Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays
Smith (Quentin) & Jokic (Aleksandar)
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
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Back Cover Blurb

  1. Consciousness is perhaps the most puzzling problem we humans face in trying to understand ourselves. It has been the subject of intense study for several decades, but, despite substantial progress, the most difficult problems have still not reached any generally agreed solution.
  2. Future research can start with this book. Eighteen original, specially written essays offer new angles on the subject. The contributors, who include many of the leading figures in philosophy of mind, discuss such central topics as intentionality, phenomenal content, knowledge of mental states, consciousness and the brain, and the relevance of quantum mechanics1 to the study of consciousness.


2002, so only "new-ish" essays

"Smith (Quentin) - Consciousness - New Philosophical Perspectives: Introduction"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

  1. Sets the contemporary scene, with most philosophers lying between the extremes of Brentano and the Churchlands.
  2. "Brentano (Franz) - Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint": uses terms differently to contemporaries, and in his terms Consciousness = Intentionality = Mentality. Qualia are physical phenomena, not mental phenomena, and we are aware of them in the same way as we are aware of (say) mountains. They are the objects of intentional acts, but don’t themselves have intentionality.
  3. "Churchland (Paul) - The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul: Philosophical Journey into the Brain" states that consciousness is the neural activity of the intralaminar nucleus of the thalamus. For Churchland, what Brentano meant by Consciousness, Intentionality and Mentality do not exist. Consciousness = non-periodic variations in neural activity of the recurrent network radiating to and from the intralaminar nucleus of the thalamus, a network that extends to every area of the cerebral cortex.
  4. Other philosophers lie between these extremes, distinguishing all three of Consciousness, Intentionality and Mentality.
  5. Consciousness may be identified with phenomenal content, or with systems with higher-order self-referential beliefs or monitoring processes.
  6. Other philosophers (eg. Rey) deny the existence of consciousness, and Patricia Churchland thinks that it will go the way of “caloric fluid”. Note that the reference for the latter claim ("Churchland (Paul) - Matter & Consciousness") is incorrect. It’s “1988:277”, which I need to track down sometime.
  7. The book is non-prescriptive, but sets out the range of options in the philosophers’ own words.
  8. It is divided into four parts, the first three of which are standard topics; the last – quantum consciousness - being a new arrival, and Quentin Smith’s own area of interest.
    • Part 1- Intentionality and Phenomenal Content: the key issues are whether phenomenal contents:-
      • are intentional,
      • accompany intentionality, or
      • are objects of intentional consciousness
    • Part 2 - Knowing Mental States:
      • Nichol and Stich’s criticism of the Theory Theory
      • Nichol and Stich’s Monitoring Mechanism Theory of self-consciousness1
      • Andrews’ criticism of an assumption (the predication / explanation symmetry assumption) underlying both the Theory Theory’s and the Simulation Theory’s accounts of how others’ mental states are known.
      • Chalmers & Sosa both focus on knowledge of our own experiences and have implications for foundationalism in epistemology
    • Part 3 - Consciousness and the Brain:
      • Fetzer’s semiotic theory of the mind and body
      • Van Gulick on the Explanatory Gap
      • Papineau argues that contemporary “Theories of Consciousness” address a pseudo-question
      • Lycan develops the materialist’s perspectival response to the Knowledge Argument
      • Brueckner & Beroukhim reject McGinn’s Mysterian theory, whereby we are cognitively closed to the natural property that is responsible for consciousness
    • Part 4 - Quantum Mechanics2 and Consciousness: the point of this section is to show that the introduction of QM forces us to rethink the nature of consciousness, rather than just the sub-cellular physiology that ‘gives rise’ to consciousness. The more rigorous philosophical work in this area is quite different from the Penrose / Hammeroff Theory. No mathematical knowledge of QM is required.

"Tye (Michael) - Blurry Images, Double Vision, and Other Oddities: New Problems for Representationalism?"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Author’s Introduction
  • Representationalism is a thesis about the phenomenal character of experiences, about their immediate subjective or felt qualities. The thesis is sometimes stated as a supervenience1 claim: necessarily, experiences that are alike in their representational contents are alike in their phenomenal character. In its strong form, representationalism is an identity thesis. It asserts that phenomenal character is one and the same as representational content that meets certain further conditions. Representationalists are sometimes also content-externalists. The combination of representationalism about phenomenal character with externalism about content yields phenomenal externalism (the view that qualia ain't in the head).
  • Objections to representationalism often take the form of putative counterexamples. One class of these consists of cases in which, it is claimed, experiences have the same representational content but different phenomenal character. Christopher Peacocke adduces examples of this sort. Another class is made up of problem cases in which allegedly experiences have different representational contents (of the relevant sort) but the same phenomenal character. Ned Block's Inverted Earth example is of this type. The latter cases only threaten strong representationalism, the former are intended to refute representationalism in both its strong and weaker forms. Counter-examples are also sometimes given in which supposedly experience of one sort or another is present but in which there is no state with representational content. Swampman — the molecule by molecule replica of Donald Davidson, formed accidentally by the chemical reaction that occurs in a swamp when a partially submerged log is hit by lightning — is one such counter-example, according to some philosophers. But there are more mundane cases. Consider the exogenous feeling of depression. That, it may seem, has no representational content. Cases of the third sort, depending upon how they are elucidated further, can pose a challenge to either strong or weaker versions of representationalism.
  • Here I will concentrate almost entirely on visual experience and the question of whether there are any clear counter-examples to the following modality-specific2, weak representational thesis:
    (R) Necessarily, visual experiences that are alike with respect to their representational contents are alike phenomenally.
  • This thesis seems to me to have considerable interest in itself, for if it is true, it tells us something important and striking about the metaphysical basis of visual phenomenology. And if it is false, then strong representationalism — the thesis that phenomenal character is one and the same as representational content that meets certain further conditions — is automatically false too. At the end of the chapter I shall also make some remarks on two examples that purport to show that (R) cannot be strengthened to cover experiences in different sensory modalities3 that are alike in their representational contents.
  • The problem cases upon which I shall focus are all real world ones. So, there is no question about whether the cases could occur. Those who think that the inverted spectrum supplies a possible counter-example to (R) will, no doubt, take the view that this attention to the actual is too confining. After all, (R) is a modal4 thesis. To refute it, we only need a possible exception.
  • This is true, of course, as far as it goes. However, if the necessity in (R) is metaphysical, then counter-examples must be metaphysically possible. Mere conceptual possibility will not suffice. Whether the inverted spectrum really does provide metaphysically possible cases of visual experiences that are phenomenally inverted and yet representationally identical is open to dispute. Indeed it may be disputed whether such cases are even conceptually possible. I do not want to become embroiled in that dispute here. My aim is more modest: I want to see if there are any clear-cut, actual cases that involve representational identity and phenomenal difference.
  • I shall have relatively little to say about the original Peacocke examples. There are now well-known replies to these examples by representationalists; and I think that it is fair to say that a good many philosophers are persuaded by these replies. My primary interest is in a range of new problem cases that have surfaced for thesis (R) in the fifteen years since (Peacocke’s) Sense and Content was published. The new cases I shall address, though actual, for the most part involve visual oddities of one sort or another: blurry images, after-images, phosphenes, tunnel vision, vision with eyes closed, double vision. What I shall try to show is that none of these cases is convincing. Representationalism remains unconquered!
  • The chapter is divided into three sections. In the first section, I sketch out how I think of the various different levels of representational content to be found in visual experience. In the second section, I take up counter-examples to (R). The final section briefly addresses two problem cases for an amodal5 version of (R).

  1. Levels of Content in Visual Experience
    • Fig. 1.1: Effect of Apperceptive Agnosia
    • Fig. 1.2: Effect on Perception of Orientation of Head
    • Fig. 1.3: The Impossible Figure
  2. Replies to Counter-Examples
    • Case 1: The Long, Dark Tunnel
    • Case 2: The Tilted Coin
    • Case 3: Blurred Vision
      … Fig. 1.4: A Checkerboard Picture (of Abraham Lincoln)
    • Case 4: The Apparent Location of an After-image
    • Case 5: Eyes Closed Towards the Sun
    • Case 6: Double Vision
    • Case 7: Sexism, Racism and Ageism
  3. Cross-Modal6 Cases


"Crane (Tim) - The Intentional Structure of Consciousness"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Author's Conclusion
  • I have argued for the perceptual theory of the kind of consciousness involved in sensation in a somewhat indirect way. My general aim is to dispute the simple division of states of mind into intentional states and qualitative states: this is the essence of the division assumed by non-intentionalism. The best case for this division is often claimed to be the case of bodily sensation. But, I argued, bodily sensations do exhibit the marks of intentionality, specifically in the felt location of sensation. The question then is whether such states of mind also have non-intentional properties (qualia). Weak intentionalism says they do. I claimed that this view is unstable, tending .to collapse back into non-intentionalism. If we want to maintain an intentionalist position, then we should adopt strong intentionalism. Having set the rival view (representationalism) to one side, we end up with the perceptual theory. It turns out that, from a phenomenological point of view, this theory is not as strange as it might first seem.
  • At the beginning of this chapter I asked whether there is anything we can learn from the (admittedly false) naïve view that pain is not a mental state. If an intentional theory of bodily sensation is correct, then we can see why it is natural to think of pain as a physical state: since it is essential to pain that it feels to be in one's body. But none the less, it is a mental state, because it involves the characteristic mark of the mental: the intentional directedness of the mind upon an object. …. It is this essential feature of bodily sensation that nourishes an intentional conception of sensation, and therefore the intentionalist conception of the mind.
  • The perceptual theory of bodily sensation is supposed to be a phenomenological theory, a systematic account or a general description of what it is like to have a certain kind of experience. As such, it does not solve some of the problems that some accounts of consciousness address. The theory is silent on the explanatory gap, it leaves the knowledge argument where it is, and it says nothing about how there can be a physicalist reduction of consciousness. But these are not the only questions about consciousness. There is also another traditional philosophical project: that of understanding how different types or aspects of consciousness ‘feature in the fundamental notions of mentality, agency and personhood’, as Tyler Burge puts it. … The view defended in this chapter is put forward as part of an attempt at such an understanding.

  1. The Intentional and the Qualitative
  2. The Idea of Intentionality
  3. Intentionalism and Non-Intentionalism about Sensation
  4. Weak Intentionalism
  5. Strong Intentionalist Theories of Sensation: Representationalism
  6. Strong Intentionalist Theories of Bodily Sensation: The Perceptual Theory
  7. Conclusion



"Levine (Joseph) - Experience and Representation"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Author’s Conclusion
  • In this chapter I have explored the relation between the qualitative character of experience and its intentional content. Most philosophers who defend a version of intentionalism — the doctrine that qualitative character supervenes1 on intentional content — do so as a way of reducing the problem of qualia to the problem of intentionality. For that reason, they tend to adopt an externalist version of the doctrine, on which the intentional contents on which qualia supervene2 attribute physical properties to distal objects. I have argued that this version of intentionalism is untenable.
  • On the other hand, I have admitted that the idea that qualia supervene3 on intentional contents — when divorced from its externalist interpretation — does have virtue. After surveying various other versions of the doctrine, I argued that the most plausible one is the one defended by Shoemaker, on which the relevant intentional contents attribute properties to distal objects, but where the dispositions in question essentially involve qualia. This view satisfies various plausibility constraints on a theory of the relation between qualia and intentional contents, but it does not serve the reductive function for which most philosophers of mind hoped to employ intentionalism. So much the worse for reduction.

COMMENT: Part One: Intentionality and Phenomenal Content, Chapter 3

"Loar (Brian) - Transparent Experience and the Availability of Qualia"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Author’s Introduction
  • Two strong intuitions about visual experience seem to conflict radically. One is that visual experiences have discernible qualitative features, often called qualia. They are aspects of what it is like to have particular visual experiences, subjective or felt aspects of experiences. They present themselves as intrinsic and non-relational properties of visual experience, and they come in great detail. Almost all qualiphiles think of qualia as introspectable. The competing intuition is that visual experience is transparent: when you attend to a visual experience as it is going on, you will notice its objects, i.e. the things you see or apparently see, including their apparent properties and relations, and you will notice your (diaphanous) visual relation to those external objects and properties; and, representationists say, that is all.
  • I endorse the idea that normal visual experience is transparent, both object-transparent and property-transparent. But I want also to say that there are visual qualia, and that we can directly discern them. This pairing of views is not usual, but I hope it will become plausible. Not to be too paradoxical at the outset, I can say that the resolution will be that we can have two perspectives on our own experiences: in one mode of attention, visual experience is phenomenally transparent, while in another visual qualia are discernible.

  1. The Standard View of Qualia
  2. Against Qualia
  3. Some Inconclusive Points on the Side of Qualia
  4. Phenomenal Sameness
  5. Three Accounts of Hallucination without Qualia
    a). Merely intentional objects
    b). Property-complexes
    c). Appearances
  6. How to Spot Qualia
  7. Object-Directedness
  8. Colour-Directedness
  9. Isolated Brains
  10. Qualia: Inferred or Presented?
  11. Intentional Qualia and Concepts
  12. Three Frames of Mind: Transparent and Oblique Perspectives
    a). Unreflective transparency
    b). Transparent reflection
    c). Oblique reflection
  13. Final Observations

COMMENT: Part One: Intentionality and Phenomenal Content, Chapter 4

"McLaughlin (Brian) - Colour, Consciousness, and Colour Consciousness"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Author’s Introduction
  • For those of us blessed with sight, colours have been manifest in the scenes before our eyes ever since such scenes first came into focus. Familiarity has not bred understanding, however.
  • The nature of these old acquaintances remains a matter of dispute. The dispute is intimately tied to ‘the hard problem' of visual consciousness — the problem of determining the nature of visual consciousness.

  1. Revelation
  2. Colours v. What It’s Like to See Them
  3. A Functional Analysis of Colour
  4. Our Functional Analysis v. Dispositionalism
  5. Will the Circle be Broken?
  6. Might Redness Not Have Been Redness?
  7. The Role of Vision Science
  8. Relations Amongst the Colours
  9. Colour Space and the Phenomenal Character of Colour Experiences
  10. The Problem of Standard Variation
  11. A Relativist Response to the Problem of Standard Variation
  12. The Problem of Common Ground and the Problem of Multiple Grounds
  13. A Promising Strategy for Solving the Problem of Common Ground
  14. On the Possibility of a Certain Kind of Phenomenal Character Inversion
  15. Intentionalism
  16. Colour and Tye’s and Dretske’s Wide Strong Denotational-Intentionalism
  17. Tye’s and Dretske’s Commitment to Colour Absolutism
  18. Phenomenal Characters, Subjectivity, and Direct Acquaintance
    … Red Mary
    … Water and H2O

COMMENT: Part One: Intentionality and Phenomenal Content, Chapter 5

"Nichols (Shaun) & Stich (Stephen) - How to Read Your Own Mind: A Cognitive Theory of Self-Consciousness"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Authors' Conclusion
  • The empirical work on mind-reading provides an invaluable resource for characterizing the cognitive mechanisms underlying our capacity for self-awareness. However, we think that other authors have drawn the wrong conclusions from the data. Contrary to the claims of theory theorists, the evidence indicates that the capacity for self-awareness does not depend on the theory of mind. It's much more plausible, we have argued, to suppose that self-awareness derives from a monitoring mechanism that is independent of the ToM.
  • The intriguing evidence from autism has been used to support the TT. But we've argued that the evidence from psychopathologies1 actually suggests the opposite. The available evidence indicates that the capacity for understanding other minds can be dissociated from the capacity to detect one's own mental states and that the dissociation can go in either direction. If this is right, it poses a serious challenge to the TT, but it fits neatly with our suggestion that the MM is independent of the ToM. Like our MM theory, the ascent routine and the phenomenological accounts are also alternatives to the TT; but these theories, we have argued, are either obviously implausible or patently insufficient to capture central cases of self-awareness.
  • Hence, we think that at this juncture in cognitive science, the most plausible account of self-awareness is that the mind comes pre-packaged with a set of special-purpose mechanisms for reading one's own mind.

  1. Introduction
    … Fig. 6.1: Basic Cognitive Architecture
  2. The Theory Theory
    2.1 The Theory Theory Account of Reading Other People’s Minds
    … Fig. 6.2: Theory theory of detecting the mental states of others
    … Fig. 6.3: Theory theory of detecting and reasoning about the mental states of others
    2.2 Reading One’s Own Mind: Three Versions of the Theory Theory Account
    … Fig. 6.4-6: Theory theory of self-awareness, versions 1-3
  3. Reading One’s Own Mind: The Monitoring Mechanism Theory
    3.1 The Monitoring Mechanism and Propositional Attitudes
    … Fig. 6.7: Monitoring mechanism theory of self-awareness
    3.2 The Monitoring Mechanism and Perceptual States
    … Fig. 6.8: Percept monitoring mechanism theory
  4. Autism and the Theory Theory
    4.1 Autism and the Appearance/Reality Distinction
    4.2 Introspective Reports and Autobiographies from Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome
    4.3 What Conclusions Can We Draw from the Data on Introspection in Autism?
  5. Double Dissociation and the Monitoring Mechanism Theory
    5.1 Intact MM but Damaged ToM
    5.1 Intact ToM but Damaged MM
  6. The Ascent Routine Theory
  7. The Phenomenological Theory
    7.1 Two Versions of Goldman’s Proposal
    7.2 Critique of Goldman’s Theory
    … Fig. 6.9: Phenomenological model of self-awareness
  8. Conclusion

COMMENT: Part Two: Knowing Mental States, Chapter 6

"Andrews (Kristin) - Knowing Mental States: The Asymmetry of Psychological Prediction and Explanation"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Philosophers Index Abstract
    I argue that there is a widespread assumption in the folk psychology literature (and especially the simulation theory / theory theory debate) that psychological prediction and explanation are symmetrical. When explanation and prediction are associated in this way, they are taken to be two expressions of a single cognitive capacity. However, the symmetry thesis should be rejected in folk psychology, just as it was rejected in the philosophy of science. The pragmatic nature of explanation is discussed, and I conclude that whereas prediction of behavior is most often accomplished by statistical induction, explanations of behavior are not given in those terms.
  1. Introduction
  2. The Symmetry Thesis
  3. Prediction
  4. Explanation
  5. Asymmetry of Prediction and Explanation
    … Table 1: ToM x Prediction/Explanation

COMMENT: Part Two: Knowing Mental States, Chapter 7

"Chalmers (David) - The Content and Epistemology of Phenomenal Belief"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Author’s Introduction
  • Experiences and beliefs are different sorts of mental states, and are often taken to belong to very different domains. Experiences are paradigmatically phenomenal, characterized by what it is like to have them. Beliefs are paradigmatically intentional, characterized by their propositional content. But there are a number of crucial points where these domains intersect. One central locus of intersection arises from the existence of phenomenal beliefs: beliefs that are about experiences.
  • The most important phenomenal beliefs are first-person phenomenal beliefs: a subject's beliefs about his or her own experiences, and especially about the phenomenal character of the experiences that he or she is currently having. Examples include the belief that one is now having a red experience. or that one is experiencing pain.
  • These phenomenal beliefs raise important issues in metaphysics, in the theory of content, and in epistemology.
    1. In metaphysics, the relationship between phenomenal states and phenomenal beliefs is sometimes taken to put strong constraints on the metaphysics of mind.
    2. In the theory of content, analysing the content of phenomenal beliefs raises special issues for a general theory of content to handle, and the content of such beliefs has sometimes been taken to be at the foundations of a theory of content more generally.
    3. In epistemology, phenomenal beliefs are often taken to have a special epistemic status, and are sometimes taken to be the central epistemic nexus between cognition and the external world.
  • My project here is to analyse phenomenal beliefs in a way that sheds some light on these issues. I will start by focusing on the content of these beliefs, and will use the analysis developed there to discuss the underlying factors in virtue of which this content is constituted. I will then apply this framework to the central epistemological issues in the vicinity: incorrigibility, justification, and the dialectic over the ‘Myth of the Given’.

  1. Introduction
    1.1 Phenomenal Realism
  2. The Content of Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Beliefs
    2.1 Relational, Demonstrative, and Pure Phenomenal Concepts
    2.2 Inverted Mary
  3. The Constitution of Phenomenal Beliefs
    3.1 Direct Phenomenal Concepts and Beliefs
    3.2 Some Notes on Direct Phenomenal Beliefs
  4. The Epistemology of Phenomenal Belief
    4.1 Incorrigibility
    • Incorrigibility Thesis: A direct phenomenal belief cannot be false
    4.2 Acquaintance and Justification
    • Justification Thesis: When a subject forms a direct phenomenal belief based on a phenomenal quality, then that belief is prima facie justified by virtue of the subject’s acquaintance with that quality.
    4.3 Epistemological problems for phenomenal realism
    4.4 ‘The Myth of the Given’
  5. Further Questions
  6. Appendix (a brief and simplified introduction to the two-dimensional semantic framework as I understand it)



"Sosa (Ernest) - Privileged Access"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

  1. Privileged Access: Gilbert Ryle
  2. Privileged Access: Other Accounts
  3. Acquaintance and Awareness
  4. Knowledge of the Given: Through Thick and Thin
    … Fig. 9.1: Well-lit 11-membered Linear Array
    … Fig. 9.2: Eleven-membered Hourglass Array
  5. Recourse to Attention
  6. Experience, Concepts, and Intentionality
    … Fig. 9.3-4: Series of Linear Arrays
  7. Knowledge by Acquaintance

COMMENT: Part Two: Knowing Mental States, Chapter 9

"Fetzer (James) - Consciousness and Cognition: Semiotic Conceptions of Bodies and Minds"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Philosophers Index Abstract
    Considerations adduced within this study suggest that the computational conception--in versions advanced by Haugeland, by Dennett, and by Chalmers--confronts insuperable problems, which stem from inadequate understanding of psychophysical laws and from static and dynamic differences between the modes of operation of digital machines and of thinking things. The theory of minds as semiotic systems explains more of the available evidence and thereby provides a preferable conception of consciousness and cognition.
  1. A comprehensive and complete theory of mentality, including an account of the nature of consciousness and of cognition, would have to include at least the following three ingredients familiar from classical philosophy of mind, namely: a theory of mind, a solution to the mind–body problem, and a resolution of the problem of other minds. This enquiry has the purpose of guiding a summary of the theory of minds as sign-using (or ‘semiotic’) systems and to explain how this approach can solve the mind–body problem (by means of a nomological theory of mind-body interaction) and can resolve the problem of other minds (on the basis of epistemic principles supplied by inference to the best explanation).
  2. This approach appears to fulfil the desideratum advanced by Jerry Fodor – namely; that a cognitive theory aims at connecting the intensional properties of mental states with their causal properties vis-a-vis behaviour – by employing the concept of a sign as something that stands for something else in some respect or other for somebody as a foundation for understanding the nature of a mind, where minds are those kinds of things for which something can stand for something else in some respect or other. It successfully connects the intensional properties of mental states with their causal properties vis-a-vis behaviour, but it also contradicts the popular view of minds as digital machines.
  3. Virtually from conception, the discipline of cognitive science has been dominated by the computational paradigm, according to which cognition is nothing more than computation across representations. Minds are symbol systems (in the sense of Newell and Simon, 1976), the relation of minds and. bodies is that of software to hardware, and the problem of other minds resolved by means of the Turing test. John Haugeland has formulated the theses that sustain this conception by observing that, on this approach, thinking is reasoning, reasoning is reckoning, reckoning is computation, and the boundaries of computability define the boundaries of thought ("Haugeland (John) - Semantic Engines: An introduction to Mind Design", 1981). It is an appealing conception.
  1. The Chinese Room (Again)
  2. Simulation and Replication1
  3. Chalmers’s Conception
  4. Chalmers’s Misconception
  5. Chalmersian Supervenience2
  6. Chalmers’s Sleight-of-Hand
  7. Maximal Specificity
  8. A Broader Approach
  9. Minds as Semiotic Systems
  10. Iconic Mentality
  11. Indexical Mentality
  12. Symbolic Mentality
  13. Language and Mentality
  14. Concepts and Cognition
  15. Dennett’s Alternative
  16. Action and Meaning
  17. The Meaning of Mental States
  18. The Role of Rationality
  19. Psychophysical Laws
  20. Minds and Brains
  21. Mind-Body Interaction
  22. Brains and Behaviour
  23. The Nature of Perception
  24. Icons, Indices, Symbols
  25. Turing Machines
  26. The Static Difference
  27. The Dynamic Difference
  28. Ordinary Human Thought
  29. Inference to the Best Explanation
  30. The Problem of Other Minds

COMMENT: Part Three: Consciousness and the Brain, Chapter 10

"Van Gulick (Robert) - Maps, Gaps, and Traps"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Author’s Introduction
  • The explanatory gap metaphor occurs so often in the recent discussion of consciousness that we might easily lose sight of its metaphoric status, we would be unwise to do so.
  • Indeed, we would do well to step back and reflect a little about what points of view might lie behind it

  1. Gaps in the Background
  2. Mapping the Metaphor
    … Fig 11.1: Two Kinds of Gap
    … Fig 11.2: Objective Gaps
    … Fig 11.3: Objective and Subjective Gaps
  3. Zombies and Boomerangs
  4. Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Gap?
    • To Avoid Trap 1: watch out for boomerangs and be sceptical of claims to derive objective gaps from subjective ones
    • To Avoid Trap 2: pay attention to the plurality and diversity of levels in complex systems. Don’t expect to link high-level features with micro-substrates by a simple, direct, and easily surveyable explanation of the type we get in the water / H2O example.
    • To Avoid Trap 3: make sure you’re trying to relate the right relata. In particular pay attention to relata defined in terms of the larger system and to relations between minds and brains as dynamic interactive wholes, rather than focussing on all-too-familiar puzzles about how isolated mental and physical items might be intelligibly linked.
    • To Avoid Trap 4: resist from the outset the sceptic’s claim that nothing stort of a strict deduction counts as explanation; remember, “not every link need be a bridge”.
    • To Avoid Trap 5: don’t conflate an inability to explain with the total absence of understanding; the former does not entail the latter.

COMMENT: Part Three: Consciousness and the Brain, Chapter11

"Papineau (David) - Theories of Consciousness"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Author’s Introduction
  • My target in this paper is "theories of consciousness". There are many theories of consciousness around, and my view is that they are all misconceived.
  • Consciousness is not a normal scientific subject, and needs handling with special care. It is foolhardy to jump straight in and start building a theory, as if consciousness were just like electricity or chemical valency.
  • We will do much better to reflect explicitly on our methodology first. When we do this, we will see that theories of consciousness are trying to answer a question that isn't there.

  1. Introduction
  2. Consciousness as a Determinable Property
  3. Determinate Conscious Properties are Physical Properties
  4. Phenomenal Concepts and Third-Person Concepts
  5. How Physicalists Can Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Phenomenal Concepts
  6. Kripkean Intuitions
  7. The Antipathetic Fallacy
  8. Implicit Dualism
  9. Physicalist Theories of Consciousness
  10. Testing Theories of Consciousness
  11. Internal Awareness and Phenomenal Concepts
  12. Sentience is Self-Consciousness1
  13. Inner Observation
  14. Is Consciousness a Kind?
  15. A Different Model of Internal Awareness
  16. Conclusions


"Lycan (William) - Perspectival Representation and the Knowledge Argument"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Philosopher’s Index Abstract
  • The perspectivalist response to the Nagel-Jackson knowledge argument is to say that to learn what it is like to undergo a new sensory experience is to access a brain fact under a special introspective mode of presentation, not to acquire a new, nonphysical fact.
  • The present paper raises a problem for perspectivalism and tries to solve it.

Author’s Introduction
  • Someday there will be no more articles written about the ‘Knowledge Argument’. That is beyond dispute. What is less certain is, how much sooner that day will come than the heat death of the universe.
  • I thought I had said my own last words on the topic,
    … "Lycan (William) - Consciousness", Chapter 7, and
    … "Lycan (William) - The Subjectivity of the Mental"
    but it seems not. There is at least a bit of unfinished business.

  1. The Irrepressible Mary
    • (4): For any facts, if F1 = F2, then anyone who knows F1 knows F2.
  2. Perspectivalism
  3. Fine-grained ‘Facts’
  4. The Continuing Problem
  5. The Perspectivalist Approach to the Continuing Problem
    • (4’): For any facts, if F1 = F2, then anyone who knows F1 and is not suffering from scientific ignorance knows F2.
    • (4’’): For any facts, if F1 = F2, then, barring pronominal discrepancies, anyone who knows F1 and is not suffering from scientific ignorance knows F2.
  6. And (4’’)
    • (4’’’): For any facts, if F1 = F2, then, barring pronominal discrepancies and differences of sensory or quasi-sensory perspective, anyone who knows F1 and is not suffering from scientific ignorance knows F2.
  7. A Curious Consequence

COMMENT: Part Three: Consciousness and the Brain, Chapter13

"Brueckner (Anthony) & Beroukhim (E. Alex) - McGinn on Consciousness and the Mind-Body Problem"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Philosopher’s Index Abstract
  • This is a discussion of McGinn's "non-constructive, naturalist" solution to the mind-body problem, according to which our minds are cognitively closed off from the relation between consciousness and the brain.
  • We argue that McGinn's position ends up close to Cartesian dualism-a view he rejects.

Authors’ Introduction
Authors’ Conclusion
  • McGinn has attempted a naturalistic, non-constructive solution to the mind-body problem. We have seen that his Humean argument for non-constructivity, in which he attempts to show that we are cognitively closed with respect to the linking property P, raises problems for his naturalism. This argument depends upon claims about consciousness and about P that are Cartesian in character.
  • The ways of resolving this problem that we have considered are all problematic. We conclude that McGinn has not succeeded in presenting a viable solution to the mind-body problem.

  1. McGinn’s Solution
  2. McGinn’s Argument for Cognitive Closure
  3. McGinn’s Cartesianism
  4. Conclusion

COMMENT: Part Three: Consciousness and the Brain, Chapter14

"Smith (Quentin) - Why Cognitive Scientists Cannot Ignore Quantum Mechanics"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Author’s Introduction
  • There is something fundamentally disturbing about contemporary philosophy of mind and philosophical cognitive science. Almost without exception, the philosophical theories are logically inconsistent with the most well-confirmed theory ever developed by humans, namely, quantum mechanics1. Why do philosophers develop theories of the mind-brain as if quantum mechanics2 does not exist, or as if it is utterly irrelevant to theories of the mind-brain?
  • I believe this epistemic situation has arisen due to a series of questionable philosophical arguments about the role of philosophy of mind/cognitive science and quantum mechanics3 in our overall theoretical framework. In section 1 I explain some of these arguments and contend they are unsound.
  • A second factor is that the most epistemically warranted resolution of the conflict between philosophical theories of the mind-brain and quantum mechanics4, namely, that current cognitive science and philosophies of mind be replaced by a quantum cognitive science, involves such a radical violation of the theory-forming criterion of ‘conservativeness' (roughly ‘change your old, most central beliefs to the minimal degree required by the new evidence or arguments’), that philosophers might think it is more reasonable to retain standard, non-quantum cognitive science and wait until a ‘new science' is developed that allows the criterion of theoretical conservativeness to be more nearly met than would be the case if we made the transition from non-quantum to quantum cognitive science. This second factor is typically expressed in noting the ‘bizarreness' (relative to our non-quantum background beliefs) of the various ontologies with which we are faced if we have to accept any of the presently known interpretations of quantum mechanics5 and their implications for cognitive science.
  • In fact, there may be an even more basic (and perhaps unique) problem that arises due to the highly non-conservative shift in thinking that a trasition to quantum cognitive science would require. It may be that the quantum ontologies are so ‘strange' that many, most, or virtually all philosophers find them psychologically impossible to believe. This may be a genetic problem rather than merely a problem in the lack of intellectual acculturation in quantum ontology. For example, one of the ontological interpretations of quantum mechanics6 requires us to believe that each of our minds (conceived in terms of substance dualism) is regularly splitting into an infinite (continuum-many) number of distinct minds, each with the same body (so there is just one body or brain for all the minds), such that each of the minds is unaware of the other minds (e.g. a version of Albert and Loewer's 'many-minds' interpretation of quantum mechanics)7. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that this is the correct interpretation of quantum mechanics8. It could be that many, most, or all of us are not psychologically capable of actually and sincerely believing this ontology. Varying on McGinn, it could be that we are not cognitively closed to understanding the mind-brain relation (for example), but that we can understand the true theory of this relation but are cognitively closed to believing it. This should not be surprising. Why should we expect that homo sapiens sapiens is genetically capable of finding epistemically plausible the ontology implied by the true cognitive science, especially if this ontology differs radically from both folk psychology and what Stich calls ‘our folk physics' (common sense beliefs, predictions, explanations, etc., about the nature of physical reality)? Believing such an ontology appears to confer no increase in our survival value; it may even decrease our ‘fitness' to survive and reproduce. Would we still want to undertake the difficult task of raising offspring if we all knew and emotionally appreciated the significance of the fact that infinite sets of varying copies of ourselves were continually coming into existence? Admittedly, many of our beliefs have no firm explanatory link with enhanced reproductive success, but in the case of quantum mechanical beliefs the decrease in our ‘fitness' seems much greater than with other beliefs.
  • Quantum cognitive science (in so far as it is presently developed) requires the rejection of both folk psychology and folk physics, but not in the name of eliminative materialism, reductive physicalism, or what the Churchlands call ‘neuroscience' or ‘neurophilosophy'. For these ontologies (e.g. Patricia and Paul Churchland's versions of eliminative materialism) are non-quantum ontologies and will have to be rejected for the same reasons that require the rejection of folk psychology and folk physics.
  • There will remain two positive aspects of non-quantum cognitive science or philosophy of mind (if my arguments for quantum cognitive science are sound).
  • One positive aspect is that non-quantum cognitive sciences, if interpreted instrumentally (and anti-realistically) can still have the theoretical virtue of being successful at predicting approximately accurate macroscopic observations. Although non-quantum theories are false if interpreted in terms of ontological realism, they are none the less highly useful for instrumentalist purposes.
  • The second positive aspect is that the non-quantum theories or theses can in some cases be ‘quantized' and made consistent with quantum cognitive science and in these cases their quantized versions can be interpreted realistically and thereby can have the truth value of true (in the sense of 'correspondence' to reality).
  • These theses are argued for in section 1 of this chapter. In section 2 I outline a new version of quantum cognitive science that is capable of explaining the only available experimental, macroscopic evidence for quantum cognitive science, the Nunn-Clarke-Blott experiments. Note that the widely discussed Hammeroff-Penrose quantum theory9 of the physical basis of consciousness (they do not develop a theory of the nature of consciousness) is not put forward by Hammeroff and Penrose as an experimentally confirmed theory, but as a testable proposal that is not yet confirmed. Much of the criticism of their theory is based on the false assumption that they put it forward as a confirmed hypothesis.

  1. A response to the Standard Objections to Quantum Cognitive Science
    • 1.1 Fallacious Reasoning about Prior and Posterior Probabilities of Non-Quantum Cognitive Science and Quantum Cognitive Science
    • 1.2 The Objection that Quantum Cognitive Science is Mere Speculation
    • 1.3 The Objection that Cognitive Science is an Autonomous Science
    • 1.4 The Objection that Quantum Mechanics10 is Unnecessary for Predictive Success in Cognitive Science
    • 1.5 The Objection that Quantum Mechanics11 can be Interpreted Instrumentally, in which case Non-Quantum Cognitive Science can be Realistic
  2. Macroscopic Evidence for the Quantum Basis and the Quantum Nature of Consciousness
    • 2.1 A New De Broglie / Bohm Quantum Consciousness Hypothesis
    • 2.2 A Quantum Brain Hypothesis

COMMENT: Part Four: Quantum Mechanics12 and Consciousness, Chapter 15

"Lockwood (Michael) - Consciousness and the Quantum World: Putting Qualia on the Map"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Author’s Introduction
  • Let me begin by nailing my colours to the mast. I count myself a materialist, in the sense that I take consciousness to be a species of brain activity. Having said that, however, it seems to me evident that no description of brain activity of the relevant kind, couched in the currently available languages of physics, physiology, or functional or computational roles, is remotely capable of capturing what is distinctive about consciousness. So glaring, indeed, are the shortcomings of all the reductive programmes currently on offer, that I cannot believe that anyone with a philosophical training, looking dispassionately at these programmes, would take any of them seriously for a moment, were it not for a deep-seated conviction that current physical science has essentially got reality taped, and accordingly, something along the lines of what the reductionists are offering must be correct. To that extent, the very existence of consciousness seems to me to be a standing demonstration of the explanatory limitations of contemporary physical science. On the assumption that some form of materialism is nevertheless true, we have only to introspect in order to recognize that our present understanding of matter is itself radically deficient. Consciousness remains for us, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, what it was for Newton at the dawn of the eighteenth century: an occult power that lies beyond the pool of illumination that physical theory casts on the world we inhabit.
  • Having said that, we can only work with what we have. And for all its shortcomings, fundamental physics provides the currently most authoritative overall guide to the material world, which as I conceive it, has consciousness as an integral constituent. It is because material reality, as depicted by modern physics, is quantum-mechanical through and through, that I intend, shortly, to deploy quantum mechanics1 in an analysis of the contents of consciousness.
  • In recent years, a number of people have suggested that distinctively quantum-mechanical effects may be implicated in those brain processes that underlie consciousness. Over the past decade, indeed, such speculations (in which I myself have dabbled in the past) have developed into a major academic industry. This chapter, however, is not intended as a contribution to that industry. My own starting point is the more modest thought that the difficulty we have in integrating mind into our overall world-view may in part be due to the lack of fit between the concepts we bring to bear on our own and others' inner lives, and those that we customarily apply to the material world. Specifically, I suggest that, rather than trying to make do with the conceptual currency of everyday discourse, philosophers of mind should avail themselves of the more finely honed concepts that modern physics has developed, for the purpose of rendering natural phenomena susceptible of illuminating mathematical analysis.

  1. The Mind as a Physical System
    … Fig. 16.1: Harmonic Oscillator
  2. Consciousness and Qualitative Content
  3. The Concept of an Observable
  4. Qualia and Quantum Physics
  5. Slices of Reality
  6. Local Algebras and the Specious Present
  7. Branching Out

COMMENT: Part Four: Quantum Mechanics2 and Consciousness, Chapter 16

"Page (Don) - Mindless Sensationalism: A Quantum Framework For Consciousness"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

  • Of course, there are a multitude of ways in which one might postulate a connection between conscious experiences and a quantum physical world. Quentin Smith, Barry Loewer, and Michael Lockwood have discussed three within this volume. However, rather than reviewing the various possibilities that have been proposed, I shall summarize my own conjecture for the framework or basic form of the connection. When emphasizing the quantum side of the connection, I have called this Sensible Quantum Mechanics1 (SQM, but, for reasons that will become apparent, when emphasizing the conscious side of the connection, I might call it Mindless Sensationalism (MS).
  • Mindless Sensationalism is very similar in many ways to the many-minds theories developed by Lockwood and by David Albert and Loewer, except that the basic conscious entities, which Mindless Sensationalism asserts there are ‘many' of, are conscious experiences rather than minds.
    By a ‘conscious experience’, I mean all that one is consciously aware of or consciously experiencing at once. Lockwood has called this a ‘phenomenal perspective’; or ‘maximal experience’, or ‘conscious state'. It could also be expressed as a total ‘raw feel' that one has at once.

Author’s Conclusion
  • In conclusion, I am proposing that Mindless Sensationalism is the best framework we have at the present level for understanding the connection between conscious experiences and quantum theory2. Of course, the framework would only become a complete theory once one had the set M of all conscious experiences p, the awareness operators A(S), and the quantum state sigma of the universe.
  • Even such a complete theory of the quantum world and the conscious world affected by it need not be the ultimate simplest complete theory of the combined physical world. There might be a simpler set of unifying principles from which one could in principle deduce the conscious experiences, awareness operators, and quantum state, or perhaps some simpler entities that replaced them. For example, although in the present framework of Mindless Sensationalism, the quantum world (i.e. its state), along with the awareness operators, determines the measure for experiences in the conscious world, there might be a reverse effect of the conscious world affecting the quantum world to give a simpler explanation than we have at present of the coherence of our conscious experiences and of the correlation between will and action (why my desire to do something I feel I am capable of doing is correlated with my conscious experience of actually doing it, i.e. why I ;’do as I please'). If the quantum state is partially determined by an action functional, can desires in the conscious world affect that functional (say in a co-ordinate-invariant way that therefore does not violate energy-momentum conservation)? Such considerations may call for a more unified framework than Mindless Sensationalism (elsewhere called Sensible Quantum Mechanics)3, which one might call Sensational Quantum Mechanics4. Such a more unified framework need not violate the limited assumptions of Mindless Sensationalism, though it might do that as well and perhaps reduce to Mindless Sensationalism only in a certain approximate sense.
  • To explain these frameworks in terms of an analogy, consider a classical model of spinless massive point charged particles and an electromagnetic field in Minkowski space-time. Let the charged particles be analogous to the quantum world (or the quantum state part of it), and the electromagnetic field be analogous to the conscious world (the set of conscious experiences with its measure µ(S)). At the level of a simplistic materialist mind-body philosophy, one might merely say that the electromagnetic field is part of, or perhaps a property of, the material particles. At the level of Mindless Sensationalism, the charged particle worldlines are the analogue of the quantum state, the retarded electromagnetic field propagator (Coulomb's law in the non-relativistic approximation) is the analogue of the awareness operators, and the electromagnetic field determined by the worldlines of the charged particles and by the retarded propagator is the analogue of the conscious world. (Here one can see that this analogue of Mindless Sensationalism is valid only if there is no free incoming electromagnetic radiation.) At the level of Sensational Quantum Mechanics5, at which the conscious world may affect the quantum world, the charged particle worldlines are partially determined by the electromagnetic field through the electromagnetic forces that it causes. (This more unified framework better explains the previous level but does not violate its description, which simply had the particle worldlines given.) At a yet higher level, there is the possibility of incoming free electromagnetic waves, which would violate the previous frameworks that assumed the electromagnetic field was uniquely determined by the charged particle worldlines. (An analogous suggestion for intrinsic degrees of freedom for consciousness has been made by the physicist Andrei Linde.) Finally, at a still higher level, there might be an even more unifying framework in which both charged particles and the electromagnetic field are seen as modes of a single entity (e.g. to take a popular current speculation, a superstring, or perhaps some more basic entity in ‘M theory').
  • Therefore, although it is doubtful that Mindless Sensationalism is the correct framework for the final unifying theory (if one does indeed exist), it seems to me to be a move in that direction that is consistent with what we presently know about the physical world and consciousness.

COMMENT: Part Four: Quantum Mechanics6 and Consciousness, Chapter 17

"Loewer (Barry) - Consciousness and Quantum Theory: Strange Bedfellows"

Source: Smith & Jokic - Consciousness: New Philosophical Essays

Author’s Introduction
  • The nature of Consciousness1 and the interpretation of quantum mechanics2 are two subjects that excite great interest. Even more exciting then is the idea percolating through certain quarters that there are deep and significant connections between the two.
  • Among those who have advocated a quantum mechanics3–consciousness4 connection are physicists Penrose (Roger)A+, Eugene Wigner, and Henry P. Stapp, philosophers David Chalmers, Michael Lockwood, and Quentin Smith and even a judge, David Hodgson, and an anaesthesiologist, Penrose's co-author Stuart Hameroff.
  • Why do these, and many of those who attend the huge Consciousness5 conferences in Tucson, think that quantum theory6 has anything special to do with Consciousness7? There seem to be two kinds of reasons.
    1. One is that according to the standard way of thinking about quantum theory8 — also known as the Copenhagen Interpretation — measurement and observation play a central role in physical reality in ways that are utterly different from classical mechanics. The theory's founding fathers said and current orthodoxy concurs that quantum mechanics9 requires for its very formulation reference to the measurement process; and while it might not be a majority view among physicists, it is often said that a measurement is not completed until it is registered in the mind of a conscious observer. Some physicists have taken this so far as to claim that reality is indeterminate until observed — or as it has been put ‘the moon is not there until someone looks’.
    2. The other, complementary, reason is that the problem of understanding the relationship between Consciousness10 and physical phenomena is so hard. Advocates of the quantum-consciousness connection think that it is so hard, in part, because the physical phenomena are understood in terms of classical physics. They suggest that progress can be made on this problem by recognizing that the physical basis of Consciousness11 involves specifically quantum mechanical phenomena. Stapp, Penrose, and Smith, for example, claim that while classical mechanics is incapable of accounting for Consciousness12, quantum mechanics13 succeeds in providing explanations of how experience, unity of mind, free choice, and other features of mind emerge from physical states.
  • Quantum mechanics14–consciousness15 enthusiasts see a mutual need: quantum mechanics16 needs Consciousness17 for its formulation — Consciousness18 needs quantum mechanics19 as its physics. Thus mutual necessity makes for strange bedfellows.
  • Here I will be mainly concerned with the idea that quantum mechanics20 implicates Consciousness21 although I will also make a few remarks about whether philosophers have much reason to look to quantum mechanics22 to illuminate philosophical issues concerning Consciousness23. But first, since this book is primarily a collection of papers on philosophical problems of Consciousness24, I will provide a quick tour of some of the main features of quantum theory25 that explain why it is thought to involve Consciousness26 in some way.

  1. Quantum Mechanics27
  2. Quantum Theory28 Needs Consciousness29
  3. Consciousness30 Needs Quantum Theory31

COMMENT: Part Four: Quantum Mechanics32 and Consciousness33, Chapter 18

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