Libet-Style Experiments, Neuroscience, and Libertarian Free Will

Marcelo Fischborn (Federal University of Santa Maria)

[Published version of the paper]

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Abstract: People have disagreed on the significance of Libet-style experiments for discussions about free will. In what specifically concerns free will in a libertarian sense, some argue that Libet-style experiments pose a threat to its existence by providing support to the claim that decisions are determined by unconscious brain events. Others disagree by claiming that determinism, in a sense that conflicts with libertarian free will, cannot be established by Continue reading Libet-Style Experiments, Neuroscience, and Libertarian Free Will

Three Problems for the Predictive Coding Theory of Attention

Madeleine Ransom (University of British Columbia)

Sina Fazelpour (University of British Columbia)

[PDF of Ransom & Fazelpour’s paper]

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While philosophers of science and epistemologists are well acquainted with Bayesian methods of belief updating, there is a new Bayesian revolution sweeping neuroscience and perceptual psychology. First proposed by Helmholtz, predictive coding is the view that the human brain is fundamentally a hypothesis generator. Though predictive coding has most prominently offered Continue reading Three Problems for the Predictive Coding Theory of Attention

Information and Metacognition

Miguel Ángel Sebastián (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)

Marc Artiga (Universitat de Barcelona)0

[PDF of Sebastián & Artiga’s paper]

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Representations are daily postulated in mainstream neuroscience. Nonetheless, few have actually tried to offer a general theory of representation based on those practices. Recently, some approaches have attempted to develop this idea and defend that the relation of representation can be explained in purely informational terms. In this paper we argue that such informational theories cannot provide a satisfactory account of the relation of representation. Continue reading Information and Metacognition

The Revisability View of Belief

Grace Helton, University of Antwerp

[PDF of Grace Helton’s paper]

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It is widely held that for some mental state to be a belief, it must be, in some sense or other, responsive to evidence (Adler, 2002; Currie & Ravenscroft, 2002; Gendler, 2008; Shah & Velleman, 2005; Velleman, 2000; cf. Bayne & Pacherie, 2005; Bortolotti, 2011).1 The claim that beliefs are in fact evidence-responsive is distinct from the normative claim that beliefs ought to respond to evidence. The descriptive claim says that if some mental state is Continue reading The Revisability View of Belief

Against Intellectualist Theories of Belief

Jack Marley-Payne, MIT

[PDF of Jack Marley-Payne’s paper]

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Belief has long been held to be connected with both speech and action. However, cases of conflicting behaviour show that only one of these connections can be constitutive. Intellectualism is the view that the connection between belief and speech (and also conscious judgement) is to be prioritized. And, therefore, subjects with conflicting behaviour believe what they say. A prima facie compelling motivation for the view is the claim that beliefs Continue reading Against Intellectualist Theories of Belief

What Reasoning Might Be

Markos Valaris, (University of New South Wales)

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The philosophical literature on reasoning is dominated by the assumption that reasoning is essentially a matter of following rules. This paper challenges this view, by arguing that it misrepresents the nature of reasoning as a personal-level activity. Reasoning must reflect the reasoner’s take on her evidence. Continue reading What Reasoning Might Be

Colour layering and colour relationalism

Derek Brown, Brandon University

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Colour Relationalism asserts that colours are non-intrinsic or inherently relational properties of objects, properties that depend not only on a target object but in addition on some relation(s) that object bears to other objects. The most powerful argument for Relationalism (Cohen 2009) infers the inherently relational character of colour from cases in which one’s experience of a colour contextually depends on one’s experience of other colours. Experienced colour layering – say looking at grass through a tinted window and experiencing opaque green through transparent grey – demands a contextual interdependency of one’s experience of one of these colours on one’s experience of the other. However, most if not all colour ontologies, and core perceptual experiential mechanisms like acquaintance and representation, can accommodate colour layering. It follows that Continue reading Colour layering and colour relationalism

‘What it is like’ talk is not technical talk

Jonathan Farrell, University of Manchester

[PDF of Jonathan Farrell’s paper]

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1. Introduction

Philosophers commonly talk about phenomenal consciousness by engaging in ‘what it is like’ talk (‘WIL-talk’ for short): they use sentences (‘WIL-sentences’) involving phrases such as ‘what is it like’ and ‘something it is like’. But it is not obvious what we mean when we engage in WIL-talk, or how we mean whatever it is we mean: how, by putting these words in this order do we come to talk about consciousness?[1] Indeed some have argued that when philosophers engage in WIL-talk they are talking nonsense (Hacker 2002), or saying something false or trivial (Snowdon 2010). One popular account of WIL-talk is that it involves technical terms—special terms which, although they look and sound like Continue reading ‘What it is like’ talk is not technical talk

Structure Constancy

E.J. Green, Rutgers University

[PDF of E.J. Green’s paper]

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1. Introduction

Imagine that you are meeting a friend for coffee, and you see her walking toward your table. As she walks, her arms and legs turn about their joints. Moreover, her forearms turn slightly about her elbows, and her tibias move about her knees. I suggest that, despite these changes, her overall structure seems to Continue reading Structure Constancy

Retinal images and object files: towards empirically evaluating philosophical accounts of visual perspective

Assaf Weksler, Open University of Israel and Ben Gurion University

[PDF of Assaf Weksler’s paper]

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According to an influential philosophical view I call “the relational properties view” (RPV), “perspectival” properties, such as the elliptical appearance of a tilted coin, are relational properties of external objects. Philosophers have assessed this view on the basis of phenomenological, epistemological or other purely philosophical considerations. My aim in this paper is Continue reading Retinal images and object files: towards empirically evaluating philosophical accounts of visual perspective