Friday, October 19, 2012

cfp: Fifth Online Consciousness Conference

I am pleased to announce the call for papers for the Fifth Online Consciousness Conference, which is scheduled for February 15-March 1, 2013.
Invited talk by Daniel C. Dennett, Tufts University
Special Session on Self-Consciousness organized by John Schwenkler, Mount St. Mary’s University. Invited participants include Katja Crone and Joel Smith. This session will also include two submitted talks by graduate students or recent PhDs. If you want your paper to be considered specifically for this special session please indicate so in your submission email.
Papers in any area of consciousness studies are welcome (construed widely so as to include philosophy of mind and philosophy of cognitive science, as well as the cognitive sciences) and should be roughly 3,000-4,000 words. Submissions made suitable for blind review should be sent to by January 5th 2013.
For papers that are accepted, an audio/visual presentation (e.g. narrated powerpoint or video of talk) is strongly encouraged but not required.
Program Committee:
Richard Brown
David Chalmers
Adam Pautz
Susanna Siegel
For more information visit the conference website at

Jerry Fodor interviewed

Jerry Fodor gets the Richard Marshall treatment at 3am Magazine:

"JF: I’m increasingly unconvinced that the fuss about consciousness being the `hard problem’ has the stick by the right end. Consciousness is itself an intensional state; you can’t be just conscious tout court; if you are conscious at all, there must be something you are conscious of; and this `of’ is intensional and exhibits the usual substitution ambiguities. This is to say that the familiar claim (see eg. Searle) that materialist theories of intentionality beg the problem of consciousness gets things back to front. Still, even if, as I rather suppose, consciousness turns out to be more or less the same thing as attention, the questions about sensory content (`qualia’ ) have to be faced; but it’s at best unclear that they bear much on theories of cognition."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mindfulness Meditation and Autonomy: A Buddhist Theory of Free Will by Rick Repetti

[T]he 'hard' metaphysical problem of free will may be explained in simple, metaphysically 'easy' causal/functional terms as a product of the mechanics of metacognitive mental causation: There seems to be a causal connection between the extent to which the mind can "go meta-", or loop back in reflectively on its own processes (e.g., think about its thoughts, prefer its desires, etc.), and self-regulation (autonomy, free will), evident in sensory-motor agility, biofeedback, and a host of related phenomena of an equally mundane nature.
The present research explores two new directions to this line of thought: (1) the extent to which mindfulness and other meditation practices increase self-regulation or autonomy, and (2) the extent to which one may develop a cogent version of a Buddhist theory of free will based on these ideas.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jacob Berger, Do We Conceptualize Every Color We Consciously Discriminate? | PhilPapers

Jacob Berger, Do We Conceptualize Every Color We Consciously Discriminate? | PhilPapers:
Mandik (2012) understands color-consciousness conceptualism to be the view that one deploys in a conscious qualitative state concepts for every color consciously discriminated by that state. Some argue that the experimental evidence that we can consciously discriminate barely distinct hues that are presented together but cannot do so when those hues are presented in short succession suggests that we can consciously discriminate colors that we do not conceptualize. Mandik maintains, however, that this evidence is consistent with our deploying a variety of nondemonstrative concepts for those colors and so does not pose a threat to conceptualism. But even if Mandik has shown that we deploy such concepts in these experimental conditions, there are cases of conscious states that discriminate colors but do not involve concepts of those colors. Mandik’s arguments sustain only a theory in the vicinity of conceptualism: The view that we possess concepts for every color we can discriminate consciously, but need not deploy those concepts in every conscious act of color discrimination.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What's Tye's beef with Dennett?

There's a lot that I like about both Michael Tye's and Daniel Dennett's views on consciousness, so it's a bit of a bummer to read Tye's statements against Dennett in Richard Marshall's recent interview of Tye for 3am magazine. Of Dennett's "Quining Qualia" (one of my all-time favorite papers), Tye says:
...the most charitable way to read him is as holding that experiences themselves are dispositions to believe various things. So, there are no experiences or qualia, conceived of as non-epistemic, non-belief-laden entities. This view seems obviously mistaken...
I don't know, but if it is mistaken it doesn't strike me as obviously so. It also strikes me as significantly similar to Tye's own view. A notion of "poise" plays a key role in Tye's theory of phenomenal character, and I have a hard time reading poise as being anything other than a dispositional property, specifically, a disposition related to belief. Here's Tye describing his own view in the interview:
A mental state has phenomenal character just in case it is appropriately poised (a functional role condition) and it nonconceptually represents a complex of properties.
What representations have to do to get to be experiences, on my view, is that they have to arise at the right level in the information processing. They have to be available to cognitive processes in the right sort of way. They have to be appropriately ‘poised’. Your visual experience of the computer screen before you and its properties is the evidential basis for your belief that there is a computer screen ahead and a whole host of related beliefs.
I'm guessing that Dennett's reaction to that wouldn't be "that's obviously mistaken" but instead "sounds pretty good to me". So what's the rift, here? I'm not seeing it. First-order representationalists about phenomenal character, can't we all get along?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

9th International Symposium of Cognition, Logic and Communication


9th International Symposium of Cognition, Logic and Communication

PERCEPTION AND CONCEPTS 16-18 May 2013, Riga, Latvia.

INVITED ORGANIZERS: Edouard Machery (Pittsburgh) and Jesse Prinz (CUNY)

INVITED SPEAKERS include: Ruth Millikan (Connecticut), Fiona Macpherson (Glasgow), David Chalmers (ANU/NYU), Alex Byrne (MIT), Andy Clark (Edinburgh), Diane Pecher (Rotterdam), Ophelia Deroy (London), Rob Goldstone (Indiana), Pierre Jacob (Institut Jean Nicod), Casey O'Callaghan (Rice), Alva Noe (UC, Berkeley) 

We will be particularly interested in the following questions. To focus first on concepts, could it be that, when we entertain a concept in thought, we are in fact entertaining and manipulating perceptual representations? Are concepts entirely different from perceptual representations? Does acquiring a concept consist in abstracting a representation from one’s percepts? If not, what is the relation between percepts and concepts? To turn now to perception, can our perceptual experiences be influenced, or penetrated, by one’s concepts and beliefs? If so, what is the exact nature of the influence of higher cognition on perception? Does the content of perceptual experiences depend on which concepts which one has? Can one even perceive without concepts?

Submitted papers should have a maximum of 3000 words and should be accompanied by a 200 words abstract. All submitted papers should be PREPARED FOR BLIND REVIEW, and should be sent electronically with 'Paper Riga 2013' as a subject to:

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS 15 JANUARY 2013. Authors will be notified in LATE JANUARY 2013.

Symposium proposal:

In addition to individual papers, the scientific committee will be considering proposals for symposia. Symposia should include a minimum of three and a maximum of four contributions. Submissions should be clearly identified with the heading “Symposium proposal” and include:1) The title of the symposium, 2) A brief description of the topic and its relevance to the conference (200 words), 3) The name, affiliation and academic status (student, lecturer, assistant professor, etc.) of each participant, 4) The title of each contribution as well as an extended 500-1000 word abstract. 5) The name, affiliation and academic status of the person who will be chairing the symposium. Symposium proposals should be sent electronically with 'Symposium Riga 2013' as a title to:

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS 15 JANUARY 2013. Authors will be notified in LATE JANUARY 2013.

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Research Topics

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Research Topics

Examining Subjective Experience: Advances in Neurophenomenology

Hosted By:
Wendy HasenkampMind and Life Institute, USA 
Evan ThompsonUniversity of Toronto, Canada 

Deadline for abstract submission: 12 Dec 2012
Deadline for full article submission: 17 Apr 2013