La autora presenta una critica a la concepcion clasica de los sentidos asumida por la mayoria de autores naturalistas que pretenden explicar el contenido mental. Esta crítica se basa en datos neurobiologicos sobre los sentidos que apuntan a que estos no parecen describir caracteristicas objetivas del mundo, sino que actuan de forma ŉarcisita', es decir, representan informacion en funcion de los intereses concretos del organismo.El articulo se encuentra también en: Bechtel, et al., Philosophy and the Neuroscience.
Over 35 years ago, Meltzoff and Moore (1977) published their famous article ‘Imitation of facial and manual gestures by human neonates’. Their central conclusion, that neonates can imitate, was and continues to be controversial. Here we focus on an often neglected aspect of this debate, namely on neonatal spontaneous behaviors themselves. We present a case study of a paradigmatic orofacial ‘gesture’, namely tongue protrusion and retraction (TP/R). Against the background of new research on mammalian aerodigestive development, we ask: How does (...) the human aerodigestive system develop and what role does TP/R play in the neonate’s emerging system of aerodigestion? We show that mammalian aerodigestion develops in two phases: (1) from the onset of isolated orofacial movements in utero to the post-natal mastery of suckling at 4 months after birth, and; (2) thereafter, from preparation to the mastery of mastication and deglutition of solid foods. Like other orofacial stereotypies, TP/R emerges in the first phase and vanishes prior to the second. Based upon recent advances in activity-driven early neural development, we suggest a sequence of three developmental events in which TP/R might participate: the acquisition of tongue control, the integration of the central pattern generator for TP/R with other aerodigestive CPGs, and the formation of connections within the cortical maps of S1 and M1. If correct, orofacial stereotypies are crucial to the maturation of aerodigestion in the neonatal period but also unlikely to co-occur with imitative behavior. (shrink)
A common view in both philosophy and the vision sciences is that, in human vision, wavelength information is primarily ‘for’ colouring: for seeing surfaces and various media as having colours. In this article we examine this assumption of ‘colour-for-colouring’. To motivate the need for an alternative theory, we begin with three major puzzles from neurophysiology, puzzles that are not explained by the standard theory. We then ask about the role of wavelength information in vision writ large. How might wavelength information (...) be used by any monochromat or dichromat and, finally, by a trichromatic primate with object vision? We suggest that there is no single ‘advantage’ to trichromaticity but a multiplicity, only one of which is the ability to see surfaces and so on as having categorical colours. Instead, the human trichromatic retina exemplifies a scheme for a general encoding of wavelength information given the constraints imposed by high spatial resolution object vision. Chromatic vision, like its partner, luminance vision, is primarily for seeing. Viewed this way, the ‘puzzles’ presented at the outset make perfect sense. 1 Reframing the Problem1.1 Introduction1.2 Three puzzles1.2.1 Why is trichromatic vision an anomaly in diurnal mammals?1.2.2 Why does the colour system occupy such a large and central part in human vision?1.2.3 Why are the blue cones so rare?1.3 Recasting the question2 The Costs and Benefits of Spectral Vision2.1 Spectral information and object vision2.2 Encoding the spectral dimension of light2.2.1 ‘General’ versus ‘specific’ encoding2.2.2 Spectral encoding and the monochromat2.2.3 Spectral encoding and the dichromat2.2.4 Spectral encoding and the human trichromat2.3 Three puzzles revisited2.3.1 Why is trichromatic vision an anomaly in diurnal mammals?2.3.2 Why does the colour system occupy such a large and central part in human vision?2.3.3 Why are the blue cones so rare3 Conclusion. (shrink)
In Consciousness Explained, Daniel Dennett presents the Multiple Drafts Theory of consciousness, a very brief, largely empirical theory of brain function. From these premises, he draws a number of quite radical conclusions—for example, the conclusion that conscious events have no determinate time of occurrence. The problem, as many readers have pointed out, is that there is little discernible route from the empirical premises to the philosophical conclusions. In this article, I try to reconstruct Dennett's argument, providing both the philosophical views (...) behind the empirical premises, and the hidden empirical arguments behind the derivation of the philosophical conclusions. (shrink)
Researchers have long suspected that grapheme-color synaesthesia is useful, but research on its utility has so far focused primarily on episodic memory and perceptual discrimination. Here we ask whether it can be harnessed during rule-based Category learning. Participants learned through trial and error to classify grapheme pairs that were organized into categories on the basis of their associated synaesthetic colors. The performance of synaesthetes was similar to non-synaesthetes viewing graphemes that were physically colored in the same way. Specifically, synaesthetes learned (...) to categorize stimuli effectively, they were able to transfer this learning to novel stimuli, and they falsely recognized grapheme-pair foils, all like non-synaesthetes viewing colored graphemes. These findings demonstrate that synaesthesia can be exploited when learning the kind of material taught in many classroom settings. (shrink)
This volume provides an up to date and comprehensive overview of the philosophy and neuroscience movement, which applies the methods of neuroscience to traditional philosophical problems and uses philosophical methods to illuminate issues in neuroscience. At the heart of the movement is the conviction that basic questions about human cognition, many of which have been studied for millennia, can be answered only by a philosophically sophisticated grasp of neuroscience's insights into the processing of information by the human brain. Essays in (...) this volume are clustered around five major themes: data and theory in neuroscience; neural representation and computation; visuomotor transformations; color vision; and consciousness. (shrink)
Nativists about syntactic processing have argued that linguisticprocessing, understood as the implementation of a rule-basedcomputational architecture, is spared in Williams syndrome, (WMS)subjects – and hence that it provides evidence for a geneticallyspecified language module. This argument is bolstered by treatingSpecific Language Impairments (SLI) and WMS as a developmental doubledissociation which identifies a syntax module. Neuroconstructivists haveargued that the cognitive deficits of a developmental disorder cannot beadequately distinguished using the standard gross behavioural tests ofneuropsychology and that the linguistic abilities of the (...) WMS subject canbe equally well explained by a constructivist strategy of neurallearning in the individual, with linguisitic functions implemented in anassociationist architecture. The neuroconstructivist interpretation ofWMS undermines the hypothesis of a double dissociation between SLI andWMS, leaving unresolved the question of nativism about syntax. Theapparent linguistic virtuosity of WMS subjects is an artefact ofenhanced phonological processing, a fact which is easier to demonstratevia the associationist computational model embraced byneuroconstructivism. (shrink)
In our target article, we argued that the positive results of neonatal imitation are likely to be by-products of normal aerodigestive development. Our hypothesis elicited various responses on the role of social interaction in infancy, the methodological issues about imitation experiments, and the relation between the aerodigestive theory and the development of speech. Here we respond to the commentaries.