Beliefs and Subdoxastic States

This week, I’m blogging about my new book, The Epistemic Role of Consciousness (Oxford University Press, September 2019). Today, I’ll discuss the epistemic role of consciousness in cognition. Could there be a cognitive zombie – that is, an unconscious creature with the capacity for cognition? As I use the term, …

Where Are All the Successful Analyses?

I promised a surprise for today’s post. It’s a nasty one. Philosophical analysis is a search for the essential natures of such things as knowledge, justice, and causality. I’ve been defending analysis on two fronts. First, I’ve argued that it its inputs—the case judgments delivered by our “starter theories” of …

The Reliability of Case Judgments

If the “theory-theory“ of concepts sketched in the previous post is correct, then we begin the philosophical analysis of a category such as knowledge equipped with nothing more than some rudimentary beliefs about the place of knowledge in the explanatory order. These beliefs may paint a rather partial or even …

Philosophical Concepts as Natural Kind Concepts

I want to argue that philosophical analysis, a.k.a. the method of cases, is a worthy pursuit: that it reliably gives us substantial knowledge. The linchpin of my strategy is an appeal to cognitive psychology to show that philosophical concepts—the concept of knowledge, the concept of justice, the concept of causality, …

Symposium on Letheby and Gerrans, “Self unbound: ego dissolution in psychedelic experience”

I am delighted to announce the next symposium in our series on articles from Neuroscience of Consciousness.  Neuroscience of Consciousness is an interdisciplinary journal focused on the philosophy and science of consciousness, and gladly accepts submissions from both philosophers and scientists working in this fascinating field. We have two types …

Remembering From the Outside: Spatial Perspectival Properties

The literature on observer perspective memory typically holds that it is a phenomenon that is dependent on reconstructive processes at the moment of retrieval. On such an understanding all visual memory imagery would be encoded from a field perspective, and the change to an observer perspective would occur at retrieval. …

Remembering From the Outside: An Anomalous Point of View?

Remembering from-the-outside involves adopting a point of view that one didn’t occupy at the time of the original event. In this sense, the visual perspective of observer memories seems somehow ‘anomalous’. Here I articulate two related objections to genuine memories being recalled from-the-outside: (1) the argument from perceptual impossibility; and …

Remembering From the Outside: An Introduction

I want to begin by thanking John Schwenkler for the invitation to share these posts with you about my book Remembering From the Outside: Personal Memory and the Perspectival Mind (Oxford University Press). *** Towards the end of the 19th Century, a number of psychologists noted a curious feature of …

5. A control theory of the mind

For the last day of blogging my book The Emotional Mind, I’m going to skip straight to the last chapter on mental architecture. This is where propose a control theory of the mind as a whole. It is perhaps the most ambitious and speculative chapter of a book that is …

2. Valent Representation

Yesterday I promised to give an account of valent representation. This is perhaps the core original idea of the book (though it has precedents in Ruth Millikan’s ‘pushmi-pullyu’ representations (1995) and Andy Clark’s ‘action oriented representations’ (1997)). Essentially, valent representation is representation in a valent (i.e. positive or negative) manner. …

Perceptual Idealism and Phenomenal Geometry

My account of 3D vision attempts to preserve many of the traditional commitments of naïve realism, whilst rejecting its central tenet of mind-independence. In this fourth post I explain why this provides a more satisfactory solution to variations in scene geometry with viewing conditions than recent ‘four-dimensional’ accounts. 1. Naïve …

Applications of the Account of the Evolution of Representational Decision Making

Today—in my (alas!) last posting—I suggest some ways the account of the evolution of representational decision making laid out in my book (and sketched in outline last time on the blog) can be applied to a number of open questions in philosophy, psychology, and economics. I will focus on three …

The Evolution of Representational Decision Making

Why did some organisms switch from relying just on reflexive—i.e. purely perceptually-driven—interactions with the world to also employing the tools of representational decision making? What adaptive and other benefits does the reliance on representational decision making yield? Today, I sketch aspects of the answers to these questions; for more details, …

Foundations of the Investigation of the Evolution of Representational Decision Making

Before it is possible to begin the investigation of the evolution of representational decision making it is necessary to address three foundational issues: (1) The nature of representational decision making—what is it that we are investigating? (2) The reality of representational decision making—why think that representational decision making is a …

Efficient Cognition—The Evolution of Representational Decision Making

I want to thank John Schwenkler for inviting me to blog about my new book, Efficient Cognition—The Evolution of Representational Decision Making. I am excited to be sharing with you all the reasons why I find the evolution of representational decision making such a fascinating research project. I also look …

Evolving Enactivism: An Introduction

Thanks to John Schwenkler for inviting us to guest-blog this week about our new book Evolving Enactivism: Basic Minds Meet Content (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017). It is often said that two minds are better than one. Though ‘mind’ is a count noun, we don’t imagine that people really have …