•  157
    Marr’s Three Levels: A Re-evaluation (review)
    Minds and Machines 1 (May): 185-196. 1990.
    the _algorithmic_, and the _implementational_; Zenon Pylyshyn (1984) calls them the _semantic_, the _syntactic_, and the _physical_; and textbooks in cognitive psychology sometimes call them the levels of _content_, _form_, and _medium_ (e.g. Glass, Holyoak, and Santa 1979)
  •  128
    When Is Birth Unfair to the Child?
    with Bonnie Steinbock
    Hastings Center Report 24 (6): 15-21. 1994.
    Is it wrong to bring children who will have serious diseases and disabilities into the world? In particular, is it unfair to them? The notion that existence itself can be an injury is the basis for a recent new tort known as "wrongful life" (Steinbock, 1986). This paper considers Feinberg's theory of harm as the basis for a claim of wrongful life, and concludes that rarely can the stringent conditions imposed by his analysis be met. Another basis for maintaining that it is morally wrong to have …Read more
  •  127
    Existential Cognition: Computational Minds in the World
    University of Chicago Press. 1995.
    While the notion of the mind as information-processor--a kind of computational system--is widely accepted, many scientists and philosophers have assumed that this account of cognition shows that the mind's operations are characterizable independent of their relationship to the external world. Existential Cognition challenges the internalist view of mind, arguing that intelligence, thought, and action cannot be understood in isolation, but only in interaction with the outside world. Arguing that …Read more
  •  116
    The issue of methodological solipsism in the philosophy of mind and psychology has received enormous attention and discussion in the decade since the appearance Jerry Fodor's "Methodological Solipsism" [Fodor 1980]. But most of this discussion has focused on the consideration of the now infamous "Twin Earth" type examples and the problems they present for Fodor's notion of "narrow content". I think there is deeper and more general moral to be found in this issue, particularly in light of Fodor's…Read more
  •  106
    Functional analysis and etiology
    Erkenntnis 38 (2): 249-260. 1993.
      Cummins (1982) argues that etiological considerations are not onlyinsufficient butirrelevant for the determination offunction. I argue that his claim of irrelevance rests on a misrepresentation of the use of functions in evolutionary explanations. I go on to suggest how accepting anetiological constraint on functional analysis might help resolve some problems involving the use of functional explanations
  •  100
    Irreducibility and subjectivity
    Philosophical Studies 67 (2): 177-92. 1992.
    ...the problem of...how cognition...is possible at all...can never be answered on the basis of a prior knowledge of the transcendent [i.e. the external, spatio-temporal, empirical]...no matter whence the knowledge or the judgments are borrowed, not even if they are taken from the exact sciences.... It will not do to draw conclusions from existences of which one knows but which one cannot "see". "Seeing" does not lend itself to demonstration or deduction. [Husserl 1964a, pp. 2-3]
  •  72
    Holism without tears: Local and global effects in cognitive processing
    Philosophy of Science 56 (June): 258-74. 1989.
    The suggestion that cognition is holistic has become a prominent criticism of optimism about the prospects for cognitive science. This paper argues that the standard motivation for this holism, that of epistemological holism, does not justify this pessimism. An illustration is given of how the effects of epistemological holism on perception are compatible with the view that perceptual processes are highly modular. A suggestion for generalizing this idea to conceptual cognitive processing is made…Read more
  •  61
    Visual Consciousness and The Phenomenology of Perception
    Metaphilosophy 44 (1-2): 63-68. 2013.
    Ideally, psychological and phenomenological studies of visual experience should be mutually informative. In that spirit, this article outlines parts of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological view of visual experience as a kind of independently active opaque bodily synthesis, and uses those views to (a) help ground and extend Alva Noë's rejection of the “snapshot” theory of visual experience in favor of a more enactive view of visual content, (b) critique a failing of Noë's account, and (c) sho…Read more
  •  54
    In Lynn Nadel (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, Nature Publishing Group. 2003.
    Marr (for whom the boundary of the visual module the cognitive impenetrability of the systems of
  •  37
    Emergence unscathed: Kim on non-reducible types
    Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy 3. 1993.
    Jaegwon Kim has recently argued that the widespread assumption of the multiple realizability of higher-level kinds -- and in particular, psychological kinds -- conflicts with some fundamental constraints on both materialistic metaphysics and scientific taxonomy. Kim concludes that the multiple realizability of psychological kinds would leave them "disqualified as proper scientific kinds" (Kim 1992: 18), and that search for a scientific psychology should focus instead on more reductive or type- m…Read more
  •  18
    WAIT A MINUTE, I have to turn off the TV. My son watched a half hour of "Salmon: A Dangerous Journey" on The Discovery Channel and 20 minutes of PBS's "Reading Rainbow" earlier today; I need to make sure he doesn't watch more than 10 minutes of "Sesame Street" now, lest he be put at risk for aggression in later years.
  •  13
    With complexity, decks are stacked
    Newsday (Op-Ed). 2003.
    Almost before the mourning, the search for the explanation begins. When a public disaster like Saturday's space shuttle crash takes place, it's our natural impulse to find out why - an impulse motivated largely by a desire to avoid such tragedies in the future and to learn from our mistakes. Was it tiles damaged at takeoff? The wrong angle at rollover? A fuel leak? Insufficient funding?