•  1318
    A critique of pure vision
    with V. S. Ramachandran and Terrence J. Sejnowski
    In Christof Koch & Joel L. David (eds.), Large-scale neuronal theories of the brain, Mit Press. pp. 23. 1993.
    Anydomainofscientificresearchhasitssustainingorthodoxy. Thatis, research on a problem, whether in astronomy, physics, or biology, is con- ducted against a backdrop of broadly shared assumptions. It is these as- sumptionsthatguideinquiryandprovidethecanonofwhatisreasonable-- of what "makes sense." And it is these shared assumptions that constitute a framework for the interpretation of research results. Research on the problem of how we see is likewise sustained by broadly shared assump- tions, wh…Read more
  •  630
    Could a machine think?
    with Paul M. Churchland
    Scientific American 262 (1): 32-37. 1990.
  •  510
    The hornswoggle problem
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (5-6): 402-8. 1996.
    Beginning with Thomas Nagel, various philosophers have propsed setting conscious experience apart from all other problems of the mind as ‘the most difficult problem’. When critically examined, the basis for this proposal reveals itself to be unconvincing and counter-productive. Use of our current ignorance as a premise to determine what we can never discover is one common logical flaw. Use of ‘I-cannot-imagine’ arguments is a related flaw. When not much is known about a domain of phenomena, our …Read more
  •  503
    As neuroscience uncovers these and other mechanisms regulating choices and social behaviour, we cannot help but wonder whether anyone truly chooses anything (though see "Is the universe deterministic?"). As a result, profound questions about responsibility are inescapable, not just regarding criminal justice, but in the day-to-day business of life. Given that, I suggest that free will, as traditionally understood, needs modification. Because of its importance in society, any description of free …Read more
  •  375
    Epistemology in the Age of Neuroscience
    Journal of Philosophy 84 (10): 544-553. 1987.
  •  281
    The neural mechanisms of moral cognition: A multiple-aspect approach to moral judgment and decision-making (review)
    with William D. Casebeer
    Biology and Philosophy 18 (1): 169-194. 2003.
    We critically review themushrooming literature addressing the neuralmechanisms of moral cognition (NMMC), reachingthe following broad conclusions: (1) researchmainly focuses on three inter-relatedcategories: the moral emotions, moral socialcognition, and abstract moral reasoning. (2)Research varies in terms of whether it deploysecologically valid or experimentallysimplified conceptions of moral cognition. Themore ecologically valid the experimentalregime, the broader the brain areas involved.(3)…Read more
  •  281
    What Should We Expect From a Theory of Consciousness?
    In H. Jasper, L. Descarries, V. Castellucci & S. Rossignol (eds.), Consciousness: At the Frontiers of Neuroscience, Lippincott-raven. pp. 19-32. 1998.
    Within the domain of philosophy, it is not unusual to hear the claim that most questions about the nature of consciousness are essentially and absolutely beyond the scope of science, no matter how science may develop in the twenty-first century. Some things, it is pointed out, we shall never _ever_ understand, and consciousness is one of them (Vendler 1994, Swinburne 1994, McGinn 1989, Nagel 1994, Warner 1994). One line of reasoning assumes that consciousness is the manifestation of a distinctly…Read more
  •  222
    Philosophy, in its traditional guise, addresses questions where experimental science has not yet nailed down plausible explanatory theories. Thus, the ancient Greeks pondered the nature of life, the sun, and tides, but also how we learn and make decisions. The history of science can be seen as a gradual process whereby speculative philosophy cedes intellectual space to increasingly wellgrounded experimental disciplines—first astronomy, but followed by physics, chemistry, geology, biology, archae…Read more
  •  218
    Brain Wise
    MIT Press. 2002.
    A neurophilosopher?s take on the self, free will, human understanding, and the experience of God, from the perspective of the brain.
  •  192
    This is a unique book. It is excellently written, crammed with information, wise and a pleasure to read.' ---Daniel C. Dennett, Tufts University
  •  167
    Is determinism self-refuting?
    Mind 90 (January): 99-101. 1981.
  •  145
    Can neurobiology teach us anything about consciousness?
    Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 67 (4): 23-40. 1994.
  •  130
    The timing of sensations: Reply to Libet
    Philosophy of Science 48 (3): 492-7. 1981.
  •  103
    Stalking the wild epistemic engine
    with Paul M. Churchland
    Noûs 17 (1): 5-18. 1983.
  •  91
    Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Theory of the Mind/Brain
    Journal of Philosophy 87 (2): 93-102. 1990.
  •  90
    Explaining the nature and mechanisms of conscious experience in neurobiological terms seems to be an attainable, if yet unattained, goal. Research at many levels is important, including research at the cellular level that explores the role of recurrent pathways between thalamic nuclei and the cortex, and research that explores consciousness from the perspective of action. Conceptually, a clearer understanding of the logic of expressions such as ‘‘causes’’ and ‘‘correlates’’, and about what to ex…Read more
  •  87
  •  82
    Neural worlds and real worlds
    with Paul M. Churchland
    States of the brain represent states of the world. A puzzle arises when one learns that at least some of the mind/brain’s internal representations, such as a sensation of heat or a sensation of red, do not genuinely resemble the external realities they allegedly represent: the mean kinetic energy of the molecules of the substance felt (temperature) and the mean electromagnetic reflectance profile of the seen object (color). The historical response has been to declare a distinction between object…Read more
  •  73
    Neural representation and neural computation
    with Terrence J. Sejnowski
    Philosophical Perspectives 4 (n/a): 343-382. 1990.
  •  72
    A remarkable hypothesis has recently been advanced by Libet and promoted by Eccles which claims that there is standardly a backwards referral of conscious experiences in time, and that this constitutes empirical evidence for the failure of identity of brain states and mental states. Libet's neurophysiological data are critically examined and are found insufficient to support the hypothesis. Additionally, it is argued that even if there is a temporal displacement phenomenon to be explained, a neu…Read more
  •  65
    On the Contrary: Critical Essays, 1987-1997
    with Paul M. Churchland
    MIT Press. 1998.
    This collection was prepared in the belief that the most useful and revealing of anyone's writings are often those shorter essays penned in conflict with...
  •  56
    Word and Object
    with Willard Van Orman Quine and Dagfinn Føllesdal
    MIT Press. 2013.
    Willard Van Orman Quine begins this influential work by declaring, "Language is asocial art.