•  1224
    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
  •  636
    Mental representation and the subjectivity of consciousness
    Philosophical Psychology 14 (2): 179-202. 2001.
    Many have urged that the biggest obstacles to a physicalistic understanding of consciousness are the problems raised in connection with the subjectivity of consciousness. These problems are most acutely expressed in consideration of the knowledge argument against physicalism. I develop a novel account of the subjectivity of consciousness by explicating the ways in which mental representations may be perspectival. Crucial features of my account involve analogies between the representations involv…Read more
  •  630
    Varieties of representation in evolved and embodied neural networks
    Biology and Philosophy 18 (1): 95-130. 2003.
      In this paper I discuss one of the key issuesin the philosophy of neuroscience:neurosemantics. The project of neurosemanticsinvolves explaining what it means for states ofneurons and neural systems to haverepresentational contents. Neurosemantics thusinvolves issues of common concern between thephilosophy of neuroscience and philosophy ofmind. I discuss a problem that arises foraccounts of representational content that Icall ``the economy problem'': the problem ofshowing that a candidate theor…Read more
  •  518
    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
  •  427
    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
  •  404
    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
  •  256
    Swamp Mary’s revenge: deviant phenomenal knowledge and physicalism
    Philosophical Studies 148 (2): 231-247. 2010.
    Deviant phenomenal knowledge is knowing what it's like to have experiences of, e. g., red without actually having had experiences of red. Such a knower is a deviant. Some physicalists have argued and some anti-physicalists have denied that the possibility of deviants undermines anti-physicalism and the Knowledge Argument. The current paper presents new arguments defending the deviant-based attacks on anti-physicalism. Central to my arguments are considerations concerning the psychosemantic under…Read more
  •  216
    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
  •  199
    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
  •  169
    Shit Happens
    Episteme 4 (2): 205-218. 2007.
    Abstract In this paper I embrace what Brian Keeley calls in “Of Conspiracy Theories” the absurdist horn of the dilemma for philosophers who criticize such theories. I thus defend the view that there is indeed something deeply epistemically wrong with conspiracy theorizing. My complaint is that conspiracy theories apply intentional explanations to situations that give rise to special problems concerning the elimination of competing intentional explanations
  •  169
    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
  •  162
    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
  •  149
    This is Philosophy. In keeping with the mission of the series, This is Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind will be both accessible to the average student and technology oriented, integrating with supplemental online material. Also, while the proposed book will cover all of the topics one would expect in a traditional philosophy of mind course, it will be up to date and cover recent advances that are sadly missing from many competitor volumes. My proposed volume will not be limited to what has become …Read more
  •  148
    The neurophilosophy of consciousness
    In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness, Blackwell. pp. 418--430. 2007.
    The neurophilosophy of consciousness brings neuroscience to bear on philosophical issues concerning phenomenal consciousness, especially issues concerning what makes mental states conscious, what it is that we are conscious of, and the nature of the phenomenal character of conscious states. Here attention is given largely to phenomenal consciousness as it arises in vision. The relevant neuroscience concerns not only neurophysiological and neuroanatomical data, but also computational models of ne…Read more
  •  147
    Control Consciousness
    Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (4): 643-657. 2010.
    Control consciousness is the awareness or experience of seeming to be in control of one’s actions. One view, which I will be arguing against in the present paper, is that control consciousness is a form of sensory consciousness. In such a view, control consciousness is exhausted by sensory elements such as tactile and proprioceptive information. An opposing view, which I will be arguing for, is that sensory elements cannot be the whole story and must be supplemented by direct contributions of no…Read more
  •  143
    The philosophy of neuroscience
    with John Bickle and Anthony Landreth
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006.
    Over the past three decades, philosophy of science has grown increasingly “local.” Concerns have switched from general features of scientific practice to concepts, issues, and puzzles specific to particular disciplines. Philosophy of neuroscience is a natural result. This emerging area was also spurred by remarkable recent growth in the neurosciences. Cognitive and computational neuroscience continues to encroach upon issues traditionally addressed within the humanities, including the nature of …Read more
  •  133
    Qualia, space, and control
    Philosophical Psychology 12 (1): 47-60. 1999.
    According to representionalists, qualia-the introspectible properties of sensory experience-are exhausted by the representational contents of experience. Representationalists typically advocate an informational psychosemantics whereby a brain state represents one of its causal antecedents in evolutionarily determined optimal circumstances. I argue that such a psychosemantics may not apply to certain aspects of our experience, namely, our experience of space in vision, hearing, and touch. I offer…Read more
  •  131
    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
  •  128
    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.
  •  128
    Color-Consciousness Conceptualism
    Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2): 617-631. 2012.
    The goal of the present paper is to defend against a certain line of attack the view that conscious experience of color is no more fine-grained that the repertoire of non- demonstrative concepts that a perceiver is able to bring to bear in perception. The line of attack in question is an alleged empirical argument - the Diachronic Indistinguishability Argument - based on pairs of colors so similar that they can be discriminated when simultaneously presented but not when presented across a memory…Read more
  •  124
    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
  •  121
    Action-oriented representation
    In Andrew Brook & Kathleen Akins (eds.), Cognition and the Brain: The Philosophy and Neuroscience Movement, Cambridge University Press. pp. 284--305. 2005.
    Often, sensory input underdetermines perception. One such example is the perception of illusory contours. In illusory contour perception, the content of the percept includes the presence of a contour that is absent from the informational content of the sensation. (By “sensation” I mean merely information-bearing events at the transducer level. I intend no further commitment such as the identification of sensations with qualia.) I call instances of perception underdetermined by sensation “underde…Read more
  •  103
    The philosophy and neuroscience movement
    with Andrew Brook
    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
  •  99
    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
  •  98
    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
  •  97
    s Gibson (1982) correctly points out, despite Quine’s brief flirtation with a “mitigated phenomenalism” (Gibson’s phrase) in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, Quine’s ontology of 1953 (“On Mental Entities”) and beyond left no room for non-physical sensory objects or qualities. Anyone familiar with the contemporary neo-dualist qualia-freak-fest might wonder why Quinean lessons were insufficiently transmitted to the current generation.
  •  96
    Philosophy meets the neurosciences
    with William Bechtel and Jennifer Mundale
    In William P. Bechtel, Pete Mandik, Jennifer Mundale & Robert S. Stufflebeam (eds.), Philosophy and the Neurosciences: A Reader, Blackwell. 2001.
  •  89
    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
  •  88
    The present paper has three aims. The first and foremost aim is to introduce into philosophy of mind and related areas (philosophy of language, etc) a discussion of Slow Earth, an analogue to the classic Twin Earth scenario that features a difference from aboriginal Earth that hinges on time instead of the distribution of natural kinds. The second aim is to use Slow Earth to call into question the central lessons often alleged to flow from consideration of Twin Earth, lessons having to do with r…Read more