Vol 5 (1999)

Table of Contents

Book Reviews

The Conundrum of Unconventional Consciousness: Comments on LaBerge's Theory of Attention and Awareness Full Text
Alan P. Rudell
Why the Folk Aren't Doing Psychology: Review of Interpreting Minds by Radu Bogdan Full Text
Carol Slater
Inattentional Blindness An Overview By Arien Mack and Irvin Rock Full Text
Arien Mack, Irvin Rock
Automaticity and Processing Without Awareness Full Text
Joseph Tzelgov
More Mysteries About Consciousness? Review of Consciousness: Psychological and Philosophical Essays by M. Davies and G.W. Humphreys Full Text
Winand H. Dittrich
Eccles-iastical Dualism:Review of Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self by John Eccles Full Text
Selmer Bringsjord, Joseph A. Daraio
How To Saw The Concept of Attention In Half Without Sacrificing the Subject: Review of The Psychology of Attention by Harold Pashler Full Text
Simon Moss
Cognitive Models Go Paddling in the Waters of Consciousness: Review of Scientific Approaches To Consciousness, Jonathan Cohen and Jonathan Schooler (Eds.) Full Text
Mark C. Price
What is Consciousness? Review of The Science Of Consciousness by Max Velmans (Ed.) Full Text
Patrice Terrier
Memory's Fragile Power Review of Searching for Memory: The Brain, the Mind, and the Past by D.L. Schacter. Full Text
C.Philip Beaman
Animal Cognition: Theory and Evidence Review of Species of Mind: The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology by Colin Allen and Marc Bekoff Full Text
William S. Robinson
Cognitive Science and its Discontents Review of Two Sciences of Mind by S. O' Nuallain, P. McKevitt and E. Mac Aogain (Eds.) Full Text
Massimo Marraffa
Psychology Divided Review of Mind and Brain Sciences in the 21st Century Robert L. Solso (Ed.) Full Text
Katarzyna Paprzycka
Franklin's New Infant Theory of Mind: Review of Artificial Minds: An Exploration of the Mechanisms of Mind by Stan Franklin Full Text
Luciano da Fontoura Costa
Teaching Philosophy with Argumentation Maps Review of Can Computers Think? The Debate by Robert E. Horn Full Text
Thomas Metzinger



A Theory of Phenomenal Consciousness? Summary Full Text
William S. Robinson
Peter Carruthers offers a model that embraces first order representations (FORs) and higher order representations (HORs) or higher order thoughts (HOTs). His model stipulates certain features of FORs and HOTs. Carruthers agrees with qualia realists that the FORs of his model are not adequate for phenomenal consciousness, and invokes HOTs to supply the required addition. It is argued that Carruthers' HOTs fail to provide anything that will enable him to account for phenomenal consciousness, i.e., that his model fails to include phenomenal consciousness and thus provides no help in understanding human consciousness, animal consciousness, or the "hard problem".
In "Natural Theories of Consciousness" Peter Carruthers describes a model that he claims will show the "hard problem" to be not so hard after all. To evaluate this claim, we should begin with the model, which contains the following elements and stipulations.
Active, Thin and Hot! An Actualist Response to Carruthers' Dispositionalist HOT View Summary Full Text
Josh Weisberg
In this article, I present a response to Peter Carruthers' criticisms of the actualist version of the higher-order thought hypothesis of consciousness developed by David M. Rosenthal (1986, 1993, 1997, forthcoming). I argue that Carruthers' worry of "cognitive overload" is not sufficient to derail the actualist HOT theory. In addition, I present criticisms of Carruthers' dispositionalist HOT theory. I argue that the positing of a "short-term memory store" does not explicate the notion of mental state consciousness, and that the dispositional approach fails to capture crucial distinctions in the way we are conscious of our mental states. I close by suggesting that there may be less to consciousness than we intuit.
Of Two Minds About Two Visual Systems Summary Full Text
Oliver H. Turnbull
Milner and Goodale's work stands squarely at the centre of the debate on 'two cortical visual systems', and is often seen as offering a reinterpretation of the classic Ungerleider and Mishkin (1982) account of visual specialisation. Several 'problems' with this original account are presented, including reviewing the work in the context of the history of human neuropsychology. However, is argued that Milner and Goodale's reinterpretation offers much that is advantagous to our understanding of extra-striate cortical specialisation. In particular, the possible role of the '3rd stream' is reviewed, including discussion of work which casts doubt the claim that object recognition is restricted exclusively to the ventral stream. Rather, the 3rd stream (the inferior parietal lobule) is presented as offering an optional visuo-spatial resource - which would be used for object recognition under non-optimal circumstances. Such an interpretation might offer a compromise between the two competing 'two visual systems' accounts.
What Neuroimaging Tells Us About the Division of Labour in the Visual System Summary Full Text
Jean Decety
Milner and Goodale (1995) propose that the visual system is able to accomodate two distinct functions: vision for action and vision for perception. These functions are proposed to rely respectively on the dorsal and the ventral streams. This functional dissociation emphasizes the output rather than the input side of the visual analysis. Progress in neuroimaging offers various ways to investigate this model. There is now evidence from studies using positron emission tomography on the study of brain activity in the perception of human movement that the roles of the two pathways are more easily understood when considered from the point of view of the output side of visual processing as suggested by Milner and Goodale.
A Response to Carruthers' Natural Theories of Consciousness Summary Full Text
William G. Lycan

I have very little disagreement with Carruthers' article, for our views are very similar. I think he is terminologically a bit hard on Michael Tye. I think that in invoking Swampman he is in danger of conflating teleological theories of representation with etiological theories of teleology. In response to his criticism of my own higher-order experience (HOE) view, I argue that there is good reason to believe that we human beings sport as great a degree of computational complexity as is needed for HOEs. If other animals do not exhibit a comparable degree, we should deny that they have "phenomenal-consciousness" in the strong sense of that term.
Consciousness, Coordination, and Two Visual Streams Summary Full Text
Peter McGeorge
Milner and Goodale's (1995) influential theory of visual processing suggests that only the ventral stream is directly associated with explicit conscious experience. However the implicit/explicit distinction does not map clearly onto the two visual streams. Whilst there is good evidence for the non-conscious nature of dorsal stream processing, evidence suggests that substantial processing in the ventral stream also occurs in the absence of conscious awareness. An alternative view is considered in which it is assumed that conscious awareness is not a property of specific processing systems (leading to multiple forms of conscious awareness) but where there exists a single conscious awareness system capable of interacting with the various processing streams.
Attention, Consciousness, and the Damaged Brain:Insights From Parietal Neglect and Extinction Summary Full Text
Jason B. Mattingley
Milner and Goodale's (1995) model of the primate cortical visual system has been justly influential in shaping recent empirical and theoretical work on the neural basis of conscious vision. In this commentary I examine the extent to which their model accounts for recent neuropsychological findings from patients with visual neglect and extinction, two profound disorders of visual consciousness that arise after unilateral brain damage. I begin by outlining two key claims from their model: first, that the characteristic loss of awareness for contralesional sensory inputs in neglect reflects disruption of ventral, object-recognition processes, rather than dorsal processes as has commonly been thought; and second, that extinction of the more contralesional of two concurrent stimulus events is primarily a disorder of orienting and action-related attention arising from damage to the dorsal, visuomotor stream. I then present recent findings that cast some doubt on these claims. Visual neglect arising from damage to the inferior parietal lobe can involve a significant visuomotor impairment, independent of any perceptual deficit. Moreover, visual extinction can be modulated by perceptual factors that are likely to call upon the ventral object-recognition stream. These findings suggest that neglect and extinction, two relatively common and striking disorders of consciousness, are not readily accommodated within Milner and Goodale's two visual streams model.
Consciousness Without Awareness Summary Full Text
Eric Saidel
I argue that Carruthers' arguments that (non-human) animals are unable to have conscious experience relies on a human-centered view of consciousness. Once we abandon those characteristics of consciousness that are typically human, such as the ability to reason about one's conscious experience, it becomes clear that animals may have conscious experience, although such experience may not be available as the subject of thought. Consideration of evidence from human conscious experience, child development, and evolution supports this suggestion.
Two Visual Brains in Action Summary Full Text
Bruce Bridgeman
Milner and Goodale review a wealth of evidence, much of it from their own research, showing that visually guided behavior and perception are controlled by two separate and quasi-independent 'visual brains'. Early evidence showed that motor ability was sometimes preserved despite simultaneous perceptual illusions, and work with patients has differentiated the two systems neurologically. Of the two visual systems, the motor system is less well known: it has a body-based frame of reference, but no memory and limited pattern-recognition capacity.
Triangles, Pyramids, Connections and Attentive Inhibition Summary Full Text
John K. Tsotsos
LaBerge's Triangular Theory of Attention contributes to several important topics in the study of visual attention. First, it expands on the discussion of whether attentive influences manifest themselves as neural suppression or enhancement; LaBerge seems to favour the enhancement viewpoint. Second, the paper proposes circuit loops (triangles by nature of three nodes in the loop) that may be responsible for the observed enhancement. Finally, a link between awareness and attention is explored and the claim that a representation of self must be considered is made. Here, it will not be possible to provide sensible discussion on all of these points; rather, the focus will be on the first issue, namely whether attention is manifested as enhancement or suppression. I claim that observations of enhancement or suppression depend very much on exactly how measurements are taken. Specific predictions are made: a given neuron exhibits enhanced or suppressed responses as a result of attentive influence depending on where that neuron is located in relation to the three-dimensional structure of attentive influences within the visual processing network. I show here a local, internal, attention control mechanism as an alternate model that provides an explanation for both enhancement and suppression of neural responses. In addition, it solves an important second problem for attention models, namely, information routing, within the same mechanism. The routing problem seems to be ignored by LaBerge.
Perception Through Action Summary Full Text
Vittorio Gallese, Laila Craighero, Luciano Fadiga, Leonardo Fogassi
The Visual Brain in Action by Milner and Goodale provides a new conceptual account of how the brain processes visual information. Milner and Goodale (1995) make two major points: (1) The dorsal stream processes visual information for motor purposes; (2) Action and perception are two completely separate domains, the latter being an exclusive property of the ventral stream. In the first part of this review we will summarize some recent neurophysiological data shedding new light on the "pragmatic" role of the visual information processed in the dorsal stream, and thus corroborating the theoretical views of Milner and Goodale (1995). In the second part we will discuss some recent neurophysiological, neuropsychological and brain imaging studies suggesting that the dichotomy proposed by Milner and Goodale between action and perception is probably too rigid.
Carruthers on the Deficits of Animals Summary Full Text
Derek Browne
The simple version of the HOT theory of consciousness is easily refuted. Carruthers escapes this refutation because he is actually a closet introspectionist. I agree with Carruthers that the subjective properties of experience are constituted from discriminatory and other cognitive responses, but I disagree that conceptual uptake into a language of thought is the form of uptake that is necessary. Carruthers' neocartesian argument for a divide between 'man and brute' should be rejected.
Automata, Receptacles, and Selves Summary Full Text
Paola Cavalieri, Harlan B. Miller
After rejecting Carruthers' conflation of levels of consciousness as implausible and conceptually muddled, and Carruthers' claim that nonhumans are automata as undermined by evolutionary and ethological considerations, we develop a general criticism of contemporary philosophical approaches which, though recognizing nonhuman consciousness, still see animals as mere receptacles of experiences. This is, we argue, due to the fact that, while in the case of humans we grant a self - something that has not only a descriptive but also a prescriptive side, requiring at least non-interference - in the case of nonhumans we focus only on the descriptive aspects. Consequently, we treat humans as equals whatever their capacities, but we order nonhumans in a hierarchy based on their cognitive level. We conclude that such double standards are not only inconsistent but also self-serving.
A Dichotomous Visual Brain? Summary Full Text
Marc Jeannerod
Recent experiments in normal subjects using neuroimaging demonstrate that the dorsal cortico-cortical pathway is involved during purely perceptual activities. Pathological cases with right posterior parietal lesions show deficits in visuospatial perception. It is argued that the radical dichotomy between perception and action pathways, as heralded in Milner and Goodale's book should be reexamined. The idea of distributed networks using resources in both visual pathways and recruited as a function of task demands is presented.
Who Has Subjectivity? Summary Full Text
Michael Lyvers
Carruthers' case against animal consciousness employs deeply flawed reasoning and is contradicted by both empirical and introspective evidence. Although in principle we cannot objectively establish for certain that anyone -- human or otherwise -- is phenomenally conscious, results of animal research on consciousness-changing drugs are uninterpretable unless one assumes that non-human animals have discriminable subjective states. Carruthers tries to argue that higher-order thoughts are the basis of subjective experiences, but the former are derived from the latter, not the other way around. The position that only humans are conscious is reminiscent of other anthropocentric errors including outmoded notions of an Earth-centered universe created solely for humans.
Access to Another Mind: Naturalistic Theories Require Naturalistic Data Summary Full Text
Mark A. Krause, Gordon M. Burghardt
If there is to be a natural theory of consciousness that would satisfy both philosophers and scientists, it must be based on naturalistic data and minimal clutter accumulated from semantic arguments. Carruthers offers a 'natural' theory of consciousness that is rather myopic. To explore the evolutionary basis of consciousness, a natural theory should include comparative psychological and neurological data that encompass nonlinguistic measures. Such an approach could provide a clearer picture of the adaptive function, mechanisms, and origins of consciousness.
Binding Through the Fovea: A Tale of Perception in the Service of Action Summary Full Text
Paul Cisek, Martine Turgeon
By characterizing the function of the ventral and dorsal visual streams as, respectively, vision-for-perception and vision-for-action, Milner and Goodale (1995) have brought some action onto the perceptual scene. However, with the distinction of the ventral "what" system and the dorsal "how" system, comes a dilemma: How is the operation of the two systems united toward common goals? This is an example of a binding problem. We propose that for binding these two systems, no mechanism needs to exist in the brain to bring ventral and dorsal representations together. Coherent behavior may be accomplished by focusing the two streams upon the same external object through a strategy of spatial selection, using either the fovea or selective attention. This strategy exploits the simple fact that two objects cannot occupy the same place at the same time. Other kinds of binding, like that involving the perceptual binding of the elements of a scene into coherent perceptual units, may be accomplished by exploiting other regularities of the environment, such as the likelihood that two simultaneous sounds were caused by a common event. From an evolutionary perspective, the most effective way to cope with the distant environment is to use different but complementary sensors, both contributing to aspects of identification and action guidance. For example, audition plays a role both in perceptual analysis and in action guidance, suggesting the possibility of segregated processing of auditory information. Thus, the functional distinction between a "what" system and a "how" system may not be limited to the visual modality, but may be a fundamental distinction for behavioral control in general.
Saving the Phenomenal Summary Full Text
Larry Shapiro
How to Solve the Hard Problem: A Predictable Inexplicability Summary Full Text
David Brooks

Qualitative states are no threat to physicalism. They have a causal effect upon the world in virtue of their qualitative nature. This effect is exploited in biological mechanisms for representing the world. Representation requires differential responsiveness to different perceived properties of things. Qualia are taken to be tagged properties of internal representation models. These properties are properties for-the-organism. Such for-the-organism properties are to be expected in beings which perceive the world and interact with it intelligently. Consciousness presents a problem for science. Human beings (and probably some animals) are conscious of the world and of themselves. In so far as science has the ambition of explaining everything consciousness is another unexplained phenomenon. However some claim that it is distinctive and different in kind from other problems which science hopes to solve using methods which have been successful up until now. It may indeed be so different that we have to adopt a dualistic metaphysics and accept that there is more to the world than physics knows. In this paper I intend to outline how the physicalist should fight back.