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The Grand Avenue Festival is fun for the whole family featuring indoor and outdoor art installations, historic building tours, music, food trucks and more. The festival, held on historic Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix, is from 11 a. Enjoy live music or challenge friends to games on the lawn during this fun weekend festival.
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One has certainly not shown that seeing an object, being perceptually aware of a thimble, consists in a judgment that it is a thimble or anything else in anything like the ordinary sense of the word 'judgment'. You have to go to a non-ordinary sense of the word 'judgment' to make this claim hold, and hold it must, since otherwise we are stuck unable to tell the camera obscura from the genuine seer. What a genuine seer must do is somehow take in and "categorize" or "recognize" or "discriminate" or "identify" or.
With such uptake there is seeing. I am indeed challenging the claim that there is a coherent sense of "conscious" and "aware" and "see" linked in the manner of his question, but I quite agree that it "makes sense" to ask Dretske's question in the course of some ordinary affairs; it also makes sense to speak of the sun setting, and of breaking somebody's heart. Notice that Dretske's sense of "see," ordinary and familiar though it is, is utterly powerless to deal with the following questions: He can react to them in some ways and not others.
Endnote 10 3 Does a sleepwalker see? He engages in visually guided locomotion. It is obvious that in order to answer any of these questions, we have to go beyond the ordinary grounds for attributing seeing--which draw a blank--and ask what is going on inside. To a first approximation, the question then becomes: Is there uptake, and if so of what? And the answer is that to a surprising degree, the visual part of your brain is more like a camera obscura than you might have thought.
On the last page of CE, I described an experiment with eye-trackers that had not been done, and predicted the result. The experiment has since been done, by John Grimes forthcoming at the Beckmann Institute in Champaign Urbana, and the results were much more powerful than I had dared hope. I had inserted lots of safety nets I was worried about luminance boundaries and the like--an entirely gratuitous worry as it turns out.
Grimes showed subjects high-resolution color photographs on a computer screen, and told the subjects to study them carefully, since they would be tested on the details.
The subjects were hence highly motivated, like Betsy, to notice, detect, discriminate, or judge whatever it was they were seeing. They were also told that there might be a change in the pictures while they were studying them for ten seconds each. If they ever saw yes, "saw," the ordinary word a change, they were to press the button in front of them--even if they could not say or judge, or discriminate what the change was.
So the subjects were even alerted to be on the lookout for sudden changes. Then when the experiment began, an eyetracker monitored their eye movements, and during a randomly chosen saccade changed some large and obvious feature in each picture.
Star Wars 8: BOTH Rey's parents have been REVEALED before The Last Jedi?
Some people think I must be saying that this feature was changed, and then changed back, during the saccade. The change is accomplished during the saccade, and the picture remains changed thereafter. Did the subjects press the button, indicating they had seen a change? Usually not; it depended on how large the change was. Grimes, like me, had expected the effect to be rather weak, so he began with minor, discreet changes in the background.
Nobody ever pressed the button, so he began getting more and more outrageous. For instance, in a picture of two cowboys sitting on a bench, Grimes exchanges their heads during the saccade and still, most subjects don't press the button! In an aerial photograph of a bright blue crater lake, the lake suddenly turns jet black--and half the subjects are oblivious to the change, in spite of the fact that this is a portrait of the lake.
What about the half that did notice the change? They had apparently done what Betsy did when she saw the thimble in the epistemic sense: What does this show? It shows that your brain doesn't bother keeping a record of what was flitting across your retinas or your visual cortexeven for the fraction of a second that elapses from one saccade to the next. So little record is kept that if a major change is made during a saccade--during the changing of the guards, you might say--the difference between the scene thereafter and the scene a fraction of a second earlier, though immense, is typically not just unidentifiable; it is undetectable.
The earlier information is just about as evanescent as the image on the wall in the camera obscura. Only details that were epistemically seen trigger the alarm when they are subsequently changed. If we follow Dretske's usage, however, we must nevertheless insist that, for whatever it is worth, the changes in the before and after scenes were not just visible to you; you saw them, though of course you yourself are utterly clueless about what the changes were, or even that there were changes.
There will not only be one less visible finger in the world, but one less finger in Sarah's experience of the world. This is, however, vacuous, given subjects' utter lack of uptake of the difference. In what sense do things look different to them? Things "look different" in the vacant camera obscura when I duck out of sight after my smirk, but they don't look different to anybody.
The difficulty with Dretske's view of non-epistemic seeing comes out even more strikingly in an experiment recently conducted by Rensink, O'Regan and Clark forthcoming. Provoked by Grimes' result, and thinking it had nothing to do with saccades but everything to do with "uptake" of some kindthey presented subjects with pictures that are interrupted, every quarter of a second msec with a black screen which remains on for msec.
The resulting phenomenology is rather annoying: But in fact, subjects are told, the picture changes during each interruption, going back and forth between two pictures, with a rather large and visible difference between them. For instance, the huge airplane that almost fills the picture grows an extra engine on its wing twice a second. Back and forth, back and forth go the two pictures of the plane, but you can't see any change at all!
The two pictures appear to you to be exactly the same. You study them, focussing, scanning, inventorying, and then eventually, after perhaps twenty or fifty back-and-forths, you notice the change.
History of USA Table Tennis Volume 14 - Chapter 2
Sometimes, in spite of thirty seconds of steady hunting, the subjects still fail to see epistemically the change. This produces the same helpless and frustrating state of Betsy hunting for the thimble. She knows it's there, right in front of her nose, and she can't see it! But on Dretske's account, the difference is there, back and forth, being "exhibited" in consciousness, in non-epistemic seeing. In fact, he gives an examplep.
The difference between them is that Spot a good-sized round dot is in Alpha but absent in Beta. Everyone who looks at Alpha, and then at Beta, Dretske says, is "thing-aware of Spot" even though many people may not be "fact-aware" of the difference. In saying that the reader is conscious of Spot--and, hence, in this sense, the difference between Alpha and Beta--without being conscious of the fact that they differed, we commit ourselves to the possibility of differences in conscious experience that are not reflected in conscious belief.
The differences are out there in the objects, yes, but who can say whether these differences are registered [my emphasis] in here, in our experience of the objects?
This is a way of saying that conscious experiences, the sort of experiences you have when looking around the room, cannot differ unless one is consciously aware that they differ. This objection smacks of verificationism, but calling it names does nothing to blunt its appeal. Dretske recognizes that he needs something better than name calling to fend off this objection, so he offers a final example, drawn from Kluver's studies of size discrimination in monkeys.
But he begs the question in his account of how one would have to describe the monkeys' capacity, so it doesn't in fact provide any further support for his way of looking at seeing. Endnote 11 There is no doubt that the periodic changes in the Rensink et al. But if you or your homuncular agents do not in fact "look at" most of these exhibits with any equipment at all, the only sense in which these changes are "registered" is the sense in which the changes are also registered inside a camcorder that is turned on, but not recording.
This is, in fact, the normal situation--powerfully revealed in this abnormal environment. If Dretske wants to say that this is all he meant by non-epistemic seeing, he is welcome to the concept, but it is not a persuasive model of "conscious experience.
Perhaps there is enough long term uptake in the brain so that, although you can't readily notice changes, if given a forced choice guess about whether or not there has been a change, you will do better than chance. Suppose we show subjects two kinds of picture pairs: They will look just alike to subjects--they will detect no changes. But if required to guess which pictures do involve a change, they might well do better, even much better, than chance, in spite of their utter inability to say what these changes might be.
This experiment is currently under development in Rensink's lab. If subjects can make good forced choice guesses, this would conclusively show that some information was preserved from moment to moment, that there was some non-ephemeral "registration" after all. This would not serve Dretske's purposes, however, by giving him a "difference which makes a difference" on which to hang non-epistemic seeing in conscious experience, since this performance on forced choice guessing is precisely the evidence standardly relied on to demonstrate unconscious information preservation in blindsight.
I doubt that Dretske would want blindsight to count as non-epistemic seeing. So, to revert to the confrontation with which we began, Dretske noted what he takes to be a clear mistake of fact in my theory of consciousness.
I say the detail only seems to be "in there" and he disagrees. I agree that it is in the eye focused on the retinabut that is surely not enough, for in that sense, the detail is also in the camera obscura. Most of this detail is not--and cannot be--picked up at all, but some of it is.
The few details that are picked up are picked up by being identified or categorized in some fashion--if only as blobs worthy of further consideration, as Treisman's experiments show. Endnote 12 It does indeed seem as if all the details are "in here" in some stronger sense--a difference that makes a difference--but that is an illusion. They have obliged me to respond, in detail worthy of their challenge, to the question: They have obliged me by writing an exemplary essay, fair, patient and reasonable, setting out the problems with my view as they and many other philosophers see them.
They provide a compelling exhibition of something philosophers should more often strive for: Which of the many variations of the ideas they consider is mine? Which did I mean? It doesn't much matter, since they canvass all the possibilities, and try to show which is the best--given my purposes--and why. If I didn't say or mean that, I should have. Or so they claim, with supporting reasons. First let me confirm a suspicion that they hint at occasionally: I have not thought that such fanatic attention to precise formulations was work worth doing; I still think that this is largely make-work, but there are many, apparently, who think I am wrong, and I owe them, in my response to this challenge, a proper reply.
It cannot have escaped philosophers' attention that our fellow academics in other fields--especially in the sciences--often have difficulty suppressing their incredulous amusement when such topics as Twin Earth, Swampman, and Blockheads are posed for apparently serious consideration.
Are the scientists just being philistines, betraying their tin ears for the subtleties of philosophical investigation, or have the philosophers who indulge in these exercises lost their grip on reality? These bizarre examples all attempt to prove one "conceptual" point or another by deliberately reducing something underappreciated to zero, so that What Really Counts can shine through. Blockheads hold peripheral behavior constant and reduce internal structural details and--what comes to the same thing--intervening internal processes close to zero, and provoke the intuition that then there would be no mind there; internal structure Really Counts.
Manthra is more or less the mirror-image; it keeps internal processes constant and reduces control of peripheral behavior to zero, showing, presumably, that external behavior Really Doesn't Count. Swampman keeps both future peripheral dispositions and internal states constant and reduces "history" to zero.
Twin Earth sets internal similarity to maximum, so that external context can be demonstrated to be responsible for whatever our intuitions tell us. Thus these thought experiments mimic empirical experiments in their design, attempting to isolate a crucial interaction between variables by holding other variables constant. In the past I have often noted that a problem with such experiments is that the dependent variable is "intuition"--they are intuition pumps--and the contribution of imagination in the generation of intuitions is harder to control than philosophers have usually acknowledged.
But there is also a deeper problem with them. It is child's play to dream up further such examples to "prove" further conceptual points. Suppose a cow gave birth to something that was atom-for-atom indiscernible from a shark.
Would it be a shark? What is the truth-maker for sharkhood? If you posed that question to a biologist, the charitable reaction would be that you were making a labored attempt at a joke. Suppose an evil demon could make water turn solid at room temperature by smiling at it; would demon-water be ice? Too silly a hypothesis to deserve a response. All such intuition pumps depend on the distinction spelled out by McLaughlin and O'Leary-Hawthorne between "conceptual" and "reductive" answers to the big questions.
What I hadn't sufficiently appreciated in my earlier forthright response to Jackson is that when one says that the truth-maker question requires a conceptual answer, one means an answer that holds not just in our world, or all nomologically possible worlds, but in all logically possible worlds. Endnote 13 Smiling demons, cow-sharks, Blockheads, and Swampmen are all, some philosophers think, logically possible, even if they are not nomologically possible, and these philosophers think this is important.
Why should the truth-maker question cast its net this wide? Because, I gather, otherwise its answer doesn't tell us about the essence of the topic in question. But who believes in real essences of this sort nowadays? Consider the fate of "logical behaviorism" with regard to magnets. Here are two candidate answers to the question of what the truth-maker is for magnets: Was the old, behavioral criterion a eventually superseded by the new, internal structure criterion bor did the latter merely reductively explain the former?
To find out, we must imagine posing scientists the following Swampman-style questions. Suppose you discovered a thing that attracted iron but was not M-aligned like standard magnets. Would you call it a magnet? Suppose you discovered a thing that was M-aligned but did not attract iron. The physicists would reply that if they were confronted with either of these imaginary objects, they would have much more important things to worry about than what to call them Dennett,p Their whole scientific picture depends on there being a deep regularity between the alignment of atomic dipoles in magnetic domains and iron-attraction, and the "fact" that it is logically possible to break this regularity is of vanishing interest to them.
If they are "logical behaviorists" about magnets, this is no doubt due to William Gilbert's early phenomenological work in the 17th century, which established the historical priority, if nothing else, for the classification of magnets by what they do, not what they have inside.
He built upon, and improved, the folk physics of magnets, in short. What is of interest, however, is the real covariance of "structural" and "behavioral" factors--and if they find violations of the regularities, they adjust their science accordingly, letting the terms fall where they may.
Nominal essences are all the essences that science needs, and some are better than others, because they capture more regularity in nature. In "Do Animals have Beliefs? We both agree that a brain filled with sawdust or jello could not sustain beliefs.
There has to be structure; there have to be elements of plasticity that can go into different states and thereby secure one revision or another of the contents of the agent's beliefs.
When I say "could not" and "have to," am I speaking of "conceptual" or "nomological" necessities? I am speaking of serious necessities. If I ever encounter a plausible believer-candidate that violates them, what to call it will be the least of my worries, since my whole theory of mind will be sunk.
So why do I lean towards "logical behaviorism" and away from the specifics of internal activity and structure that McLaughlin and O'Leary-Hawthorne go to such lengths to highlight? For the reasons that Lynne Rudder Baker explains so well in her essay. Like Gilbert, I start with folk theory, which is remarkably robust in the case of folk psychology. It is a discovered fact, already well confirmed, that "peripheral narrow behavior" of the sorts commonly observed by everyday folk, is readily predicted and explained by folk psychology.
Thus the order of explanation is from outer to inner, not vice versa. We want a theory of the innards that can account for all that regularity. It might have gone otherwise; it is logically possible, I suppose, that we could have found "belief-boxes" in people's heads that causally explained their behavior, and well-nigh identical "belief-boxes" in the cores of redwood trees that were entirely inert.
We would then have put a premium on explaining that regularity of internal structure, and let the differences in behavioral consequences tag along behind. But we didn't find any such thing. It is not just logically possible but already demonstrated that there are in fact many internally different ways of skinning the behavioral cat, while it is at best logically possible, and Vanishingly Darwin's Dangerous Idea,p. Endnote 14 This all depends, of course, on how closely we look at the innards for signs of similarity.
How different do internal ways have to be to count as different? McLaughlin and O'Leary-Hawthorne see a contradiction between my various positions on behaviorism, and I guess they are right.
I should have explained why I thought that the difference between molecular and molar behaviorism didn't amount to anything important, rather than burking the distinction altogether. Of all the molecular differences that there might be, the only ones that would make a difference to psychology as ordinarily understood would be those that made a difference to the "peripheral narrow behavior" that is predicted and explained by folk psychology.
Tweedledum and Tweedledee both hear a joke and both laugh; both also would laugh at various other jokes, would find others unfunny, etc. Nevertheless their overall joke-getting machinery has some differences--differences that would never show up in any peripheral behavior. These differences are clearly I would think below the level of psychology. In particular, these differences would not license a different attribution of belief.
Start with what is probably a safe limiting case. Tweedledum's brain makes somewhat different use of potassium in its regulation of axonal transmission than Tweedledee's brain does.
Otherwise, their brains always "do the same thing"--they are not quite molecular behavioral twins, but pretty close. Though not molecular behavioral twins, they are nevertheless psychological twins, for the differences are just too fine-grained to show up in interesting psychological differences--such as different belief-attributions on anybody's story of belief attributions.
Suppose next a much larger-scale difference: Tweedledum and Tweedledee have entirely different subcognitive systems of face-recognition; one relies on a sort of feature-detection checklist, and the other on some global, holistic constraint-satisfaction scheme Brainstorms,pp Now, we may suppose, they do exhibit different psychological profiles at least in relatively abnormal circumstances: If, contrary to plausibility, their radically different "face-recognition modules" had exactly the same competence under all experimental conditions, we would see the difference as an interesting physiological difference, but too fine-grained to "count" as psychology.
But where we draw the line is not a big deal, one way or the other. Some philosophers may still think that in spite of all this, Blockheads illustrate an important principle, so before taking my leave of Blockheads I cannot resist pointing out that the "principle" relied upon by Block in his original thought experiment is mistaken in any case.
One of the most intelligent things any thinking agent can do is plan ahead, engaging in what we might call temporally distal self-control. Anticipating that when push comes to shove at some later time, it may be difficult or impossible to Do the Right Thing--to figure out and execute the rationally optimal response to current circumstances--the wise agent arranges to tie his hands a little, and cede temporally local control to a policy figured out long ago, in cool, dilatory reflections "off line".
Dieters, knowing their urges, arrange to locate themselves in places bereft of snacks, and when they later act in an environment that does not include "shall I have a snack? The practical navigator, John Stuart Mill reminds us in Utilitarianismgoes to sea with the hard problems of spherical trigonometry and celestial motion pre-computed, their answers neatly stored in a rather large but portable lookup table.
It is thus no sign of mindlessness, but rather of foresight, if we encounter the navigator mechanically determining his position by looking up the answers, swiftly, in a book. We think of Oscar Wilde as a great wit. It would no doubt diminish his reputation considerably if we learned that he lay awake most nights for hours, obsessively musing "Now what would I reply if somebody asked me.
They would still be his bon mots, and their funniness would depend, as the Polish comedian said, on timing. Timing is important for almost any intelligent act--which is why it is intelligent to anticipate and pre-solve problems wherever possible. Wilde's brute force witticism-production scheme might disappoint us, but in fact it draws attention to the fact that all intelligent response depends on costly "R and D", and it doesn't make much difference how the work is distributed in time so long as the effects are timely.
So, contrary to Block's guiding intuition, discovering that some Turing Test contestant was one way or another looking up the responses in a giant lookup table should not at all rule out the hypothesis that this was the manifestation of an intelligent agent at work. Local inspection would perhaps often leave us in doubt about who the intelligent agent was or who they werebut we should have no doubt at all that the witticisms on the transcripts were the product of intelligent design, responsive to the meaning of the inputs, and just temporally removed by being solved in the hypothetical.
Intelligent design is the only way witticisms can be made. Am I saying it is actually logically necessary that any such giant lookup table of clever responses would have such an etiological history?
A cow-shark could give birth to one. But in our world, the only way anything will ever pass the Turing Test is by being an intelligent, thinking agent. Mark Richard provides a close encounter that is long overdue, confronting my "pretty pernicious instrumentalism" with a relentless challenge from one of those who think that the way to make a proper theory of belief is to construct and defend formal definitions of its terms.
I turned my back on the efforts of the Content Mafia otherwise known as the Propositional Attitude Task Force inafter publishing "Beyond Belief," in which I gave my reasons for rejecting their methodology and enabling assumptions. The tradition has continued in force without my blessing, of course, and few participants have felt the need either to respond to my criticisms, or to show how their way of philosophizing shows what is wrong with mine, so it is high time to see how the scales balance today.
Richard offers a three-pronged attack on my account of believers as intentional systems: I cannot solve the lectern problem, he claims, and two avenues which might seem to offer escape hatches for me, Stich's attempt to distinguish beliefs from sub-doxastic states via a condition of "inferential promiscuity," and Evans' Generality Constraint, turn out to be flawed.
If, as Richard notes, I can't adequately answer the question "What isn't a belief? Not a good verdict for a theory of belief. I claim to solve the lectern problem, as Richard observes, by showing how, when predicting lectern "behavior," the intentional stance gives a predictor no purchase over using the physical stance.
- November 2018
No one predictive success counts for much at all--witness the lectern's readily predicted null behavior. The predictive power of the intentional stance does not derive from our having induced kazillions of psychological "laws" which we are reminded of whenever we see their antecedent conditions being satisfied. Where would all these "laws" come from? We surely aren't taught them by the score. Rather, we effortlessly generate our predictions from an appreciation of the underlying normative principle of intentional stance prediction--rationality.
What we need the strategy to explain is our power to generate these predictions--describe these patterns--ad lib and ad hoc in any number we wish, and find the vast majority of them to be predictive way better than chance. That's why I spoke of intentional systems whose behavior is "voluminously" predictable, a theme Richard notes in passing, but underestimates. Richard then goes on to interpret my claim about the ineliminability of the intentional characterization of people and other true believers as the claim that the presumptive intentional laws governing lecterns, unlike the intentional laws governing believers, have equally predictive--indeed coextensive--"physical equivalents," and hence are eliminable.
This misconstrues my case. I am quite willing to grant that some unimaginably long but finite disjunction of physically characterized conditions exhausts by brute force the entire predictive power of any intentional stance prediction whatsoever.
Such claims are not interesting; the same move could be used to strike down every biological category for instancesince the Heat Death of the Universe, if nothing else, guarantees that "there is" a huge but finite disjunction of predicates constructible by Boolean means from terms drawn strictly from sub-atomic physics that would be exactly as predictive as "is a herbivore" or "is hemoglobin" or "reproduces asexually.
The guaranteed existence of such an unwieldy predicate doesn't diminish the actual value, for purposes of prediction, of an intentionalistic predication, and it doesn't explain what an intentionalistic claim explains. I have improved on my Martian predictor example in Darwin's Dangerous Idea, pp. I show that there are short, readily tested causal generalizations whose almost exceptionless truth would be manifest to super-Laplaceans but utterly mysterious and inexplicable by them unless they adopted the intentional stance.
The fact that the super-Laplaceans could predict each instance of the generalization--could generate, given enough time, every disjunct in the unimaginably long list--would not impress them, since they would see clear as day in the totality of their predictions a simple regularity that they could not explain. Why does Richard go to such pains to translate my thesis into the alien language of "ceteris paribus laws" and then interpret its central claim in terms of the non-existence of equivalent sentences composed in non-intentional vocabulary?
The reason, I think, is methodological: Richard simply cannot use the tools of his trade unless he can first turn the object of scrutiny into such a claim. This methodological imperative comes out more sharply when we turn to his painstakingly constructed arguments against Stich's distinction, and Evans' Generality Constraint.
Here he helps himself on several occasions to the tempting surmise that there is a language of thought, even though he concedes that this hypothesis may not, in the end, make much sense when applied to human believers. Why does he do this? Because he cannot construct his arguments without it. He is not alone, but his forthrightness on this occasion helps to underscore a point I have made in the past: Without the language of thought as a crutch to keep the "fatal" examples from toppling over under the weight of their often bizarrely topheavy loads of specific content, there would be no research program here at all.
Endnote 15 Even if our thought is not invariably realized in a linguistic medium, the existence of something whose thought was invariably so realized, and in whom we would identify the possession of concepts with lexical mastery, isn't impossible. Or, rather, such a being better not be impossible, since a cottage industry of philosophical research depends on it. Part of my evidence for this claim is the studied indifference of these philosophers, almost without exception, to the efforts by various researchers in Artificial Intelligence and cognitive psychology, to construct and defend models of belief that do utilize something like a language of thought.
It is a "belief box" containing millions of hand-coded propositions, and insofar as it has any concepts at all, it is in virtue of the "lexical mastery" provisioned by all those carefully wrought definitions, as interanimated by its attached inference engine. Is CYC a believer?
The general run of opinion in cognitive science is that CYC is a brave attempt at an impossible project. Of course it is possible to construct large boxes of interanimated sentences--CYC is an actual instance--but few would think that a theory about which sentences appeared where under what conditions in such boxes would be a theory of belief.
That is, however, one way of reading the underlying assumption of a language of thought. Richard appeals at one point to the supposition "I think in English," and at another point tells us of Jane, who believes "Twain's here" expresses a truth, but doesn't realize that Mark Twain is Clemens. Later he alludes to Smith, the poorly integrated bi-lingual, and finally to Jan, the bi-lingual Dutchman. He needs these special cases because he has to be able to point to propositions crisply "identified" as only a specific sentence in a particular language can do one can speak about sets of possible worlds, but the only practical way of saying which set you have in mind is to go piggyback on a specific sentence.
For instance, Jan's belief that lions are in zoos has to be identified with a specific sentence in one of Jan's languages of thought, so it can be clung to, as one of Jan's beliefs, in spite of the evidence that Jan is really a bit dense about lions and zoos, so dense that he can't even "think the thought" in his other language of thought.
Richard tells us the point of the exercise: While hundreds of pages have been published about Pierre, I have not bothered adding to them, since the proper response seemed to me to be so obvious Dennett,p. Thanks to Kripke's clear setting out of the conditions under which Pierre fell into his curiously ill-informed state, we know exactly what his state of mind is.
What is the problem, then? The problem is saying, formally and without fear of embarrassing contradiction elsewhere, exactly what Pierre believes. Which propositions, please, should be inscribed on Pierre's belief-list, and how are they to be individuated?
Well, it can't be done. That's the point of the Pierre case; it neatly straddles the fence, showing how the normally quite well-behaved conditions on belief pull against each other in abnormal circumstances.
What should one do in such a dire circumstance? Chuckle and shrug, and say, "Well, what did you expect? Pierre is an imperfect believer, as we all are. Whenever push comes to shove in borderline cases, its demands become unanswerable. That is my pretty pernicious instrumentalism showing, I guess. I don't call my view instrumentalism anymore, but whatever it should be called, my view is that propositional attitude claims are so idealized that it is often impossible to say which approximation, if any, to use.
There is nothing unprecedented about this: How close to the ideal "specs" does something have to be to count as a genuine FM tuner? What if it can receive only one station? What if it tends to receive two stations at a time? What if a cow-shark swallows it, and its stomach acid turns it into a television set? The various predicaments that Richard treats as counterexamples to theories could better be considered to be shortcomings in the particular believers, fallings short from the ideal of inferential promiscuity, or Generality, for instance.
Pierre is a true believer, of course, but a decidedly sub-optimal one. Believers aren't supposed to get themselves into the sort of epistemic pickle Pierre has blundered into. Since all believers fall short of the ideal, Stich's useful idea about how to tell beliefs from other "subdoxastic states" should be treated as a desideratum of beliefs, not a litmus test. Then we can see a gradation of cases, from truly embedded or encapsulated subdoxastic states to more and more "movable" and inferentially available states.
The question of how, in the species and in the individual, this transition to more and more versatile cognitive states occurs is fast becoming a major theoretical issue in cognitive science see, esp. Clark and Karmiloff-Smith, It wisely ignores the question of how to define belief formally.
If, on the other hand, you insist on setting up a definition of belief as a set of necessary and sufficient conditions, in the fashion that Richard assumes obligatory, you merely guarantee that there are no true believers, not among ordinary mortals. So Richard is mistaken in thinking from the outset that I take on the obligation to offer a "principled account of the distinction between having propositional attitudes, as against having psychological states which, though they produce and regulate behavior, and can be assigned informational content, are not propositional attitudes.
I myself have always thought that the Generality Constraint nicely captured the ideal--the same ideal Fodor captures by speaking of belief fixation as "Quinian and isotropic. One of the best arguments against CYC-style models of belief could in fact be put thus: Since it is at least very hard and maybe impossible for them to meet Evans' Generality Constraint, even in approximation, there must be some other way of organizing the innards of a believer that accounts for the fact that believers are in general quite able to honor that constraint.
The trouble with the tools of the trade of the Propositional Attitude Task Force is that they cut too fine! Propositions are abstract objects, and according to theory just as distinct and well-behaved as, say, integers.
If propositions measure psychological states the way numbers measure physical states as Paul Churchland has notedthen the belief that p is not identical to the belief that q if p is not identical to q. But the principles of propositional identity are tied to sentence identity in a language. In theory, of course, proposition identity can be specified in terms of sets of possible worlds, but in practice, the way such a set is referred to is as the set in which a particular English sentence is true.
In reality, propositions are, for this reason, more like dollars than numbers, and the precision aspired to is an illusory goal The Intentional Stance, Lynn Rudder Baker gives a wonderful account of the reasons why the patterns discernible from the intentional stance should not be assumed to be repeated, somehow, in the brain. In this regard I especially commend her discussion fn58 of the bogus question about the location of the money-making. As she says, "Such questions are not serious spurs to inquiry.
It is the confusion of the non-serious ones with the serious ones that causes a lot of the confusion. As Alan Turing noted, in one of his many prophetic asides, I do not wish to give the impression that I think there is no mystery about consciousness. There is, for instance, something of a paradox connected with any attempt to localize it. Nothing of the kind may have occurred to me. Baker's analysis of this case would be much helped by honoring David Rosenthal's distinction between expressing and reporting: Heterophenomenology exhausts the intentional stance theory of consciousness, but we want more and so we should.
We'd like to know. Similarly, there is certainly a real pattern in the tales told and believed by subjects about what occurs to them at various times, what they "do" in their minds at various times, and we'd like to know which of these beliefs of theirs are true.
That is where "brain-mapping" comes in. Baker sees a deep tension between the intentional stance and this brain-mapping move, mainly because she misinterprets me as thinking the brain-mapping will be a "deeper" theory in her termsand thus non-intentional.
The theory of content I espouse for the whole person I espouse all the way in. The neurobiological theory of content is homuncular functionalism, to dress it in its most vivid metaphorical costume, and hence the very same principles of interpretation are used to endow sub-personal parts with contents as are used to endow whole persons. David Rosenthal's interpretive "hypothesis" on this score is thus correct. Since he has to work to arrive at this position, and Baker misses it, I cannot have done a proper job of expounding it.
The way in which personal-level attributions of belief and other intentional properties get confirmed in the crunch by sub-personal attributions of non-ordinary intentional properties is roughly parallel to the way in which one might confirm one's attribution of culpable motives to, say, the British Empire, or the CIA, or IBM, by discovering a pattern of beliefs, desires, intentions, among the agents whose joint activity compose the actions, beliefs and intentions of the super-personal agent see the discussion of Carol Rovane, at the end of this essay, for more on this.
So in the case of Eve, the story goes like this. Eve expresses the higher-order thought "I was suddenly conscious of the fact that I was not alone in the house," thereby reporting truly or falsely that she had a certain first-order thought to the effect that she was not alone in the house. We'll have to look at our record of what went on in her brain at the relevant time.
Hmm, sure enough, here's a brain event that had the content roughly: We confirm her report, in this case. But we might not have confirmed it. We might have found circumstantial evidence to the effect that Eve has rationalized the whole event, and wasn't the least bit driven, at the relevant time, by contents concerning the presence of others. Some of this evidence might be our secret videotape of her externally visible behavior at the time. We see her humming contentedly throughout the relevant period, right up to the time when she answered the phone and began answering our questions about her recent phenomenology.