Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds (w/Kristin Andrews), Routledge, 2017
Journal Articles & Book Chapters
Analog Mental Representations, WIRES Cognitive Science, 2018
Over the past 50 years, philosophers and psychologists have perennially argued for the existence of analog mental representations of one type or another. This study critically reviews a number of these arguments as they pertain to three different types of mental representation: perceptual representations, imagery representations, and numerosity representations. Along the way, careful consideration is given to the meaning of “analog” presupposed by these arguments, and to open avenues for future research.
Marking the Perception–Cognition Boundary: The Criterion of Stimulus-Dependence, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 2018
Philosophy, scientific psychology, and common sense all distinguish perception from cognition. While there is little agreement about how the perception–cognition boundary ought to be drawn, one prominent idea is that perceptual states are dependent on a stimulus, or stimulus-dependent, in a way that cognitive states are not. This paper seeks to develop this idea in a way that can accommodate two apparent counterexamples: hallucinations, which are prima facie perceptual yet stimulus-independent; and demonstrative thoughts, which are prima facie cognitive yet stimulus-dependent. The payoff is not only a specific proposal for marking the perception–cognition boundary, but also a deeper understanding of the natures of hallucination and demonstrative thought.
Attention and Mental Primer (w/Keith Schneider), Mind & Language, 2017
Drawing on the empirical premise that attention makes objects look more intense (bigger, faster, higher in contrast), Ned Block has argued for mental paint, a phenomenal residue that cannot be reduced to what is perceived or represented. If sound, Block’s argument would undermine direct realism and representationism, two widely held views about the nature of conscious perception. We argue that Block’s argument fails because the empirical premise it is based upon is false. Attending to an object alters its salience, but not its perceived intensity. We also argue that salience should be equated with mental primer, a close cousin of mental paint that reintroduces difficulties for direct realism and representationism. The upshot is that direct realism and representationism are still in trouble, but not for the reason that Block thinks.
Here is a popular writeup summarizing the gist of the article.
Do Nonhuman Animals Have a Language of Thought?, Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds, 2017
Can Bootstrapping Explain Concept Learning?, Cognition, 2017
Analogue Magnitude Representations: A Philosophical Introduction, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 2015
Analogue Magnitudes, the Generality Constraint, and Nonconceptual Thought, Mind, 2014
Sense, Mentalese, and Ontology, Protosociology, 30: Concepts: Contemporary & Historical Perspectives, 2013
Why We Can’t Say What Animals Think, Philosophical Psychology, 2013
The Generality Constraint and the Structure of Thought, Mind, 2012
Translated into Spanish: “El Requisito de Generalidad y la Estructura del Pensamiento.” In M. Aguilera, L. Danón, & C. Scotto (eds.), Conceptos, Lenguaje y Cognición, Córdoba, Argentina: Editorial de la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, 2015, pp. 225–281
Do Animals Engage in Conceptual Thought?, Philosophy Compass, 2012
Some Worries about the ‘No-Overflow’ Interpretation of Post- Stimulus Cueing Experiments, Mind & Language Symposium at the Brains Blog, June 12, 2017
I comment on Steven Gross and Jonathan Flombaum’s article, “Does Perceptual Consciousness Overflow Cognitive Access? The Challenge from Probabilistic, Hierarchical Processes.” Be sure to also see Robert Briscoe’s general overview, Nico Orlandi and Aaron Franklin’s commentary, Ian Phillips’ commentary, and Gross and Flombaum’s replies.
The Only Good Reason to Ban Steroids in Baseball: To Prevent an Arms Race, The Atlantic, June 17, 2013
Atomism about Concepts, Sage Reference Encyclopedia of the Mind, 2013
An encyclopedia entry introducing concept atomism, the view that most lexical concepts are primitive.