Consciousness and Cognition

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Our thinking about consciousness and cognition is dominated by a certain very natural conception. This conception dictates what we take the fundamental questions about consciousness and cognition to be as well as the form that their answers must take.
In this book, Michael Thau shows that, despite its naturalness, this conception begins with and depends upon a few fundamental errors. Exorcising these errors requires that we completely reconceive the nature of both consciousness and cognition as well as the fundamental problems each poses. Thau proceeds by discussing three famous and important philosophical puzzles - Spectrum Inversion, Frege's Puzzle, and Black-and-White Mary - each of which concerns some aspect of either consciousness or cognition. It has gone unnoticed that at a certain important level of generality, each of these puzzles presents the very same problem and, in bringing out this common problem, the errors in our natural conception of consciousness and cognition are also brought out.
Thau's book will appeal to the casual reader interested in the proper solution of these puzzles and the nature of consciousness and cognition. The discussion of Frege's puzzle also contains important insights about the nature of linguistic communication and, hence, anyone interested in the fundamental questions in philosophy of language will also want to read the book.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195141818
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: Philosophy of Mind Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Lexile: 1460L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Thau teaches Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles. He works in Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics, and Epistemology.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Spectrum Inversion 13
1 Two views on perception 15
2 Spectrum inversion and functionalism 17
3 Spectrum inversion sans functionalism 21
4 The irrelevance of behavioral undetectability: Extending the argument 24
5 Qualia and Fregean senses 26
6 Phenomenology and representational content 30
7 An alternative view of perception 33
8 Generalized use-mention confusion 35
9 Pain and other sensations 37
10 Shoemaker's view 41
2 The Structure of Belief and Perceptual Representation 49
1 Intentionality and paradox 49
2 Intentionality and sense-data theory 52
3 The link to truth and falsity 55
4 The relational nature of belief 58
5 Instantial states vs. internal states 60
6 Against internal belief states 62
7 The possible worlds account of propositions 68
8 Saying and believing 70
9 Perceptual representation 74
10 Perception and the particularizing fallacy 80
11 Intentionality revisited 81
12 The Fregean/Millian distinction and the what/how distinction 83
13 Descriptive Fregeanism and non-descriptive Fregeanism 84
14 Guise Millianism and pure Millianism 86
15 Singular propositions 88
16 Explaining the what/how distinction 95
3 Frege's Puzzle 98
1 Four ways of generating Frege's puzzle 99
2 The way that appeals to reasons for behavior 104
3 Two ways the triadist can explain the differences in information conveyed: Differences-in-the-how and differences-about-the-how 107
4 Representational content, qualia, and non-descriptive modes of presentation 112
5 Against differences-about-the-how 117
6 Against differences-in-the-how 126
7 Two false assumptions 132
4 The Structure of Linguistic Communication 137
1 What's implicated and what's said 137
2 The philosophical importance of implicature 140
3 The Gricean paradox and two ways of generating it 143
4 The accessibility of Gricean inferences 147
5 The underdetermination of the inferences 149
6 Dispensing with the inferences 153
7 Semantic value as a theoretical entity 159
8 The opacity of semantic value 162
9 Trivial but informative sentences 166
10 True identity statements, belief ascriptions, containing true identity statements, etc 168
11 A kind of conventional implicature 172
5 Black-And-White Mary 178
1 A first pass at the argument 180
2 A response to the argument 182
3 A qualification: Conveying vs. registering 187
4 Reformulating the argument 191
5 First response: Mary gains only non-propositional knowledge 194
6 The relation between Mary's new propositional and non-propositional knowledge 197
7 Seeing objects vs. seeing properties 198
8 Second response: Mary learns about red' 200
9 Third response: Mary lacks the concept red 208
10 Toward the heart of the argument: Dumbing Mary down 214
11 Toward the heart of the argument: Setting Mary free 216
12 At the heart of the argument 219
13 Why we can't name the properties represented in perception 222
14 Looking some color 226
15 The intuition that colors are represented in perception 231
16 Perceptual representation and dispositionalism about color 235
Notes 239
Works Cited 271
Index 277
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