• Patricia Churchland's Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain is her most recent wide-ranging argument for mind-to-brain reductionism. It's one of the leading anti-dualist works in neurophilosophy. It thus deserves careful attention by anti-reductionists. We survey the main arguments in this book for her thesis that the self is nothing but the brain. These arguments are based largely on the self's dependence upon neural activities as reflected in its various impairments, its unified experiences,…Read more
  •  341
    Growing Evidence that Perceptual Qualia are Neuroelectrical Not Computational
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (5-6): 89-116. 2019.
    Computational neuroscience attributes coloured areas and other perceptual qualia to calculations that are realizable in multiple cellular forms. This faces serious issues in explaining how the various qualia arise and how they bind to form overall perceptions. Qualia may instead be neuroelectrical. Growing evidence indicates that perceptions correlate with neuroelectrical activity spotted by locally activated EEGs, the different qualia correlate with the different electrochemistries of unique de…Read more
  •  115
    How Subjects Can Emerge from Neurons
    Process Studies 48 (1): 40-58. 2019.
    We pose a foundational problem for those who claim that subjects are ontologically irreducible, but causally reducible (weak emergence). This problem is neuroscience’s notorious binding problem, which concerns how distributed neural areas produce unified mental objects (such as perceptions) and the unified subject that experiences them. Synchrony, synapses and other mechanisms cannot explain this. We argue that this problem seriously threatens popular claims that mental causality is reducible …Read more
  •  260
    Mounting Evidence that Minds Are Neural EM Fields Interacting with Brains
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 24 (1-2): 159-183. 2017.
    Evidence that minds are neural electromagnetic fields comes from research into how separate brain activities bind to form unified percepts and unified minds. Explanations of binding using synchrony, attention, and convergence are all problematic. But the unity of EM fields explains binding without these problems. These unified fields neatly explain correlations and divergences between synchrony, attention, convergence, and unified minds. The simplest explanation for the unity of both minds and f…Read more
  •  203
    Traditional ways of characterizing humans and persons are vague and simplistic. For example, persons are often defined as having free will and responsibility – but what actual powers underlie these vague metaphysical abstractions? Traditional answers like "rationality" and "creativity" are still vague, and also simplistic. Similar traits appear as defining traits of humans, yet we’re far too complex to be distinguished from other species in such simple and tight ways. But there may be a looser h…Read more
  •  227
    Avoiding Perennial Mind-Body Problems
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (9-10): 111-133. 2016.
    Russell argued that we can’t know what brains are really like behind our perceptions of them, so minds can conceivably reside in brains. Physicalist-leaning Russellians from Feigl to Strawson try to avoid physicalist and dualist issues with this Russellian idea. Strawson also tries to avoid emergentist issues through panpsychism. Yet critics feel that these Russellians don’t really avoid these issues, but just recast them in new forms. For example, dualist issues arguably remain because it’s har…Read more
  •  223
    Neuroelectrical approaches to binding problems
    Journal of Mind and Behavior 2 (37). 2016.
    How do separate brain processes bind to form unified, conscious percepts? This is the perceptual binding problem, which straddles neuroscience and psychology. In fact, two problems exist here: (1) the easy problem of how neural processes are unified, and (2) the hard problem of how this yields unified perceptual consciousness. Binding theories face familiar troubles with (1) and they do not come to grips with (2). This paper argues that neuroelectrical (electromagnetic-field) approaches may help…Read more
  •  919
    How To Make Mind-Brain Relations Clear
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (5-6): 135-160. 2010.
    The mind-body problem arises because all theories about mind-brain connections are too deeply obscure to gain general acceptance. This essay suggests a clear, simple, mind-brain solution that avoids all these perennial obscurities. (1) It does so, first of all, by reworking Strawson and Stoljar’s views. They argue that while minds differ from observable brains, minds can still be what brains are physically like behind the appearances created by our outer senses. This could avoid many obscurities…Read more
  •  5360
    Electromagnetic-Field Theories of Mind
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (11-12): 124-149. 2013.
    Neuroscience investigates how neuronal processing circuits work, but it has problems explaining experiences this way. For example, it hasn’t explained how colour and shape circuits bind together in visual processing, nor why colours and other qualia are experienced so differently yet processed by circuits so similarly, nor how to get from processing circuits to pictorial images spread across inner space. Some theorists turn from these circuits to their electromagnetic fields to deal with such di…Read more
  •  199
    Review of Erik Banks: Realistic Empiricism (2014) (review)
    Journal of Consciousness Studies. forthcoming.
    Erik Banks does several things in this slender yet substantial book on realistic empiricism (aka neutral monism). First, he encapsulates the main ideas of this tradition. While he goes into greater depth on some of these ideas than other introductions do, these pages are still accessible to nonspecialists. Second, he traces the the history of this tradition through the Austrian scientist, Ernst Mach, the American psychologist, William James, the British philosopher, Bertrand Russell, and others.…Read more
  •  7
    Inadequacies in Current Theories of Imagination
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 33 (3): 313-333. 1995.
  •  433
    Inadequacies in current theories of imagination
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 33 (3): 313-333. 1995.
    Interest in imagination dates back to Plato and Aristotle, but full-length works have been devoted to it only relatively recently by Sartre, McKellar, Furlong, Casey, Johnson, Warnock, Brann, and others. Despite their length and variety, however, these current theories take overly narrow views of this complex phenomenon. Their definitions of “imagination” neglect the multiplicity of its meanings and tend to focus narrowly on the power of imaging alone. But imagination in the fullest, most encomp…Read more
  •  4959
    The Roots of Imagination
    Dissertation, The University of Manchester. 1994.
    This work presents a new theory of imagination which tries to overcome the overly narrow perpectives that current theories take upon this enigmatic, multi-faceted phenomenon. Current theories are narrowly preoccupied with images and imagery. This creates problems in explaining (1) what imagination is, (2) how it works, and (3) what its strengths and limitations are. (1) Ordinary language identifies imagination with both imaging (image-making) and creativity, but most current theories identify i…Read more