114 thoughts on “Amie Thomasson on nonreductive physicalism

  1. walto: I mention it because I think it shows that ostensibly scientific positions can sometimes also border on kind of religious fanaticism. A number of threads on this very site are indicative.

    How so?

  2. BruceS: Plus I still don’t understand why he chose the word “academy”, which I associated initially with the academic establishment (in philosophy in this context).

    I’ve been noticing, and sometimes commenting, that philosophy seems to be done from the standpoint of a God’s eye view. And that seems even to apply when the author denies such a view.

    So I have reconsidered that. I think it is perhaps better described as “the view from the academy” rather than “God’s eye view.” Maybe that’s similar to what Nagel called “the view from nowhere”, but I have not read that book.

    My point is that cognition evolved to give us a close up personal view. If you are trying to do philosophy of mind on the basis of the view from the academy, then you are doing it wrong. (And thus I see almost everyone as doing it wrongly).

  3. Neil Rickert: I’ve been noticing, and sometimes commenting, that philosophy seems to be done from the standpoint of a God’s eye view.And that seems even to apply when the author denies such a view.

    My point is that cognition evolved to give us a close up personal view.If you are trying to do philosophy of mind on the basis of the view from the academy, then you are doing it wrong.(And thus I see almost everyone as doing it wrongly).

    That’s a fair point.

    I think KN would argue that Merleau-Ponty and the phenomenological approach to philosophy avoid your concerns. The enactivist approach in both philosophy and psychology are continuations of his ideas, for example the philosopher Chemero and the ecological psychologists.

    So while it may be true that “the Gods eye view” summarizes main stream analytical philosophy of mind, there are research programs in science and philosophy that avoid it.

    The same applies to ideas about representation. There are the standard Fodor-GOFAI ideas that mental representations are an internal vehicles standing for propositions or facts. There are some who think representation is not part of the explanation at all, like those I noted above. And there are also some, like Clark who I believe see representation as based on needs of perception and action, not about capturing propositions

    I suspect that all of these ideas will enter into a scientific explanation of human intentionality and language use.

    When you refer disparagingly to representation, I am guessing you mean in the GOFAI sense. That is why I was only partly joking when I asked for a glossary if you do decide to do a blog article.

  4. BruceS: The enactivist approach in both philosophy and psychology are continuations of his ideas, for example the philosopher Chemero and the ecological psychologists.

    I’ve been following that blog for several years. But it has been disappointing. The authors seem a bit too ideological about their anti-representation stance.

    The same applies to ideas about representation. There are the standard Fodor-GOFAI ideas that mental representations are an internal vehicles standing for propositions or facts. There are some who think representation is not part of the explanation at all, like those I noted above. And there are also some, like Clark who I believe see representation as based on needs of perception and action, not about capturing propositions

    The word “representation” seems to be used in many conflicting ways. So I’m opposed to the Fodor view of representations. On the other hand, there is a sense in which perception can be said to be representational (or perhaps “presentational” would be a better word there).

  5. walto: I mention it because I think it shows that ostensibly scientific positions can sometimes also border on kind of religious fanaticism. A number of threads on this very site are indicative.

    How so that?

  6. Well, if you meant the first sentence, I’m talking about the fervor with which the USSR supported Lamarckianism, based on the view that it was more consonant with Marxism. If you meant the second sentence, you can basically pick any thread touching on ID.

  7. In the opening post we heard:

    I’ll save my thoughts for the comment thread.

    Since then:

    keiths:
    First, an interesting but tangential observation:

    When I see the name “Amie”, particularly in a smaller font, my brain tends to separate the “m” into “rn”, giving “Arnie” instead of “Amie”.I can even make it flip back and forth like a Necker cube.

    I think it’s because most Amys/Amies spell their name with a ‘y’, while most Arnies spell it with an ‘ie’.The ‘ie’ reaches over and interferes with my perception of the “m”.

    That was it??

  8. walto,

    To be fair, Keiths is not the only one to be drawn into scrapping with the tarbaby. That window could close any moment. We have to take our opportunities! 🙂

  9. Alan,

    That’s right. Barry could press the bannination button at any time, and if past experience is any indicator, he’ll do it sooner rather than later.

    Meanwhile, this thread will be waiting.

    Sorry, walto. I miss you too!

  10. Neil Rickert: I’ve been following that blog for several years.But it has been disappointing.The authors seem a bit too ideological about their anti-representation stance.

    The word “representation” seems to be used in many conflicting ways.So I’m opposed to the Fodor view of representations.On the other hand, there is a sense in which perception can be said to be representational (or perhaps “presentational” would be a better word there).

    Andy Clark’s latest papers on the brain and Bayesian prediction (at the page I linked) seemed to be saying that for perception and action the contents of a representation is an approximation to some kind of conditional pdf. I’ve only skimmed that paper, but if I got that right then that was a novel idea of representation to me.

    I was surprised that you knew of the blog of the ecological psychologists. I am never sure how much of your thinking on philosophy is based on current philosophical approaches and how much was set when you did your own research on the topics, which I assume was some time ago.

    Dennett is a supporter of Clark so I am not sure if he belongs in the academy as I understand you to use the term. His heterophenomenological approach tries to provide a scientific approach for studying subjective experience. However, it is still based on the methodology of science rather than the phenomenologists like M-P. Have you any thoughts on that?

  11. BruceS: Dennett is a supporter of Clark so I am not sure if he belongs in the academy as I understand you to use the term.

    “The Academy”, as I was using the term, is the voice (or consensus) of an informal but respected collective. Whether or not Andy Clark is part of that collective is not too significant for the way that I was using the term.

    Andy Clark has been pushing interactionism for some time. But I have not been closely following him.

  12. Neil Rickert: “The Academy”, as I was using the term, is the voice (or consensus) of an informal but respected collective.Whether or not Andy Clark is part of that collective is not too significant for the way that I was using the term.

    Andy Clark has been pushing interactionism for some time.But I have not been closely following him.

    My sentence was poorly constructed. By “he”, I actually meant Dennett.

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