Friday, July 30, 2010

Seventeenth-Century Theories of Consciousness (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Seventeenth-Century Theories of Consciousness (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy):
In the seventeenth century, “consciousness” began to take on a uniquely modern sense. This transition was sparked by new theories of mind and ideas, and it connected with other important issues of debate during the seventeenth century, including debates over the transparency of the mental, animal consciousness, and innate ideas. Additionally, consciousness was tied closely to moral identity, with both French and Latin lacking even a linguistic distinction between consciousness and conscience (i.e., a moral sensibility). This semantic shift marked a philosophical division between the psychological or phenomenal aspects of thought and a moral sensibility as well. The discussions on all of these topics were rich and varied in the seventeenth century—the article below provides a view from forty thousand feet.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Judge's Guide to Neuroscience

A Judge's Guide to Neuroscience: "
The Law and Neuroscience Project (along with the SAGE Center at UCSB) recently published A Judge's Guide to Neuroscience:  A Concise Introduction.  The useful manual contains articles by Marcus Raichle, Michael Gazzaniga, Adina Roskies, Read Montague, Scott Grafton, and others.  And while it is aimed at judges, I think it might be useful for philosophers interested in these issues as well.  

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cephalove: Do octopuses play?

Nice article expressing skepticism about claims of octopus play. It seems, though, that an overly important role is played in the author's argument by the flawed argument-by-analogy approach to the problem of other minds.
Cephalove: Do octopuses play?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

first-order representationalism

From Key Terms in Philosophy of Mind (Continuum, 2010):

first-order representationalism, a theory of CONSCIOUSNESS that explains state consciousness (see CONSCIOUSNESS, STATE) in terms of having a certain kind of MENTAL REPRESENTATION (crucially, a representation that need not be represented by any other representation, thus “first-order”) and explains QUALIA or the “WHAT IT IS LIKE” aspects of consciousness (see CONSCIOUSNESS, PHENOMENAL) in terms of the CONTENT of the relevant mental representation. The main distinctive feature of first-order representationalism is that unlike higher-order representationalisms, such as the HIGHER-ORDER THOUGHT THEORY OF CONSCIOUSNESS or the higher-order PERCEPTION theory of consciousness, it does not make it a requirement on a state’s being conscious that it be represented by itself or any other state. One consideration that first-order representationalists raise in support of this part of their view is that it appears, or so it is claimed, that we cannot become aware of the features of an EXPERIENCE itself as opposed to features of what the experience is an experience of. For example, when I attend to my experience of a blue rectangle, it seems that I am only aware of the blueness and the rectangularity—properties presumably instantiated not by my experience but by some physical object in the external world: a blue rectangle. See TRANSPARENCY (OF EXPERIENCE).

Figdor: "Is Mechanistic Explanation of Mind Possible?"

Today in the CUNY Grad Center Cognitive Science Speaker Series:

Carrie Figdor, University of Iowa: "Is Mechanistic Explanation of Mind Possible?"

2:00 pm, Room 7102, CUNY Graduate Center

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Brain Hammerings 07/12/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Texas Talk Powerpoint

Download now or preview on posterous
SlowSwitch.ppt (1012 KB)

Here's the powerpoint for my Texas talk.

Posted via email from petemandik's posterous

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Abstract: The Slow-switching Slowdown Showdown

Spiral clock
Originally uploaded by catmachine

The Slow-switching Slowdown Showdown


The point of this paper is to raise a puzzle for cognitive content externalism. Central to the kind of externalism I wish to raise a puzzle for is a commitment to a thesis of slow switching: were Oscar stealthily transplanted on Twin Earth, replacing Twin Oscar, the thought contents expressed by Oscar’s “water” utterances would switch slowly from being thoughts of H2O to being thoughts of XYZ. The puzzle I want to raise centers on the question of how the externalist can account for the rate of slow switching. What’s especially puzzling about this question of rate is best brought out by considering certain natural extensions of externalism to contents concerning time and a modification of the Twin Earth thought experiment involving Slow Earth—a version of XYZ-covered Twin Earth where (just about) everything takes hundred times longer to occur on Slow Earth. It is a natural extension of externalism to time concepts to hold that Oscar and his counterpart on Slow Earth, Slow Oscar, express different thoughts by utterances employing temporal vocabulary such as “day,” “hour,” and “minute.” A further natural extension of externalism is to hold that if Oscar were stealthily transplanted to Slow Earth, not just his “water”-related concepts would slowly switch their contents, so would, e.g., his “hour”-related concepts. The question at the heart of my puzzle for the externalist is this: How long would slow switching take on Slow Earth? If everything is a hundred times slower on Slow Earth compared to non-slowed Twin Earth, then if slow switching takes a year on Twin Earth, it takes 100 years on Slow Earth (which is, of course, just one Slow Earth year). However, as I shall argue, it raises certain problems for externalists to hold that even slow switching is slowed down on Slow Earth. The core problem raised, I will argue, is that the externalist, in holding that slow switching slows on Slow Earth, is led to embrace a contradictory account of what the supervenience base is for wide-content temporal thoughts.

Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Mind, Cognitive Science, and Neuroethics

Next week, I'll be heading out to Arlington, Texas where I'll be keynote speaker at a workshop organized by Ken Williford. The talk I'll be giving is based on a project of mine concerning conceptual content, externalism, and time. My talk is "The Slow-switching Slowdown Showdown" and I'll be blogging some more about it the rest of the week or so.

Here's the schedule for workshop:

The 2010 UTA Summer Seminar in Mind, Cognition, and Neuroethics
July 13-15, UTA Campus, 303 CPB

The Department of Philosophy and Humanities
The College of Liberal Arts
The Office of the Vice President for Research


DAY ONE—Tuesday, July 13
9:30—“Continental” Breakfast in 303 CPB

9:45 Beth S. Wright, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts
Opening remarks

10:00 Dan Levine (UTA, Psychology)
It’s Not Just “Survival and Reproduction, Stupid”


11:30 Daniel C. Krawczyk (UTD, Center for Brain Health, UTSW, Psychiatry)
What can Neuroscience tell us about Reasoning?

1:15-3:00—Lunch at Potager
315 S Mesquite St. Arlington, TX (817) 861-2292

3:30 Heekyeong Park (UTA, Psychology)
Neural Correlates of Encoding Within- and Across-Domain Inter-Item Associations


5:00 Erik Nylen (University of Iowa, Biomedical Engineering, NYU, Center for Neural Science)
How much can a Diseased Eye See?


6:15 Fabrice Jotterand (UTSW, Departments of Clinical Sciences and Psychiatry/Philosophy and Bioethics)
Please Engineer My Brain…I Was Born a Criminal!:  Neuroimaging Technologies, Psychopathy and Moral Neuro-enhancement

8:00—Dinner at The Blue Danube
2230-A W Park Row Dr, Pantego, TX (817) 861-5900

DAY TWO—Wednesday, July 14
9:30—“Continental” Breakfast in 303 CPB

10:00 Nathanial Blower (University of Iowa, Philosophy)
Dennett vs. Hacker: Mind, Metaphor and the Mereological Fallacy


11:30 Jeremy Shipley (University of Iowa, Philosophy)
Varying Variance (Invariantly)

1:15-3:00—Lunch at Beirut Rock Café
1201 S Cooper St Arlington, TX (817) 860-5499

3:30 Peter LeGrant (Kirkwood College, Philosophy) and Kenneth Williford (UTA, Philosophy)
Spinoza and Functionalism


5:00 Harry P. Reeder (UTA, Philosophy)
The Role of Language in Phenomenological Description


6:15 Adam Briggle (UNT, Philosophy)
What Bioethics can Teach Neuroethics

8:00—Dinner at The Istanbul Grill
6204 S.Cooper St. Arlington, TX (817) 557-3377

DAY 3—Thursday, July 15
9:30—“Continental” Breakfast in 303 CPB

10:00 Matthew J. Brown (UTD, Philosophy, Center for Values in Science, Technology, and Medicine)
Love Slaves and Wonder Women: Values and Popular Culture in the Psychology of W.M. Marston


11:30 Justin Fisher (SMU, Philosophy)
The Challenge of Syntactic Typing

1:15-3:00—Lunch at The University Club

3:30 Charles Nussbaum (UTA, Philosophy)
 Can Natural Necessity Be Naturalized?


5:00 Timothy Odegard (UTA, Psychology)
Diachronic Disunity:  The Severing of the Self across Time


6:15 KEYNOTE ADDRESS:  Pete Mandik (William Paterson University of New Jersey, Philosophy)
The Slow-switching Slowdown Showdown

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Synthese Submission Option on Neuroscience and Its Philosophy

Synthese Submission Option on Neuroscience and Its Philosophy: Gualtiero Piccinini says:
Following up on a previous post on this topic:  The journal Synthese has added a submission option on 'neuroscience and its philosophy' to its online submission system.  If you select that option, the system should to put me (qua editor of the yearly issue on neuroscience and its philosophy) in charge of the paper.

more errors than advertised

(via twitter/vaughanbell)