Vol 15 No 1 (2009)

Special issue: CNCC

Table of Contents


New Views on Old Issues: The CNCC Essay Award for Junior Scholars Full Text
Fabio Paglieri, Manos Tsakiris, Till Vierkant  



The Agent in Magenta: Action, Colour and Consciousness Summary Full Text
Dave Ward
How should we understand the relationship between conscious perception and action? Does an appeal to action have any place in an account of colour experience? This essay aims to shed light on the first question by giving a positive response to the second. I consider two types of enactive approach to perceptual consciousness, and two types of account of colour perception. Each approach to colour perception faces serious objections. However, the two views can be combined in a way that resists the criticisms to each. Furthermore, the hybrid view we arrive at lets us see which enactive account of perceptual consciousness we should prefer in the case of colour. 
Enacting is enough Summary Full Text
Erik Myin, Daniel D. Hutto
In the action-space account of colour, an emphasis is laid on implicit knowledge when it comes to experience, and explanatory ambitions are expressed. If the knowledge claims are interpreted in a strong way, the action-space account becomes a form of conservative enactivism, which is a kind of cognitivism. Only if the knowledge claims are weakly interpreted, the action space-account can be seen as a distinctive form of enactivism, but then all reductive explanatory ambitions must be abandoned. 
On the Necessity of Bodily Awareness for Bodily Action Summary Full Text
Hong Yu Wong
There appears to be an intimate connexion between feeling our limbs ‘from the inside’ and our power to act directly with them. This essay attempts to evaluate the strongest understanding of the connexion between bodily awareness and bodily agency: that feeling a body part ‘from the inside’ is necessary for any instance of acting directly with that body part. The most influential defence of this claim is to be found in O’Shaughnessy’s work on action. I lay out O’Shaughnessy’s arguments and analyse them. It turns out that there are two different strands implicit in O’Shaughnessy’s account. I tease these strands apart and evaluate them separately. I then consider three counterexamples against his account: (one) deafferented agents; (two) direct brain control of physical apparatus made possible by brain-machine interface technologies; and (three) the automatic character of the majority of our bodily actions. Each case presents different difficulties for O’Shaughnessy. I end by drawing the upshot of these counterexamples for O’Shaughnessy and explore to what extent he can respond to them. 
Bodily awareness and action-effect anticipations in voluntary action Summary Full Text
Thomas Goschke
In his article “On the Necessity of Bodily Awareness for Bodily Action” in this volume of Psyche Hong Yu Wong challenges the claim that bodily awareness is a necessary precondition for being able to voluntarily act with one’s body parts (the necessity thesis). Wong discusses empirical findings from studies of (i) deafferented patients, (ii) brain-computer interfaces and (iii) the automaticity of skilled movements, which constitute prima facie counterexamples against a strong version of the necessity thesis. While I consider Wong’s arguments as generally convincing, in this commentary I put them in the wider context of psychological theories stressing the role of distal action effectsin the control of voluntary action and the experience of agency. Moreover, I point to an ambiguity between first- and third-person readings of the necessity thesis. 
Minimal Sense of Self, Temporality and the Brain Summary Full Text
Julian Daniel Kiverstein
Cognitive neuroscientists are currently busy searching for the neural signatures of conscious experience. I shall argue that the notion of neural correlates of consciousness employed in much of this work is subject to two very different interpretations depending on how one understands the relation between the concepts of “state consciousness” and “creature consciousness”. Localist theories treat the neural correlates of creature consciousness as a kind of background condition that must be in place in order for the brain to realise particular conscious experiences. Holists on the other hand take the neural correlates of creature consciousness to be a part of the core realiser of a particular conscious experience. My aim in this paper will be threefold. First I argue we should understand creature consciousness as a property of those creatures that have a minimal sense of self. Given this conception of creature consciousness I argue that the localist position is untenable: creature consciousness cannot simply be a background condition. Finally I argue that the minimal sense of self is a consequence of the temporal structure of consciousness. It follows that any theory of NCCs must explain how experiences with a complex temporal structure can be implemented in neural processing. 
The Devils in the Details Summary Full Text
Michael Wheeler
While remaining in broad agreement with the overall position developed and defended by Kiverstein, I identify and discuss what I take to be a number of problems with the details of the argument. These concern (a) the claim that a certain temporal structure to conscious experience is necessary for there to be a minimal sense of self, (b) the alleged ubiquitous presence in experience of a minimal sense of self, and (c) the claim that the distinction between the constitutive background conditions and the core realiser of a given experience is ultimately unsustainable. 
Acting on (Bodily) Experience Summary Full Text
Adrian John Tetteh Smith
The complexities of bodily experience are outlined; its spatial phenomenology is specified as the explanatory target. The mereological structure of body representation is discussed; it is claimed that global spatial representations of the body are not necessary, as structural features of the actual body can be exploited in partial internal representation. The spatial structure of bodily experience is discussed; a structural affordance theory is introduced; it is claimed that bodily experience and sub-personal representation have action-orientated content; and that egocentric terms continue to make sense in application to bodily experience. 
Bodily spatial content Summary Full Text
Frederique de Vignemont
The classic notion of an egocentric frame of reference cannot be easily applied to bodily space, given the difficulties in providing a centre of such frame as well as axes on which one could compute distances and directions (Bermudez, 1998, 2005). Yet, Smith (this volume) tries to rehabilitate the egocentric account of bodily frame by switching from an anatomical definition of egocentricity (i.e. frame of reference that takes the body or part of the body as origin of its axes) to a more functional definition (i.e. the space of one’s own bodily actions). Here I will review some empirical evidence that shows that one cannot ground bodily experiences in action. There is more than one type of bodily spatial representations, and only one of them is linked to actions. How then to account for bodily spatial content? What is encoded in the spatial content and how? I will provide a tentative account based on two types of spatial content, namely, coordinate body space and categorical body space. 
Rationality and the Wason Selection Task: A logical account Summary Full Text
Simone Duca
The main goal of the paper is to investigate the relation between indicative conditionals and rationality. We will do this by considering several interpretations of a very well-known example of reasoning involving conditionals, i.e. the Wason selection task, and showing how those interpretations have different bearings on the notion of rationality. In particular, in the first part of the paper, after having briefly presented the selection task, we will take a look at two pragmatic responses to the challenge posed by the task, through Wason's notion of confirmation bias and Grice's theory of conversational implicature. The second part will introduce Adams' probabilistic view of indicative conditionals and will give reasons for preferring his account to those aforementioned. The conclusion will evaluate the question of human rationality in the light of the new standpoint acquired. 
On Indicative conditionals and Rationality in the Wason Task Summary Full Text
Joelle Proust
In his interesting paper, Duca argues that even though people don't apply a logical rule of inference – contraposition- when they try to solve the Wason task, they may be using another kind of formal strategy in terms of probabilistic relations between the antecedent and the consequent. It is suggested that there are two ways of intepreting this task – one logical and apriori, the other hypothetical and data driven. Taking a probabilistic interpretation of the conditional rule for subjects' card selections in the Wason task seems much more justified in this second reading. If this is true, new questions arise: how does a subject recognize which method is contextually appropriate, and what makes a solution contextually rational ? 
Searching for the Source of Executive Attention Summary Full Text
Catherine Stinson
William James presaged, and Alan Allport voiced criticisms of cause theories of executive attention for involving a homunculus who directs attention. I review discussions of this problem, and argue that existing philosophical denials of the problem depend on equivocations between different senses of “Cartesian error”. Another sort of denial tries to get around the problem by offering empirical evidence that such an executive attention director exists in prefrontal cortex. I argue that the evidence does not warrant the conclusion that an executive director can be localized in prefrontal cortex unless dubious assumptions are made, and that computational models purporting to support these assumptions either beg the question, or fail to model executive attention in terms of cause theories. 
On Executive Attention Summary Full Text
Andy Clark
In her excellent and thought-provoking essay ";Searching for the Source of Executive Attention";; Catherine Stinson argues that many accounts of executive attention threaten to involve some kind of conceptual confusion. While agreeing with many of the key criticisms, I explore some possible responses, which retain some of the flavor of the notion of executive attention.