•  242
    The most promising approaches to understanding phenomenal consciousness are what I’ll call cognitive approaches, the most notable exemplars of which are the theories of consciousness articulated by David Rosenthal and Daniel Dennett. The aim of the present contribution is to review the core similarities and differences of these exemplars, as well as to outline the main strengths and remaining challenges to this general sort of approach.
  •  201
    Meta-Illusionism and Qualia Quietism
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (11-12): 140-148. 2016.
    Many so-called problems in contemporary philosophy of mind depend for their expression on a collection of inter-defined technical terms, a few of which are qualia, phenomenal property, and what-it’s-like-ness. I express my scepticism about Keith Frankish’s illusionism, the view that people are generally subject to a systematic illusion that any properties are phenomenal, and scout the relative merits of two alternatives to Frankish’s illusionism. The first is phenomenal meta-illusionism, the vie…Read more
  •  121
    Evolving artificial minds and brains
    with Alex Vereschagin and Mike Collins
    In Drew Khlentzos & Andrea Schalley (eds.), Mental States Volume 1: Evolution, function, nature, John Benjamins. 2007.
    We explicate representational content by addressing how representations that ex- plain intelligent behavior might be acquired through processes of Darwinian evo- lution. We present the results of computer simulations of evolved neural network controllers and discuss the similarity of the simulations to real-world examples of neural network control of animal behavior. We argue that focusing on the simplest cases of evolved intelligent behavior, in both simulated and real organisms, reveals that e…Read more
  •  107
    Representational parts
    with Rick Grush
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1 (4): 389-394. 2002.
    In this reply we claim that, contra Dreyfus, the kinds of skillful performances Dreyfus discusses _are_ representational. We explain this proposal, and then defend it against an objection to the effect that the representational notion we invoke is a weak one countenancing only some global state of an organism as a representation. According to this objection, such a representation is not a robust, projectible property of an organism, and hence will gain no explana- tory leverage in cognitive scie…Read more
  •  35
    Points of view from the brain's eye view: Subjectivity and neural representation
    In William P. Bechtel, Pete Mandik, Jennifer Mundale & Robert S. Stufflebeam (eds.), Philosophy and the Neurosciences: A Reader, Blackwell. pp. 312. 2001.
  •  119
    Mental Colors, Conceptual Overlap, and Discriminating Knowledge of Particulars
    Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2): 641-643. 2012.
    I respond to the separate commentaries by Jacob Berger, Charlie Pelling, and David Pereplyotchik on my paper, “Color-Consciousness Conceptualism.” I resist Berger’s suggestion that mental colors ever enter consciousness without accompaniment by deployments of concepts of their extra-mental counterparts. I express concerns about Pelling’s proposal that a more uniform conceptualist treatment of phenomenal sorites can be gained by a simple appeal to the partial overlap of the extensions of some con…Read more
  •  161
    Higher-Order Representational theories of consciousness — HORs — primarily seek to explain a mental state’s being conscious in terms of the mental state’s being represented by another mental state. First-Order Representational theories of consciousness — FORs — primarily seek to explain a property’s being phenomenal in terms of the property being represented in experience. Despite differences in both explanans and explananda, HORs and FORs share a reliance on there being such a property as being…Read more
  •  205
    The neurophilosophy of subjectivity
    In John Bickle (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Neuroscience, Oxford University Press. 2009.
    The so-called subjectivity of conscious experience is central to much recent work in the philosophy of mind. Subjectivity is the alleged property of consciousness whereby one can know what it is like to have certain conscious states only if one has undergone such states oneself. I review neurophilosophical work on consciousness and concepts pertinent to this claim and argue that subjectivity eliminativism is at least as well supported, if not more supported, than subjectivity reductionism
  •  1723
    Among our conscious states are conscious thoughts. The question at the center of the recent growing literature on cognitive phenomenology is this: In consciously thinking P, is there thereby any phenomenology—is there something it’s like? One way of clarifying the question is to say that it concerns whether there is any proprietary phenomenology associated with conscious thought. Is there any phenomenology due to thinking, as opposed to phenomenology that is due to some co-occurring sensation o…Read more
  •  450
    Selective representing and world-making
    with Andy Clark
    Minds and Machines 12 (3): 383-395. 2002.
    In this paper, we discuss the thesis of selective representing — the idea that the contents of the mental representations had by organisms are highly constrained by the biological niches within which the organisms evolved. While such a thesis has been defended by several authors elsewhere, our primary concern here is to take up the issue of the compatibility of selective representing and realism. In this paper we hope to show three things. First, that the notion of selective representing is full…Read more
  •  109
    Though the following problem is not explicitly raised by her, it seems sufficiently similar to an issue of pertinence to Akins's "Black and White and Color" (this volume) to merit the moniker, Akins's Problem : Can there be a visual experience devoid of both color phenomenology and black-and-white phenomenology? The point of the present paper is to draw from Akins's paper the materials needed to sketch a case for a positive answer to Akins's Problem. I am unsure about how much of what follows Ak…Read more
  •  69
    Cognitive cellular automata
    In Complex Biological Systems:, Icfai University Press. 2008.
    In this paper I explore the question of how artificial life might be used to get a handle on philosophical issues concerning the mind-body problem. I focus on questions concerning what the physical precursors were to the earliest evolved versions of intelligent life. I discuss how cellular automata might constitute an experimental platform for the exploration of such issues, since cellular automata offer a unified framework for the modeling of physical, biological, and psychological processes. I…Read more
  •  1
    Cognitive Science is a major new guide to the central theories and problems in the study of the mind and brain. The authors clearly explain how and why cognitive science aims to understand the brain as a computational system that manipulates representations. They identify the roots of cognitive science in Descartes - who argued that all knowledge of the external world is filtered through some sort of representation - and examine the present-day role of Artificial Intelligence, computing, psychol…Read more
  •  90
    The Myth of Color Sensations, or How Not to See a Yellow Banana
    Topics in Cognitive Science 9 (1): 228-240. 2017.
    I argue against a class of philosophical views of color perception, especially insofar as such views posit the existence of color sensations. I argue against the need to posit such nonconceptual mental intermediaries between the stimulus and the eventual conceptualized perceptual judgment. Central to my arguments are considerations of certain color illusions. Such illusions are best explained by reference to high-level, conceptualized knowledge concerning, for example, object identity, likely li…Read more
  •  202
    Philosophy and the Neurosciences: A Reader (edited book)
    with William P. Bechtel, Jennifer Mundale, and Robert S. Stufflebeam
    Blackwell. 2001.
    2. Daugman, J. G. Brain metaphor and brain theory 3. Mundale, J. Neuroanatomical Foundations of Cognition: Connecting the Neuronal Level with the Study of Higher Brain Areas
  •  75
    I argue for the superiority of non-gappy physicalism over gappy physicalism. While physicalists are united in denying an ontological gap between the phenomenal and the physical, the gappy affirm and the non-gappy deny a relevant epistemological gap. Central to my arguments will be contemplation of Swamp Mary, a being physically intrinsically similar to post-release Mary (a physically omniscient being who has experienced red) but has not herself (the Swamp being) experienced red. Swamp Mary has p…Read more
  •  138
    Of all the enigmatic remarks running through Wittgensteinís Tractatus, none are a greater source of puzzlement to this reader than the endorsement of solipsism in 5.6-5.641. Wittgenstein writes ìI am my worldî, but, even though ìwhat solipsism means, is quite correct...it cannot be said, but it shows itselfî (5.63; 5.62). More intriguing still, he writes.
  •  136
    Metaphysical Daring as a Posthuman Survival Strategy
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1): 144-157. 2015.
    I develop an argument that believing in the survivability of a mind uploading procedure conveys value to its believers that is assessable independently of assessing the truth of the belief. Regardless of whether the first-order metaphysical belief is true, believing it conveys a kind of Darwinian fitness to the believer. Of course, a further question remains of whether having that Darwinian property can be a basis—in a rational sense of being a basis—for one’s holding the belief. I’ll also make …Read more
  •  217
    Many philosophical issues concern questions of objectivity and subjectivity. Of these questions, there are two kinds. The first considers whether something is objective or subjective; the second what it _means_ for something to be objective or subjective
  •  115
    The philosophy and neuroscience movement
    Analyze and Kritik 26 (1): 3-23. 2007.
    A movement dedicated to applying neuroscience to traditional philosophical problems and using philosophical methods to illuminate issues in neuroscience began about twenty-five years ago. Results in neuroscience have affected how we see traditional areas of philosophical concern such as perception, belief-formation, and consciousness. There is an interesting interaction between some of the distinctive features of neuroscience and important general issues in the philosophy of science. And recent …Read more
  •  185
    The Philosophy and Neuroscience Movement
    Analyse & Kritik 29 (1): 3-23. 2007.
    A movement dedicated to applying neuroscience to traditional philosophical problems and using philosophical methods to illuminate issues in neuroscience began about twenty-five years ago. Results in neuroscience have affected how we see traditional areas of philosophical concern such as perception, belief-formation, and consciousness. There is an interesting interaction between some of the distinctive features of neuroscience and important general issues in the philosophy of science. And recent …Read more
  •  103
    The introspectibility of brain states as such
    In Brian Keeley (ed.), Paul Churchland, Cambridge University Press. 2006.
    Is the Introspection Thesis true? It certainly isn’t obvious. Introspection is the faculty by which each of us has access to his or her own mental states. Even if we were to suppose that mental states are identical to brain states, it doesn’t follow immediately from this supposition that we can introspect our mental states as brain states. This point is analogous to the following. It doesn’t follow immediately from the mere fact that some distant object is identical to a horse that we can percei…Read more
  •  228
    Supervenience and neuroscience
    Synthese 180 (3). 2011.
    The philosophical technical term "supervenience" is frequently used in the philosophy of mind as a concise way of characterizing the core idea of physicalism in a manner that is neutral with respect to debates between reductive physicalists and nonreductive physicalists. I argue against this alleged neutrality and side with reductive physicalists. I am especially interested here in debates between psychoneural reductionists and nonreductive functionalist physicalists. Central to my arguments wil…Read more
  •  88
    I propose and defend the Allocentric-Egocentric Interface Theory of Con- sciousness. Mental processes form a hierarchy of mental representations with maxi- mally egocentric (self-centered) representations at the bottom and maximally allocentric (other-centered) representations at the top. Phenomenally conscious states are states that are relatively intermediate in this hierarchy. More speci.
  •  131
    The majority of contemporary philosophers of mind are physicalists. The majority of physicalists, however, are non-reductive physicalists. As nonreductive physicalists, these philosophers hold that a system's mental properties are different from a system's physical properties, that is, they hold that the sum total of mental facts about some system is a different set of facts than the sum total of physical facts about the same system. As physicalists, however, these nonreductivists hold that ment…Read more
  •  523
    An epistemological theory of consciousness?
    In Alessio Plebe & Vivian De La Cruz (eds.), Philosophy in the Neuroscience Era, Squilibri. 2008.
    This article tackles problems concerning the reduction of phenomenal consciousness to brain processes that arise in consideration of specifically epistemological properties that have been attributed to conscious experiences. In particular, various defenders of dualism and epiphenomenalism have argued for their positions by assuming special epistemic access to phenomenal consciousness. Many physicalists have reacted to such arguments by denying the epistemological premises. My aim in this paper i…Read more
  •  410
    Philosophical tradition contains two major lines of thought concerning the relative difficulty of the notions of objectivity and subjectivity. One tradition, which we might characterize as