2:00 Leaving Warsaw airport
about 5:00 Arriving in Kazimierz
8:30-9:50 Ricardo Sanz – The nature of knowledge from an autonomous systems perspective
9:50-10:30 Majid Davoody – NAI: Can AI get naturalized?
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break
11:00-1:00 Piotr Bołtuć – The engineering thesis in machine consciousness
Paweł Grabarczyk – Do animals see any objects?
Samuli Pöyhönen – Carving the psyche by its joints: natural kinds and the social construction in psychiatry
Tadeusz Ciecierski – Qualia as properties
Jonathan Knowles – Naturalism and the mind-world relation
3:50-5:10 Alvaro Moreno – A biological perspective of the nature of cognition. Some remarks for a naturalistic program
5:10-6:10 Dinner (in town)
Rodrigo González – Conceivable experiences, naturalism and the explanatory gap
Dimitris Platchias – A HOT solution to the problem of the explanatory gap
Joanna Klimczyk – What is wrong with the buck-passing account of value? On some problems with the naturalistic approach to value
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break
Argyris Arnellos – Naturalising Autonomy – On the neurobiological grounding of emotions
Colin Cheyne – Emotion, Fiction and Naturalism
John Collier – Rationality and Motivation
Juraj Hvorecky – Normativity, emotion and evolution
Marcin Miłkowski – Sciences of re-engineering
Konrad Talmont-Kaminski – Evolution, generative entrenchment and the bounds of rationality
3:50-4:20 Coffee Break
4:20-5:40 Tim Crane – Mental substances and their powers
5:40-6:0 Dinner (in town)
8:30-9:50 Carl Craver – Memory and Moral Agency: A Case Study in Clinical Moral Psychology
9:50-10:30 Thomas Polger – Realisation & mechanism
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break
Benoît Dubreuil – The evolution of the mind: from mental phenomena to (increasingly) plausible mechanisms
Krystyna Bielecka – How truth can be a relational property: Deflationary concept of truth as a relation
Sinem Elkatip – Undermining the distinction between experiences and subjects of experiences
2:40-4:40 Guided tour of Kazimierz
6:00- Conference Dinner (in town)
8:30-10:30 Closing presentation & discussion
12:00 Leaving for Warsaw
3:00 Arriving Warsaw airport
Ricardo Sanz – Madrid Polytechnic University
The nature of knowledge from an autonomous systems perspective
Majid Davoody – Iranian Institute of Philosophy
NAI: Can AI get Naturalized?
When we can tell we have taken a naturalistic approach toward artificial Intelligence? Whether taking such an approach necessitates concentration on posture of implementation of intelligence in biological brain?
This question will lead us to basic question of this paper: Can we treat computational Intelligence abstracted from biological circumstance as natural phenomena?
There was always temptation for composing a clear cut account of Intelligence as an abstract computational process (Turing, 1936. Newell& Simon, 1972). More recently David Marr (1982, p.19) suggested that “There must exists an additional level of understanding at which the character of the information-processing tasks carried out during perception are analysed and understood in a way that is independent of the particular mechanisms and structures that implement them in our heads”.
But there was great amount of debate on this issue, proceeded from achievements of connectionist approach, and some thinkers remarked the difference between abstract computational models and neurophysiologically plausible models of intelligence which envisage necessities raised from implementation (Churchland et la, 1994).
The usual question is how we can differentiate between computational process and its biological aspects in natural concrete rational tasks.
One answer is usually “by emphasizing role of evolution (as a natural factor) in operation of cognitive system”(Jacob, 1977). Biological evolution can discover efficient but messy and unobvious solution that exploit environmental interaction and feedback loops, unavailable to designer of models of artificial computational Intelligence.
But theoretically (at least) there is possibility of reliance to computational abstract process for construction of biological concrete necessities.
Historically speaking, Von Neumann and Turing both developed theoretical accounts of self-organization, showing how simple underlying processes could generate complex systems involving emergent order.(Turing 1950).
Von Neumann, before the discovery of DNA or the genetic code, identified the abstract requirements for self-replication (Burks 1966).
These possibilities which even recently are realized in evolutionary computation and genetic algorithm approach, can afford for answering deficiencies of computational view, and show that simple rules of natural selection can be used properly in foundation of computational systems (Holland, 1975) and hybrid algorithms created in this way are thought by many to be the best approach to optimization in complex and ill-understood problem spaces (Davis 1991).
It seems that the question persists even after surveying condition of commitment to natural process of constitution of intelligent acts: so What is a criterion for counting an intelligent process natural?
I’ll try to show answer of this question depends on our definition of intelligent action. in fact, Then this problem would be equivalent to dilemma of being a realist or conventionalist about natural kind of human species and rationality as its exclusive property.
In such situation if we evade being a conventionalist, then our approach to rationality would be as arbitrary and a priori as Aristotle time, cause according to Aristotelian definition of homeomerous substance (i.e. today natural kinds) Man is a natural kind of species animal, whose essential property is rationality.
On the other hand, we can take a naturalistic approach toward computational intelligence (i.e. count it synonymous with essence of human rationality) , whence we participate in achievements of evolutionary computational approach and take conventional view about natural kinds for granted (i.e. when we accept concepts sorted by Men, are made by Men (Locke, 1975, p 462)).
Churchland, P.S., Ramachandran, V., Senjowski, T (1994). A critique of pure vision. In C, Coach Large-Scale Neuronal Theories of brain. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Davis, L. D., Ed. (1991). Handbook of Genetic Algorithms. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Holland, J. H. (1975). Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems.Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. 2nd ed: MIT Press, 1992.
Jacob, F.(1977) Evolution and Thinking. Science 196(4295). 1161-1166
Locke, J. (1975) An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1986). Oxford: Oxford University press.
Marr, D. (1982) Vision: A Computational Investigation into the Human Representation and Processing of Visual Information. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.
Turing, A. M. (1936) On computable numbers. Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society, Series 2, 42, 230-265
Turing, A. M. (1950) Computing machinery and intelligence. Mind, New Series 59, 433-450.
Newell, A. & Simon, H. A. (1972) Human Problem Solving. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
Piotr Bołtuć – University of Illinois-Springfield
The engineering thesis in machine consciousness
If we can clearly understand a certain natural phenomenon we can build it; the sole obstacles to this may be practical (for instance the project would be too large for a human society to carry on). This is the engineering thesis. The point is that a clear understanding of any event involves an explanation how this phenomenon functions. Such explanation is a blueprint that can be reverse-engineered so as to gain the same outcome by similar or dissimilar means.
The engineering thesis applies to consciousness, if consciousness is a natural process. While many philosophers, at least from Descartes, seemed to claim that first-person consciousness, self or awareness is not a natural process, research in neuroscience gives us stronger and stronger reasons to believe that consciousness is in fact a natural process. Such naturalism was typically, at least from Hobbes, associated with reductionism about the nature of consciousness. However, the arguments raised by Nagel, Chalmers, Block and others gives us good reasons to endorse non-reductive naturalism on consciousness. We call such notion hard consciousness (h-consciousness) from Chalmers’ well known hard problem of consciousness [Chalmers 1995]; we use this regulative definition because not all kinds of phenomenal consciousness (p-consciousness) satisfy the criteria of h-consciousness [Boltuc 2009].
Importantly, the engineering thesis does not boil down to the claim that consciousness can be programmed. This is because consciousness is unlikely to be merely an information processing algorithm [Searle]. Instead, the claim is (contra Searle) that consciousness can be built – what could be programmed is a computer that can generate an algorithm, however complex, able to guide a machine, or a living agent, that would build a conscious entity in some organic or inorganic physical substance. Programming occurs, but at the meta-level, just like in all kinds of engineering: we design a function that determines structure and material, from a plastic cup to a complex electronic system, built by a factory robot or a number of those.
Some IA experts seem to presume that consciousness is not at the level of what is engineered by a program but more like a program itself. This view seems to come from making an insufficient distinction between thinking and consciousness, to which we now proceed. First, we draw a clear distinction between thinking and consciousness. Then we distinguish different definitions, or levels, of consciousness. We end up with the notion of consciousness that is not merely a complex cognitive function (information processing) but also a locus of one’s awareness [Shalom]. This is h-consciousness [Boltuc and Boltuc] as in Chalmers’ hard problem [Chalmers 1995, 2003]. The engineering thesis claims that even such, non-reductive consciousness can be engineered, or rather what can be engineered is a projector of such consciousness built in organic or inorganic matter. The interesting point is that such first-person awareness is distinct from thinking and does not seem to be in a one-one relationship with computational power.
We skip the issue of supposedly large moral implications of such project for two reasons: first, because it was covered elsewhere [Boltuc 2008, 2009]; second, because the implications are not so radical as some philosophers hasten to argue. Many animals with weak or questionable moral standing (e.g. rats or meat producing animals) unquestionably possess this sort of consciousness.
Finally, we discuss briefly some of the leading theories of consciousness. We try to distinguish the theories that cover just functional aspects of consciousness from those that are relevant for the issue at hand since they try to explain the locus of awareness. The latter ones pertain to h-consciousness. We encourage readers to draw further hypotheses of how the engineering of h-consciousness would in principle work within some such theoretical framework.
Peter Fazekas – The University of Edinburgh
Gergely Kertész – Budapest University of Technology and Economics
Mechanisms and the Problem of Higher Level Causation
A mechanistic explanation accounts for a phenomenon in terms of component parts, their interactions, and organization. Causation, thus, plays a fundamental part in mechanistic explanations: how component parts interact with each other is one of the main aspects of the explanation provided.
Moreover, mechanisms come in levels and when describing mechanisms, this approach evokes causation on every level of analysis.
The metaphysical problem of causal preemption is a serious threat for any approach evoking causation on different levels of organization or composition. The threat comes in the form of a dilemma.
On the first horn, the composite entity has no causal power distinct from the relevant causal powers of its component parts. The lower level parts do everything there is to do, which makes the higher level entity causally impotent. This forces us to interpret higher level causal talk in an instrumentalist way.
On the second horn of the dilemma, there is genuine causation between higher levels entities as well. In this case, however, we are forced to endorse emergentism claiming that there are entities which are more than mere composites of certain parts.
Our presentation shows that the above dilemma poses a serious problem for the proponents of mechanistic explanations, if they want to claim that their approach is effective in maintaining the autonomy of special sciences.
On the one hand, it seems to be a central tenet of the mechanistic approach that in those cases which are explainable by mechanisms there are no causal powers at higher levels unanalyzable in terms of the causal powers at the lower level. This claim is incompatible with the second horn of the dilemma and it puts the approach onto the first horn.
Maintaining the autonomy of special sciences seem to be incompatible with the first horn. We argue that the dilemma cannot be resolved without giving up certain bits of what mechanistic explanations would like to achieve.
Samuli Pöyhönen – University of Helsinki
Carving the psyche by its joints Natural kinds and social construction in psychiatry
Are there natural kinds in the psychological sciences? According to the liberal use of the concept ‘natural kind’ in the recent discussions in the philosophy of science, the obvious answer would seem to be yes: Only if the taxonomy of a scientific discipline divides up the field of investigation into natural kinds, the concepts of that taxonomy can be used to formulate genuinely lawlike generalizations of the investigated phenomena. Successful scientific theories are about natural kinds. And as several authors (e.g. Boyd 1999, Griffiths 1997, Sterelny 1990) have pointed out, this view of science should apply also to the human sciences.
In my presentation I focus on a specifically problematic group of phenomena in the sciences of the mind: Psychiatric illnesses such as dissociative personality disorder, autism, eating disorders and ad/hd all are phenomena that are sensitive to their socio-cultural context. They appear only in certain societies at certain times, and their symptoms mirror contemporary social norms, hopes and fears. As these phenomena are at least partially constituted by social factors, they have often been dubbed as “socially constructed” – and therefore not natural.
Based on the HPC-theory of natural kinds formulated by Richard Boyd (i.e. Boyd 1999) and developed further by Paul Griffiths (1997, 2004), I claim that even the problematic psychiatric kinds mentioned above could be taken to be natural kinds – and thus reasonable targets for scientific inquiry. I propose a naturalist analysis of these looping kinds (Hacking 1995b) based on the concept of causal mechanism. The problematic nature of the kinds arises from the fact that the mechanisms behind them are heterogeneous – they consist of a combination of both “natural” and social sub-mechanisms.
My mechanistic approach to kinds shows that the fleetingness and context-sensitivity of the phenomena in question are not an impediment to a naturalist approach and need not imply methodological dualism – contrary to what has often been thought. More generally, I suggest that what we think of as ‘mental’ often opens up towards the social, and attention to social mechanisms behind psychological phenomena might be a useful heuristic in creating more comprehensive explanations by countering a reductive explanatory bias (Wimsatt 2007).
Boyd, Richard (1999). “Kinds as the ‘Workmanship of Men.'” In Nida-Rümelin, Julian (2000). Rationalität, Realismus, Revision. Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter.
Griffiths, Paul E. (1997). What Emotions Really Are. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
— (2004). “Emotions as natural and normative kinds”, Philosophy of Science, 71, 901-911.
Hacking, Ian (1995b). “The looping effects of human kinds.” In Sperber & Premack & Premack (1995). Causal Cognition. A multidisciplinary debate. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Sterenly, Kim (1990). The Representational Theory of Mind. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Wimsatt, William (2007). Re-engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Gökhan Akbay – Middle East Technical University
Can a priori adaptationism ground the modularity thesis?
Evolutionary psychologists claim that an adaptationist perspective is necessary if we aim to explain human mind in naturalistic terms. At first sight it seems to be an uncontroversial thesis: The mind, like any other biological phenomenon, wasis subject to evolution by natural selection. However, evolutionary psychology is more than such a truism. One distinctive claim of evolutionary psychology is that human mind is a collection of minicomputers which evolved because they solved specific problems in the pleistocene environment. These minicomputers are called modules. Modules are domain specific, content-rich, fast and automatic computational structures.
By a priori adaptationism I understand the thesis that any complex functional structure observed in nature calls for a selectionist explanation. In the case of cognitive psychology, the object of study (human mind) seems to be complex and functional. Hence, for an adaptationist, the best method to uncover mind’s structure is to build an explanation that distinguishes different functions by considering them as solutions to different problems posed by the ancestral environment where the trait evolved. This methodological stance is a priori in the sense that empirical findings of cognitive neuroscience or other related disciplines would not affect the result significantly. Neurobiological basis of cognition is taken as irrelevant by Cosmides and Tooby* on this ground. For them, what function a module computes is much more important than what structure computes it.
Evolutionary psychologists defend their position in opposition to the Standard Social Science Model (SSSM). According to Cosmides and Tooby, SSSM’s division of intellectual labor forced psychology to examine only domain general (hence nonmodular) aspects of human cognition. However, contrasting evolutionary modularity with a scientifically outdated research program does not suffice to defend the modularity thesis. A better strategy would be to challenge connectionist and dynamicist research programs, both on empirical and methodological grounds. Recent findings of neuroscience such as backprojections from higher brain areas to lower ones, comorbidity of psychological diseases, etc. should be considered much more important than a priori reasons for accepting the modularity thesis. Evolutionary psychology can succeed in the naturalization of mind if and only if it incorporates evidence from brain research.
* All references to Cosmides and Tooby and evolutionary psychology are from their “Psychological Foundations of Culture” in Barkow, J. The Adapted Mind , New York : Oxford University Press, 1995
Piotr Grabarczyk – University of Lodz
Do animals see any objects?
Most philosophers have learned the Kant’s lesson and think of objects of perception as being constructed rather than simply registered by our senses. Many of us accept that there is no such thing as a ready made world waiting to be perceived by humans, animals or machines. The important difference is that we no longer believe the subjective building blocks of reality to be a fixed set of features of all possible perceiving subjects. It seems that there is no list of innate categories embedded in our brains or minds. Instead of being embedded in our brains the categories are contemporarily thought to be embedded in our languages, but the particular list of categories can change from language to language. As we all have learned from Quine, we cannot be sure how the ontology of our foreign friend differs from our ontology. The differences may be subtle or vast and it even might very well be that the ontology of every human language is the same – we cannot be sure, because the ontology is independent from all the observable actions of speakers. But then, if we accept this, we should be quite certain that a subject without a language does not have any ontology whatsoever. Contrary to this most people seem to think that animals see objects or detect properties and that it’s evident from their behavior. Is this naïve anthropomorphisation just an innocent way of speaking or something we should pay closer attention to?
Alvaro Moreno – University of the Basque Country
A biological perspective of the nature of cognition. Some remarks for a naturalistic program
Joanna Klimczyk – Polish Academy of Sciences
What Is Wrong with Buck-Passing Account of Value. On Some Problems with Naturalistic Approach to Value
Buck-passing account of value (henceforth BPA) attracted much attention from philosophers in the past two decades. Though many problems were detected within this stance, even those authors who identified serious troubles this proposal inspires, finally turned out to be reluctant to reject BPA.
I do not share their forbearance. Nevertheless, my reasons for abandon BPA do not bear on the most serious objections raised against this view. Especially I do not think that either lack of solution to the Wrong Kind of Reason-problem, or circular analyze of value itself that BPA obviously offers speak for dismissing this conception. As to the first objection what I have to say is that having no solution need not be an intolerable flaw if we are ready to appreciate its informative role about the character of certain problems being involved which do not allow for a full solution. After all, the familiar cluster of problems that do not meet our expectations of full solubility is provided by rationality. At last, it is not rare that being determined to behave rationally one has to be prepared to unfulfil certain rational requirements in order to satisfy others. As to the second, I am prone to think that acknowledging the connections between concepts on price of a certain amount of circularity is something that may be worth paying after all relevant things being considered.
In fact, my rejecting BPA has more fundamental grounds. I shall argue that BPA simply fails as a plausible analysis of value. First, it does not help us to have fitting pro-attitudes as we may too often have much more basic problem with identifying the value at stake. Remaining uncertain as to value, our intuitions about proper pro-attitudes will be messy, if not completely disorientated; secondly, value-making properties need not constitute value; and what is worse – they themselves may be invaluable. Thirdly, I am not convinced that the relationship between pro-attitudes and reasons to act as assumed in BPA framework really work. Or to be explicit, I am unable to recall a satisfactory argument in favour of belief that values provide us with reasons to act in such a regular way that is required by a reliable theory. To put it in other words, I am sceptic whether value is so unproblematically straightforwardly normative as it is sometimes assumed.
However, what I find particularly attractive in BPA, is that this view recognizes the importance of a linkage between values and reasons, though the details of this linkage are not the ones I like. According to the BPA in the version proclaimed by T.M. Scanlon, on which I mostly focus in my analysis in this paper, reasons we are talking about are reasons for particular pro-responses derived from certain properties of the object under consideration. These properties, as Scanlon writes, constitute reasons, thus are reason-providers. What is crucial in this view which I dismiss is that reasons for valuing supervene on properties of the object at stake. Or to put it bluntly, both reasons for valuing as for having pro-attitudes are strongly dependent on the properties of the object. On the BPA there is no possibility to track something as being valuable without taking into account its properties as value-generators embedded with certain amount of normative force that pushes an agent to prove her practical respect for an acknowledged value. I reject BPA primary because it offers wrong, in my opinion, connection between values and reasons; secondly, because I do not share the premises BPA tacitly accepts at the starting point. What I take to be the wrong connection between values and reasons is the main idea underlying that view, namely that generally speaking, reasons are properties derivative, or that there is quite a clear and uncontroversial link between facts about values and reasons to value. In what follows I shall present the most troublesome worries that a naturalist approach to value in a form of Scanlon’s account of value generate. I shall conclude with an observation that the BPA with its poor resources promises too much to be delivered on.
Rodrigo González – University of Chile
Conceivable experiences, naturalism and the explanatory gap
The first time materialism faced a crucial objection to the mind body identity thesis was when Descartes conceived the possibility of having mind without a body. As the argument of the French philosopher represents an obvious threat for naturalism and the unity of science, materialist philosophers have ever since proposed different solutions. Even so, Kripke, who regards himself as a materialist, has unknowingly given more support to Descartes’s standpoint with his well-known modal argument. Since it is possible to think of possible worlds in which pain isn’t C fiber activation and vice versa, this identity seems contingent, unlike other natural kind identities (e.g. water is H2O). In Kripke’s view, pain is a concept defined by deixis, and can’t be grasped otherwise. But other materialists (i.e. Hill) have struck back by arguing that illusions of contingency come a dime a dozen through imaginings, and so does the allegedly failed identification of mental and neural states. A neglected implication of this materialist type of reply is that deixis can still provide a foundation to those Nagelian-type conceivable experiences. Furthermore, it seems that a deictic definition of the mind nails down what sort of conceivable experiences are allowed, and which are plain fantasies. But, as we can’t simply imagine what it is like to be a bat, the deictic gesture of the mind has to be explained by material factors. And yet if pain is to be imagined as pleasure and vice versa, one has to know what ‘pain’ and ‘pleasure’ refers to from a phenomenological viewpoint. In short, I will argue that having conceivable experiences via deixis does not rule out the material factors that explain such mental states, but since the famous explanatory gap still reappears, this hindrance precludes having a full fledged naturalized view of the mind.
Descartes, R. 1991 ‘Principles of philosophy’, in: D.M. Rosenthal, ed. The Nature of Mind, Oxford: OUP.
Hill, C. 1997 ‘Imaginability, Conceivability and Possibility and the Mind-Body Problem’ Philosophical Studies 87, 61-85, in: D. Chalmers, ed. Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, Oxford, OUP.
Kripke, S. 1980 Naming and Necessity, Oxford: Blackwell.
Nagel, T. 1974 ‘What Is It Like to Be a Bat?’ Philosophical Review 83, 435-50.
Dimitris Platchias – Universities of Glasgow and Essex
A HOT Solution to the Problem of the Explanatory Gap
A number of philosophers have recently proposed that the notion of ‘phenomenal consciousness’ does not map onto any of the current categories available in cognitive science (e.g. Kim 2005, McGinn 2004, Chalmers 1996). The standard usage of the term ‘phenomenally conscious’ state refers to a mental state such that there is something it is like for one to be in that state. These mental states have a distinctive phenomenal character i.e. properties, in virtue of which there is something it is like for one to be in those states and constitute the ways in which phenomenally conscious states differ; there is for instance, something it is like for one to feel a sharp pain or an itch in one’s finger as there is also something it is like for one to smell coffee brewing, or to see the vivid colours of a sunset.
According to these philosophers, phenomenal consciousness cannot be explained scientifically because the explanation needs to go beyond the explanation of cognitive abilities and functions. The claim is that although such explanans can provide an answer to the so-called easy problems of consciousness (e.g. the difference between wakefulness and sleep or the integration of information by a cognitive system), they cannot fully account for phenomenal consciousness. The major difficulty appears to be that the standard explanations in science are cast in objective terms (they are descriptive – they are given from a third-person perspective) but consciousness is subjective. So it appears that no description of one’s conscious state in objective-scientific terms shows why there is something it is like for one to be in a mental state. So although we may know that consciousness is correlated with physical processes in the brain and that its existence is dependent upon them, we don’t know how it arises from those processes. Hence, it seems that we are presented with an explanatory gap.
According to Higher Order Thought (HOT) theories of consciousness, to say that there is something it is like for X (a subject) to be in Y (a mental state) is to say that X is conscious or aware of Y. To say that X is conscious of Y is to say that X is having a suitable higher-order thought (HOT) to the effect that X is in Y. Hence when one is conscious of a mental state (first-order state) there is a higher-order state (there is something it is like for one to be in that first order state), but one need not be conscious of that higher-order state; need not be aware that there is something it is like for one to be in that state.
It is a central commitment of the HOT theories that they provide a reductive account of consciousness. However, it has been widely argued that how exactly such theories are reductive has not been explored in much detail (e.g. Goldman (1993), Neander (1998), Levine (2001), Block (2002), Dainton (2004). In particular, the explanatory gap problem has not been fully addressed by the HOT theorists. In this paper, I argue that despite intuitions to the contrary, we can fully explain phenomenal consciousness in terms of cognitive abilities or mechanisms. Further, I argue that none of the abilities that one must possess for a suitable HOT to occur essentially requires consciousness. Thus the problem of phenomenal consciousness or the explanatory gap problem is no harder than the easy problems.
Block, N. (2002). Concepts of Consciousness. In D. Chalmers (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings. New York: Oxford University Press. Pp.206-218.
Chalmers, D. 1996. The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. Oxford University Press.
Dainton, B. (2004). Higher-Order Consciousness and Phenomenal Space: Reply to Meehan. Psyche 10 (1) May (http://psyche.cs.monash.edu.au/).
Goldman, A. (1993). ‘Consciousness, folk psychology, and cognitive science’. Consciousness and Cognition, pp. 364-82.
Kim, J. (2005). Physicalism, or Something Near Enough. Princeton University Press.
Levine, J. (2001). Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press
McGinn, C. (2004). Consciousness and Its Objects. Oxford University Press.
Neander, K. (1998). The Division of Phenomenal Labor: A Problem for Representational Theories of Consciousness. Philosophical Perspectives 12, pp. 411-434.
Argyris Arnellos – University of the Aegean
Naturalising Autonomy: The Neurobiological Grounding of Emotions in Cognitively Autonomous Agents
An autonomous system exhibits a special form of functional organization that contributes to its own governance and uses this governance for its own maintenance in a variable environment. The respective, intrinsically causal, normative functionality emerges from the level of minimal autonomy through the self-maintaining dynamics of an autonomous system but it is differently expressed as the system evolves new organizational levels associated with new and more developed cognitive capabilities. Although there is no consensus so far, it could be said that a full understanding of autonomy is strongly related to the naturalization of concepts such as normativity, functionality, intentionality, meaning, anticipation, goal and identity.
Several models try to naturalize aspects of these concepts by focusing mainly on organizational levels associated with low-level cognition, specifically with functional processes pertaining to self-organisation, and to the recursive self-maintenance of metabolism. However, contemporary theoretical and empirical research supports the role of emotions in cognition and in the increase of autonomy. Specifically, emotional and bioregulatory/homeostatic mechanisms in cognitively autonomous systems fulfill survival-related functions but they also constitute the basis for the development of high-level cognition, playing the role of some sort of dynamic interface between low- and high-level cognition. The organisational levels of emotions and the respective mechanisms provide genuine normativity but their integration in the study of the evolution of cognitive autonomy has not been thoroughly investigated yet. As a result, there is a gap in terms of theoretical models providing a naturalized account for the functional role of emotions in cognitive autonomy.
Some indicative attempts regarding the naturalization of normativity are Collier’s (Collier 1999) theoretical description of the interdependence between the notions of autonomy, functionality, intentionality and meaning in an autonomous system and the interactivist model (Bickhard, 2008), which provides a theory for the emergence of interactive representations in a recursively self-maintaining system. The analysis will depart from these points, in a first attempt to be targeted towards the suggestion of research directions in order to elaborate on these models and to formulate a naturalistic account of the emergence of representation rich enough to explain aspects of normativity (and subsequently of content and reference) as this is differently expressed in the system’s transition through different organizational levels, while primarily considering the multi-level role of emotional functionality. This will also address aspects of the functional relations between lower and higher levels of cognitive capacities. The suggested framework should be able to be used for the integration of a range of findings of several emotional mechanisms and of their neurobiological grounding in cognitively autonomous systems.
Colin Cheyne – University of Otago
Emotion, Fiction and Naturalism
Our emotional responses to fiction, in particular our responses to fictional characters, apparently gives rise to a paradox. We emotionally respond to fictional characters that we do not believe to exist, although rational emotional responses to objects presuppose belief in the existence of those objects. But when we consider this “paradox” from a naturalistic point of view, bringing together recent work in evolutionary psychology, naturalised epistemology and cognitive science, we see that such responses are not surprising and nor are they irrational. First we note the evidence for our tendency to believe propositions on initial acquaintance, i.e. the tendency to believe what we are told, and the evidence that our systems of belief are compartmentalised, which provides the capacity to hold contradictory beliefs. Next we examine the role of emotional response in our reasoning processes, particularly when we reason hypothetically and contemplate imaginary scenarios. These capacities and tendencies, properly deployed, are useful and rational. That they come into play when we consume fiction is both useful and pleasurable. The “paradox” is dissolved. By applying a naturalistic methodology to an old chestnut in aesthetics we set-up an interesting two-way process. We not only throw fresh light on a specialised cognitive process but also on other broader aspects of our cognition.
John Collier – University of KwaZulu-Natal
Rationality and Motivation
The problem of the relationship between rationality and motivation is particularly acute in a naturalized ethics, but it holds more generally for any account of acting on decisions. Hume clearly distinguished between ideas and the passions, with reason subservient to the passions. Kant thought that reason alone was sufficient to tell us our moral obligations, given factual circumstances. This split between reason and emotion goes back at least to Descartes, and permeates Modern thought. In decision theory and game theory it is encoded in terms of rationality adjudicating among various lines of action, with values as a given. In Decartes’ Error A. Damasio argues that in the normal person reason and emotion are not separate, and gives evidence that certain forms of brain damage that separate them lead to irrational behaviour. I will review some of Damasio’s and related evidence, and support his conclusion that reason and emotion must be integrated in a proper account of rationality. Finally, I will sketch some consequences for the naturalization of reason.
Juraj Hvorecky – Czech Academy of Science
Normativity, emotion and evolution
To explain the normative aspect of emotionality, cognitivists employ the machinery of propositional attitudes that they to be constituent parts of emotion episodes. However, various problems with cognitive theories force us to look for sources of normativity within alternative, perceptual theories. Prinz (2004) offers an account that combines asymmetric dependency theory of mental content with evolutionary principles and supposedly brings forward a perceptual theory that explains normativity. However, Mamelli (2005) points out certain discrepancy in many evolutionary accounts of normativity, including Prinz’s, when stressing a difference between norms and functions. We will examine options left for a defender of normativity of emotions after both major contenders lost credibility.
Carl Craver – Washington University in St. Louis
Thomas Polger – University of Cincinnati
Realization and Mechanism
A familiar tactic of naturalistic philosophers is to argue that, for any phenomenon x of philosophical interest, x is realized by some phenomenon (or phenomena) y that is supposed to be philosophically and naturalistically unproblematic. Thus it is said that mental states/events (e.g., Putnam, Fodor, and other functionalists), all non-basic ontology (e.g., Lewis, Jackson, Melnyk), or even truth (e.g., Lynch) are naturalistically vindicated because they are realized, at least in the actual world, by natural/physical phenomena. Unfortunately, until recently not much has been said about the so-called realization relation. And now that the realization relation has come into scrutiny (by, e.g., Gillett, Kim, Melnyk, Polger, Shoemaker, Wilson, and others), there remains great dispute about how this relation (or class of relations) should be understood. One increasingly popular approach is to explicate the realization relation in terms of the “new mechanism” in philosophy of science, following Machamer, Darden, and Craver. This approach is urged by Gillett, Aizawa and Gillett, and Craver and Wilson. Although I agree that there is a close kinship between the ideas of realization and mechanism, I do not think that mechanism can help us to explicate realization. In this paper I argue that attempts to explain realization in terms of mechanism face a dilemma: Either they treat realization as a metaphysically constructive relation, in which case the new mechanism assumes rather than explains realization. Or else they treat realization as a specific variety of empirically constructive relation, in which case the explanation of realization is either vacuous or assumes that there is one (or more than one) metaphysically constructive realization relation.
Benoît Dubreuil – University of Quebec in Montreal
The evolution of the mind: from mental phenomena to (increasingly) plausible mechanisms
An important part of the project of naturalizing the mind consists in explaining its evolution in the human lineage. In this talk, I will assess three cognitive abilities that are often used by archaeologists and paleoanthropologists to explain the behavioral transition associated with the evolution of modern Homo sapiens:
· Recursive syntax: the capacity to embed clauses within clauses (Hauser et al. 2002; Bickerton 2003; Corballis 2004);
· Theory of mind: the capacity to ascribe mental states to others (Dunbar 2003; 2007);
· Working memory: the capacity to temporarily hold in attention recently processed information and to keep it available for further processing (Coolidge and Wynn 2001, 2005; Wynn and Coolidge 2007).
I will argue that the evolutionary scenarios that refer to these abilities share one common flaw: they focus on complex abilities that are realized by partially overlapping cognitive and neural mechanisms, thus making it impossible to draw distinctive test implications for each hypothesis. Recursion, theory of mind and working memory describe real mental phenomena, but we need to move toward more specific cognitive and neural mechanisms in order for our evolutionary scenarios to gain explanatory relevance.
Identifying more precise cognitive and neural mechanisms, however, is easier said than done, since the most powerful tool in cognitive neurosciences (namely, neuroimaging) cannot be used on extinct human populations. On the basis of Craver’s (2007) views on inter- and intralevel integration, I will argue that a step toward more plausible mechanistic accounts can be achieved if students of human evolution learn to constrain the space of plausible mechanisms by integrating data from different approaches and methods. I will present the main methods available and how they can be integrated: 1) reconstructions of past behaviors, 2) human and nonhuman primate comparative neuropsychology, 3) developmental psychology and 4) paleoneurology.
Bickerton, D. (2003). Symbol and structure: A comprehensive framework for language evolution. In Language evolution. M. H. Christiansen and S. Kirby (eds). Oxford: Oxford University Press: 77-93.
Coolidge, F. L. and T. Wynn (2001). Executive functions of the frontal lobes and the evolutionary ascendancy of Homo sapiens. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 11: 255-260.
Coolidge, F. L. and T. Wynn (2005). Working memory, its executive functions, and the emergence of modern thinking. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 15(1): 5-26.
Corballis, M. C. (2004). The origins of modernity: Was autonomous speech the critical factor? Psychological Review, 111: 543-552.
Craver, C. F. (2007). Explaining the brain : mechanisms and the mosaic unity of neuroscience. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dunbar, R. I. M. (2003). The social brain: mind, language and society in evolutionary perspective. Annual Review of Anthropology, 32: 163-181.
Dunbar, R. I. M. (2007). The Social Brain and the Cultural Explosion of the Human Revolution. In Rethinking the Human Revolution. P. Mellars, K. Boyle, O. B.-. Yosef and C. Stringer. (eds). Cambridge: McDonald Institute Monographs: 91-98.
Hauser, M. D., N. Chomsky, et al. (2002). The faculty of language: What is it, who has it, and how did it evolve? Science, 298: 1569–1579.
Wynn, T. and F. L. Coolidge (2007). Did a small but significant enhancement in working-memory capacity power the evolution of modern thinking? . In Rethinking the Human Revolution. P. Mellars, K. Boyle, O. B.-. Yosef and C. Stringer. (eds). Cambridge: McDonald Institute Monographs: 79-90.
Michal Klincewicz – City University of New York
Mental Content and Consciousness Naturalized
Arguably, the challenge of naturalizing consciousness can be met by what Pierre Jacob calls the Representationalist Strategy (Jacob 1999, p. 12). The strategy consists in two claims: (1) the criterion for what is mental is not consciousness and (2) a theory of consciousness will derive from, or be explained in terms of, a theory of intentionality.
There are good reasons supporting both claims. Claim (1) is plausible ever since Sigmund Freud. It is hard to deny that mental states can occur unconsciously. Claim (2) recommends itself as a good methodology. The notion of intentionality is less mysterious than the notion of consciousness, and there are a number of worked out theories of content. Most theories of content give promise for a naturalistic explanation of intentionality. Theories that adopt the Representationalist strategy promise to naturalize consciousness.
In this paper discuss some competing theories of consciousness that follow the Representationalist Strategy, but focus on the self-representationalist strategy (SRS). On this view, a mental state is conscious in virtue of a part of that state being about itself. I argue that this class of theories cannot own up to the promise of naturalizing consciousness because it faces a fatal dilemma. One the one hand, if SRS adopts a naturalizable theory of content, then it will end up violating phenomenological platitudes about consciousness. On the other hand, if SRS adopts a non-naturalizable theory of content it has to reject claim (2). The latter horn of the dilemma is taken by Franz Brentano, whose view relies on the notion of intentional inexistence. Even if a Brentanian view could be naturalized, it faces another problem. It has to reject claim (1) of the Representationalist Strategy, and assume, as Brentano does, the counterintuitive claim that all mental states are conscious.
Krystyna Bielecka – University of Warsaw
Zuzanna Kasprzyk – University of Warsaw
How can truth be a relational property?
Deflationism could be seen as the theory presupposing that there is a supervenience relation between belief states and truth as a propositional property. Laws of belief change and acquisition are – according to some deflationists (especially H. Field) – limited to the basic set of logical principles, construed in a computational manner. This view results in a conception of beliefs as purely structural and contentless entities. Beliefs thus conceived constitute a supervenience basis for truth understood in deflational terms. Truth does not have any substantial features – it is both a supervenient property of beliefs as well as purely syntactical quality characterized by the disquotational schema „p is true if and only if p”. Principles of belief change and acquisition are characterized by appeal to modal notions and laws of probability and are used as a reduction basis for problematic properties of truth, such as normativity and intentionality (aboutness). Since the notion of causality is essentially involved in the notion of scientific law and consequently in the notion of law of belief change and acquisition (as Kim argues, the functional model of mental causation assumes that causal laws of psychology are described as similar to the laws of natural sciences), it is obvious that our conception of causality may influence in our concept of truth. In our talk we will try to show that the relation between agent’s concept of truth and her belief structure (determined by the above mentioned laws of belief formation) could be defined in terms of strong supervenience relation.
We would like to inquire into the consequences and philosophical applications of this view – especially those concerning the field of metaethics and epistemology.
J. Kim „Mind in a Physical World. An Essay on the Mind – Body Problem and Mebtal Causation.” …
H.Field „The Deflationist Views of Meaning and Content“, „The Deflationary Conception of Truth” …
Jonathan Knowles – Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Naturalism and the mind-world relation
According to the dominant paradigm of naturalistic philosophy today, what I call metaphysical naturalism, thought about the world is conceived on the model of representation in language or mind of wholly mind-independent states of affairs. As Huw Price has argued in several recent publications, this fits not merely with the naturalistic research programme into the nature of representation, but also with the so-called placement problems of standard naturalism whereby one asks how certain elements of our common sense ways of talking can be seen as made true by (what is taken to be) the ontologically sparse natural world. Price is critical of the presuppositions of the representational model, urging that we instead should see our thought and talk about the world as having a fundamentally expressive function – a view which forms an integral part of his alternative subject naturalism, which is also ontologically pluralistic. I agree with Price that metaphysical naturalism’s representationalism is bankrupt, and will provide a more general argument to that effect; however, I think the same applies to subject naturalism’s global expressivism. In my view, naturalism is fundamentally just a metaphilosophical position asserting the fundamentality of scientific knowledge; it should not attempt to explain the mind-world relation, any more than it attempts to give answers to placement problems. I will finally indicate how I think some recent conceptions of mind science and its remit, with emphasis on the ‘immanence’ of the intentional relation, hold out the promise of sustaining such a maximally quietist naturalism.
Sinem Elkatip – City University of New York
Undermining the distinction between experiences and subjects of experiences
Our understanding of beliefs, desires, perceptions etc., ordinarily assumes something that believes, desires, perceives etc. Surprisingly, there is no consensus regarding what the nature of this thing that desires and perceives is; however, there is considerable agreement that neither a mental substance in the Cartesian sense, nor a brain is the ideal candidate for the job. Since it seems only natural to think that there is a subject of mental activity where there is mental activity, Crane suggests positing a mental substance of another kind. He argues that it is in virtue of being a mental unity that persons are mental substances and the subjects of mental states.
I argue that insofar as the subject is taken to be something over and above mental states, and by over and above I mean ontologically distinct from, the nature of the subject cannot be articulated other than by saying that the subject is a Cartesian ego or a brain. Given the problems with both ways of thinking about the subject, I suggest that it is time to reconsider the inference from mental states to subjects of mental states which has been taken for granted for so long, and perhaps too long, partly because of the influence of Descartes’ ingenuous Cogito, Ergo Sum. As such I endorse a reductionist view of persons according to which the existence of a person consists in the existence of a body and interrelated psychological and physical events, and not in a further fact such as a self, or a mental unity or a Cartesian ego.
Tim Crane – Cambridge University
Mental substances and their powers