The Importance of Miscomputation

Anyone familiar with the philosophical literature on representation is familiar with the notion of misrepresentation. The standard view is that any robust notion of representation must make it possible to have misrepresentation. If something cannot misrepresent, it does not represent at all. At least not in the most interesting and …

Does Computation Require Representation?

Most of the philosophers who discuss computation are interested in computation because they are interested in the computational theory of cognition. Cognitive systems are typically assumed to represent things, and computation is supposed to help explain how they represent. So many philosophers conclude that computation is the manipulation of representations. …

Is Computation Abstract or Concrete?

John Schwenkler kindly asked me to blog about my new book, Physical Computation: A Mechanistic Account. I am grateful for the invitation. The original motivation for the research that led to the book was to make progress on the vexed question of whether cognition involves computation. That seems to require …

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 Martin & Le Corre, “Sensory Substitution Is Substitution”

I am glad to kick off our latest Mind & Language symposium on Jean-Rémy Martin and François Le Corre‘s “Sensory Substitution Is Substitution ,” from the journal’s April 2015 issue, with commentaries by Kevin Connolly (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Penn), Ophelia Deroy (Center for the Study of the Senses/Institute of Philosophy, University of London), Julian Kiverstein (Amsterdam), and Michael Proulx (Bath). 1+

Cognitive Phenomenology: Why Bother?

I will conclude this series of posts by saying something about why I think cognitive phenomenology is significant. The basic idea is that phenomenology in general is connected to epistemology, value theory, and semantics via the notion of awareness, and cognitive phenomenology in particular is connected to these areas via …

Cognitive Phenomenology: The Stream of Consciousness

According to William James experiences, including conscious thoughts, flow in a stream of consciousness. Peter Geach argued that whatever we say about other experiences, conscious thoughts at least do not flow, but rather occur in discrete sequences. A number of recent arguments against cognitive phenomenology take Geach’s criticisms of James …

Cognitive Phenomenology: The Role of Introspection

In my first post I isolated Irreducibility as the main thesis in dispute about cognitive phenomenology: Irreducibility: Some cognitive states put one in phenomenal states for which no wholly sensory states suffice. In this post I am going to write about the role introspection should play in helping us decide …

The Natural Self

Many thanks to John Schwenkler for inviting me to outline here at The Brains Blog the main ideas in my book The Self: Naturalism, Consciousness, and the First-Person Stance (Oxford University Press, new in paperback 2015). I’ll sketch the overall picture in this blog and follow up with two more in which I’ll draw …

“Let me quickly wash my hands one more time”

The announcement of my contributions says that they will in part concern my recent Keeping the World in Mind: Mental Representations and the Sciences of the Mind. The overriding theme of that book is the proper understanding of “representation” as it occurs in recent cognitive neuroscience, broadly understood. I argue …

Paris Workshop on sensorimotor approach to Consciousness in July 2015

On July 4th and 5th 2015, just before the ASSC conference on Consciousness in Paris, we are organizing a workshop to discuss advances in the sensorimotor approach. All are welcome! See here for the call for papers: http://lpp.psycho.univ-paris5.fr/feel/?page_id=691 0

Explanatory vs. Defensive reasons

In this post I want to approach the topic of the previous post from a different angle. I raised two questions about the U&C study: whether people believe the comparative ratings (Question 1), and what inference, if any, leads them to their ultimate verdict (Question 2). Either question would be …