•  1558
    Representationalism about consciousness
    In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness, Blackwell. pp. 261-276. 2007.
    A representationalist-friendly introduction to representationalism which covers a number of central problems and objections.
  •  1501
    Panpsychism, aggregation and combinatorial infusion
    Mind and Matter 8 (2): 167-184. 2010.
    Deferential Monadic Panpsychism is a view that accepts that physical science is capable of discovering the basic structure of reality. However, it denies that reality is fully and exhaustively de- scribed purely in terms of physical science. Consciousness is missing from the physical description and cannot be reduced to it. DMP explores the idea that the physically fundamental features of the world possess some intrinsic mental aspect. It thereby faces a se- vere problem of understanding how mor…Read more
  •  403
    A brief history of the philosophical problem of consciousness
    In P. D. Zelazo, Morris Moscovitch & Evan Thompson (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness, Cambridge University Press. pp. 9--33. 2007.
  •  364
    Rosenberg, reducibility and consciousness
    PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 12. 2006.
    Rosenberg’s general argumentative strategy in favour of panpsychism is an extension of a traditional pattern. Although his argument is complex and intricate, I think a model that is historically significant and fundamentally similar to the position Rosenberg advances might help us understand the case for panpsychism. Thus I want to begin by considering a Leibnizian argument for panpsychism
  •  364
    Is self-representation necessary for consciousness?
    PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 12. 2006.
    Brook and Raymont do not assert that self-representing representations are sufficient to generate consciousness, but they do assert that they are necessary, at least in the sense that self-representation provides the most plausible mechanism for generating conscious mental states. I argue that a first-order approach to consciousness is equally capable of accounting for the putative features of consciousness which are supposed to favor the self-representational account. If nothing is gained the s…Read more
  •  324
    Ground truth and virtual reality: Hacking vs. Van Fraassen
    Philosophy of Science 62 (3): 459-478. 1995.
    Hacking argues against van Fraassen's constructive empiricism by appeal to features of microscopic imaging. Hacking relies on both our practices involving imaging instruments and the structure of the images produced by these micropractices. Van Fraassen's reply is formally correct yet fundamentally unsatisfying. I aim to strengthen van Fraassen's reply, but must then extend constructive empiricism, specifically the central notion of "theoretical immersion." I argue that immersion is more analogo…Read more
  •  307
    The 'intrinsic nature' argument for panpsychism
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11): 129-145. 2006.
    Strawson’s case in favor of panpsychism is at heart an updated version of a venerable form of argument I’ll call the ‘intrinsic nature’ argument. It is an extremely interesting argument which deploys all sorts of high caliber metaphysical weaponry (despite the ‘down home’ appeals to common sense which Strawson frequently makes). The argument is also subtle and intricate. So let’s spend some time trying to articulate its general form
  •  305
    The elimination of experience
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (2): 345-65. 1993.
  •  287
  •  243
    Yesterday’s Algorithm
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 3 (9): 265-273. 2003.
    Roger Penrose is justly famous for his work in physics and mathematics but he is _notorious_ for his endorsement of the Gödel argument (see his 1989, 1994, 1997). This argument, first advanced by J. R. Lucas (in 1961), attempts to show that Gödel’s (first) incompleteness theorem can be seen to reveal that the human mind transcends all algorithmic models of it1. Penrose's version of the argument has been seen to fall victim to the original objections raised against Lucas (see Boolos (1990) and fo…Read more
  •  209
    Thought and syntax
    Philosophy of Science Association 1992 481-491. 1992.
    It has been argued that Psychological Externalism is irrelevant to psychology. The grounds for this are that PE fails to individuate intentional states in accord with causal power, and that psychology is primarily interested in the causal roles of psychological states. It is also claimed that one can individuate psychological states via their syntactic structure in some internal "language of thought". This syntactic structure is an internal feature of psychological states and thus provides a key…Read more
  •  191
    A philosophical zombie is a being physically indistinguishable from an actual or possible human being, inhabiting a possible world where the _physical_ laws are identical to the laws of the actual world, but which completely lacks consciousness. For zombies, all is dark within, and hence they are, at the most fundamental level, utterly different from us. But, given their definition, this singular fact has no direct implications about the kind of motion, or other physical processes, the zombie wi…Read more
  •  189
    Consciousness, information, and panpsychism
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3): 272-88. 1995.
    The generation problem is to explain how material configurations or processes can produce conscious experience. David Chalmers urges that this is what makes the problem of consciousness really difficult. He proposes to side-step the generation problem by proposing that consciousness is an absolutely fundamental feature of the world. I am inclined to agree that the generation problem is real and believe that taking consciousness to be fundamental is promising. But I take issue with Chalmers about…Read more
  •  164
    Concessionary Dualism and Physicalism
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 67 217-237. 2010.
    The doctrine of physicalism can be roughly spelled out simply as the claim that the physical state of the world determines the total state of the world. However, since there are many forms of determination, a somewhat more precise characterization is needed. One obvious problem with the simple formulation is that the traditional doctrine of epiphenomenalism holds that the mental is determined by the physical (and epiphenomenalists need not assert that there are any properties except mental and p…Read more
  •  151
    Whitehead’s philosophy is of perennial scholarly interest as one of the relatively few really serious attempts at a systematic metaphysics. But unlike almost all major ‘philosophical systems’ it is not merely an historical curiosity, but retains contemporary supporters actively deploying Whitehead’s viewpoint in discussion of a variety of live philosophical problems. Furthermore, Whitehead’s metaphysics is the sole example of a comprehensive philosophical system which aims to take into account t…Read more
  •  144
    Emotional introspection
    Consciousness and Cognition 11 (4): 666-687. 2002.
    One of the most vivid aspects of consciousness is the experience of emotion, yet this topic is given relatively little attention within consciousness studies. Emotions are crucial, for they provide quick and motivating assessments of value, without which action would be misdirected or absent. Emotions also involve linkages between phenomenal and intentional consciousness. This paper examines emotional consciousness from the standpoint of the representational theory of consciousness . Two interes…Read more
  •  142
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2002.
    1 Non-reductive physicalists deny that there is any explanation of mentality in purely physical terms, but do not deny that the mental is entirely determined by and constituted out of underlying physical structures. There are important issues about the stability of such a view which teeters on the edge of explanatory reductionism on the one side and dualism on the other (see Kim 1998). 2 Save perhaps for eliminative materialism (see Churchland 1981 for a classic exposition). In fact, however, wh…Read more
  •  133
    Theories of Consciousness provides an introduction to a variety of approaches to consciousness, questions the nature of consciousness, and contributes to current debates about whether a scientific understanding of consciousness is possible. While discussing key figures including Descartes, Fodor, Dennett and Chalmers, the book incorporates identity theories, representational theories, intentionality, externalism and new information-based theories
  •  123
    A philosophical zombie is a being physically indistinguishable from an actual or possible human being, inhabiting a possible world where the physical laws are identical to the laws of the actual world, but which completely lacks consciousness. For zombies, all is dark within, and hence they are, at the most fundamental level, utterly different from us. But, given their definition, this singular fact has no direct implications about the kind of motion, or other physical processes, the zombie will…Read more
  •  109
    The metaphysical relation of supervenience has seen most of its service in the fields of the philosophy of mind and ethics. Although not repaying all of the hopes some initially invested in it – the mind-body problem remains stubbornly unsolved, ethics not satisfactorily naturalized – the use of the notion of supervenience has certainly clarified the nature and the commitments of so- called non-reductive materialism, especially with regard to the questions of whether explanations of supervenienc…Read more
  •  108
    Emergentist panpsychism
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (9-10): 9-10. 2012.
    There are many possible forms of panpsychism. In this paper, I discuss a type of panpsychism in which the complex mental states of higher-level entities emerge from a system, or organization, of fundamental entities which possess extremely simple forms of mentality. I argue that this sort of panpsychism is surprisingly plausible, especially in light of the notorious difficulties raised by consciousness. Emergentist panpsychism faces a distinctive challenge, however. In so far as panpsychism embr…Read more
  •  108
    Emergence, epiphenomenalism and consciousness
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (1-2): 21-38. 2006.
    Causation can be regarded from either an explanatory/epistemic or an ontological viewpoint. From the former, emergent features enter into a host of causal relationships which form a hierarchical structure subject to scientific investigation. From the latter, the paramount issue is whether emergent features provide any novel causal powers, or whether the 'go' of the world is exhausted by the fundamental physical features which underlie emergent phenomena. I argue here that the 'Scientific Picture…Read more
  •  89
    Credibility, confirmation and explanation
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (3): 301-317. 1987.
  •  86
    Reply to Forbes
    with Alonso Church
    Analysis 42 (4): 224. 1982.
  •  85
    Real patterns and surface metaphysics
    In Andrew Brook, Don Ross & David L. Thompson (eds.), Dennett's Philosophy: A Comprehensive Assessment, Mit Press. pp. 95--129. 2000.
    Naturalism is supposed to be a Good Thing. So good in fact that everybody wants to be a naturalist, no matter what their views might be1. Thus there is some confusion about what, exactly, naturalism is. In what follows, I am going to be pretty much, though not exclusively, concerned with the topics of intentionality and consciousness, which only deepens the confusion for these are two areas