New look!

As you’ve no doubt noticed, I have installed a new “theme” that’s changed the appearance of the blog, especially with an eye toward being able to feature more posts at the top of the main page. Please let me know if there are any difficulties with the new format, or anything that can be added or improved. Thanks!

CFP: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Moral Responsibility

Conference on Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Moral Responsibility


March 27, 2015

Utah Valley University

Orem, Utah

Moral responsibility has consistently been a salient issue in disciplines such as the law, psychology, psychiatry, and philosophy. The questions about social, cognitive, and psychological constraints on legal and moral responsibility are ever-evolving with advances in technology and knowledge. This conference seeks to address cutting-edge applied issues in moral and legal responsibility. Continue reading

Screenshot 2014-09-23 18.33.40

Symposium on Wayne Wu, “Against Division: Consciousness, Information, and the Visual Streams” (Mind & Language 29 (4), 383–406)

I am pleased to announce that our next Mind & Language symposium is on Wayne Wu’s “Against Division: Consciousness, Information and the Visual Streams,” from the journal’s September 2014 issue, with commentaries by David Kaplan (Macquarie), Pete Mandik (William Paterson), and Thomas Schenk (Erlangen-Nuremberg).

wuAccording to the influential dual systems model of visual processing (Milner & Goodale 1995/2006, Goodale & Milner 2004), information present in the dorsal processing stream does not contribute to the specific contents of conscious visual experience. “Visual phenomenology,” A.D. Milner and Melvyn Goodale write, “can arise only from processing in the ventral stream, processing that we have linked with recognition and perception…. Visual-processing modules in the dorsal stream, despite the complex computations demanded by their role in the control of action, are not normally available to awareness” (Milner & Goodale 1995/2006, 202). In his article, Wayne argues that certain types of information arising in the dorsal stream, contrary to Milner and Goodale, do play a role in realizing the contents of visual experience. In particular, he argues that information carried in dorsal stream areas such as VIP and LIP support awareness of visual spatial constancy across saccadic eye-movements. Wayne also adduces evidence that dorsal stream areas play a role in conscious visual motion and depth perception. Continue reading


Upcoming events at Brains

Now that summer is nearing its end, activities at the blog will be picking up again. In addition to the upcoming symposium on Wayne Wu’s article, “Against Division: Consciousness, Information and the Visual Streams”, from the September 2014 issue of Mind & Language (with commentaries by David Kaplan, Pete Mandik, and Thomas Schenk), we have a number of Featured Scholars lined up, who will be guest blogging at Brains over the coming months.

Beginning September 15Kristin Andrews (York University, Canada) will be a Featured Scholar at Brains. She will be discussing her work on cognition, communication, and folk psychology.

In October, Dan Weiskopf (Georgia State) will be our Featured Scholar, blogging on his work on concepts and higher cognition, mechanisms and cognitive modelling, and more.

Other upcoming featured scholars include:

We hope you all had a great summer and are looking forward to some interesting discussions here at Brains!

Call for Abstracts: Workshop on Minimal Mindreading, University of Magdeburg, November 6-8, 2014

Classical explanations of social cognition assume that complex social interaction involves social understanding and that social understanding in turn depends on the ability to read others’ minds, i.e. on the ability to attribute mental states, such as beliefs and desires, to others for the purposes of predicting and explaining their behavior. However, recent findings regarding the social cognitive abilities of infants and animals call into question the claim that such explanations provide a complete picture of social cognition.

In this interdisciplinary workshop we want to discuss findings that might speak against a classical understanding of social cognitive capacities and consider alternative attempts at explanation. Our focus lies in particular on minimal mindreading accounts, such as the one recently proposed by Butterfill and Apperly (Apperly & Butterfill 2009; Apperly 2011; Butterfill & Apperly 2013). Questions that arise concern, among other things, the scope of minimal and full-blown mindreading capacities, their interrelation, and the relation of human and non-human social capacities as well as of infant and adult capacities.

Invited speakers include David Buttelmann (Erfurt), Stephen Butterfill (Warwick), Anika Fiebich (Bochum), Agnes Kovacs (Budapest), and Victoria Southgate (London). Each participant will give a talk of about 45 mins followed by one hour of discussion, providing sufficient time for intensive discussion and the development of ideas. A detailed description of the workshop can be found here:

Call for Abstracts

We have a few slots available for contributed presentations. Researchers from all disciplines working on some aspect of social cognition closely related to the workshop theme are encouraged to submit an extended abstract of at most 500 words including bibliography for a 45 min talk with subsequent discussion. Please send submissions to by September 28. Notifications of acceptance will be made by October 7 on the basis of scientific quality and overall fit to the topic and to the other contributions. We especially encourage PhD students and postdocs to submit proposals.

For further information, or to register your attendance, please contact the organizers via or individually (;

A group blog on topics in the philosophy and science of mind