Cognitive Science of Philosophy Symposium: Philosophy of Perception in the Laboratory

Welcome to the Brains Blog’s Symposium series on the Cognitive Science of Philosophy! The aim of the series is to examine the use of methods from the cognitive sciences to generate philosophical insight. Each symposium is comprised of two parts. In the target post, a practitioner describes their use of …

Symposium on Letheby and Gerrans, “Self unbound: ego dissolution in psychedelic experience”

I am delighted to announce the next symposium in our series on articles from Neuroscience of Consciousness.  Neuroscience of Consciousness is an interdisciplinary journal focused on the philosophy and science of consciousness, and gladly accepts submissions from both philosophers and scientists working in this fascinating field. We have two types …

Mind the body (4) What kind of first-personal content?

In the previous post, I argued that the feeling of ownership must be conceived of as an affective feeling. But one may wonder whether this affective feeling is not just a side-effect of the feeling of ownership, and not the feeling itself. Evolutionary significance indeed is only a consequence of ownership …

Mind the body (3) What is the experience of bodily ownership?

The claim so far is that it feels different when one is aware that a hand is one’s own and when one is not. Now one needs to explore this phenomenological difference and determine its nature. There are three ways to go from here: Bodily experiences represent only low-level sensory …

Mind the body (2) A phenomenal contrast for bodily ownership

Ten years ago, Susanna Siegel proposed the method of phenomenal contrast in order to determine the type of properties that are represented in perceptual experiences. In brief, do we see only lines and colors or do we also see pine trees? Her method proceeds in two steps. First, one describes a …

Mind the body (1) A most intimate and obscure relation with one’s body

Although introspectively familiar, it is hard to exactly pinpoint the nature of the specific relationship that we have uniquely with our own body. We are aware of our bodily posture, of its temperature, of its physiological balance, of the pressure exerted on it, and so forth. Insofar as these properties are …

Remembering From the Outside: Point of View in Visual Imagery

Theories of sensory imagination often make a distinction between first-personal or ‘subjective’ imagery, in which one views an imagined scene from-the-inside, and third-personal or ‘objective’ imagery, in which one sees oneself from-the-outside.[1] For example, if you are imagining swimming you may feel the cold and pull of the water, and …

How We Understand Others

A question that has long interested me is how we understand others – that is, what are the cognitive processes that underlie successful social understanding and interaction – and what happens when we misunderstand others. In philosophy and the cognitive sciences, the orthodox view is that understanding and interacting with …

Symposium on Christoph Hoerl’s “Experience and Time: Transparency and Presence”

It’s my pleasure to introduce our next Ergo symposium, featuring Christoph Hoerl’s “Experience and Time: Transparency and Presence” with commentaries by Elliot Carter (University of Toronto) Geoffrey Lee (University of California, Berkeley), Louise Richardson (University of York). I’d like to thank each of the participants for their great work!

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 …

In Memoriam: Hubert Dreyfus


Hubert L. Dreyfus, for nearly 50 years a professor of philosophy at UC Berkeley, died this past Saturday.

As many will know, Dreyfus was an early critic of artificial intelligence and an influential interpreter of Martin Heidegger and other phenomenologists. More recently he challenged John McDowell’s conceptualist accounts of perception and action with arguments that drew on his reading of Merleau-Ponty and longstanding interests in the phenomenology of skill. He will be sorely missed.

For more on Bert’s life, his teaching, and what made his approach to philosophy so revolutionary, here is a lengthy obituary by his student Sean Dorrance Kelly.

Thought and Cognitive Phenomenology

Chapter 8 of The Given discusses the topic of cognitive phenomenology. My view of the matter is simple: either accept cognitive phenomenology or deny that there is such a thing as conscious thought. How can you deny the existence of conscious thought?! So, grant that cognitive phenomenology exists. Cognitive phenomenology, …

Memory and the Self: The Presence of the Self in Memory

The Presence of the Self in Memory In Memory and the Self, I operated with a claim that was, in hindsight, perhaps made a little too blithely. The essence of episodic memory, I argued, is that it presents an episode (a certain kind of state-of-affairs) in a specific way. You …

Memory and the Self: Phenomenology, Science and Autobiography

Thanks to John Schwenkler for the invitation to guest-blog this week about my new book, Memory and the Self: Phenomenology, Science and Autobiography (Oxford University Press NY, 2016). *** Memory and the Autobiographical Self: The Problem Intuitively, it is not unreasonable to suppose that our episodic memories play a significant …

Upcoming Events at the Brains blog

With the Minds Online conference now in the rearview mirror we are back to regular programming here at Brains, including two upcoming journal symposia and visits from the authors of several new and forthcoming books: Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday 10/11, Carl Gillett will blog for several days about his book Reduction and Emergence in …

Experiencing Phenomenology: Experiencing Oneself

On Husserl’s picture of the phenomenological method, the phenomenologist must reflect on their own experience. So the practice of phenomenology involves some form of self-awareness. But how exactly ought we to characterise this self-awareness and, in particular, does it involves an awareness not just of our experiences but also of …

Back to Top