•  437
    The Current Relevance of Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Embodiment
    Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy. 1998.
    In this paper I would like to explain, defend, and draw out the implications of this claim. Since the intentional arc is supposed to embody the interconnection of skillful action and perception, I will first lay out an account of skill
  •  429
    Overcoming the myth of the mental
    Topoi 25 (1-2): 43-49. 2006.
    Can we accept John McDowell’s Kantian claim that perception is conceptual “all the way out,” thereby denying the more basic perceptual capacities we seem to share with prelinguistic infants and higher animals? More generally, can philosophers successfully describe the conceptual upper floors of the edifice of knowledge while ignoring the embodied coping going on on the ground floor? I argue that we shouldn’t leave the conceptual component of our lives hanging in midair and suggest how philosophe…Read more
  •  382
    Overcoming the Myth of the Mental: How Philosophers Can Profit from the Phenomenology of Everyday Expertise
    Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 79 (2). 2005.
    Back in 1950, while a physics major at Harvard, I wandered into C.I. Lewis’s epistemology course. There, Lewis was confidently expounding the need for an indubitable Given to ground knowledge, and he was explaining where that ground was to be found. I was so impressed that I immediately switched majors from ungrounded physics to grounded philosophy.
  •  345
    20. What Computers Can’t Do: A Critique of Artificial Reason
    In Bernard Williams (ed.), Essays and Reviews: 1959-2002, Princeton University Press. pp. 90-100. 2016.
  •  317
    Existential phenomenologists hold that the two most basic forms of intelligent behavior, learning, and skillful action, can be described and explained without recourse to mind or brain representations. This claim is expressed in two central notions in Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception: the intentional arc and the tendency to achieve a maximal grip. The intentional arc names the tight connection between body and world, such that, as the active body acquires skills, those skills are stor…Read more
  •  296
    The return of the myth of the mental
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (4). 2007.
    McDowell's claim that "in mature human beings, embodied coping is permeated with mindedness",1 suggests a new version of the mentalist myth which, like the others, is untrue to the phenomenon. The phenomena show that embodied skills, when we are fully absorbed in enacting them, have a kind of non-mental content that is non-conceptual, non-propositional, non-rational and non-linguistic. This is not to deny that we can monitor our activity while performing it. For solving problems, learning a new …Read more
  •  284
    Response to McDowell
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (4). 2007.
    This Article does not have an abstract
  •  277
    Being and power: Heidegger and Foucault
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 4 (1). 1996.
    being, culminating in the technological understanding of being, in order to help us understand and overcome our current way of dealing with things as objects and resources, Foucault analyzes several regimes of power, culminating in modern bio-power, in order to help us free ourselves from understanding ourselves as subjects.
  •  250
    of autonomous agency. Yet neither denies the importance of human freedom. In Heidegger's early work the subject is reinterpreted as Dasein -- a non autonomous, culturally bound (or thrown) way of being, that can yet change the field of possibilities in which it acts. In middle Heidegger, thinkers alone have the power to disclose a new world, while in later Heidegger, anyone is free to step back from the current world, to enter one of a plurality of worlds, and, thereby, facilitate a change in th…Read more
  •  242
    Actual AI research began auspiciously around 1955 with Allen Newell and Herbert Simon's work at the RAND Corporation. Newell and Simon proved that computers could do more than calculate. They demonstrated that computers were physical symbol systems whose symbols could be made to stand for anything, including features of the real world, and whose programs could be used as rules for relating these features. In this way computers could be used to simulate certain important aspects intelligence. Thu…Read more
  •  196
    Heterophenomenology: Heavy-handed Sleight-of-hand (review)
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2): 45-55. 2007.
    We argue that heterophenomenology both over- and under-populates the intentional realm. For example, when one is involved in coping, one’s mind does not contain beliefs. Since the heterophenomenologist interprets all intentional commitment as belief, he necessarily overgenerates the belief contents of the mind. Since beliefs cannot capture the normative aspect of coping and perceiving, any method, such as heterophenomenology, that allows for only beliefs is guaranteed not only to overgenerate be…Read more
  •  161
    Homer has a unique understanding of the body. On his view the body is that by means of which we are subject to moods, and moods are what attune us to our situation. Being attuned to a situation, in turn, opens us to the various ways things and people can be engaging. We agree with Homer that this receptivity is evident throughout our entire existence. It characterizes everything from our basic bodily skills for coping with objects and people to our tendency to be immersed in and guided by moods …Read more
  •  159
    In this paper I would like to explain, defend, and draw out the implications of this claim. Since the intentional arc is supposed to embody the interconnection of skillful action and perception, I will first lay out an account of skill
  •  158
    Martin Heidegger's major work, Being and Time, is usually considered the culminating work in a tradition called existential philosophy. The first person to call himself an existential thinker was Soren Kierkegaard, and his influence is clearly evident in Heidegger's thought. Existential thinking rejects the traditional philosophical view, that goes back to Plato at least, that philosophy must be done from a detached, disinterested point of view. Kierkegaard argues that our primary access to real…Read more
  •  158
    Interpreting Heidegger on Das man
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 38 (4). 1995.
    In their debate over my interpretation of Heidegger's account of das Man in Being and Time, Frederick Olafson and Taylor Carman agree that Heidegger's various characterizations of das Man are inconsistent. Olafson champions an existentialist/ontic account of das Man as a distorted mode of being?with. Carman defends a Wittgensteinian/ontological account of das Man as Heidegger's name for the social norms that make possible everyday intelligibility. For Olafson, then, das Man is a privative mode o…Read more
  •  157
    A Merleau-Pontyian Critique of Husserl’s and Searle’s Representationalist Accounts of Action
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (3): 287-302. 2000.
    Husserl and Searle agree that, for a bodily movement to be an action, it must be caused by a propositional representation. Husserl's representation is a mental state whose intentional content is what the agent is trying to do; Searle thinks of the representation as a logical structure expressing the action's conditions of satisfaction. Merleau-Ponty criticises both views by introducing a kind of activity he calls motor intentionality, in which the agent, rather than aiming at success, feels draw…Read more
  •  154
    Towards a phenomenology of ethical expertise
    with Stuart E. Dreyfus
    Human Studies 14 (4). 1991.
  •  148
    Essays discuss the themes of worldliness, affectedness, understanding, and the care-structure found in Heidegger's work on the nature of existence
  •  143
    A History of First Step Fallacies
    Minds and Machines 22 (2): 87-99. 2012.
    In the 1960s, without realizing it, AI researchers were hard at work finding the features, rules, and representations needed for turning rationalist philosophy into a research program, and by so doing AI researchers condemned their enterprise to failure. About the same time, a logician, Yehoshua Bar-Hillel, pointed out that AI optimism was based on what he called the “first step fallacy”. First step thinking has the idea of a successful last step built in. Limited early success, however, is not …Read more
  •  141
    Coping with Things-in-themselves: A Practice-Based Phenomenological Argument for Realism
    with Charles Spinosa
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 42 (1): 49-78. 1999.
    Against Davidsonian (or deflationary) realism, it is argued that it is coherent to believe that science can in principle give us access to the functional components of the universe as they are in themselves in distinction from how they appear to us on the basis of our quotidian concerns or sensory capacities. The first section presents the deflationary realist's argument against independence. The second section then shows that, although Heidegger pioneered the deflationary realist account of the…Read more
  •  138
    You can't get something for nothing: Kierkegaard and Heidegger on how not to overcome nihilism
    with Jane Rubin
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 30 (1 & 2). 1987.
    This paper analyzes Kierkegaard's Religiousness A sphere of existence, presented in his edifying works, and Heidegger's concept of authenticity, proposed in Being and Time, as responses to modern nihilism. While Kierkegaard argues that Religiousness A is an unsuccessful response to modern nihilism, Heidegger claims that authenticity, a secularized version of Religiousness A, is a successful response. We argue that Heidegger's secularization of Religiousness A is incomplete and unsuccessful, that…Read more