Book Symposium: Declan Smithies’ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness (6)

Welcome to the Brains Blog’s Book Symposium series on Declan Smithies’ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness. In this series, seven critics discuss the book with the author. The critics are Kengo Miyazono, Lu Teng, Takuya Niikawa & Yasushi Ogusa, Brie Gertler, Thomas Raleigh, and Tony Cheng. From April 26 to …

Book Symposium: Declan Smithies’ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness (5)

Welcome to the Brains Blog’s Book Symposium series on Declan Smithies’ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness. In this series, seven critics discuss the book with the author. The critics are Kengo Miyazono, Lu Teng, Takuya Niikawa & Yasushi Ogusa, Brie Gertler, Thomas Raleigh, and Tony Cheng. From April 26 to …

Book Symposium: Declan Smithies’ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness (4)

Welcome to the Brains Blog’s Book Symposium series on Declan Smithies’ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness. In this series, seven critics discuss the book with the author. The critics are Kengo Miyazono, Lu Teng, Takuya Niikawa & Yasushi Ogusa, Brie Gertler, Thomas Raleigh, and Tony Cheng. From April 26 to …

Book Symposium: Declan Smithies’ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness (3)

Welcome to the Brains Blog’s Book Symposium series on Declan Smithies’ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness. In this series, seven critics discuss the book with the author. The critics are Kengo Miyazono, Lu Teng, Takuya Niikawa & Yasushi Ogusa, Brie Gertler, Thomas Raleigh, and Tony Cheng. From April 26 to …

Book Symposium: Declan Smithies’ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness (2)

Welcome to the Brains Blog’s Book Symposium series on Declan Smithies’ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness. In this series, seven critics discuss the book with the author. The critics are Kengo Miyazono, Lu Teng, Takuya Niikawa & Yasushi Ogusa, Brie Gertler, Thomas Raleigh, and Tony Cheng. From April 26 to …

Book Symposium: Declan Smithies’ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness (1)

Welcome to the Brains Blog’s Book Symposium series on Declan Smithies’ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness. In this series, seven critics discuss the book with the author. The critics are Kengo Miyazono, Lu Teng, Takuya Niikawa & Yasushi Ogusa, Brie Gertler, Thomas Raleigh, and Tony Cheng. From April 26 to …

Rational Powers in Action III: Instrumental Rationality and Indeterminate Ends.

Let me start with a bit more detail on the structure of the Extended Theory of Rationality (ETR). Suppose I am intentionally baking a cake.  According to ETR, this action is an end that I am pursuing, and thus the principle of instrumental reasoning enjoins me to pursue sufficient means. …

Rational Powers in Action II: Classical Vs Contemporary Conceptions Of Instrumental Rationality

Kant thought there was a single principle of instrumental rationality, the hypothetical imperative, that connected the pursuit (“willing”) of ends and the pursuit of means. My admittedly impressionistic view of the history of philosophy is that Kant was far from unusual on that point; it is taken for granted that …

Rational Powers in Action I: Outline of a theory of instrumental rationality

Rational Powers in Action defends a theory of instrumental rationality that departs radically from most contemporary treatments of this topic (or so I would like to think, given my penchant for rebellion).  In a nutshell, the theory I propose, The Extended Theory of Rationality (or ETR for short) takes intentional action to be the primary category …

Consciousness, Computation, and Cognition

Much cognitive processing is unconscious, but some is conscious. By ‘consciousness,’ I mean phenomenal consciousness, conscious experience, what it’s like to be someone, or qualia. The relation between consciousness, computation, and cognition is a very difficult question. The two main traditional views are functionalism and the identity theory. According to …

Neural Representations Are Observable, and Neural Computation Is Sui Generis

The received view in the philosophy of cognitive science is that cognition is (largely explained by) a kind of digital computation, and computation requires representation. Therefore, if neurocognitive systems are computational, they manipulate digital representations of some sort. According to this received view, representations are unobservable entities posited by successful …

The Computational Theory of Cognition: From Turing Machines to Neurocognitive Mechanisms

The modern computational theory of cognition began after Alan Turing (1936) published his mathematical theory of computation in terms of what are now known as Turing machines. Contrary to a popular misconception, however, it wasn’t Turing who turned his machines into a model of cognition. That step was taken by …

Teleological Functions: Fixing the Goal-Contribution Account

In my previous post, I mentioned that mechanistic explanations are functional. What I mean by that is that mechanisms and their component parts have functions and such functions contribute to mechanistic explanation because, by performing their functions, components contribute to the activities of the whole mechanism. The notion of function …

Composition, Realization, and Constitutive Explanation: An Ontologically Egalitarian Account of Multilevel Mechanisms

Thanks to Dan Burnston and Nick Byrd for this opportunity to introduce Neurocognitive Mechanisms: Explaining Biological Cognition (OUP 2020). This book is the culmination of my main research program over the last 20+ years; it offers a comprehensive foundation for the science of biological cognition. In these posts, I’ll outline …

Commentary by Jonathan Gilmore on Explaining Imagination

By Jonathan Gilmore Peter Langland-Hassan’s Explaining Imagination is a bracing attack on what approaches orthodoxy in the study of the imagination – that, in its myriad roles in explanations of human thought and behavior, it is a sui generis cognitive attitude.  Dissenting from the consensus, Langland-Hassan argues that invocations of …

Commentary by Alon Chasid on Explaining Imagination (with reply)

By Alon Chasid Peter Langland-Hassan’s Explaining Imagination (hereafter: EI) presents a reductive thesis: imagining is not a sui generis mental state or attitude, but one of the basic folk- psychological attitudes such as beliefs, judgments (i.e., occurrent beliefs), desires, intentions, etc., or combinations thereof. At first sight, this novel thesis …

Back to Top