Vol. 41, Number 2, Spring 2020

The Synesthetic Experience of Color and the Grain Argument
Derek D. Nikolinakos, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

The grain argument has been offered by Bechtel and Mundale (1999) against the multiple realizability thesis. According to this argument, if we adopt the same grain of analysis with respect to mental and neural states, we can map correspondences between such states. The objective of this paper is to evaluate this argument by examining research on the synesthetic experience of color. It is argued that although such research has managed to obtain rather detailed descriptions of the phenomenal properties of this type of experience, the descriptions of the corresponding neural states are rather coarse grained. A variety of issues are raised which undermine the epistemic plausibility of the grain argument.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to D. Nikolinakos, Department of Philosophy and History of Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Panepistimioupolis, Athens 15771, Greece. Email: dnikolin@phs.uoa.gr

Neuroscientific Threat to Free Will as Non-Veridicality of Agentive Experience
Koji Ota, Niigata University

Libet-style experiments appear to present a threat to free will, establishing that conscious will to voluntary action is causally preceded by non-conscious brain activity. However, philosophers have proposed many objections to this threat, focusing on conceptual gaps between the non-reality of free will and the relevant neural event sequence. Contrary to this philosophical tendency, I argue that the neural event sequence, if empirically established, poses a threat to free will. However, the threat should be reconceptualized as the idea that our actions are not freely willed in the way we experience them, as suggested by Benjamin Libet. To develop this idea, I characterize the phenomenology of agentive experience and argue that our agentive experience turns out to be non-veridical in light of the relevant neural event sequence. The resultant argument seems invulnerable to the existing objections and their adaptations.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Koji Ota, Faculty of Humanities, Niigata University, 8050 Ikarashi 2-no-cho, Nishi-ku, Niigata, 950-2181, Japan. Email: ota@human.niigata-u.ac.jp

A Neurophilosophical Thesis About Consciousness
Aslihan Dönmez, Boğaziçi University, Mehmet Emin Ceylan, Üsküdar University, Bariş Önen Ünsalver, Üsküdar University, Fatma Duygu Kaya Yertutanol, Üsküdar University, Alper Evrensel, Üsküdar University

In this paper we propose that consciousness is a prediction tool that places the organism’s experiences into a four-dimensional description of the universe. While doing so, consciousness uses knowledge derived from our ancestors, which is coded into our DNA, as well as knowledge that we gained from the community in which we live. We call this type of consciousness collective consciousness, which transitions to individual consciousness during adolescence. Neural oscillations form the best candidates for understanding the neural substrates of these two types of consciousness: slow oscillations (delta–theta) represent collective consciousness, while fast oscillations (gamma) represent individual consciousness. Finally, we suggest that there are four developmental stages of consciousness, which parallel neurodevelopment of the brain: primitive, proto, immature, and mature consciousness.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Aslihan Dönmez, M.D., Ph.D., Suadiye mah. Bağdat cad. Kiliçoğlu apt. 451/7 Kadiköy, İstanbul, Turkey. Email: draslihandonmez@gmail.com

Critical Notice

Ambiguity of Rationality
Shanti P. Chakravarty, Bangor University, Gwynedd

Economics books have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Not this one. Most monographs in economics pitch an argument proceeding as follows. First the thesis is outlined. Then the supporting material is presented. Finally, a thread knits this material together in support of the original thesis. Manfred Holler dispenses with this structure for a reason. He wanders through ideas in economics, philosophy, history, and art interspersed with discussion of game theory in the context of a movie, flagging up issues in rational choice theory in a truly inter-disciplinary manner.

Correspondence should be directed to Shanti P. Chakravarty, Ph.D, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Bangor University, Gwynedd, Wales, LL57 2DG, United Kingdom. Email: s.p.chakravarty@bangor.ac.uk

Book Review

The Human Person: What Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas Offer Modern Psychology
Book authors: Thomas L. Spalding, James M. Stedman, Christina L. Gagné, and Matthew Kostelecky
Reviewed by Curtis L. Hancock, Rockhurst University

It is difficult to overlook the disunity that afflicts the discipline of psychology. Across the diverse specialties and sub-areas of the discipline, there appears to be a lack of integration. A cursory examination of undergraduate textbooks in the field indicates that theories influencing scholarly, experimental, and clinical work often relate to each other incoherently. Psychology needs a principle that can give its diverse theories and practices an underlying unity. This outstanding book aims to provide that unity. It recommends nothing less than retrieving a set of teachings from classical philosophy to remedy what ails psychology. Specifically, it aims to recover the philosophy of the human person that is first developed in the writings of Aristotle and to apply that recovery to problematic issues in psychology.

Correspondence concerning this review should be addressed to Dr. Curtis L. Hancock, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Philosophy Department, Rockhurst University, 1100 Rockhurst Road, Kansas City, Missouri 66110. Email: curtis.hancock@rockhurst.edu