Volume 25, Number 1, Winter
An Indirect Defense of Direct Realism
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 2004, Volume 25, Number 1, Pages 1–6, ISSN 0271–0137
Smythies and Ramachandran (1997) claim that the direct realist theory of perception has been refuted by recent psychophysics. This paper takes up the psychophysics, and the definition of direct realism employed by Smythies and Ramachandran, to show that direct realism has not been so refuted. I argue that the direct realist may grant that perceptual images are constructed (or reconstructed) by the central nervous system, without treating those images as “phenomenal objects.” Until phenomenal objects are shown to be (a) distinct from extra-mental objects, and (b) the only objects of perception properly so-called, the direct realist will remain generally edified (but uncarfuffled) by the relevant psychophysics.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Ryan Hickerson, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, 0119, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093–0119. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Case for Intrinsic Theory: IX. Further Discussion of an Equivocal Remembrance Account
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 2004, Volume 25, Number 1, Pages 7–32, ISSN 0271–0137
I go on here with my endeavor to ascertain intrinsic-theoretical elements that are explicitly or implicitly present in O’Shaughnessy’s (2000) remembrance account of inner awareness, or the immediate cognitive awareness that we have of some of our own mental-occurrence instances. According to an intrinsic theory of such awareness, a directly apprehended state of consciousness (to use James’s concept) includes in its own structure inner awareness of itself. I seek to understand those distinct mental-occurrence instances which O’Shaughnessy holds are the cognitive inner awarenesses of our experiences. They are memory experiences, he claims, owed to latent knowledge of one’s experiences that is acquired automatically as a direct effect of their occurrence. These remembrances are more akin to thought experiences than to perceptual experiences that apprehend their objects directly; indeed, they seem to be, strictly, actualizations of conceptual capacities. So, queries regarding their contents revert to queries regarding the latent knowledge that informs them. How does our author propose one directly gains this latent knowledge of experiences? This question leads us back to what the cognitive effects may be of the purely extensional, non-intentional awareness that he posited both in the perceptual and in the reflexive case. It turns out that the latent perceptual beliefs are directly acquired only via perceptions-as, which are occurrent cognitive effects of basic, purely extensional, perceptual experiences. Also, they are conceived of as instances of both outer and inner awareness. Otherwise, the respective acquired perceptual belief would not be able to pick out the outer object that it is about; the corresponding perception-as concretely singles out its outer object as what is being perceptually experienced. Similarly, and after all, O’Shaughnessy allows a spontaneous thought experience is often inner awareness of itself; he proposes it usually has a single proposition as its whole content and comes to its owner standing to the world in the truth-relation. This would seem to make of most such thoughts, awarenesses with outer objects and themselves as objects of inner awareness. I conclude that O’Shaughnessy has not managed to sustain his denial of cognitive inner awareness that takes place along with directly apprehended experiences as each of these transpires.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California, 95616–8686. Email: email@example.com
Consciousness was a “Trouble-Maker”: On the General Maladaptiveness of Unsupported Mental Representation
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 2004, Volume 25, Number 1, Pages 33–56, ISSN 0271–0137
Consciousness, as a higher-order cognitive capacity allowing for the explicit representation of abstract mental states, might be the incidental byproduct of design features from other adaptive systems, such as those governing expansion of the frontal lobes in primates. Although such abilities may have occurred entirely by chance, the standardized entrenchment of this representational capacity in human cognition may have posed engineering dilemmas for natural selection in that consciousness could not be easily removed without disrupting the adaptive features of other design solutions. If so, then those organisms saddled with the burden of higher-order representation by the occurrence of these chance events were suddenly assaulted with a series of social problems previously unencountered by any other species in evolutionary history. Such consciousness-based problems constituted enormous selective pressure for generating ancestrally adaptive psychological programs (including language) designed to cope with them. Each of these design solutions was, by necessity, generated and progressively pruned over an extraordinarily short span of geological time. In addition, these programs ran into conflict with more ancient primate social adaptations — such as those underlying sexual coercion and violence — that did not evolve to be sensitive to the epistemic positions of others. These mosaic processes have likely resulted in selection for innumerable algorithmic properties driving human-specific behaviors which are both proximally and ultimately caused by consciousness. Consciousness by itself should be classified as maladaptive; what is adaptive are those psychological programs in place to support its incidental and problematic arrival in the human brain
Requests for reprints should be sent to Jesse M. Bering, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701.
Biological Motion: An Exercise in Bottom–Up vs. Top–Down Processing
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 2004, Volume 25, Number 1, Pages 57–74, ISSN 0271–0137
Biological motion is the phenomenon of recognizing a human form out of moving point-light dots, where both bottom–up and top–down processing mechanisms have been reported. This study reviews available psychological and neuroscientific evidence, and it assesses attempts either to assimilate biological motion to other structure-from-motion cases (bottom–up) or to include biological motion into a visual “social cognition” subsystem (top–down). While neither theoretical option seems to accommodate all relevant psychological results, the study proposes that biological motion may be an object recognition task, inside the framework of Pylyshyn’s (1999a) sequence of data-driven and cognitive mechanisms. This implies that a bottom–up object construction out of two-dimensional stimulus information precedes a top–down, but emotionally significant categorization of a particular human movement. Recognition of biological motion may be an example of visual processing in general.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Basileios Kroustallis, Ph.D., 10, Agiou Dimitriou Street, Corfu, 49100, Greece.
- Book Review
- An Atlas of Interpersonal Situations
- Book Author: Harold H. Kelley, John G. Holmes, Norbert L. Kerr, Harry T. Reis, Caryl E. Rusbult, and Paul A.M. Van Lange. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2003.Reviewed by Daniel Friedrich, University of HamburgThe Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 2004, Volume 25, Number 1, Pages 75–78, ISSN 0271–0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] At the 1995 meeting of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology in Washington, D.C., Harold H. Kelley gave a presentation describing the notion of distinguishing all possible 2×2 situations (two persons interacting, each with two behavioral options) and the corresponding patterns of social interaction. “The meeting participants had enjoyed a dinner reception at the French Embassy, with dancing and champagne. Holmes, Kelley, and Rusbult had returned to the hotel and were standing on the corner, when Reis leapt off a later bus and ran up to them saying, ‘Why don’t we get a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to go to the Bellagio Center on Lake Como and think and write about all those situations?’”
Requests for reprints should be sent to Daniel Friedrich, University of Hamburg, Institute of SocioEconomics (IAW), Von-Melle-Park 5, 20146 Hamburg, Germany.