Third annual iCog conference, February 2016
18th-19th February 2016
Senate House, University of London Continue reading CFP: Sense and Space
Many thanks to John Schwenkler for this opportunity to talk about some of my recent work, especially my book The Centered Mind: What the Science of Working Memory Shows Us About the Nature of Human Thought, published earlier this year by Oxford University Press. In this post I’ll sketch the theory that I defend in the book, and then in subsequent posts I’ll talk a bit about some of the component ideas.
The goal of the book is to develop a theory of the causes and contents of reflective thinking, and indeed of the stream of consciousness more generally. Continue reading The sensory-based theory of conscious thinking
One argument for the view that all access-consciousness depends upon sensory representations is an inference to the best explanation (or rather, a series of them) that brings together recent work on consciousness with recent work on working memory. The argument builds on the findings of Bernard Baars, Stanislas Dehaene, and others who have amassed a large and convincing body of data in support of the “global broadcasting” or “global workspace” theory of conscious experience. Across a wide variety of unconscious forms of perception there can be local reverberating activity in both mid-level and high-level sensory cortices. (In the case of vision, in occipital cortex and posterior temporal cortex.) Stimuli in such cases can be processed all the way up to the conceptual level. They can give rise to semantic priming effects, for example. But when this activity is targeted by attention the percepts become conscious, and there is widespread coordinated activity linking it also to frontal and parietal cortices. Continue reading Attention, conscious experience, and working memory
Yesterday I sketched an argument for believing that all access-conscious thinking is sensory based. But suppose this conclusion is wrong. Suppose there is some sort of workspace in which amodal (nonsensory) thoughts – judgments, goals, decisions, intentions, and the rest – can become active and be conscious. What would one predict? One would surely predict that variance in the properties of this workspace among people would account for a large proportion of people’s variance in fluid general intelligence, or fluid g. For it is conscious thinking that is thought to underlie our capacity to solve novel problems in creative and flexible ways, which are precisely the abilities measured by tests of fluid g.
However, there are now a great many studies examining the relationship between working memory and fluid g. Continue reading Working memory and fluid g
The Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy series, published by Oxford University Press and edited by Tania Lombrozo, Joshua Knobe, and Shaun Nichols, is now calling for papers for its second volume. Continue reading CFP: Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, vol. 2
After the end of the Minds Online conference this week, we have several featured authors and a journal symposium scheduled for the weeks ahead:
Discussion of these papers will be open through Friday, September 25. Please, click over to the session and join in!
Please click over to the conference site and join the discussion!
Please click over to the conference site and join the discussion!
The Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology announces a call for papers for its One Hundred and Eighth Annual Meeting to be held Louisville, KY from March 10-12. SSPP meetings feature concurrent programs in Philosophy and Psychology, as well as plenary sessions jointly sponsored by the Philosophy and Psychology Program Committees. The deadline for all philosophy submissions is December 1, 2015.
(To view the CFP for psychology, see here.) Continue reading CFP: Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology
(Neil wrote a few posts at Brains earlier this year that touched on this work.)
Conference Announcement and Call for Abstracts
THE SCIENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
(Formerly, ‘Toward a Science of Consciousness’)
April 25-30, 2016
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Tucson, Arizona Continue reading CFA: The Science of Consciousness
The Minds Online conference has begun, and our first session will be open for discussion through September 4. It is on the theme of Social Cognition, and includes the following papers:
Please, click over to the conference site and join in the discussion!
Call for Posters
Robustness in Neurological Systems
13 – 15 November, 2015
Center for Philosophy of Science
817 Cathedral of Learning
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA USA
This workshop is designed to maximize productive interaction in large and small groups among scientists and philosophers, faculty, and graduate students. We will include a graduate student poster session. If you would like to present a poster at this workshop, please email Cheryl Greer (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your abstract (c. 500 words) by October 1st. Notice of posters accepted for presentation will be given by October 14th.
I am pleased to kick off our new symposium series on articles published in the journal Neuroethics with a discussion of Farah Focquaert and Maartje Schermer’s paper “Moral Enhancement: Do Means Matter Morally?” Below you will find a video introduction of the paper by the authors, together with a written introduction that I have prepared. These are followed by commentaries by Christoph Bublitz (University of Hamburg), Elizabeth Shaw (University of Aberdeen School of Law), Justin Caouette (University of Calgary), and Simon Gaus (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin). Farah and Maartje have also provided responses to the commentaries. Continue reading Neuroethics Symposium on Focquaert & Schermer, “Moral Enhancement: Do Means Matter Morally?”
In my final post I would like to wrap up by sketching some of the implications of my proposal – in particular concerning our theorizing about social cognition – as well as raising some questions that are being left open.
There exists quite a large controversy in philosophy and psychology with respect to the question of how we are to account for our social cognitive abilities. The most important competing theories are the theory-theory, the simulation theory, the interaction theory and the narrative theory (with the latter two generally being combined into a hybrid model).
Next Wednesday (August 26th) our first symposium on papers published in the journal Neuroethics will go live. Our discussion will focus on a great paper by Farah Focquaert and Maartje Schermer titled “Moral Enhancement: Do means matter morally?”
We hope to generate a lively discussion around the authors’ central claim that moral enhancements in which the recipient is passive are more ethically concerning than those in which the recipient must exert some effort to be enhanced.
Anyone interested in reading the target paper in advance of the symposium can find it here. We are very grateful to Neil Levy for supporting this symposium, and to Springer helping to make the article available in open-access.
To provide a full account of the ability to think “I”-thoughts, we need an explanation of the transition from implicitly self-related information to explicit self-representation.
In the previous post, I argued that world-directed action and perception do not require explicit self-representation. This raises the question of when explicit self-representation does become necessary. I believe that this need arises only in the context of intersubjectivity. Just as explicit reference to a place or time only makes sense for a being that is aware of the existence of other places or times, so explicit reference to the self only makes sense for a being that is aware of the existence of other subjects who have their own perspective on the world.