•  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
  •  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
  •  220
    [Penultimate draft] I present the perceptualist/representationalist theories of pain in broad outline and critically examine them in light of a competing view according to which awareness of pain is essentially introspective. I end the essay with a positive sketch of a naturalistic proposal according to which pain experiences are intentional but not fully representational. This proposal makes sense of locating pains in body parts as well as taking pains as subjective experiences.
  •  215
    Naturalism, introspection, and direct realism about pain
    Consciousness and Emotion 2 (1): 29-73. 2001.
    This paper examines pain states (and other intransitive bodily sensations) from the perspective of the problems they pose for pure informational/representational approaches to naturalizing qualia. I start with a comprehensive critical and quasi-historical discussion of so-called Perceptual Theories of Pain (e.g., Armstrong, Pitcher), as these were the natural predecessors of the more modern direct realist views. I describe the theoretical backdrop (indirect realism, sense-data theories) against …Read more
  •  13
    Consider the following two sentences: " I see a dark discoloration in the back of my hand. I feel a jabbing pain in the back of my hand. " They seem to have the same surface grammar, and thus prima facie invite the same kind of semantic treatment. Even though a reading of ‘see’ in where the verb is not treated as a success verb is not out of the question, it is not the ordinary and natural reading. Note that if I am hallucinating a dark discoloration in the back of my hand, then is simply false.…Read more
  •  342
    A Contemporary Account of Sensory Pleasure
    In Lisa Shapiro (ed.), Pleasure: A History, Oxford University Press. pp. 239-266. 2018.
    [This is the penultimate version, please send me an email for the final version]. Some sensations are pleasant, some unpleasant, and some are neither. Furthermore, those that are pleasant or unpleasant are so to different degrees. In this essay, I want to explore what kind of a difference is the difference between these three kinds of sensations. I will develop a comprehensive three-level account of sensory pleasure that is simultaneously adverbialist, functionalist and is also a version of a sa…Read more
  •  71
    The influence of historical-causal theories of reference developed in the late sixties and early seventies by Donnellan, Kripke, Putnam and Devitt has been so strong that any semantic theory that has the consequence of assigning disjunctive representational content to the mental states of twins (e.g. [H2O or XYZ]) has been thereby taken to refute itself. Similarly, despite the strength of pre-theoretical intuitions that exact physical replicas like Davidson's Swampman have representational menta…Read more
  •  251
    Language of thought: The connectionist contribution
    Minds and Machines 7 (1): 57-101. 1997.
      Fodor and Pylyshyn's 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 like Smolensky took the challenge very seriously, and attempted to meet it by developing models that were supposed to be non-classical. At the core of these attempts lies the claim that connectionist models can provide a representational system with a comb…Read more
  •  237
    Fodor on concepts and Frege puzzles
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 79 (4): 289-294. 1998.
    ABSTRACT. Fodor characterizes concepts as consisting of two dimensions: one is content, which is purely denotational/broad, the other the Mentalese vehicle bearing that content, which Fodor calls the Mode of Presentation (MOP), understood "syntactically." I argue that, so understood, concepts are not interpersonally sharable; so Fodor's own account violates what he calls the Publicity Constraint in his (1998) book. Furthermore, I argue that Fodor's non-semantic, or "syntactic," solution to Frege…Read more
  •  323
    A short primer on situated cognition
    In Murat Aydede & P. Robbins (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition, Cambridge University Press. pp. 3--10. 2009.
    Introductory Chapter to the _Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition_ (CUP, 2019)
  •  289
    Affect: Representationalists' Headache
    with Matthew Fulkerson
    Philosophical Studies 170 (2): 175-198. 2014.
    Representationalism is the view that the phenomenal character of experiences is identical to their representational content of a certain sort. This view requires a strong transparency condition on phenomenally conscious experiences. We argue that affective qualities such as experienced pleasantness or unpleasantness are counter-examples to the transparency thesis and thus to the sort of representationalism that implies it
  •  377
    Some foundational problems in the scientific study of pain
    Philosophy of Science Supplement 69 (3): 265-83. 2002.
    This paper is an attempt to spell out what makes the scientific study of pain so distinctive from a philosophical perspective. Using the IASP definition of ‘pain’ as our guide, we raise a number of questions about the philosophical assumptions underlying the scientific study of pain. We argue that unlike the study of ordinary perception, the study of pain focuses from the very start on the experience itself and its qualities, without making deep assumptions about whether pain experiences are per…Read more
  •  130
    This is a slightly more polished version of a presentation I wrote for the Author-Meets-Critics session on Colin's book at the Eastern APA session on Jan 4, 2017, in Baltimore. I’ve decided to post this commentary online pretty much as is -- I am afraid I don't have time to prepare a version suitable for publication. I hope the reader will find it helpful. At any rate, please treat this piece as a rough draft originally intended to be delivered to a live audience. Although my commentary is mostl…Read more
  •  185
    On the type/token relation of mental representations
    Facta Philosophica 2 (1): 23-50. 2000.
    According to the Computational/Representational Theory of Thought (CRTT ? Language of Thought Hypothesis, or LOTH), propositional attitudes, such as belief, desire, and the like, are triadic relations among subjects, propositions, and internal mental representations. These representations form a representational _system_ physically realized in the brain of sufficiently sophisticated cognitive organisms. Further, this system of representations has a combinatorial syntax and semantics, but the pro…Read more
  •  473
    Consciousness, intentionality, and intelligence: Some foundational issues for artificial intelligence
    Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 12 (3): 263-277. 2000.
  •  473
    Reasons and Theories of Sensory Affect
    with Matthew Fulkerson
    In David Bain, Michael Brady & Jennifer Corns (eds.), The Philosophy of Pain: Unpleasantness, Emotion, and Deviance, Routledge. pp. 27-59. 2019.
    Some sensory experiences are pleasant, some unpleasant. This is a truism. But understanding what makes these experiences pleasant and unpleasant is not an easy job. Various difficulties and puzzles arise as soon as we start theorizing. There are various philosophical theories on offer that seem to give different accounts for the positive or negative affective valences of sensory experiences. In this paper, we will look at the current state of art in the philosophy of mind, present the main conte…Read more
  •  659
    Are Frege cases exceptions to intentional generalizations?
    with Philip Robbins
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (1): 1-22. 2001.
    This piece criticizes Fodor's argument (in The Elm and the Expert, 1994) for the claim that Frege cases should be treated as exceptions to (broad) psychological generalizations rather than as counterexamples.