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Abstract: Suppose there is a red ball against a uniformly gray background moving toward my left. I am seeing the moving red ball. I am having a visual experience that carries the information (among other things) that [the ball] is red.1 Now supposing that I have the concepts RED and SEEING, and all my other cognitive (including introspective) mechanisms are intact and working normally, the job is to say exactly how I do come to know that I am seeing [the ball] as red. How do I come to know, as I shall sometimes put it, that I am seeing red?
Abstract: In this paper I begin to develop an account of the acquaintance that each of us has with our own conscious states and processes. The account is a speculative proposal about human mental architecture and specifically about the nature of the concepts via which we think in first personish ways about our qualia. In a certain sense my account is neutral between physicalist and dualist accounts of consciousness. As will be clear, a dualist could adopt the account I will offer while maintaining that qualia themselves are non-physical properties. In this case the non-physical nature of qualia may play no role in accounting for the features of acquaintance. But although the account could be used by a dualist, its existence provides enormous support for physicalism. In particular it provides the makings of a positive refutation (i.e., a refutation by construction) of the conceivability arguments and the Mary argument for dualism.
Abstract: In this paper I consider one of the leading philosophic-psychological theories of “folk psychology,” the simulation theory of Robert Gordon. According to Gordon, we attribute mental states to others not by representing those states or by applying the generalizations of theory, but by imagining ourselves in the position of a target to be interpreted and exploiting our own decision-making skills to make assertions which we then attribute to others as ‘beliefs’. I describe a leading objections to Gordon’s theory—the problem of adjustment—and show how a charitably interpreted Gordon could answer this objection. I conclude, however, that the best case for Gordon’s position still runs into a new problem concerning the epistemological presuppositions of belief-attribution. This suggests a new account of folk psychological explanation that draws on children’s basic folk epistemological knowledge. Identifying this new alternative helps undermine the simplicity of a theory based on simulation-based explanation
Abstract: Phenomenal consciousness is often thought to involve a first-person perspective or point of view which makes available to the subject categorically private, first-person facts about experience, facts that are irreducible to third-person physical, functional, or representational facts. This paper seeks to show that on a representational account of consciousness, we don't have an observational perspective on experience that gives access to such facts, although our representational limitations and the phenomenal structure of consciousness make it strongly seem that we do. Qualia seem intrinsic and functionally arbitrary, and thus categorically private, because they are first-order sensory representations that are not themselves directly represented. Further, the representational architecture that on this account instantiates conscious subjectivity helps to generate the intuition of observerhood, since the phenomenal subject may be construed as outside, not within, experience. Once the seemings of private phenomenal facts and the observing subject are discounted, we can understand consciousness as a certain variety of neurally instantiated, behaviour controlling content, that constituted by an integrated representation of the organism in the world. Neuroscientific research suggests that consciousness and its characteristic behavioural capacities are supported by widely distributed but highly integrated neural processes involving communication between multiple functional sub- systems in the brain. This 'global workspace' may be the brain's physical realization of the representational architecture that constitutes consciousness
Abstract: One of the striking, even amusing, spectacles to be enjoyed at the many workshops and conferences on consciousness these days is the breathtaking overconfidence with which laypeople hold forth about the nature of consciousness Btheir own in particular, but everybody =s by extrapolation. Everybody =s an expert on consciousness, it seems, and it doesn =t take any knowledge of experimental findings to secure the home truths these people enunciate with such conviction
Abstract: What is the relation between a perceptual experience of an object X as being red, and one's belief, if any, as to the nature of that experience? A traditional Cartesian view would be that, if indeed object X does seem to be red to oneself, then one's resulting introspective belief about it could only be a _conforming _belief, i.e., a belief that X perceptually seems to be _red _to oneself--rather than, for instance, a belief that X perceptually seems to be green to oneself instead. On such a Cartesian view, our introspective certainly about our own thoughts extends also to our perceptual experiences as to how things seem to be to us, so that our resulting introspective beliefs about our phenomenal states also count as knowledge of them
Abstract: Let's be externalists about perceptual consciousness and think the form of veridical perceptual consciousness includes /seeing this or that mind-independent particular and its colors/. Let's also take internalism seriously, granting that spectral inversion and hallucination can be "phenomenally" the same as normal seeing. Then perceptual consciousness and phenomenality are different, and so we need to say how they are related. It's complicated!
Phenomenal sameness is (against all odds) /reflective indiscriminability/. I build a "displaced perception" account of reflection on which indiscriminability stems from shared "qualia". Qualia are compatible with direct realism: while they generate an explanatory gap (and colors do not), so does /seeing/; qualia are excluded from perceptual consciousness by its "transparency"; instead, qualia are aspects of thought about the perceived environment.
The asymmetry between my treatments of color and seeing is grounded in the asymmetry between ignorance and error: while inversion shows that normal subjects are ignorant of the natures of the colors, hallucination shows not that perceivers are ignorant of the nature of seeing but that hallucinators are prone to error about their condition. Past literature has treated inversion and hallucination as on a par: externalists see error in both cases, while internalists see mutual ignorance. My account is so complicated because plausible results require mixing it up.
Abstract: This paper expands on the discussion in the first section of 'Beyond phenomenal naivete'. Let Phenomenal Naivete be understood as the doctrine that some phenomenal characters of veridical experiences are factive properties concerning the external world. Here I present in detail a phenomenological case for Phenomenal Naivete and an argument from hallucination against it. I believe that these arguments show the concept of phenomenal character to be defective, overdetermined by its metaphysical and epistemological commitments together with the world. This does not establish a gappish eliminativism, but a gluttish pluralism, on which there are many imperfect deservers of the name 'phenomenal character'. Different projects in the philosophy of mind -- phenomenology, philosophy of conscious, metaphysics and epistemology of perception -- are concerned with different deservers of the name.
Abstract: I argue against such "Relation Intentionalist" theories of consciousness as the higher-order thought and inner sense views on the grounds that they understand a subject's awareness of his or her phenomenal characters to be intentional, like seeming-seeing, rather than "direct", like seeing. The trouble with such views is that they reverse the order of explanation between phenomenal character and intentional awareness. A superior theory of consciousness, based on views expressed by Russell and Price, takes the relation of awareness to be a nonintentional "acquaintance".
Abstract: Direct realists think that we can't get a clear view the nature of /hallucinating a white picket fence/: is it /representing a white picket fence/? is it /sensing white-picket-fencily/? is it /being acquainted with a white' picketed' sense-datum/? These are all epistemic possibilities for a single experience; hence they are all metaphysical possibilities for various experiences. Hallucination itself is a disjunctive or "multidisjunctive" category. I rebut MGF Martin's argument from statistical explanation for his "epistemic" conception of hallucination, but his view embeds in my view as a "reference-fixer".
Abstract: It has often been thought that our knowledge of ourselves is _different_ from, perhaps in some sense _better_ than, our knowledge of things other than ourselves. Indeed, there is a thriving research area in epistemology dedicated to seeking an account of self-knowledge that would articulate and explain its difference from, and superiority over, other knowledge. Such an account would thus illuminate the descriptive and normative difference between self-knowledge and other knowledge.<sup>1</sup> At the same time, self- knowledge has also encountered its share of skeptics – philosophers who refuse to accord it any descriptive, let alone normative, distinction. In this paper, we argue that there is at least one _species_ of self-knowledge that is different from, and better than, other knowledge. It is a specific kind of knowledge of one’s concurrent phenomenal experiences. Call knowledge of one’s own phenomenal experiences _phenomenal knowledge_. Our claim is that some (though not all) phenomenal knowledge is different from, and better than, non-phenomenal knowledge. In other
Abstract: Researchers from the 1940's through the present have found that normal, sighted people can echolocate - that is, detect properties of silent objects by attending to sound reflected from them. We argue that echolocation is a normal part of our conscious, perceptual experience. Despite this, we argue that people are often grossly mistaken about their experience of echolocation. If so, echolocation provides a counterexample to the view that we cannot be seriously mistaken about our own current conscious experience
Abstract: Dennett argues that we can be mistaken about our own conscious experience. Despite this, he repeatedly asserts that we can or do have unchallengeable authority of some sort in our reports about that experience. This assertion takes three forms. First, Dennett compares our authority to the authority of an author over his fictional world. Unfortunately, that appears to involve denying that there are actual facts about experience that subjects may be truly or falsely reporting. Second, Dennett sometimes seems to say that even though we may be mistaken about what our conscious experience is, our reports about