•  10
    Response to Dr. Bernstein
    PAIN Reports 5 (e814): 1-1. 2020.
    This is a Letter to Editor responding to another Letter by Dr. LR Bernstein (PAIN Reports 5, 2020, e814) reacting to my previous article on the IASP definition of pain that appeared in PAIN Reports 4(2019)e777.
  •  16
    Response to Drs. Anand, Craig, and Williams
    PAIN Reports 5 (e812): 1-2. 2020.
    This is a Letter to Editor responding to the reaction by Ken Craig, Amanda Williams, KJS Anand, to my previous article on the IASP definition of pain that appeared in PAIN Reports 4(2019)e777. The reaction is also in the form of a Letter to Editor in PAIN Reports 5(2020)e811.
  •  452
    Does the IASP Definition of Pain Need Updating?
    PAIN Reports 4 (5 - e777): 1-7. 2019.
    The current IASP definition of pain has come under renewed criticisms recently. There is a new momentum for its revision as reflected by the fact that IASP has now a Presidential Task Force dedicated to look into whether there is enough warrant to update the definition. I critically review all the major criticisms of the current definition in detail, and raise new difficulties rarely discussed before. I show that none of the major criticisms has enough warrant to force us to substantially revise…Read more
  •  540
    I distinguish between two claims of transparency of experiences. One claim is weaker and supported by phenomenological evidence. This I call the transparency datum. Introspection of standard perceptual experiences as well as bodily sensations is consistent with, indeed supported by, the transparency datum. I formulate a stronger transparency thesis that is entailed by representationalism about experiential phenomenology. I point out some empirical consequences of strong transparency in the conte…Read more
  •  74
    This is the text of an invited talk exploring the connections between two apparently distinct notions of affect, sensory versus core affect. It is basically a progress report. It is exploratory and tentative. It starts from a mild puzzle about the apparent mismatch between the notion of affect that affective neuroscientists generally deploy and the notion of affect that emotion psychologists deploy. The notion favored by psychologists is the notion of core affect. The phenomenon studied by affec…Read more
  •  187
    What is a pain in a body part?
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (2). 2020.
    The IASP definition of 'pain' defines pain as a subjective experience. The Note accompanying the definition emphasizes that as such pains are not to be identified with objective conditions of body parts (such as actual or potential tissue damage). Nevertheless, it goes on to state that a pain "is unquestionably a sensation in a part or parts of the body, but it is also always unpleasant and therefore also an emotional experience." This generates a puzzle that philosophers have been well familiar…Read more
  • Syntax, Functionalism, Connectionism, and the Language of Thought
    Dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park. 1993.
    Fodor and Pylyshyn's critique of connectionism has posed a challenge to connectionists: Explain such cognitive regularities as systematicity and productivity without postulating a LOT architecture. Some connectionists took the challenge seriously. They developed some models that purport to show that they can explain the regularities without becoming classical. The key to their claim is that their models can and do provide non-concatenatively realized syntactically complex representations that ca…Read more
  •  102
    Pain and Pleasure
    In Andrea Scarantino (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Emotion Theory, Routledge. forthcoming.
    [Penultimate draft] This is a piece written for interdisciplinary audiences and contains very little philosophy. It looks into whether, or in what sense, pains and pleasures are emotions.
  •  202
    This is a Letter to Editor of _Pain_ recommending revision of a pain term ('nociplastic pain') recently added to the IASP Pain Terms. (With a response from the Taxonomy Committee, Eva Kosek et al. PAIN: June 2018 - Volume 159 - Issue 6 - p 1177–1178
  •  105
    Computation and intentional psychology
    Dialogue 39 (2): 365-379. 2000.
    The relation between computational and intentional psychology has always been a vexing issue. The worry is that if mental processes are computational, then these processes, which are defined over symbols, are sensitive solely to the non-semantic properties of symbols. If so, perhaps psychology could dispense with adverting in its laws to intentional/semantic properties of symbols. Stich, as is well-known, has made a great deal out of this tension and argued for a purely "syntactic" psychology by…Read more
  •  12
    The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition (edited book)
    with P. Robbins
    Cambridge University Press. 2008.
    Since its inception some fifty years ago, cognitive science has seen a number of sea changes. Perhaps the best known is the development of connectionist models of cognition as an alternative to classical, symbol-based approaches. A more recent - and increasingly influential - trend is that of dynamical-systems-based, ecologically oriented models of the mind. Researchers suggest that a full understanding of the mind will require systematic study of the dynamics of interaction between mind, body, …Read more
  •  42
    [DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000765] Amanda Williams and Kenneth Craig, in a recent article in the IASP official journal _Pain_ (DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000613), have argued that it is time to revise the IASP's well-entrenched definition of 'pain'. They propose an alternative definition. We critically discuss their proposed revision and argue that it admits clear counterexamples as both sufficient and necessary conditions. We further discuss the wisdom of replacing 'unpleasant' in the I…Read more
  •  123
    Pain
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2019.
    Pain is the most prominent member of a class of sensations known as bodily sensations, which includes itches, tickles, tingles, orgasms, and so on. Bodily sensations are typically attributed to bodily locations and appear to have features such as volume, intensity, duration, and so on, that are ordinarily attributed to physical objects or quantities. Yet these sensations are often thought to be logically private, subjective, self-intimating, and the source of incorrigible knowledge for those who…Read more
  •  757
    Is feeling pain the perception of something?
    Journal of Philosophy 106 (10): 531-567. 2009.
    According to the increasingly popular perceptual/representational accounts of pain (and other bodily sensations such as itches, tickles, orgasms, etc.), feeling pain in a body region is perceiving a non-mental property or some objective condition of that region, typically equated with some sort of (actual or potential) tissue damage. In what follows I argue that given a natural understanding of what sensory perception requires and how it is integrated with (dedicated) conceptual systems, these a…Read more
  •  1233
    This essay is a sustained attempt to bring new light to some of the perennial problems in philosophy of mind surrounding phenomenal consciousness and introspection through developing an account of sensory and phenomenal concepts. Building on the information-theoretic framework of Dretske (1981), we present an informational psychosemantics as it applies to what we call sensory concepts, concepts that apply, roughly, to so-called secondary qualities of objects. We show that these concepts have a…Read more
  •  108
    What makes perceptual symbols perceptual?
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (4): 610-611. 1999.
    It is argued that three major attempts by Barsalou to specify what makes a perceptual symbol perceptual fail. It is suggested that one way to give such an account is to employ the symbols
  •  319
    Aristotle on Episteme and Nous: the Posterior Analytics
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 36 (1): 15-46. 1998.
    According to the standard and largely traditional interpretation, Aristotle’s conception of nous, at least as it occurs in the Posterior Analytics, is geared against a certain set of skeptical worries about the possibility of scientific knowledge, and ultimately of the knowledge of Aristotelian first principles. On this view, Aristotle introduces nous as an intuitive faculty that grasps the first principles once and for all as true in such a way that it does not leave any room for the skeptic to…Read more
  •  82
    Review of Nikola Grahek, Feeling Pain and Being in Pain (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (1). 2008.
  •  261
    [This is an earlier, much longer and more detailed version of my entry on LOTH in the _Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy_] The Language of Thought Hypothesis (LOTH) is an empirical thesis about thought and thinking. For their explication, it postulates a physically realized system of representations that have a combinatorial syntax (and semantics) such that operations on representations are causally sensitive only to the syntactic properties of representations. According to LOTH, thought is, r…Read more
  •  334
    How to Unify Theories of Sensory Pleasure: An Adverbialist Proposal
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (1): 119-133. 2014.
    A lot of qualitatively very different sensations can be pleasant or unpleasant. The Felt-Quality Views that conceive of sensory affect as having an introspectively available common phenomenology or qualitative character face the “heterogeneity problem” of specifying what that qualitative common phenomenology is. In contrast, according to the Attitudinal Views, what is common to all pleasant or unpleasant sensations is that they are all “wanted” or “unwanted” in a certain sort of way. The commona…Read more
  •  101
    Connectionism and the language of thought
    CSLI Technical Report. 1995.
    Fodor and Pylyshyn's (F&P) critique of connectionism has posed a challenge to connectionists: Adequately explain such nomological regularities as systematicity and productivity without postulating a "language of thought'' (LOT). Some connectionists declined to meet the challenge on the basis that the alleged regularities are somehow spurious. Some, like Smolensky, however, took the challenge very seriously, and attempted to meet it by developing models that are supposed to be non-classical
  •  170
    Understanding the nature of pain depends, at least partly, on recognizing its subjectivity (thus, its first-person epistemology). This in turn requires using a first-person experiential method in addition to third-person experimental approaches to study it. This paper is an attempt to spell out what the former approach is and how it can be integrated with the latter. We start our discussion by examining some foundational issues raised by the use of introspection. We argue that such a first-perso…Read more
  •  200
    An analysis of pleasure vis-a-vis pain
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3): 537-570. 2000.
    I take up the issue of whether pleasure is a kind of sensation or not. This issue was much discussed by philosophers of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and apparently no resolution was reached. There were mainly two camps in the discussion: those who argued for a dispositional account, and those who favored an episodic feeling view of pleasure. Here, relying on some recent scientific research I offer an account of pleasure which neither dispositionalizes nor sensationalizes pleasure. As is usual in the t…Read more
  •  68
    Pain, philosophical aspects of
    In Tim Bayne, Axel Cleeremans & Patrick Wilken (eds.), Oxford Companion to Consciousness, . pp. 495-498. 2009.
    The ordinary conception of pain has two major threads that are in tension with each other. It is this tension that generates various puzzles in our philosophical understanding of pain. This is a short encyclopedia entry surveying some of the major philosophical puzzles about pain.
  •  217
    I introduce the Displaced Perception Model of Introspection developed by Dretske which treats introspection of phenomenal states as inferential and criticize it
  •  164
    Emotions or emotional feelings? (Commentary on Rolls' The Brain and Emotion)
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (2): 192-194. 2000.
    It turns out that Rolls’s answer to Nagel’s (1974) question, "What is it like to be a bat?" is brusque: there is nothing it is like to be a bat . . . provided that bats don’t have a linguistically structured internal representational system that enables them to think about their first-order thoughts which are also linguistically structured. For phenomenal consciousness, a properly functioning system of higher-order linguistic thought (HOLT) is necessary (Rolls 1998, p. 262). By this criterion, n…Read more
  •  99
    On the relation between phenomenal and representational properties
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1): 151-153. 1997.
    We argue that Block's charge of fallacy remains ungrounded so long as the existence of P-consciousness, as Block construes it, is independently established. This, in turn, depends on establishing the existence of “phenomenal properties” that are essentially not representational, cognitive, or functional. We argue that Block leaves this fundamental thesis unsubstantiated. We conclude by suggesting that phenomenal consciousness can be accounted for in terms of a hybrid set of representational and …Read more
  •  356
    I argue that if we have a rich enough description of perceptual experiences from an information-theoretic viewpoint, it becomes surprisingly difficult (to put it mildly) to positively conceive philosophical zombies (as complete physical/functional duplicates that lack phenomenal consciousness). Hence, it is at best an open question whether zombies are positively conceivable. My argument requires paying close attention to the direct relation between phenomenology and information.
  •  224
    I argue that Stich's Syntactic Theory of Mind (STM) and a naturalistic narrow content functionalism run on a Language of Though story have the same exact structure. I elaborate on the argument that narrow content functionalism is either irremediably holistic in a rather destructive sense, or else doesn't have the resources for individuating contents interpersonally. So I show that, contrary to his own advertisement, Stich's STM has exactly the same problems (like holism, vagueness, observer-rela…Read more