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Perceptual Concepts

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Perceptual Concepts and Demonstrative Thought

 February, 8, 2011


 Lieu:  École normale supérieure 45, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris - Salle Dussane

Christopher Mole (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)
Perceiving Objects and Thinking About Them.

Abstract: Several philosophers, many of them influenced by John Campbell's 2002 book, Reference and Consciousness, have recently suggested that our capacity to pay attention to objects plays a role in explaining how it is possible for us to have thoughts about those objects. Drawing on some suggestive passages in section 33 of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, I argue that such explanations lapse into a form of circularity if they are intended to provide a general explanation of how it is that mental states refer to particulars. The explanations are plausible only as explanations of how it is that demonstrative concepts can be applied to the particulars that are perceived in crowded environments. Such explanations are nonetheless important: They provide an alternative account of the psychological data that has been taken to suggest that attention is necessary for consciousness.

David Papineau (King's College London)
Can Phenomenal Files Be Merged?

Abstract: I shall discuss so-called recognitional concepts, both perceptual and phenomenal. I shall consider: whether they are appropriately thought of as 'demonstrative'; how we should model their cognitive functioning; whether identities involving them are cognitively anamolous.

Joseph Levine (UMass Amherst)
Demonstrative Thought
Abstract: In this paper I propose a model of demonstrative thought. I distinguish token-demonstratives, that pick out individuals, from type-demonstratives, that pick out kinds, or properties, and provide a similar treatment for both. I argue that it follows from my model of demonstrative thought, as well as from independent considerations, that demonstration, as a mental act, operates directly on mental representations, not external objects. That is, though the relation between a demonstrative and the object or property demonstrated is semantically direct, the mechanism by which a demonstrative acquires its referent involves mediation by a perceptual representation. Finally, I argue that so-called ‘demonstrative concepts’—which I treat as type-demonstratives—cannot perform the various philosophical functions that have been assigned to them.



10.30 - 11.30 David Papineau 'Can Phenomenal Files Be Merged'

11.30 - 12.00 Discussion

12 - 2.30 Pause déjeuner

2.30 - 3.30 Christopher Mole 'Perceiving Objects and Thinking About Them'

3.30 - 4 Discussion 4 -

4.30 Pause 4.30 -

5.30 Joseph Levine 'Demonstrative Thought'

5.30 - 6 Discussion