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Abstract: In the Standard Model of the Mind currently employed in cognitive science we have corresponding to thought and sense two distinct kinds of properties: intentional and qualitative. On the one hand we have qualitative states, which are generally agreed to be those states which there is ‘something that it is like’ for the subject that has them; I will say that these states have a quality. On the other hand we have intentional states, which have the property of being about something, called intentionality, and which lack a quality. There is nothing that it is like to have intentional states. According to the Standard Model all mental phenomena have one or another, or both, of these properties. There are some mental phenomena that are purely qualitative (perhaps sensations and their sensory qualities) and some that are purely intentional (thoughts) and still others that are a mix of both (perceptions and emotions). Of course, there are those who resist the Standard Model, drawn as they are to the siren song of a single mark of the mental
Abstract: Are there different constraints on theories of conscious experience as against theories of conscious propositional thought? Is what is problematic or puzzling about each of these phenomena of the same, or of different, types? And to what extent is it plausible to think that either or both conscious experience and conscious thought involve some sort of selfreference? In pursuing these questions I shall also explore the prospects for a defensible form of eliminativism concerning conscious thinking, one that would leave the reality of conscious experience untouched. In the end, I shall argue that while there might be no such thing as conscious judging or conscious wanting, there is (or may well be) such a thing as conscious generic thinking
Abstract: Do we conduct our conscious propositional thinking in natural language? Or is such language only peripherally related to human conscious thought-processes? In this paper I shall present a partial defence of the former view, by arguing that the only real alternative is eliminativism about conscious propositional thinking. Following some introductory remarks, I shall state the argument for this conclusion, and show how that conclusion can be true. Thereafter I shall defend each of the three main premises in turn
Abstract: The central mission of cognitive science is to reveal the real nature of the mind, however familiar or foreign that nature may be to naive preconceptions. The existence of naive conceptions is also important, however. Prescientific thought and language contain concepts of the mental, and these concepts deserve attention from cognitive science. Just as scientific psychology studies folk physics (McCloskey 1983, Hayes 1985), viz., the common understanding (or misunderstanding) of physical phenomena, so it must study folk psychology, the common understanding of mental states. This subfield of scientific psychology is what I mean by the phrase 'the psychology of folk psychology'
Abstract: Perceptual attention is essential to both thought and agency, for there is arguably no demonstrative thought or bodily action without it. Psychologists and philosophers since William James have taken attention to be a ubiquitous and distinctive form of consciousness, one that leaves a characteristic mark on perceptual experience. As a process of selecting specific perceptual inputs, attention influences the way things perceptually appear. It may then seem that it is a specific feature of perceptual representation that constitutes what it is like to consciously attend to an object. In fact conscious attention is more complicated. In what follows, I argue that the phenomenology of conscious attention to what is perceived involves not just a way of perceptually locking on to a specific object. It necessarily involves a way of cognitively locking on to it as well.