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Area: Philosophy of Mind

| Baier | Brown | Cowie | Eilan | Gendler | Millikan | Schellenberg | Teichman | Thomasson |

Baier, A. C.

Baier,# A. C. (1990). What Emotions are about. Philosophical Perspectives 4 :1-29.

Kw: intentionality; emotions; expression; phenomenology

Discusses the interrelations between the aspects of human emotions. Intentionality; Expressivity; Moral significance; Kinds of philosophical views of emotions; Cognitivists; Emotivists; Moral phenomenologism of Annette Baier; Efforts of Baier to avoid the reductionism of cognitivists and emotivists; Attention to Baier's notion of deep objects of emotions; Account of the expressivity of emotions; Implications for the understanding of the role of emotions in moral lives.

Brown, D.

Brown,# D. (1996) A Furry Tile about Mental Representation.  Philosophical Quarterly 46 (185): 448- 467

Kw: Mental representation

Presents a fictitious conversation between three animals concerning mental representation.

Cowie, F.

Cowie,# F. (1998) Mad Dog Nativism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (2): 227- 252

Kw: Nativism, Concepts, Fodor, Cognitive Science

In his recent book, Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Jerry Fodor retracts the radical concept-nativism he once defended. Yet that postion stood, virtually unchallenged, for more than twenty years. This neglect is puzzling, as Fodor's arguments against concepts being learnable from experience remain unanswered, and nativism has historically been taken very seriously as a response to empiricism's perceived shortcomings. In this paper, I urge that Fodorean nativism should indeed be rejected. I argue, however, that its deficiencies are not so obvious that they can simply be taken for granted. Fodor can counter extant objections by stressing two distinctions: between historicist and counterfactual semantic theories and between explaining reference and explaining concept-acquisition. But, I argue, this victory is pyrrhic. Reformulated as objections to his account qua theory of concept-acquisition, and not qua theory of reference, analogous difficulties are fatal to the Fodorean position.

Eilan, N

Eilan,# N. (1993) Molyneux‘s question and the idea of an external world. 1993.  In N. Eilan, W. Brewer, R. McCarthy (eds.) Spatial Representation: Problems in Philosophy and Psychology Oxford: Blackwell: 236–255.

Kw: Space, external world

Abstract not available

Gendler, T.

Gendler,# T. (2008). Alief and Belief. Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):634-663.

Kw: Alief; belief; behaviour

My conclusion should not be a surprising one. I think that alief governs all sorts of belief-discordant behavior—the cases with which I began the paper, and the ones that I have presented along the way. But if alief drives behavior in belief-discordant cases, it is likely that it drives behavior in belief-concordant cases as well. Belief plays an important role in the ultimate regulation of behavior. But it plays a far smaller role in moment-by-moment management than philosophical tradition has tended to stress.

Gendler,# T. (2006). Imaginative Contagion. Metaphilosophy 37 (2):183-203

Kw: magination; pretense; phenomenology

The aim of this article is to expand the diet of examples considered in philosophical discussions of imagination and pretense, and to offer some preliminary observations about what we might learn about the nature of imagination as a result. The article presents a number of cases involving 'imaginative contagion': cases where merely imagining or pretending that P has effects that we would expect only perceiving or believing that P to have. Examples are offered that involve visual imagery, motor imagery, fictional emotions, and social priming. It is suggested that imaginative contagion is a more prevalent phenomenon than has typically been recognized.

Gendler,# T. (2004). Thought Experiments Rethought- and Reperceived. Philosophy of Science 71 (5).

Kw: Knowledge; belief- forming mechanism; natural world; mental image

Contemplating imaginary scenarios that evoke certain sorts of quasi‐sensory intuitions may bring us to new beliefs about contingent features of the natural world. These beliefs may be produced quasi‐observationally; the presence of a mental image may play a crucial cognitive role in the formation of the belief in question. And this albeit fallible quasi‐observational belief‐forming mechanism may, in certain contexts, be sufficiently reliable to count as a source of justification. This sheds light on the central puzzle surrounding scientific thought experiment, which is how contemplation of an imaginary scenario can lead to new knowledge about contingent features of the natural world.

Gendler, T.# (2003). On the Relation between Pretense and Belief. In Imagination Philosophy and The Arts; Routledge

Kw: Imaginative content; belief content; make- believe; quarantining; mirroring

By the age of two, children are able to engage in highly elaborate games of symbolic pretense, in which objects and actions in the actual world are taken to stand for objects and actions in a realm of make-believe. These games of pretense are marked by the presence of two central features, which I will call quarantining and mirroring (see also Leslie 1987; Perner 1991). Quarantining is manifest to the extent that events within the pretense-episode are taken to have effects only within that pretense-episode (e.g. the child does not expect that ‘spilling’ ( pretend) ‘tea’1 will result in the table really being wet), or more generally, to the extent that proto-beliefs and proto-attitudes concerning the pretended state of affairs are not treated as beliefs and attitudes relevant to guiding action in the actual world. Mirroring is manifest to the extent that features of the imaginary situation that have not been explicitly stipulated are derivable via features of their real-world analogues (e.g. the child does expect that if she up-ends the teapot above the table, then the table will become wet in the pretense), or, more generally to the extent that imaginative content is taken to be governed by the same sorts of restrictions that govern believed content.

Millikan, R.

Millikan,# R. (1999). Historical Kinds and the “Special Sciences”. Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2): 45-65.

Kw: history; metaphysics; natural kinds; realization; reduction

There are no "special sciences" in Fodor's sense. There is a large group of sciences, "historical sciences," that differ fundamentally from the physical sciences because they quantify over a different kind of natural or real kind, nor are the generalizations supported by these kinds exceptionless. Heterogeneity, however, is not characteristic of these kinds. That there could be an univocal empirical science that ranged over multiple realizations of a functional property is quite problematic. If psychological predicates name multiply realized functionalist properties, then there is no single science dealing with these: human psychology, ape psychology, Martian psychology and robot psychology are necessarily different sciences.

Millikan,# R. (1998). A Common Structure for Concepts of Individuals, Stuffs, and Real Kinds: More Mama, more Milk, and more Mouse. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):55-65.

Kw: concepts; categorization

Concepts are highly theoretical entities. One cannot study them empirically without committing oneself to substantial preliminary assumptions. Among the competing theories of concepts and categorization developed by psychologists in the last thirty years, the implicit theoretical assumption that what falls under a concept is determined by description (“descriptionism”) has never been seriously challenged. I present a nondescriptionist theory of our most basic concepts, “substances,” which include (1) stuffs (gold, milk), (2) real kinds (cat, chair), and (3) individuals (Mama, Bill Clinton, the Empire State Building). On the basis of something important that all three have in common, our earliest and most basic concepts of substances are identical in structure. The membership of the category “cat,” like that of “Mama,” is a natural unit in nature, to which the concept “cat” does something like pointing, and continues to point despite large changes in the properties the thinker represents the unit as having. For example, large changes can occur in the way a child identifies cats and the things it is willing to call “cat” without affecting the extension of its word “cat.” The difficulty is to cash in the metaphor of “pointing” in this context. Having substance concepts need not depend on knowing words, but language interacts with substance concepts, completely transforming the conceptual repertoire. I will discuss how public language plays a crucial role in both the acquisition of substance concepts and their completed structure.

Millikan,# R. (1989). Biosemantics. (1989). Journal of Philosophy 86: 281-97

Kw: consumption, mental states, metaphysics, representation, semantics

Biosemantics presents a naturalist theory of the semantic content of mental representations that is neither a causal nor an informational theory, yet is roughly in the tradition of dretske, fodor and, most closely, matthen. It constitutes a clarification and defense of millikan's work on this issue in "language, thought, and other biological categories". Differences between very primitive and more sophisticated systems of inner representation are also discussed.


Schellenberg,# S. (2010).  The Particularity and Phenomenology of Perceptual Experience.  Philosophical Studies 149 (1): 19- 48.

Kw: Perception; phenomenology; gappy content; perceptual content; relations; representations

I argue that any account of perceptual experience should satisfy the following two desiderata. First, it should account for the particularity of perceptual experience, that is, it should account for the mind-independent object of an experience making a difference to individuating the experience. Second, it should explain the possibility that perceptual relations to distinct environments could yield subjectively indistinguishable experiences. Relational views of perceptual experience can easily satisfy the first but not the second desideratum. Representational views can easily satisfy the second but not the first desideratum. I argue that to satisfy both desiderata perceptual experience is best conceived of as fundamentally both relational and representational. I develop a view of perceptual experience that synthesizes the virtues of relationalism and representationalism, by arguing that perceptual content is constituted by potentially gappy de re modes of presentation.

Schellenberg,# S. (2008). The Situation-Dependency of Perception.. The Journal of Philosophy 105 (2):55-84.

Kw: Contents of perception; direct and indirect perception

I argue that perception is necessarily situation-dependent. The way an object is must not just be distinguished from the way it appears and the way it is represented, but also from the way it is presented given the situational features. First, I argue that the way an object is presented is best understood in terms of external, mind-independent, but situation-dependent properties of objects. Situation-dependent properties are exclusively sensitive to and ontologically dependent on the intrinsic properties of objects, such as their (...) shape, size, and color, and the situational features, such as the lighting conditions and the perceiver’s location in relation to the perceived object. Second, I argue that perceiving intrinsic properties is epistemically dependent on representing situation-dependent properties. Recognizing situation-dependent properties yields four advantages. It makes it possible to embrace the motivations that lead to phenomenalism and indirect realism by recognizing that objects are presented a certain way, while holding on to the intuition that subjects directly perceive objects. Second, it acknowledges that perceptions are not just individuated by the objects they are of, but by the ways those objects are presented given the situational features. Third, it allows for a way to accommodate the fact that there is a wide range of viewing conditions or situational features that can count as normal. Finally, it makes it possible to distinguish perception and thought about the same object with regard to what is represented.

Schellenberg,# S. (2007). Action and Self-Location in Perception. Mind: A Quarterly Review of Philosophy 116 (463): 603-631.

Kw: Action; location; metaphysics; perception; properties; space

I offer an explanation of how subjects are able to perceive the intrinsic spatial properties of objects, given that subjects always perceive from a particular location. The argument proceeds in two steps. First, I argue that a conception of space is necessary to perceive the intrinsic spatial properties of objects. This conception of space is spelled out by showing that perceiving intrinsic properties requires perceiving objects as the kind of things that are perceivable from other locations. Second, I show that having such a conception of space presupposes that a subject represent her location in relation to perceived objects. More precisely the thesis is that a subject represents her location as the location from which she both perceives objects and would act in relation to objects were she to act. So I argue that perception depends on the capacity to know what it would be to act in relation to objects.

Teichman, J.

Teichman,# J. (1974). The Mind and the Soul: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind.. New York: Humanities Press

Kw: Soul

Abstract not available

Teichman,# J. (1967). The Contingent Identity of Minds and Brains. Mind: A Quarterly Review of Philosophy 76: 404- 415

Kw: Brain; identity; mind; metaphysics

Abstract not available

Thomasson, A.

Thomasson,# A. (2001). Two Puzzles for a New Theory of Consciousness. Psyche 8 (3).

Kw: Intentionality; consciousness; first-person knowledge

In _The Significance of Consciousness_ , Charles Siewert proposes a novel understanding of consciousness by arguing against higher-order views of consciousness and rejecting the traditional taxonomy of the mental into qualitative and intentional aspects. I discuss two puzzles that arise from these changes: first, how to account for first-person knowledge of our conscious states while denying that these are typically accompanied by higher-order states directed towards them; second, how to understand his claim that phenomenal features are intentional features without either risking consciousness neglect or retreating to a more traditional understanding of the relation between qualitative and intentional character.

Thomasson,# A. (1998). A Nonreductivist Solution to Mental Causation. Philosophical Studies 89 (2-3):181-95.

Mental causation; physicalism; mental properties

Nonreductive physicalism provides an appealing solution to the nature of mental properties. But its success as a theory of mental properties has been called into doubt by claims that it cannot adequately handle the problems of mental causation, as it leads either to epiphenomenalism or to thoroughgoing overdetermination. I argue that these apparent problems for the nonreductivist are based in fundamental confusion about causation and explanation. I distinguish two different types of explanation and two different relations to which they appeal: causation and determination. I argue that these types of explanation do not compete with one another, nor do these relations jointly result in overdetermination. In closing I develop a nonreductivist solution to mental causation which avoids both the hazards of epiphenomenalism and of overdetermination and so demonstrates a way to save nonreductive physicalism from the problems of mental causation.