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How Intentionality Derives from Consciousness
 

How Intentionality Derives from Consciousness

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A joint paper with David Bourget

A joint paper with David Bourget

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    How Intentionality Derives from Consciousness How Intentionality Derives from Consciousness Presentation Transcript

    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? How Intentionality Derives from Consciousness David Bourget and Angela Mendelovici July 19, 2012 1 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Phenomenal intentionality theory The phenomenal intentionality theory (PIT) All intentionality comes from phenomenal consciousness, the “what it’s like” aspect of mental states 2 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Phenomenal intentionality theory The phenomenal intentionality theory (PIT) All intentionality comes from phenomenal consciousness, the “what it’s like” aspect of mental states Intentionality The aboutness of mental states Content What states are about, or what they represent 2 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Phenomenal intentionality theory • PIT is an alternative to tracking theories, functional role theories, and other theories of intentionality 3 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Phenomenal intentionality theory • PIT is an alternative to tracking theories, functional role theories, and other theories of intentionality • One motivation is that it seems to capture how things seem to subjects • Represent blueness, not reflectance properties or similar • Avoids the disjunction problem • Avoids the depth problem 3 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Phenomenal intentionality theory • PIT is an alternative to tracking theories, functional role theories, and other theories of intentionality • One motivation is that it seems to capture how things seem to subjects • Represent blueness, not reflectance properties or similar • Avoids the disjunction problem • Avoids the depth problem • PIT does not claim that there are no tracking relations or functional roles 3 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Phenomenal content Phenomenal content Content directly obtained from phenomenal character • Basic idea: In at least some cases, when a state has a certain phenomenal character, it automatically has certain contents, e.g. blueness • Different possible relations between phenomenal content and phenomenal character: • Identity • Realization • Other kinds of determination 4 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Simple PIT • All intentional content is phenomenal content • This appears to be the view of David Pitt 5 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Phenomenal content is not enough 1. Standing states 2. Nonconscious occurrent states 3. Occurrent thoughts 6 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Phenomenal content is not enough 1. Standing states • Propositional attitudes (or non-occurrent variants) • Problem: Lack phenomenal character 2. Nonconscious occurrent states 3. Occurrent thoughts 6 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Phenomenal content is not enough 1. Standing states • Propositional attitudes (or non-occurrent variants) • Problem: Lack phenomenal character 2. Nonconscious occurrent states • States in early visual processing, language processing, blindsight • Problem: Lack phenomenal character 3. Occurrent thoughts 6 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Phenomenal content is not enough 1. Standing states • Propositional attitudes (or non-occurrent variants) • Problem: Lack phenomenal character 2. Nonconscious occurrent states • States in early visual processing, language processing, blindsight • Problem: Lack phenomenal character 3. Occurrent thoughts • Thoughts you’re currently entertaining • Problem: Insufficient or non-matching phenomenal character • E.g. DEMOCRACY, H2 O 6 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Goal • Overarching goal: Develop best version of PIT • Today’s goal: Address the three kinds of problematic states 7 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? The derived content strategy • There is some phenomenal content, but not much • Non-phenomenal states/contents can be derived from phenomenal states/contents • Searle, Loar, Horgan & Tienson, Kriegel 8 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Dispositionalism about standing states • Standing states are dispositions to token phenomenal states with the same contents (and perhaps use them in certain ways) • Searle 9 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Dispositionalism • Dispositionalism only works if occurrent states have sufficiently rich contents • But: • H2 O • DEMOCRACY 10 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Matching content • Derive more content through something like the sense-reference relation • Some phenomenal contents have a descriptive structure • Descriptions, • Clusters of properties • etc. • We have other contents that match these complex phenomenal contents • Call contents derived in this way matching contents • Horgan & Tienson employ this kind of strategy 11 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Example • Occurrent thoughts about water have phenomenal content like the clear watery stuff around here • H2 O is the clear watery stuff around here • So, thoughts about water refer to H2 O • We can say that thoughts about water are (derivatively) about H2 O 12 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Problem • I’m thinking that John is the tallest man in the country • Am I really thinking also about Bob, who happens to be the tallest man in the country? 13 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Solution • For a thought about “the F” to be also a thought about α, the subject has to be disposed to take α to be the object of their thought upon learning that it is the F. • Sometimes we care about the referent, sometimes we care about the description 14 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Still.. • Are there always enough (descriptively accurate) phenomenal contents to recover all the objects of thought we want to recover? • When I think about water (H2 O), typically I don’t have a phenomenal grasp of some other content in terms of which it can be picked out (e.g. a description) • Typically, almost all that runs through my head is perceptual and verbal phenomenology 15 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? What we have so far • A way to derive standing states from occurrent states to address the problem of standing states • A possible way to address the problem with occurrent states through matching • But not enough phenomenal content to recover the occurrent states and standing states we want to recover 16 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? The conceptual role response • One possible solution is to derive the missing descriptive content from conceptual roles • My phenomenology is limited to hearing the word “water” and a mental image of the nearby beach • Still, I count as thinking about H2 O because this experience is appropriately related to a complex thought of the form the watery stuff around here, and H2 O satisfies this description 17 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Problem • What is the relevant connection between the simple thought and the complex thought? • Many causal connections between occurrent thoughts do not yield derived contents • Why should connections between occurrent thoughts yield derived contents? 18 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Cashing out • We are disposed to accept some contents as what we meant by certain other contents, e.g. unmarried man for bachelor 19 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Cashing out • We are disposed to accept some contents as what we meant by certain other contents, e.g. unmarried man for bachelor Experiences of cashing out: Experiences of accepting one content as a cashing out of another content 19 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Cashing out • We are disposed to accept some contents as what we meant by certain other contents, e.g. unmarried man for bachelor Experiences of cashing out: Experiences of accepting one content as a cashing out of another content • The proposal: Occurrent states derivatively represent whatever contents we’re disposed to experience as cashings out of their contents (and whatever we’re disposed to experience as cashings out of those contents) • Intuitively: We use our phenomenal contents to stand for more cumbersome definitions, characterizations, etc. (just as we use linguistic expressions to stand for things) 19 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Example of cashing out content 20 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Example of cashing out content 20 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Example of cashing out content 20 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Summary 21 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Summary 21 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Summary 21 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Summary 21 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Summary 21 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Nonconscious occurrent states • We suggest that nonconscious occurrent states do not really have intentional content in the same sense in which conscious states have intentional content 22 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Nonconscious occurrent states • We suggest that nonconscious occurrent states do not really have intentional content in the same sense in which conscious states have intentional content • We can all agree that nonconscious occurrent states • track things, have functional roles, and “represent” things if all this boils down to is tracking and functional roles • don’t have phenomenal character 22 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Nonconscious occurrent states • We suggest that nonconscious occurrent states do not really have intentional content in the same sense in which conscious states have intentional content • We can all agree that nonconscious occurrent states • track things, have functional roles, and “represent” things if all this boils down to is tracking and functional roles • don’t have phenomenal character • The main disagreement is over whether conscious intentionality also boils down to something like tracking and functional role 22 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Nonconscious occurrent states • We suggest that nonconscious occurrent states do not really have intentional content in the same sense in which conscious states have intentional content • We can all agree that nonconscious occurrent states • track things, have functional roles, and “represent” things if all this boils down to is tracking and functional roles • don’t have phenomenal character • The main disagreement is over whether conscious intentionality also boils down to something like tracking and functional role • IOW, cognitive scientists are talking about something else 22 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Intended content • We treat nonconscious occurrent states differently from standing states and thoughts 23 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Intended content • We treat nonconscious occurrent states differently from standing states and thoughts • Standing states and thoughts involve contents we are disposed to recognize as our own, contents we intend, or what we’re getting at 23 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Intended content • In the case of thought and belief content, one motivation for recovering them from phenomenal content is that they were intended • But the nonconscious content in question here is not intended, so this motivation for recovery does not apply 24 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Nonconscious occurrent states • While many nonconscious occurrent states are plausibly not intentional at all, we can allow that some are • No inconsistency in the idea of a phenomenal, nonconscious occurrent state • David Pitt holds a similar view • Agnoticism is best in most cases: either they have phenomenal content or they have no content at all 25 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Is derived intentionality really intentionality? 26 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Is derived intentionality really intentionality? • Depends how you reference fix on intentionality 26 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Is derived intentionality really intentionality? • Depends how you reference fix on intentionality • Phenomenal intentionality and derived intentionality are different natural kinds 26 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Is derived intentionality really intentionality? • Depends how you reference fix on intentionality • Phenomenal intentionality and derived intentionality are different natural kinds • But they have something in common that justifies the terminological similarity • Satisfy our vague pretheoretic notion of aboutness • Intended contents 26 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? Summary: Problematic states 1. Occurrent thoughts • Get their contents from cashing out and matching 2. Standing states • Get their contents from dispositions to have occurrent states 3. Nonconscious occurrent states • Represent in some other sense (tracking, functional role) 27 / 28
    • PIT The derived content view Nonconscious occurrent states Is derived intentionality intentionality? 28 / 28