness.Gerard O'Brien & Jon Opie - 2010 - In Tim Bayne, Axel Cleeremans & Patrick Wilken (eds.), The Oxford Companion to Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
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  41.  13
    Beyond the Fringe.Jon Opie - unknown
  42.  39
    Vehicle, Process, and Hybrid Theories of Consciousness.Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (2):303-305.
    Martínez-Manrique contends that we overlook a possible nonconnectionist vehicle theory of consciousness. We argue that the position he develops is better understood as a hybrid vehicle/process theory. We assess this theory and in doing so clarify the commitments of both vehicle and process theories of consciousness.
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  43.  49
    Internalizing Communication.Gerard O'Brien & Jon Opie - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (6):694-695.
    Carruthers presents evidence concerning the cross-modular integration of information in human subjects which appears to support the “cognitive conception of language.” According to this conception, language is not just a means of communication, but also a representational medium of thought. However, Carruthers overlooks the possibility that language, in both its communicative and cognitive roles, is a nonrepresentational system of conventional signals – that words are not a medium we think in, but a tool we think with. The evidence he cites (...)
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  44.  6
    The Ends of the Earth: Perspectives on Modern Environmental HistoryDonald Worster.John Opie - 1990 - Isis 81 (2):322-323.
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  45.  1
    American Wilderness: A New History. [REVIEW]John Opie - 2009 - Environmental Ethics 31 (1):85-88.
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  46.  1
    Encyclopedia of World Environmental History. [REVIEW]John Opie - 2005 - Environmental Ethics 27 (3):323-328.
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  47.  1
    Managing the Environment, Managing Ourselves: A History of American Environmental Policy. [REVIEW]John Opie - 2001 - Environmental Ethics 23 (2):219-222.
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  48.  1
    The Ends of the Earth: Perspectives on Modern Environmental History by Donald Worster. [REVIEW]John Opie - 1990 - Isis 81:322-323.
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