Kirk Takes Zombies Back

Robert Kirk, Zombies and Consciousness, Oxford University Press, 2005.Kirk is famous for inventing phenomenal zombies–creatures physically indistinguishable from us but lacking consciousness–and for using their possibility to refute physicalism. (The undelying idea goes back to Descartes.) Kirk published his original papers on zombies in 1974. In recent years, David Chalmers …

The Argument for Concept Splitting from Language

In our forthcoming paper, “Splitting Concepts,” Sam Scott and I argue, among other things, that the notion of concept may need to be split into linguistic representations (responsible for cognition that involves language) and nonlinguistic representations (responsible for the rest of cognition). Roughly, the reason is that linguistic cognition appears …

Simulation Theory

Alvin Goldman, Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading, OUP, 2006.How do we understand other minds? I was introduced to this problem by a psychologist, Susan Johnson. In her course of Theory of Mind, the main debate seemed to be between those who think we have an innate …

Do Determinables Exist? (2)

In a previous post, I expressed scepticism about a recent argument by Gillett and Rives to the effect that determinable properties don’t exist: only determinate properties do. Yesterday, we discussed Gillett and Rives’ paper in the NEH Summer Seminar on Mind and Metaphysics. Curiously, John Heil (who probably doesn’t read …

True Bill Gates Story

As told by Martin Davis:A woman heading a research group on theoretical computer science at Microsoft meets Bill Gates for the first time. She says how wonderful it is for Bill Gates to head a company that supports a group–her research group–that has little chance of generating any application before …

Resources for Students

My trusted assistant, John Gabriel, has created a list of online resources on how to study, write papers, apply to graduate school, publish, and get a job in philosophy. Some students may find it useful. Some of the links are to previous posts on this blog, but there is much …

Another Robot

A short report on a robot designed to experiment with its environment and learn “like a human infant,” based on neural network technology and testing neuroscience models. (Link courtesy of my student, Adam Hartke.) 0

What Is a Mind?

Last Saturday, in his Central APA commentary, Rick Grush raised this question and suggested it is the most fundamental question in the philosophy of mind. He also suggested that if you don’t understand this question and its importance you are missing something.I must be slow because I don’t think I …