Understanding Compositional Explanations in the Sciences

Understanding the nature of “vertical” relations whether in science, nature, mathematics, logic, or anywhere else, is a hot topic in philosophy. What is unfortunate is that, as yet, too little attention is paid to focused issues about what frameworks work best for the “vertical” relations in particular areas. However, it …

#MindsOnline2016: Skill, Expertise, and Attention

The opening session of the 2016 Minds Online Conference, on Skill Expertise, and Attention, has begun! The talks in this session are: Keynote: “Longer, Smaller, Faster Stronger: on skills and intelligence“, by Ellen Fridland (King’s College London) “Do we reflect when performing skilful actions?”, by Juan Pablo Bermudez (Universidad Externado de Colombia) Commentators: Lieke Asma, Michael …

#MindsOnline2016: Contributed papers on Skill, Expertise, and Attention are now available!

The contributed papers and commentaries for the opening session of the 2016 Minds Online Conference, on Skill Expertise, and Attention, are now available to preview. They are: Juan Pablo Bermudez (Universidad Externado de Colombia), Do we reflect while performing skillful actions? Automaticity, control, and the perils of distraction Denis Buehler (Universidad Nacional Autónoma …

Attention, conscious experience, and working memory

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 …

#MindsOnline2015 Session 4: Philosophy of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science

The fourth and final session of the Minds Online conference has begun! It is focused on the Philosophy of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, and includes the following papers: Karen Neander (Duke) “Why I’m Not A Content Pragmatist” (Keynote) Marcelo Fischborn (Federal University of Santa Maria): “Libet-Style Experiments, Neuroscience, and Libertarian Free Will” …

Is Consciousness a “Stream”?

In 1890 William James introduced the metaphor of the “stream of consciousness” into Western psychology: “Consciousness… is nothing jointed; it flows. A ‘river’ or ‘stream’ are the metaphors by which it is most naturally described. In talking of it hereafter, let us call it the stream of thought, of consciousness, …

Introduction

Thanks to John Schwenkler and The Brains Blog for giving me this opportunity to tell you about my work. In this first post I’d like to describe the themes and ideas of my most recent book, Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy. In later posts …

Primates Who Are Calm Enough to Pay Attention, or How Touch Allows Human and Non-Human Infants to Engage in Social Interactions

When orphans who have had to overcome difficult upbringings are portrayed in movies or books, they are usually described as smart, sensible children who are capable of facing any challenge and are able to intuitively excel in anything they attempt (even quidditch). The reality of a harsh upbringing, especially for …

In the Beginning Was Touch, or How Touch Enables the Social Communicative Capacities behind Joint Attention

Throughout the 20th century we find several examples where, once it has been established that a mental capacity is expressed through a specific mode, this link becomes so strong that anyone who doesn’t engage in this mode will be described as not possessing that mental capacity. For example, the link …

Conscious Attention and Evolution

While we argue that consciousness and attention must be largely dissociated, there is some overlap between the two. Conscious attention is this overlap and can be described as the “reportable” form of attention that is part of conscious awareness (i.e., where the contents of attention are consciously accessible such that one …

Consequences of the dissociation between consciousness and attention

To substantiate the claims about our definitions of ‘consciousness’ and ‘attention’ we would like to explain how using the framework of dissociation (CAD) helps elucidate these meanings in two important ways. First, the framework shows that debates can be reinterpreted in insightful ways and second, it provides theoretical reasons to …

Summary of “Consciousness, Attention, and Conscious Attention”

We are very grateful to John Schwenkler for inviting us to blog at Brains. Our main claim in Consciousness, Attention, and Conscious Attention is that consciousness and attention must be distinct kinds of mental states. We offer four arguments, each explicated in a separate chapter. The first argument is that a …