CFP: Neural Correlates of Consciousness

Philosophy and the Mind Sciences is inviting contributions to a celebratory volume on the neural correlates of consciousness. In 2000, MIT published „Neural Correlates of Consciousness: Empirical and Conceptual Questions“, edited by Thomas Metzinger. The volume brought together empirical neuroscientists, psychologists, anaesthesiologists, and philosophers, all participants at the 2nd ASSC meeting …

2. Do Experts Really Perceive the World Differently from Non-Experts?

People sometimes say things like the following: Cabernet Sauvignon tastes different to an expert wine taster than to a novice; or, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony sounds different to a seasoned conductor than it does to someone just hearing it for the first time. But does wine literally taste differently (or the …

Vincente Raja & Michael Anderson’s “Behavior Considered as an Enabling Constraint”

The Brains blog is excited about the next Neural Mechanisms webinar this Friday. It is free. You can find information about how and when to join the webinar below or at the Neural Mechanisms website—where you can also join their mailing list to be notified of their webinars, webconferences, and …

Empirically-Informed Approaches to Weakness of Will: A Brains Blog Roundtable

Weakness of will is a traditional puzzle in the philosophy of action. The puzzle goes something like this:

FOLK PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY: If, at time t, an agent judges that it is better to do A than B, and she believes she is free to do A, then, provided she tries to do either at that time, she will try to do A and not B.

WEAKNESS OF WILL: An agent judges that it is better to do A than B, believes that she is free to do A, but tries to do B.

But taken together, these statements are inconsistent. FOLK PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY precludes the possibility of weakness of will (as characterized in WEAKNESS OF WILL), but WEAKNESS OF WILL asserts that it occurs. So can WEAKNESS OF WILL be possible, and if so, how?

Systems Neuroscience Highlights: April 2018

There were some really good papers last month. The three I picked to summarize all involve error-based learning on fast time-scales. One involves the cerebellum in monkeys, the other involves the songbird system in…songbirds. One reason I like these examples is because they illustrate how deeply error-sensitivity is knitted into …

The Foundations of Perception

  Yesterday, I gave a general overview of my forthcoming book. Today, I’ll lay out the foundations on which the rest of the book builds: the general and particular elements of perception. Chapter 1 addresses the particular elements of perception, Chapter 2 its general elements. The phenomenon of perceptual particularity …

Evolving Enactivism: Neurodynamics sans content

In a direct challenge to radical, anti-representational proposals about how to conceive of cognition, Aizawa (2015) asks “If the brain does not contribute information processing or symbol manipulation or the transformation of representations … then what does it do?” (2015, 761–762). Given that REC embraces precisely such radicalisms, what alternative …

4. Conceptual Emergence and Neural Networks

Conceptual emergence occurs when, in order to understand or effectively represent some phenomenon, a different representational apparatus must be introduced at the current working level. Such changes in representation are common in the sciences but it has usually been considered in connection with changes in synchronic representations. Here, I’ll consider …

Symposium on Isham et al.: “Deliberation period during easy and difficult decisions: Re-examining Libet’s ‘veto’ window in a more ecologically valid framework”

I am delighted to announce the second in our series of symposia on articles from Neuroscience of Consciousness.  We have two types of symposia.  For primarily theoretical articles, such as in last week’s post, we will have several commentators from a variety of theoretical perspectives.  For novel empirical research, we …

Symposium on Gross and Flombaum, “Does Perceptual Consciousness Overflow Cognitive Access? The Challenge from Probabilistic, Hierarchical Processes”

It’s a pleasure to launch our latest Mind & Language symposium on Steven Gross and Jonathan Flombaum’s “Does Perceptual Consciousness Overflow Cognitive Access? The Challenge from Probabilistic, Hierarchical Processes” from the journal’s June 2017 issue. Our commentators include Jacob Beck (York), Nico Orlandi writing with Aaron Franklin (UC Santa Cruz), and Ian Phillips (Oxford). How are the neural …

Neuroethics Symposium: Special Issue on The Biology of Desire by Marc Lewis

It is my pleasure to introduce the latest in our series of symposia on papers from the journal Neuroethics. The focus of the current symposium is a forthcoming special issue of Neuroethics on Marc Lewis‘s book The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease (PublicAffairs, 2016). In his book, Lewis challenges the …