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Abstract: I survey some of the connections between the metaphysics of the relation between mind and matter, and quantum theory’s measurement problem. After discussing the metaphysics, especially the correct formulation of physicalism, I argue that two state-reduction approaches to quantum theory’s measurement problem hold some surprises for philosophers’ discussions of physicalism. Though both approaches are compatible with physicalism, they involve a very different conception of the physical, and of how the physical underpins the mental, from what most philosophers expect. And one approach exemplifies a a problem in the definition of physicalism which the metaphysical literature has discussed only in the abstract. A version of the paper has appeared in Consciousness and Human Identity, ed. John Cornwell, OUP 1998
Abstract: Advances in neuroanatomy and neurophysiology have called attention to reentrant signalling as the predominant form of communication between brain areas. We propose that explicit use be made of reentrant processing in theories of perception. To show that this can be done effectively in one domain, we report on a series of psychophysical experiments involving a new form of masking, which defies explanation by current feed-forward theories. This masking occurs when a brief display of target plus mask is continued with the mask alone. We report evidence of two masking processes: an early process affected by physical factors such as adapting luminance and contour proximity, and a later process affected by attentional factors such as set size, target pop-out, and spatial pre-cuing. We call this later process masking by
Abstract: Philosophical accounts of causality and causal explanation can provide important guidelines for the experimental sciences and valid experimental setups. In addition to the obvious requirement of logic validity, however, the approaches must account for the generally accepted experimental practice to be truly useful. To investigate this important interconnection, the current paper evaluates different philosophical accounts of causation and causal explanation in the light of typical psychophysical experiments. In particular, eye-tracking setups will be used to evaluate Granger Causality, Probabilistic Accounts and Woodwardʼs manipulationist approach. Upon coarse reading, the manipulationist perspective seems most suitable for a practical application, but there are manifold problems hidden in the details of the definitions. However, with some adjustments via standard tools of experimental design, these problems can be overcome and leave Woodwardʼs account as the method of choice