•  12
    The Daily Show's Exposé of Political Rhetoric
    with Jason Holt
    In William Irwin (ed.), The Ultimate Daily Show and Philosophy, Wiley. 2013.
    This chapter considers The Daily Show's unique capacity to demonstrate, through satire, misuses of reason in politics and the media. It considers examples taken from “Indecision 2004,” more recent examples from “Indecision 2012,” and some from The Colbert Report. The chapter begins by considering The Daily Show's treatment of the more common logical fallacies employed by politicians and their exponents. Next, it discusses various political appeals to emotion exposed by The Daily Show. Then, it c…Read more
  •  87
    Three misconceptions concerning strong embodiment
    with Itay Shani
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (4): 827-849. 2015.
    The strong embodied mind thesis holds that the particular details of one’s embodiment shape the phenomenological and cognitive nature of one’s mind. On the face of it, this is an attractive thesis. Yet strong embodiment faces a number of challenges. In particular, there are three prominent misconceptions about the scope and nature of strong embodiment: 1) that it violates the supposed multiple realizability of mentality; 2) that it cannot accommodate mental representation; and 3) that it is inco…Read more
  •  147
    Stressing the Flesh: In Defense of Strong Embodied Cognition
    with Itay Shani
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3): 590-617. 2012.
    In a recent paper, Andy Clark (2008) has argued that the literature on embodied cognition reveals a tension between two prominent strands within this movement. On the one hand, there are those who endorse what Clark refers to as body-centrism, a view which emphasizes the special contribution made by the body to a creature’s mental life. Among other things, body centrism implies that significant differences in embodiment translate into significant differences in cognition and consciousness. On th…Read more
  •  66
    Chalmers’ fading and dancing qualla
    Southwest Philosophy Review 18 (2): 65-80. 2002.
    It has become popular to distinguish between phenomenal and non-phenomenal kinds of mentality and consciousness, for example, phenomenal and functional kinds of consciousness, or qualia and cognition. As Chalmers has so famously suggested, explaining mental phenomena like functionally “conscious” states constitutes some of the “easy problems” in philosophy of mind; explaining phenomenal consciousness, on the other hand, is the “hard problem.” One difficulty with this distinction is that it lea…Read more
  •  17
    Comfort in Annihilation: Three Studies in Materialism and Mortality
    Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 15 (1): 119-140. 2010.
    This paper considers three accounts of the relationship between personal immortality and materialism. In particular, the pagan mortalism of the Epicureans is compared with the Christian mortalism of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. It is argued 1) that there are significant similarities between these views, 2) that Locke and Hobbes were, to some extent, influenced by the Epicureans, and 3) that the relation between mortality and materialism is not as straightforward as is commonly supposed.
  •  105
    Dynamical agents: Consciousness, causation, and two specters of epiphenomenalism
    with Itay Shani
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (2): 225-243. 2009.
    The aim of this paper is to defend the causal efficacy of consciousness against two specters of epiphenomenalism. We argue that these challenges are best met, on the one hand, by rejecting all forms of consciousness-body dualism, and on the other, by adopting a dynamical systems approach to understanding the causal efficacy of conscious experience. We argue that this non-reductive identity theory provides the theoretical resources for reconciling the reality and efficacy of consciousness with th…Read more
  •  43
    This paper considers the so-called explanatory gap between brain activity and conscious experience. A number of different, though closely related, explanatory gaps are distinguished and a monistic account of conscious experience, a version of Herbert Feigl’s “twofold-access theory,” is advocated as a solution to the problems they are taken to pose for physicalist accounts of mind. Although twofold-access theory is a version of the mind-body identity thesis, it in no way “eliminates” conscious ex…Read more
  •  75
    John Locke, ‘Hobbist’: of sleeping souls and thinking matter
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (4): 454-476. 2017.
    In this paper, I consider Isaac Newton’s fevered accusation that John Locke is a ‘Hobbist.’ I suggest a number of ways in which Locke’s account of the mind–body relation could plausibly be construed as Hobbesian. Whereas Newton conceives of the human mind as an immaterial substance and venerates it as a finite image of the Divine Mind, I argue that Locke utterly deflates the religious, ethical, and metaphysical significance of an immaterial soul. Even stronger, I contend that there is good reaso…Read more
  •  104
    The Side Left Untouched: Panpsychism, Embodiment, and the Explanatory Gap
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (3-4): 3-4. 2013.
    This paper considers Galen Strawson's recent defence of panpsychism. Strawson's account has a number of attractive features: it proffers an unflappable commitment to the reality of conscious experience, adduces a relatively novel and constructive appeal to the explanatory gap, and presents a picture which is in certain respects consistent with Herbert Feigl's version of mind-brain identity theory, what I call twofold-access theory. Strawson is right that the experiential and physical are not irr…Read more
  •  104
    Conscious experience, reduction and identity: Many gaps, one solution
    Philosophical Psychology 17 (2): 225-246. 2004.
    This paper considers the so-called explanatory gap between brain activity and conscious experience. A number of different, though closely related, explanatory gaps are distinguished and a monistic account of conscious experience, a version of Herbert Feigl's "dual-access theory," is advocated as a solution to the problems they are taken to pose for physicalist accounts of mind. Although dual-access theory is a version of the mind-body identity thesis, it in no way "eliminates" conscious experien…Read more
  •  59
    Newtonian Idealism: Matter, Perception, and the Divine Will
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (1): 86-112. 2014.
    This paper investigates Isaac Newton's rather unique account of God's relation to matter. According to this account, corpuscles depend on a substantially omnipresent God endowing quantities of objective space with the qualities of shape, solidity, the unfaltering tendency to move in accord with certain laws, and—significantly—the power to interact with created minds. I argue that there are important similarities and differences between Newton's account of matter and Berkeley's idealism. And whil…Read more
  •  71
    Thinking-Matter Then and Now: The Evolution of Mind-Body Dualism
    History of Philosophy Quarterly 26 (1). 2009.
    Since the seventeenth century, mind-body dualism has undergone an evolution, both in its metaphysics and its supporting arguments. In particular, debates in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England prepared the way for the fall of substance dualism—the view that the human mind is an immaterial substance capable of independent existence—and the rise of a much less radical property dualism. The evolution from the faltering plausibility of substance dualism to the growing appeal of property dual…Read more
  •  57
    Comfort in Annihilation: Three Studies in Materialism and Mortality
    Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 15 (1): 119-140. 2010.
    This paper considers three accounts of the relationship between personal immortality and materialism. In particular, the pagan mortalism of the Epicureans is compared with the Christian mortalism of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. It is argued 1) that there are significant similarities between these views, 2) that Locke and Hobbes were, to some extent, influenced by the Epicureans, and 3) that the relation between (im)mortality and (im)materialism is not as straightforward as is commonly supposed.
  •  1
    Roger Woolhouse, Locke: A Biography Reviewed by
    Philosophy in Review 29 (4): 301-304. 2009.
  •  85
    ‘A Compound Wholly Mortal’1: Locke and Newton on the Metaphysics of (Personal) Immortality
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (2): 241-264. 2011.
    In this paper I consider a cluster of positions which depart from the immortalist and dualist anthropologies of Rene Descartes and Henry More. In particular, I argue that John Locke and Isaac Newton are attracted to a monistic mind-body metaphysics, which while resisting neat characterization, occupies a conceptual space distinct from the dualism of the immortalists, on the one hand, and thoroughgoing materialism of Thomas Hobbes, on the other. They propound a sort of property monism: mind and b…Read more
  •  91
    Written in the flesh: Isaac Newton on the mind–body relation
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (3): 420-441. 2006.
    Isaac Newton’s views on the mind–body relation are of interest not only because of their somewhat unique departure from popular early modern conceptions of mind and its relation to body, but also because of their connections with other aspects of Newton’s thought. In this paper I argue that (1) Newton accepted an interesting sort of mind–body monism, one which defies neat categorization, but which clearly departs from Cartesian substance dualism, and (2) Newton took the power by which we move ou…Read more
  •  72
    In this paper, I argue that while supervenience accounts of mental causation in general have difficulty avoiding epiphenomenalism, the situation is particularly bad in the case of conscious experiences since the function-realizer relation, arguably present in the case of intentional properties, does not obtain, and thus, the metaphysical link between supervenient and subvenient properties is absent. I contend, however, that the identification of experiential types with their neural correlates di…Read more
  • Roger Woolhouse, Locke: A Biography
    Philosophy in Review 29 (4): 301. 2009.
  •  1
    An early'sensation-based'argument for dualism
    Locke Studies 10 159-177. 2010.
    This paper considers a seventeenth century argument for (substance) dualism propounded by Cambridge Platonist Ralph Cudworth that appeals to the nature of secondary qualities or sensations. I argue that, despite the widespread acceptance of the primary/secondary quality distinction, this argument is relatively unique for its time since seventeenth century arguments for dualism generally appeal, not to sensory qualities, but to thought, language, rationality, and volition. Indeed, for many, sen…Read more