What is an Attitude?

Edouard Machery University of Pittsburgh Philosophers have mostly focused on the practical implications of the recent psychological research on biases (racism, sexism, etc.) and, more generally, on attitudes (e.g., political attitudes). As is by now well known, this impressive body of work is based on novel indirect measures such as …

Belief, willpower, and implicit bias

Keith Frankish Visiting Research Fellow, The Open University www.keithfrankish.com Jo sincerely affirms that black people are no less trustworthy than white people. Yet despite this, she consistently behaves in ways that reflect the assumption that black people are less trustworthy — subtly adjusting her behaviour towards black people across a …

Conceptualism Can’t Account for the Phenomenology of Hallucination

The argument from fineness of grain is probably the most discussed argument for nonconceptualism. (To name but a few discussants: Peacocke 1998, 2001a, 2001b; McDowell 1994, 1998, Brewer 1999, 2005, Tye 2005, Coliva 2003, Kelly 2001a, 2001b, Veillet 2014.) To account for the fine-grained phenomenal character of visual experience in …

Why all conscious thinking is sensory-based

This final post addresses an obvious puzzle: why is reflective thinking sensory based? We can, after all, think about all sorts of abstract nonsensory topics. We think about God, the size of the universe, the mental states of other people, the validity of arguments, arithmetical facts and other mathematical entities, …

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 2: Perception and Consciousness

The second session of the 2015 Minds Online conference has begun! It is on the theme of Perception and Consciousness, and includes the following papers: Nico Orlandi (UC Santa Cruz): Bayesian Perception Is Ecological Perception (KEYNOTE) Derek H. Brown (Brandon University): “Colour Layering and Colour Relationalism” Commentators: Mazviita Chirimuuta and Jonathan Cohen Jonathan Farrell (Manchester): “‘What …

Lucid Dreaming or Dreaming That You’re Dreaming?

Why isn’t a lucid dream just a dream within a dream? Suppose I’m having a flying dream and I think, “I must be dreaming.” I’m in a dream state, so why I am not just dreaming that I’m dreaming? To put the question another way, if there’s a difference between …

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 …

Symposium on Bernard Molyneux, “The Logic of Mind-Body Identification”

It’s my pleasure to introduce this symposium on Bernard Molyneux’s paper “The Logic of Mind-Body Identification” (in the current issue of Ergo), with commentaries by Liz Irvine (Cardiff), István Aranyosi (Bilkent), and Jonathan Simon (NYU). Molyneux’s paper introduces a new strategy for explaining why proposed identities between the mental and …

Minimal selves, dreaming minds, and sleeping bodies

As we move from wakefulness into sleep onset and through the different stages of sleep, there are concerted changes in brain activity, the way we process external stimuli from the environment, and in the contents and structure of conscious experience. At the same time, the exact relationship between these changes …