Taking their motivation from the perceived failure of the reductive physicalist project concerning consciousness, panpsychists ascribe subjectivity to fundamental material entities in order to account for macro-consciousness. But there exists an unresolved tension within the mainstream panpsychist position, the seriousness of which has yet to be appreciated. I capture this tension as a dilemma, and offer advice to panpsychists on how to resolve it. The dilemma is as follows: Panpsychists take the micro-material realm to feature phenomenal properties, plus micro-subjects to (...) whom these properties belong. However, it is impossible to explain the generation of a macro-subject (like one of us) in terms of the assembly of micro-subjects, for, as I show, subjects cannot combine. Therefore the panpsychist explanatory project is derailed by the insistence that the world’s ultimate material constituents are subjects of experience. The panpsychist faces a choice of giving up her explanatory ambitions, or of giving up the claim that the ultimates are subjects. I argue that the latter option is preferable, leading to neutral monism, on which phenomenal qualities are irreducible but subjects are reducible. So panpsychists should be neutral monists. (shrink)
According to Russellian monism, consciousness is constituted at least partly by quiddities: intrinsic properties that categorically ground dispositional properties described by fundamental physics. If the theory is true, then consciousness and such dispositional properties are closely connected. But how closely? The contingency thesis says that the connection is contingent. For example, on this thesis the dispositional property associated with negative charge might have been categorically grounded by a quiddity that is distinct from the one that actually grounds it. Some argue (...) that Russellian monism entails the contingency thesis and that this makes its consciousness‐constituting quiddities epiphenomenal—a disastrous outcome for a theory that is motivated partly by its prospects for integrating consciousness into physical causation. We consider two versions of that argument, a generic version and an intriguing version developed by Robert J. Howell, which he bases on Jaegwon Kim's well‐known “exclusion argument.” We argue that neither succeeds. (shrink)
Panpsychism, an increasingly popular competitor to physicalism as a theory of mind, faces a famous difficulty, the ‘combination problem’. This is the difficulty of understanding the composition of a conscious mind by parts which are themselves taken to be phenomenally qualitied. I examine the combination problem, and I attempt to solve it. There are a few distinct difficulties under the banner of ‘the combination problem’, and not all of them need worry panpsychists. After homing in on the genuine worries, I (...) identify some disputable assumptions that underlie them. Doing away with these assumptions allows us to make a start on a working conception of phenomenal combination. (shrink)
Due to their reliance on constitutive higher-order representing to generate the qualities of which the subject is consciously aware, I argue that the major existing higher-order representational theories of consciousness insulate us from our first-order sensory states. In fact on these views we are never properly conscious of our sensory states at all. In their place I offer a new higher-order theory of consciousness, with a view to making us suitably intimate with our sensory states in experience. This theory relies (...) on the idea of ‘quoting’ sensory qualities, so is dubbed the ‘quotational higher-order thought theory’. I argue that it can capture something of the idea that we are ‘acquainted’ with our conscious states without slipping beyond the pale for naturalists, whilst also providing satisfying treatments of traditional problems for higher-order theories concerning representational mismatch. The theory achieves this by abandoning a representational mechanism for mental intentionality, in favour of one based on ‘embedding’. (shrink)
How could physicalism be true of a world in which there are no fundamental physical phenomena? A familiar answer, due to Barbara Gail Montero and others, is that physicalism could be true of such a world if that world does not contain an infinite descent of mentality. Christopher Devlin Brown has produced a counterexample to that solution. We show how to modify the solution to accommodate Brown’s example: physicalism could be true of a world without fundamental physical phenomena if that (...) world does not contain an infinite descent of mentally constituted mentality. This solution is independently plausible and is available to physicalists of virtually all significant varieties. (shrink)
Notwithstanding its phenomenological appeal, physicalists have tended to shun the notion that we are ‘acquainted’ with our mental states in consciousness, due to the fact that the acquaintance relation seems mysterious, irreducible, and consequently unnatural. I propose a model of conscious experience based on the idea of ‘mental quotation’, and argue that this captures what we want from acquaintance but without any threat to naturalism. More generally the chapter embodies a complaint that reductionists seem unable to look past the representation (...) relation to do the implementing of consciousness, and a call for theorists to investigate other relations to model our connection to our conscious states, like the constitution/part-whole relationship. This mundane relation has what it takes to give us natural acquaintance with our conscious-mental states. (shrink)
What should advocates of phenomenal intentionality say about unconscious intentional states? I approach this question by focusing on a recent debate between Tim Crane and David Pitt, about the nature of belief. Crane argues that beliefs are never conscious. Pitt, concerned that the phenomenal intentionality thesis coupled with a commitment to beliefs as essentially unconscious embroils Crane in positing unconscious phenomenology, counter-argues that beliefs are essentially conscious. I examine and rebut Crane’s arguments for the essential unconsciousness of beliefs, some of (...) which are widely endorsed. On the way I sketch a model of how belief states could participate in the stream of consciousness. I then consider Pitt’s position, arguing in reply, along Freudian lines, that we should posit not just dispositional but occurrent unconscious beliefs. This result, I argue, indeed requires advocates of phenomenal intentionality to posit unconscious qualia to fix these unconscious occurrent thoughts, and I defend the coherence of the notion of unconscious qualia against some common attacks. Ultimately, I claim, the combination of taking seriously the occurrent unconscious, and a commitment to phenomenal intentionality, should lead us to expand William James’s conception of the stream of consciousness to encompass, additionally, a stream of unconscious mental life—or, perhaps better, to posit a single partly conscious partly unconscious qualia-stream of mental goings-on. (shrink)
In this paper I first examine two important assumptions underlying the argument that physicalism entails panpsychism. These need unearthing because opponents in the literature distinguish themselves from Strawson in the main by rejecting one or the other. Once they have been stated, and something has been said about the positions that reject them, the onus of argument becomes clear: the assumptions require careful defence. I believe they are true, in fact, but their defence is a large project that cannot begin (...) here. So, in the final section I comment on what follows if they are granted. I agree with Strawson that --broadly -- 'panpsychism' is the direction in which philosophy of mind should be heading; nevertheless, there are certain difficulties in the detail of his position. In light of these I argue for changes to the doctrine, bringing it into line with the slightly. (shrink)
There is no Argument that the Mind Extends On the basis of two argumentative examples plus their 'parity principle', Clark and Chalmers argue that mental states like beliefs can extend into the environment. I raise two problems for the argument. The first problem is that it is more difficult than Clark and Chalmers think to set up the Tetris example so that application of the parity principle might render it a case of extended mind. The second problem is that, even (...) when appropriate versions of the argumentative examples can be constructed, the availability of a second, internalist parity principle precludes the possibility of inferring that the mind extends. Choosing which parity principle we ought to wield would involve deciding beforehand whether or not the mind can extend. Thus Clark and Chalmers beg the question by employing their parity principle rather than the internalist one. I conclude that they fail to provide a proper argument to support the extended mind thesis. (shrink)
Panpsychism is an eminently sensible view of the world and its relation to mind. If God is a metaphysician, and regardless of the actual truth or falsity of panpsychism, it is certain that he regards the theory as an honest and elegant competitor on the ﬁeld of ontologies. And if God didn’t create a panpsychist world, then there’s a fair chance that he wishes he had done so, or will do next time around. The difﬁculties panpsychism faces, then, are not (...) metaphysical ones. They are, instead, difﬁculties of understanding, and of acceptance by philosophers. The main difﬁculty of this sort the theory faces is that its ontology – with consciousness in some sense at the heart of all that exists1 – is deemed too bizarre, frankly, too humano-centric to be taken seriously. Why should anyone think that consciousness, widely held to be the preserve only of ourselves, plus the most recently evolved organisms, infuses the basement level of all existence? Such a thought seems to many – especially, to scientiﬁcally scrupled philosophers of mind – a narcissistic (or at best hopelessly anti-realist) folly, which doesn’t even deserve its day in court. Panpsychism.. (shrink)
Frank Jackson's knowledge argument imagines a super-smart scientist, Mary, forced to investigate the mysteries of human colour vision using only black and white resources. Can she work out what it is like to see red from brain-science and physics alone? The argument says no: Mary will only really learn what red looks like when she actually sees it. Something is therefore missing from the science of the mind, and from the 'physicalist' picture of the world based on science. This powerful (...) and controversial argument remains as pivotal as when it was first created in 1982, and this volume provides a thorough and incisive examination of its relevance in philosophy of mind today. The cutting-edge essays featured here break new ground in the debate, and also comprehensively set out the developments in the story of the knowledge argument so far, tracing its impact, past, present, and future. (shrink)
Over many years and in many publications David Rosenthal has developed, defended and applied his justly well-known higher-order thought theory of consciousness.2 In this paper I explain the theory, then provide a brief history of a major objection to it. I suggest that this objection is ultimately ineffectual, but that behind it lies a reason to look beyond Rosenthal's theory to another sort of HOT theory. I then offer my own HOT theory as a suitable alternative, before concluding in a (...) final section. Resumo Durante muitos anos, e em muitas publicações, David Rosenthal desenvolveu, defendeu e aplicou sua justamente reconhecida teoria da consciência, intitulada high-order thought. Neste artigo, explico a teoria e, em seguida, forneço uma breve história de uma objeção maior feita a ela. Sugiro que essa objeção é, em última análise, ineficaz, mas que por trás disso há uma razão para olhar além da teoria de Rosenthal, para outro tipo de teoria HOT. Então ofereço minha própria teoria HOT como uma alternativa adequada, antes de concluir, em uma seção final, a respeito de questões filosóficas aqui envolvidas. (shrink)
According to the knowledge argument, physicalism fails because when physically omniscient Mary first sees red, her gain in phenomenal knowledge involves a gain in factual knowledge. Thus not all facts are physical facts. According to the ability hypothesis, the knowledge argument fails because Mary only acquires abilities to imagine, remember and recognise redness, and not new factual knowledge. I argue that reducing Mary’s new knowledge to abilities does not affect the issue of whether she also learns factually: I show that (...) gaining specific new phenomenal knowledge is required for acquiring abilities of the relevant kind. Phenomenal knowledge being basic to abilities, and not vice versa, it is left an open question whether someone who acquires such abilities also learns something factual. The answer depends on whether the new phenomenal knowledge involved is factual. But this is the same question we wanted to settle when first considering the knowledge argument. The ability hypothesis, therefore, has offered us no dialectical progress with the knowledge argument, and is best forgotten. (shrink)
What are phenomenal qualities, the qualities of conscious experiences? Are phenomenal qualities subjective, belonging to inner mental episodes of some kind, or should they be seen as objective, belonging in some way to the physical things in the world around us? Are they physical properties at all? And to what extent do experiences represent the things around us, or the states of our own bodies? Fourteen original papers, written by a team of distinguished philosophers and psychologists, explore the ways in (...) which phenomenal qualities fit in with our understanding of mind and reality. This volume offers an indispensable resource for anyone wishing to understand the nature of conscious experience. (shrink)
According to Russellian monism, phenomenal consciousness is constituted by inscrutables: intrinsic properties that categorically ground dispositional properties described by fundamental physics. On Russellian physicalism, those inscrutables are construed as protophenomenal properties: non-structural properties that both categorically ground dispositional properties and, perhaps when appropriately structured, collectively constitute phenomenal properties. Morris and Brown argue that protophenomenal properties cannot serve this purpose, given assumptions Russellian monists typically make about the modal profile of such properties. Those assumptions, it is argued, entail that protophenomenal properties (...) are ‘experience specific’, that is, they are individuated by their potential to constitute phenomenal properties, and are thus not genuinely physical. However, we argue, that reasoning assumes that physical inscrutables must be individuated in terms of their grounding roles. Not only is that assumption questionable: it is antithetical to Russellian monism. (shrink)
According to Brentano, mentality is essentially intentional in nature. Other philosophers have emphasized the phenomenal-qualitative aspect of conscious experiences as core to the mind. A recent philosophical wave – the ‘phenomenal intentionality programme’ – seeks to unite these conceptions in the idea that mental content is grounded in phenomenal qualities. However, a philosophical and scientific current, which includes Freud and contemporary cognitive science, makes widespread use of the posit of unconscious mentality/mental content. I aim to reconcile these disparate, influential strands (...) of thought concerning mentality’s essence, by defending a conception of the mark of the mental as consisting in content-carrying qualitative character (or mental qualities) – but understood as properties that can exist both in conscious (i.e. phenomenal) form and unconsciously. I describe this conception, deal with major historical objections to the notions of unconscious qualitative character and mentality, and explain the virtues of construing the mark of the mental in this way. (shrink)
Frank Jackson's case of Mary the colour scientist, and the knowledge argument against physicalism built upon it, are well known. This paper starts from Jackson's other, more neglected, thought experiment, about Fred, who sees a unique shade of red. It explores two senses in which properties are said to be 'objective', roughly corresponding to the ideas of a property's being intersubjectively accessible, on the one hand, and its being knowable without the need for special experiences, on the other. These senses (...) of the objective are contrasted, and their links to the doctrine of physicalism explored, and it is argued that, in the sense of objectivity we should embrace, mental qualities come out as objective and physical properties. The paper ends up by proposing a novel theory about how mental qualities fit into the world—as determinates of determinable physical properties, a view that is distinguished from the closely related 'Russellian monism'. (shrink)
Chalmers has provided a dilemmatic master argument against all forms of the phenomenal concept strategy. This paper explores a position that evades Chalmers's argument, dubbed Type Bb: it is for Type B physicalists who embrace horn b of Chalmers's dilemma. The discussion concludes that Chalmers fails to show any incoherence in the position of a Type B physicalist who depends on the phenomenal concept strategy.
Reading Tye’s new book reminded me of slowly sipping a good specimen of a dry vodka Martini. In both cases much is accomplished by the skilful assembly of only a few key ingredients. I don’t really like dry vodka Martinis, though, and similarly I found many of the thoughts offered by Consciousness Revisited to be too bitter to swallow. A sophisticated piece of work, however, it certainly is.
In this paper I will trace the path of Nagel’s thought, from the reasons that led him to ambivalent embrace of panpsychism, to his present view. Having arrived at his present position I will consider how to make best sense of it. Is it panpsychism, or not? And were the seeds of that view present all along?
In this paper I develop a theory of personhood which leaves open the possibility of construing the universe as a person. If successful, it removes one bar to endorsing pantheism. I do this by examining a rising school of thought on personhood, on which persons, or selves, are understood as identical to episodes of consciousness. Through a critique of this experiential approach to personhood, I develop a theory of self as constituted of qualitative mental contents, but where these contents are (...) also capable of unconscious existence. On this theory, though we can be conscious of our selves, consciousness turns out to be inessential to personhood. This move, I then argue, provides resources for responding to the pantheist’s problem of God’s person. (shrink)