Metaphysics of Science vs. Metaphysics for Science: Scientific and Philosophical Frameworks

Part I of the book clears space for later work and supplies a key theoretical platform. To get us started, I briefly sketch the outlines of the scientific views to highlight how they differ from philosophical accounts of reduction /emergence; and to broach a diagnosis of how the dislocation between …

The Unexplained Intellect: The Mind’s Dynamic Foundations

One theme of this week’s posts has been the claim that dynamic entities are among the most metaphysically basic of the things in the mental domain.  I’ve made only the vaguest gestures towards saying what I mean by this (in response to Gualtiero’s earlier comment). By dynamic entities, I mean …

The Unexplained Intellect: Consequences of Imperfection

The previous post argued that Theoretical Computer Science can show things to be naturalistically inexplicable—(where this is much stronger than showing them to be inexplicable with a Classically Computational Theory)—by showing those things to require more time than the universe allows.  I’ve not yet said anything about which things might …

The Unexplained Intellect: The Importance of Computability

Theoretical Computer Science has a broader import than its name suggests.  To appreciate it, remember what Turing proved: that a certain hypothetical machine would be able to compute every recursively definable function in a finite amount of time.  If we supplement that theorem with a plausible assumption about physics then …

The Unexplained Intellect: Computation and The Explanation of Intelligence

A lot of philosophers think that consciousness is what makes the mind/body problem interesting, perhaps because they think that consciousness is the only part of that problem that remains wholly philosophical.  Other aspects of the mind are taken to be explicable by scientific means, even if explanatorily adequate theories of …

Setting the Stage: What Are Emotions and Why Are They So Hard to Explain?

Many thanks to John who invited me to blog about my book Embodied Emotions this week. The book explores emotions as embodied, action-oriented representations, providing a non-cognitivist theory of emotions that aims to account for their normative dimensions within a naturalist framework. I will come back to what that all …

Applications for the Summer Seminars in Neuroscience and Philosophy are now open!

Applications are now being accepted for the Summer Seminars in Neuroscience and Philosophy (SSNAP), to be held at Duke University from May 22 to June 5, 2016. The SSNAP consist of two weeks of intensive training in philosophy and neuroscience with the aim of fostering collaboration between the two disciplines. A total …

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 …

Yes, We Can: Get from the State View to the Content View

In my previous post, I referred several times to the state view/content view distinction. As has been argued by authors such as Byrne (2005) or Crowther (2006), the distinction is problematic for nonconceptualists to the extent that they want to make a claim about perceptual content. For central pro-nonconceptualist arguments …

Concept Possession Isn’t Good Enough

Typically, nonconceptualism is introduced in terms of concept possession. Take for instance, the first claim from the recently updated SEP entry on nonconceptual content: The central idea behind the theory of nonconceptual mental content is that some mental states can represent the world even though the bearer of those mental …

Introducing Modest Nonconceptualism

First off, I want to thank John Schwenkler for inviting me to contribute a few posts on my new book, Modest Nonconceptualism: Epistemology, Phenomenology, Content, this week. As I’m sure readers of the Brains blog are well aware, there is an intricate debate over whether perceptual experience is conceptual or …

#MindsOnline2015, Session 3: Belief and Reasoning

The third session of the Minds Online conference has begun! It is on the theme of Belief and Reasoning, and includes the following papers: Ram Neta (UNC) “Basing Is Conjuring” (KEYNOTE) Grace Helton (University of Antwerp): “The Revisability View of Belief” Commentators: Michael Bishop and Neil Van Leeuwen Jack Marley-Payne (MIT): “Against Intellectualist Theories of …

Setting the Stage: The Problem of Self-Consciousness

Many thanks to John for inviting me to blog about my book, Thinking about Oneself, this week. The book is concerned with self-consciousness, understood as the ability to think about oneself. A paradigmatic expression of this ability is the ability to think “I”-thoughts (as in the thought “I am hungry”, …