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Content Individuation And Evolutionary Content Emergence, Yujian ZHENG 2017 San Jose State University

Content Individuation And Evolutionary Content Emergence, Yujian Zheng

Comparative Philosophy

This short paper addresses two connected issues which were brought to some focused light by Searle’s comments on my contributed article to the anthology Searle’s philosophy and Chinese Philosophy: Constructive Engagement. The first issue concerns the claim that animals cannot have observer-independent intentional content of the same type as that of human beings. The second is my denial that mental content can be merely caused in specific brain states, given its holistic and normative character. I defend my position on the second issue by distinguishing content individuation from content realization while I elaborate my relatively more sophisticated argument ...


The Perspective And Perspective-Transcending Dimensions Of Consciousness And Its Double-Aboutness Character: Bridging Searle And Zhuang Zi, Bo MOU 2017 San Jose State University

The Perspective And Perspective-Transcending Dimensions Of Consciousness And Its Double-Aboutness Character: Bridging Searle And Zhuang Zi, Bo Mou

Comparative Philosophy

What I intend to do here are closely related three things. First, in response to Searle’s “reply” comments on my previous article “Searle, Zhuang Zi, and Transcendental Perspectivism”, I will clarify and further elaborate one of the central points concerning the “perspective” dimension and “perspective-transcending” dimension of consciousness there. Second, more substantially, I will strengthen my point by explaining the “double-aboutness” character of consciousness which is intrinsically related to the foregoing two dimensions of consciousness concerning its “hooking-up-to-objects” capacity; through a semantic-ascent strategy, I will also explain how the point has substantial theoretic implications for exploring the issue of ...


Searle And Buddhism On The Non-Self, Soraj HONGLADAROM 2017 San Jose State University

Searle And Buddhism On The Non-Self, Soraj Hongladarom

Comparative Philosophy

In this brief note I continue the discussion that I had with John Searle on the topic of the self and the possibility of continuity of consciousness after death of the body. The gist of Searle's reply to my original paper (Hongladarom 2008) is that it is logical possible, though extremely unlikely, that consciousness survives destruction of the body. This is a rather startling claim given that Searle famously holds that consciousness is the work of the body. Nonetheless, he claims that such issue is an empirical matter which could perhaps be discovered by future science. Another point concerns ...


Searle’S Master Insight And The Non-Dual Solution Of The Sixth Patriarch: Sorting Through Some Problems Of Consciousness, Robert E. ALLINSON 2017 San Jose State University

Searle’S Master Insight And The Non-Dual Solution Of The Sixth Patriarch: Sorting Through Some Problems Of Consciousness, Robert E. Allinson

Comparative Philosophy

The Platform Sutra, which dates back to the seventh century C.E., is one of the classic documents of Chinese philosophy and is the intellectual autobiography of Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch of Ch’an Buddhism. In the Platform Sutra, the Sixth Patriarch demonstrates that the spiritual and intellectual problems of consciousness stem from a false adherence to the dualistic standpoint. The Sixth Patriarch utilizes ingenious arguments to demonstrate how one can escape the problems of dualism. An example of a constructive engagement between Chinese philosophy and Searle is to compare and contrast the arguments of Hui Neng with those ...


Editor's Words, 2017 San Jose State University

Editor's Words

Comparative Philosophy

No abstract provided.


Vol 8 No 1 Contents Page, 2017 San Jose State University

Vol 8 No 1 Contents Page

Comparative Philosophy

No abstract provided.


Vol 8 No 1 Information Page, 2017 San Jose State University

Vol 8 No 1 Information Page

Comparative Philosophy

No abstract provided.


Vol 8 No 1 Cover Page, 2017 San Jose State University

Vol 8 No 1 Cover Page

Comparative Philosophy

No abstract provided.


The Potential For Sentience In Fishes, Jay R., Stauffer Jr. 2017 Penn State University

The Potential For Sentience In Fishes, Jay R., Stauffer Jr.

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Balcombe’s book is filled with information on the biology, behavior, and life history of fishes. I do not agree with all his premises. I am still somewhat perplexed about the discussion of whether fish feel pain; I am not sure whether the distinction between nociception and pain makes any difference. Overall, however, his treatment of the principles of both natural and sexual selection is comprehensive and accurate, and has greatly increased my knowledge and awareness of the biology, ethology, and potential for sentience in fishes. In summary, this work has exposed me to new ideas about how to examine ...


To Identify All The Relevant Factors Is To Explain Feeling, Arthur S. Reber 2017 University of British Columbia

To Identify All The Relevant Factors Is To Explain Feeling, Arthur S. Reber

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Several additional comments on Reber (2016a) have appeared. Like those addressed in Reber (2016b), they reflect points of agreement and disagreement on various elements of my Cellular Basis of Consciousness (CBC) model. Some, however, seem to have missed key points. I'm willing to take some responsibility for this. Perhaps I was not clear about some of the more radical points of the model. Hopefully the case-by-case review here will help.


What Can Research On Nonhumans Tell Us About Human Dissonance?, Jennifer Vonk 2017 Oakland University

What Can Research On Nonhumans Tell Us About Human Dissonance?, Jennifer Vonk

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Zentall’s thoughtful review of the literature on cognitive dissonance in nonhumans helps to highlight the common finding that similar outcomes in humans and nonhumans can be attributed to different underlying mechanisms. I advocate a more fully comparative approach to the underlying mechanisms, avoiding the assumption of shared processes in humans and nonhumans.


Dissonance Reduction In Nonhuman Animals: Implications For Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Cindy Harmon-Jones, Nick Haslam, Brock Bastian 2017 The University of New South Wales

Dissonance Reduction In Nonhuman Animals: Implications For Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Cindy Harmon-Jones, Nick Haslam, Brock Bastian

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

We review the evidence for dissonance reduction in nonhuman animals and examine the alternative explanations for these effects. If nonhuman animals engage in dissonance reduction, this supports the original theory as proposed by Festinger (1957) over the revisions to the theory that focused on the self-concept. Evidence of animal sentience, including dissonance reduction, may be a source of cognitive dissonance.


Choice-Induced Preference: A Challenge For Contrast, Benjamin R. Eisenreich, Benjamin Y. Hayden 2017 University of Rochester

Choice-Induced Preference: A Challenge For Contrast, Benjamin R. Eisenreich, Benjamin Y. Hayden

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

In his target article, Zentall asks: “to experience cognitive dissonance is it necessary for one to have conflicting beliefs or even beliefs at all?” He then argues that a simple behavioral process, the Within Trial Contrast Effect, may be sufficient to explain observed cognitive dissonance effects in nonhuman animals and possibly humans as well. We agree with Zentall that this effect is sufficient to explain many reported cognitive dissonance effects in nonhuman animals, but question its sufficiency for primate behavior (both monkeys and humans).


Reef Society And The Tyranny Of Data, Robert Wintner 2016 Snorkel Bob's Hawaii

Reef Society And The Tyranny Of Data, Robert Wintner

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Modern science now approaches divergent processes in many areas, including health assessments of marine eco-systems and social aspects of marine species. Scientific data have long enjoyed a reputation for objectivity but incidents of science-for-hire, data spinning/skewing and political jading are more frequent than ever. In the field of reef creature sensitivity, technical treatises can “logically” explain away what a person of average education can clearly observe on any given reef. Western medicine discounted anecdotal evidence of any cure outside the 4% margin of error until those cures demanded attention and in some cases application. Modern science must now enter ...


Still Wondering How Flesh Can Feel, Gwen J. Broude 2016 Vassar College

Still Wondering How Flesh Can Feel, Gwen J. Broude

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Reber believes he has simplified Chalmers’s “hard problem” of consciousness by arguing that subjectivity is an inherent feature of biological forms. His argument rests on the related notions of continuity of mind and gradual accretion of capacities across evolutionary time. These notions need to be defended, not just asserted. Because Reber minimizes the differences in mental faculties among species across evolutionary time, it becomes easier to assert, and perhaps believe, that sentience is already present in early biological forms. The more explicit we are about the differences among these mental faculties and the differences across species, the less persuasive ...


Animals Aren’T Persons, But Is It Time For A Neologism?, Helen Steward 2016 University of Leeds

Animals Aren’T Persons, But Is It Time For A Neologism?, Helen Steward

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Mark Rowlands argues that at least some animals are persons, based on the idea that (i) many animals have a property he calls “pre-reflective awareness,” (ii) the capacity for pre-reflective awareness is sufficient to satisfy the traditional Lockean definition of personhood, and (iii) satisfaction of the traditional Lockean definition of personhood is sufficient for being a person. I agree with (i) and can see that there is a persuasive case for (ii), but I think the case against (iii) blocks the conclusion that animals are persons. I suggest that we may need instead to coin a neologism in order to ...


Reber’S Caterpillar Offers No Help, Carl Safina 2016 Stony Brook University

Reber’S Caterpillar Offers No Help, Carl Safina

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Reber’s target article “Caterpillars, consciousness and the origins of mind” seems only to shift but not to address the question of where the mind is and how minds occur.



Insect Consciousness: Commitments, Conflicts And Consequences, Colin Klein, Andrew B. Barron 2016 Macquarie University, Australia

Insect Consciousness: Commitments, Conflicts And Consequences, Colin Klein, Andrew B. Barron

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Our target article, “Insects have the capacity for subjective experience,” has provoked a diverse range of commentaries. In this response we have collated what we see as the major themes of the discussion. It is clear that we differ from some commentators in our commitments to what subjective experience is and what the midbrain is capable of. Here we clarify where we stand on those points and how our view differs from some other influential perspectives. The commentaries have highlighted the most lively areas of disagreement. We revisit here the debates surrounding whether the cortex is essential for any form ...


Consciousness And Evolutionary Biology, Yew-Kwang Ng 2016 Nanyang Technological University

Consciousness And Evolutionary Biology, Yew-Kwang Ng

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Reber’s axiom: “Any organism with flexible cell walls, a sensitivity to its surrounds and the capacity for locomotion will possess the biological foundations of mind and consciousness” does not seem to be supported by things we know and the logic of evolutionary biology. The latter leads to the conclusion that conscious species are flexible in their behavior (rather than in their cell walls), as argued in Ng (1995, 2016). Locomotion may be completely hard-wired and need not involve consciousness. It is hard enough to explain how consciousness could emerge in a sophisticated brain: Isn’t it a harder problem ...


The Difference Between Conscious And Unconscious Brain Circuits, Ezequiel Morsella, Zaviera Reyes 2016 San Francisco State University

The Difference Between Conscious And Unconscious Brain Circuits, Ezequiel Morsella, Zaviera Reyes

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Theoretical frameworks in which consciousness is an inherent property of the neuron must account for the contrast between conscious and unconscious processes in the brain and address how neural events can ever be unconscious if consciousness is a property of all neurons. Other approaches have sought answers regarding consciousness by contrasting conscious and unconscious processes and through investigating the complex interactions between the two kinds of processes, as occurs most notably in human voluntary action. In voluntary action, consciousness is associated most, not with motor control or low-level perceptual processing, but with the stage of processing known as action selection.



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