•  727
    The Number Sense Represents (Rational) Numbers
    with Jacob Beck
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1-57. forthcoming.
    On a now orthodox view, humans and many other animals possess a “number sense,” or approximate number system (ANS), that represents number. Recently, this orthodox view has been subject to numerous critiques that question whether the ANS genuinely represents number. We distinguish three lines of critique—the arguments from congruency, confounds, and imprecision—and show that none succeed. We then provide positive reasons to think that the ANS genuinely represents numbers, and not just non-numeri…Read more
  •  489
    Naïve realism and phenomenal similarity
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 1-18. forthcoming.
    It has been claimed that naïve realism predicts phenomenological similarities where there are none and, thereby, mischaracterizes the phenomenal character of perceptual experience. If true, this undercuts a key motivation for the view. Here, we defend naïve realism against this charge, proposing that such arguments fail (three times over). In so doing, we highlight a more general problem with critiques of naïve realism that target the purported phenomenological predictions of the view. The probl…Read more
  •  407
    Beyond the icon: Core cognition and the bounds of perception
    Mind and Language 1-20. forthcoming.
    This paper refines a controversial proposal: that core systems belong to a perceptual kind, marked out by the format of its representational outputs. Following Susan Carey, this proposal has been understood in terms of core representations having an iconic format, like certain paradigmatically perceptual outputs. I argue that they don’t, but suggest that the proposal may be better formulated in terms of a broader analogue format type. Formulated in this way, the proposal accommodates the existen…Read more
  •  354
    Jerry Fodor deemed informational encapsulation ‘the essence’ of a system’s modularity and argued that human perceptual processing comprises modular systems, thus construed. Nowadays, his conclusion is widely challenged. Often, this is because experimental work is seen to somehow demonstrate the cognitive penetrability of perceptual processing, where this is assumed to conflict with the informational encapsulation of perceptual systems. Here, I deny the conflict, proposing that cognitive penetrat…Read more
  •  329
    In a recent paper, Berger and Nanay consider, and reject, three ways of addressing the phenomenon of unconscious perception within a naïve realist framework. Since these three approaches seem to exhaust the options open to naïve realists, and since there is said to be excellent evidence that perception of the same fundamental kind can occur, both consciously and unconsciously, this is seen to present a problem for the view. We take this opportunity to show that all three approaches considered re…Read more
  •  318
    Investigating what felt shapes look like
    I-Perception 7 (1). 2016.
    A recent empirical study claims to show that the answer to Molyneux’s question is negative, but, as John Schwenkler points out, its findings are inconclusive: Subjects tested in this study probably lacked the visual acuity required for a fair assessment of the question. Schwenkler is undeterred. He argues that the study could be improved by lowering the visual demands placed on subjects, a suggestion later endorsed and developed by Kevin Connolly. I suggest that Connolly and Schwenkler both unde…Read more
  •  223
    Joint action goals reduce visuomotor interference effects from a partner’s incongruent actions
    with Luke McEllin, Anna Francová, Marcell Székely, Stephen Andrew Butterfill, and John Michael
    Scientific Reports 9 (1). 2019.
    Joint actions often require agents to track others’ actions while planning and executing physically incongruent actions of their own. Previous research has indicated that this can lead to visuomotor interference effects when it occurs outside of joint action. How is this avoided or overcome in joint actions? We hypothesized that when joint action partners represent their actions as interrelated components of a plan to bring about a joint action goal, each partner’s movements need not be represen…Read more
  •  210
    Does the number sense represent number?
    with Jacob Beck
    In Blair Armstrong, Stephanie Denison, Michael Mack & Yang Xu (eds.), Proceedings of the 42nd Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, . 2020.
    On a now orthodox view, humans and many other animals are endowed with a “number sense”, or approximate number system (ANS), that represents number. Recently, this orthodox view has been subject to numerous critiques, with critics maintaining either that numerical content is absent altogether, or else that some primitive analog of number (‘numerosity’) is represented as opposed to number itself. We distinguish three arguments for these claims – the arguments from congruency, confounds, and impre…Read more
  •  118
    Mapping the Visual Icon
    Philosophical Quarterly 1-22. forthcoming.
    It is often claimed that pre-attentive vision has an ‘iconic’ format. This is seen to explain pre-attentive vision’s characteristically high processing capacity and to make sense of an overlap in the mechanisms of early vision and mental imagery. But what does the iconicity of pre-attentive vision amount to? This paper considers two prominent ways of characterising pre-attentive visual icons and argues that neither is adequate: one approach renders the claim ‘pre-attentive vision is iconic’ empi…Read more
  •  31
  •  24
    Numbers, Numerosities, and New Directions
    with Jacob Beck
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1-20. forthcoming.
    In our target article, we argued that the number sense represents natural and rational numbers. Here, we respond to the 26 commentaries we received, highlighting new directions for empirical and theoretical research. We discuss two background assumptions, arguments against the number sense, whether the ANS represents numbers or numerosities, and why the ANS represents rational (but not irrational) numbers.