4. Political and Perceptual Differences

Last December, The Washington Post resurfaced a short video clip of Heather Nauert, nominee for US Ambassador to the United Nations. In the video Nauert attempted to make the case that there was a strong historical relationship between the United States and Germany. The Post described her as citing the …

Consciousness is something you do

Many parents who look into the eyes of their newborn baby encounter something wonderful, and awe inspiring. There in those eyes they get a glimpse of a new perspective, a new point of view on the world. A new consciousness. The idea that consciousness is the subjective perspective we each …

How attention shapes consciousness

There is a subjective way you experience the world. This is way it is like for you to listen to Jazz, to look around curiously, or to taste dark chocolate. It is hard to know about what it is like for you to experience these things simply by observing your …

Earthworms, Google servers, and an important kind of freedom

Yesterday, I sketched the priority structure framework: attention consists in the activity of regulating priority structures, which order the parts of the subject’s on-going mental life by their relative priority. Why would we organize our mind in this way? In other words, what is the function of attention?  The answer, …

Structures of the Mind

Yesterday, I suggested that we need a theory of attention that gives attention a central place in the mind and serves as a unified framework that integrates different approaches to attention, both in philosophy and in the empirical sciences. Today, I will sketch the priority structure framework and give some …

Who needs a theory of attention?

Let me tell you about my friend Jayden: these days, Jayden gives a lot of her attention to community work. Jayden has always paid attention to what matters morally over anything else. Her attention somehow just tends to be drawn to the suffering of others. Her own achievements, by contrast, …

The 3rd Annual Minds Online Conference Starts Monday!

Mark your calendars! The conference starts Monday and runs for three weeks. The first session’s papers are already posted. Commenting for the first session starts Monday. Check out the full post for the rest of the details.

Understanding Compositional Explanations in the Sciences

Understanding the nature of “vertical” relations whether in science, nature, mathematics, logic, or anywhere else, is a hot topic in philosophy. What is unfortunate is that, as yet, too little attention is paid to focused issues about what frameworks work best for the “vertical” relations in particular areas. However, it …

#MindsOnline2016: Skill, Expertise, and Attention

The opening session of the 2016 Minds Online Conference, on Skill Expertise, and Attention, has begun! The talks in this session are: Keynote: “Longer, Smaller, Faster Stronger: on skills and intelligence“, by Ellen Fridland (King’s College London) “Do we reflect when performing skilful actions?”, by Juan Pablo Bermudez (Universidad Externado de Colombia) Commentators: Lieke Asma, Michael …

#MindsOnline2016: Contributed papers on Skill, Expertise, and Attention are now available!

The contributed papers and commentaries for the opening session of the 2016 Minds Online Conference, on Skill Expertise, and Attention, are now available to preview. They are: Juan Pablo Bermudez (Universidad Externado de Colombia), Do we reflect while performing skillful actions? Automaticity, control, and the perils of distraction Denis Buehler (Universidad Nacional Autónoma …

Announcing the 2016 Minds Online Conference Program

Posting at Brains will likely be slow through the rest of the summer. Many thanks to all the philosophers who took time in the past few months to discuss their recent work, and also to Nick, Cameron, and our session chairs — listed below — for their work in putting …

System 2 reasoning (and a word about mindwandering)

Most psychologists who study human reasoning have converged on some or other version of dual-systems theory. System 1 is a set of systems that are supposed to be fast, inflexible, and unconscious in their operations, issuing in the initial intuitions many of us have when presented with a novel reasoning …

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 …

The sensory-based theory of conscious thinking

Many thanks to John Schwenkler for this opportunity to talk about some of my recent work, especially my book The Centered Mind: What the Science of Working Memory Shows Us About the Nature of Human Thought, published earlier this year by Oxford University Press. In this post I’ll sketch the …

#MindsOnline2015 Session 4: Philosophy of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science

The fourth and final session of the Minds Online conference has begun! It is focused on the Philosophy of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, and includes the following papers: Karen Neander (Duke) “Why I’m Not A Content Pragmatist” (Keynote) Marcelo Fischborn (Federal University of Santa Maria): “Libet-Style Experiments, Neuroscience, and Libertarian Free Will” …

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 …

Primates Who Are Calm Enough to Pay Attention, or How Touch Allows Human and Non-Human Infants to Engage in Social Interactions

When orphans who have had to overcome difficult upbringings are portrayed in movies or books, they are usually described as smart, sensible children who are capable of facing any challenge and are able to intuitively excel in anything they attempt (even quidditch). The reality of a harsh upbringing, especially for …

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