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2014 - Volume 35, Number 3, Summer

Knowing How it Feels: On the Relevance of Epistemic Access for the Explanation of Phenomenal Consciousness
Itay Shani, Kyung Hee University

Consciousness ties together knowledge and feeling, or sapience and sentience. The connection between these two constitutive aspects — the informational and the phenomenal — is deep, but how are we to make sense of it? One influential approach maintains that sentience ultimately reduces to sapience, namely, that phenomenal consciousness is a function of representational relations between mental states which, barring these relations, would not, and could not, be conscious. In this paper I take issue with this line of thought, arguing that neither of these salient aspects of consciousness reduces to the other. Instead, I offer an explanatory framework which takes both sentience and sapience as ontological fundamentals and explore how they co-evolve. In particular, I argue that while epistemic access cannot generate experience from scratch it does play a crucial role in constituting an important form of higher-order experience, namely, the capacity to experience a sense of ownership over one’s experiential domain.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Itay Shani, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi dong, Dongdaemun gu, Seoul, 130-701, Korea. Email: ishani479@hotmail.com

Development of the Self in Society: French Postwar Thought on Body, Meaning, and Social Behavior 
Line Joranger, Telemark University College

The development of the self and behavior toward others were heavily discussed during the French postwar era. According to Foucault, Sartre, and Merleau–Ponty, intersubjective social relations are physical and bodily connections. The physical body is our point of contact with the world, which is a practical world, which we typically engage before any kind of theoretical understanding of what things or people are like. Although there are a number of differences in their ways of thinking concerning the development of the self and social behavior, this paper shows that Foucault and Sartre seem to share Hyppolite’s notion that the fulfillment of the absolute self will always be deferred because of an ongoing contradiction in our social behavior.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Line Joranger, Associate Professor, Department of Health and Social Sciences, Telemark University College, Kjølnes ring 56, 3918 Porsgrunn, Norway. Email: line.joranger@hit.no

Expressivism, Self-Knowledge, and Describing One’s Experiences
Tero Vaaja, University of Jyväskylä

In this article, I defend an account of self-knowledge that allows us a considerable first person authority regarding our subjective experiences without invoking privileged access. I examine expressivism about avowals by contrasting it with “detectivist” and “constitutivist” accounts of self-knowledge, following the use of these terms by David Finkelstein. I proceed to present a version of expressivism that preserves some of the valid motivating insights of detectivism and constitutivism as essential parts. Finally, I point out how my account views self-knowledge as a cognitive and conceptual ability that can be cultivated; the account construes self-knowledge as a process.

Correspondence considering this article should be addressed to Tero Vaaja, Yhteiskuntatieteiden ja filosofian laitos, PL35 (Ylistönmäentie 33), 40014 Jyväskylän yliopisto, Finland. Email: tero.t.vaaja@jyu.fi

“Feeling what Happens”: Full Correspondence and the Placebo Effect
André LeBlanc, John Abbott College and Concordia University

This paper proposes a theory whereby the physiological changes induced by placebos are accompanied by corresponding changes in the patient’s mental state. I begin by defining the placebo problem, and review the three leading theoretical approaches for solving it — meaning theory, expectancy theory, and conditioning theory — before discussing the significant theoretical issue posed by a classic case of placebo immunosuppression in rats. The theory of full correspondence is then introduced as a way of explaining the nature of the placebo effect and of resolving the conflict between “meaning-oriented” and “mechanism-oriented” approaches to the phenomenon. After proposing how to test the theory experimentally and examining existing evidence for it, I consider its ability to integrate the dominant theoretical perspectives of the placebo effect within a framework centered on the patient’s subjective experience, the one variable overlooked on both sides of the meaning/mechanism divide.

Correspondence for this article should be addressed to André LeBlanc, Department of History, Economics and Political Science, John Abbott College, 21,275 Lakeshore Rd., Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, H9X 3L9 Canada. Email: andre.leblanc@johnabbott.qc.ca

Book Review 

The Peripheral Mind: Philosophy of Mind and the Peripheral Nervous System
Book Author: István Aranyosi. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2013, 256 pages, $60.00 hard cover.
Reviewed by Michael Madary, Universität Mainz

Much of the action and excitement in the philosophy of mind over the last couple of decades has been in a movement to look beyond the brain for locating and explaining mental states. This movement consists in a number of different claims. We have heard, for instance, that the mind extends into artifacts, and that the mind is brought forth or enacted or constituted by the active living body. In his recent book, The Peripheral Mind, István Aranyosi defends a neglected middle ground in the debate, a middle ground between the brain and the external world. Aranyosi urges that we take seriously the peripheral nervous system in our investigation into the mind. More specifically, the main thesis of his book is the peripheral mind hypothesis, which is that “Conscious mental states typically involved in sensory processes are partly constituted by subprocesses occurring at the level of the [peripheral nervous system]” (p. 22).

Correspondence concerning this review should be addressed to Dr. Michael Madary, Johannes Gutenberg–Universität Mainz, FB05 Philosophe und Philosogie, Jakob Welder Weg 18, 55099 Mainz, Germany. Email: madary@uni_mainz.de


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