Philosophy of Mind and Psychology Research Seminar, 2009–2014

Philosophy of Mind and Psychology Research Seminar, 2009–2014

For a list of current and forthcoming talks, see this page.

Date

Venue

Speaker

Monday 19 May 2014
(RTS)
Psychology

Matthew McGrath (Philosophy, Missouri—Columbia)
Knowing What Things Look Like

Commentator: TBA

Monday 24 March 2014
(RTS)

Psychology

John O'Dea (Philosophy, University of Tokyo)
"Why, and in what sense, things look different in the shade: solving the puzzle of constancy"

Commentator: David Simmons (Glasgow)

Monday 24 February 2014
(RTS)

Psychology

Alan Johnston (Psychology, UCL)
"Illusions of motion and their perceptual significance"

Monday 27 January 2014
(RTS)

Psychology

Thomas Hummel (Taste and Smell Clinic, University of Dresden)
"Why and how we smell, how to measure olfactory function, and how to
diagnose and treat olfactory loss
"

Commentator: Barry Smith

Monday 11 November 2013

Psychology

Mitch Green (Philosophy, University of Connecticut)
"Organic Meaning"

Commentator: Simon Garrod (Psychology/Neuroscience, University of Glasgow)

Monday 3 June 2013

Philosophy

Gavin Buckingham (Psychology, Heriot-Watt University)

Topic: Touch

Commentator: Jennifer Corns (Philosophy, University of Glasgow)

Monday 3 December 2012

Philosophy

Charles Spence (Psychology, University of Oxford)

"Crossmodal correspondences: Crossmodal grouping by similarity or a weak form of synaesthesia that is common to us all?"

Monday 26 November 2012

Psychology 

Nico Silins (Philosophy, Cornell Univeristy)

"What is the scope of aesthetic experience?"

Commentator: Lars Muckli (Psychology, University of Glasgow)

Monday 15 October 2012 Psychology

Alexander Logvinenko (Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University)

What Colours Do the Colour Blind Really See?

Commentator: Derek Brown (Philosophy, Brandon University)

Friday 8 June 2012 Psychology

Sid Kouider (Cognitive Neuroscience, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris)

Monday 21 May 2012 Philosophy

Frank Pollick (Psychology, Glasgow)

"Fusing the sight and sound of swing-groove in the brains of drummers"

Monday 30 April 2012 Psychology

Ian Phillips (Philosophy, UCL)

"Perceiving the Passing of Time"

Monday 23 April 2012 Philosophy

Malika Auvray (Computer Sciences Laboratory for Mechanics and Engineering Sciences, LIMSI-CNRS, Paris)

"Spatial Cognition and Sensory Substitution"

Monday 16 April 2012 Psychology

Stephen Butterfill (Philosophy, Warwick)

"Intention and Motor Representation"

Monday 26 March 2012 Psychology

Karl Friston (Neuroscience, UCL)

"Embodied Inference"

with a commentary by Andy Clark (Philosophy, Edinburgh)

Monday 27 February 2012 Psychology

Marco Fenici (Philosophy, University of Sienna)

"Passing spontaneous-answer false belief tasks in infancy by reading others’ motor intentions"

Monday 23 May 2011 Philosophy

Mike Wheeler (Philosophy, University of Stirling)

"Perception, Action, and the Extended Mind"

Tuesday 22 March 2011 Philosophy

Sean Power (Philosophy, University of Cork)

"Temporal Illusions - Some Philosophical Considerations"

Monday 7 March 2011 Psychology

Bahador Bahrami (Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London)

"Interacting minds: miracle or disaster? What could each one tell us?"

Monday 17 May 2010 Philosophy

Mohan Matthen (Philosophy, University of Toronto)

"Image and Content in Sensory Representation"

Monday 19 April 2010 Psychology

William Hirstein (Philosophy, Elmhurst College, Illinois)

"'He is Not My Father' and 'That is Not My Arm': Making Sense of Delusional Misidentifications"

Monday 12 April 2010 Psychology

Maciej Witek (Philosophy, University of Szczecinski, Poland)

"Phenomenal Intentionality and the Modular Mind"

Monday 22 March 2010 Philosophy

Phillipe Schyns (Psychology, University of Glasgow)

"In the Eye of the Beholder"

Monday 15 March 2010 Philosophy

Nicola van Rijsbergen (Psychology, University of Glasgow)

"The expressive face-unculus: Localizing and interpreting the dynamics of facial feature encoding from MEG data"

Monday 1 March 2010 Psychology

Jesse Bering (Anthropology, Queen's University Belfast)

"Deeper Than Beliefs: Cognitive Science and
Religious Intuitions"

Monday 15 February 2010 Philosophy

Alexander Logvinenko (Department of Vision Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University)

"In Defence of Colour Realism"

Monday 18 January 2010 Philosophy

Clare MacCumhaill (Philosophy, University of Edinburgh)

"Seeing Through"

Monday 14 December 2009 Philosophy

Fraser Smith(Psychology, University of Glasgow)

"The Content of Early Vision"

Monday 7 December 2009 Psychology

Sue Lock (Philosophy, University of Glasgow) & Jude Bek (Psychology, University of Sheffield)

"Afterlife Beliefs: Context and Category Effects"

Monday 19 October 2009 Philosophy

Petra Vetter (Psychology, University of Glasgow)

"How the brain makes up the world: the example of apparent motion"

Monday 5 October 2009 Psychology

Fiona Macpherson (Philosophy, University of Glasgow)

"Cognitive Penetration of Colour Experience: Rethinking the issue in light of an indirect mechanism"

Fiona Macpherson

"Cognitive Penetration of Colour Experience: Rethinking the issue in light of an indirect mechanism"

Abstract

Can the phenomenal character of perceptual experience be altered by the states of one’s cognitive system, for example, one’s thoughts or beliefs? If one thinks that this can happen (at least in certain ways that are identified in the paper) then one thinks that there can be cognitive penetration of perceptual experience; otherwise, one thinks that perceptual experience is cognitively impenetrable. I claim that there is one alleged case of cognitive penetration that cannot be explained away by the standard strategies one can typically use to explain away alleged cases. The case is one in which it seems subjects’ beliefs about the typical colour of objects affects their colour experience. I propose a two-step mechanism of indirect cognitive penetration that explains how cognitive penetration may occur. I show that there is independent evidence that each step in this process can occur. I suspect that people who are opposed to the idea that perceptual experience is cognitively penetrable will be less opposed to the idea when they come to consider this indirect mechanism and that those who are generally sympathetic to the idea of cognitive penetrability will welcome the elucidation of this plausible mechanism.


You can alsodown load the paper by clicking on this link: Cognitive Penetration of Colour Experience .

Stuart Crutchfield

"The Evidence for Phenomenal Consciousness In The Absence of Access Consciousness"

Abstract

Following Ned Block, many people have drawn a distinction between phenomenal consciousness and access consciousness. When a state is phenomenally conscious, there is something it is like to be in that state, and when a state is access conscious, the contents of the state are available for use by a subject in reasoning action and reporting. Since Block made this conceptual distinction, there have been questions raised about the possibility of having access consciousness without phenomenal consciousness, or vice versa, and various cases, have been held up as putative examples of one or the other. This paper is concerned with the potential evidence we might have for saying of a given case, that phenomenal consciousness is present, despite a lack of access consciousness, and the worry that I will raise, is that there is no independent test for phenomenal consciousness, aside from access consciousness.

Petra Vetter

"How the brain makes up the world: the example of Apparent Motion"

Abstract

Apparent Motion refers to the illusory perception of a moving token when two spatially separated visual stimuli are flashed in rapid succession. Neuroimaging studies have shown that the neural signal in early visual cortices related to apparent motion is very similar to the neural signal elicited by real motion and correlates with the conscious perception of a moving token. It is hypothesised that the neural signal with which the brain “makes up” a moving token is generated by a predictive mechanism sending signals from motion sensitive brain areas to early visual areas. I will present data showing that this predictive signal is spatio-temporally specific to the perceived moving token and can be modulated by magnetic stimulation of the motion sensitive brain area. Apparent motion can thus be used as a model to study how a mechanism of visual prediction may be implemented in the brain. I will discuss some of the implications of such a predictive brain mechanism.

Sue Lock (Philosophy, University of Glasgow) & Jude Bek (Psychology, University of Sheffield)

"Afterlife Beliefs: Context and Category Effects"

Abstract

Belief in some kind of existence after death is ubiquitous in human culture.  Developmental and cross-cultural evidence suggests that there could be a cognitive basis for our tendency to attribute mental states to the dead.  Recent research has suggested that this tendency can be affected by context, with increased attributions in a religious context. Category effects have also been reported, whereby we are more likely to judge that some mental states continue after death than others.  We investigated whether adults' attribution of mental states to the dead is sensitive to other contexts (biological and emotional), and sought to replicate the category effect.  Our results show that a biology context decreases the attribution of some mental states to the dead.  This suggests an alternative explanation of previous data, in particular calling into question the significance of religious context.  We also replicated the category effect, showing that the attribution rates are higher for emotional, desire and epistemic states than biological, psychobiological and perceptual states.  We consider the impact of these results on our understanding of folk psychology.

Fraser Smith (Psychology, University of Glasgow)

"The Context of Early Vision"

Abstract

The role of context in standard models of early vision is often incomplete. I will present experimental evidence (from fMRI) which highlights that even non stimulated areas of early visual cortex contain discriminating information about the surrounding context. I will suggest that these results demonstrate the ubiquitous role of context in the visual system, are compatible with a predictive coding or constructivist explanation of brain function, and that the paradigm offers a way to study contextual influences independently of bottom-up influences.

Clare MacCumhaill (Philosophy, University of Edinburgh)

"Seeing Through"

Abstract

Canonically, Absolutists and Relationists - metaphysicians about the nature of space - agree that empty space is imperceptible. For the Relationist, this is so since empty space is non-existent. For the Absolutist, it is imperceptible because it is insensible. Call this the Imperceptibility Claim (I). In my talk, I try to show that (I) is false. I argue that empty space is visible, but not solely in virtue of visual experience. What's more, I claim that empty space has a 'look' - it is seen through and so, in veridical experience, is and looks, see-through. I generate a puzzle to show why this calls for a pluralist account of perceptual content.

Alexander Logvinenki (Department of Vision Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University)

"In Defence of Colour Realism"

Abstract

A new colour space for object colours have been proposed (http://journalofvision.org/9/11/5). It has been shown that all the spectral reflectance functions which have the same colour possess some features in common. It follows that these features can be considered as physical correlates of object colours. Relevance to the problem of colour realism will be discussed.

Maciej Witek

"Phenomenal Intentionality and the Modular Mind"

Abstract

My aim in this paper is twofold. First, I offer a critical examination of the Phenomenal Intentionality Outlook, that is, a cluster of ideas concerning the nature and function of phenomenally consciousness states (Horgan and Tienson 2002, Horgan and Kriegel 2008, Kriegel 2009). Second, I consider the possibility of accounting for the intentionality and working of phenomenally conscious states in terms of modular architecture and information processing.

In the critical part of my paper I focus on the Phenomenally Intentional Mark Thesis (Horgan and Kriegel 2008) and Kriegel's account of the so-called temporal phenomenology (Kriegel 2009). According to The Phenomenally Intentional Mark Thesis, phenomenally intentional states are paradigmatic or prototypical intentional mental states and non-phenomenal brain states qualify as mental – and, by the same token, as intentional – inasmuch as they can be described as causally or inferentially connected in the right way to phenomenally intentional states. According to Kriegel's account of temporal phenomenology what makes an agent able to tell the difference between perceptual, mnemonic and anticipatory experiences is the fact that percepts involve a phenomenology of presentness, memories involve a phenomenology of pastness and anticipations involve a phenomenology of futureness.

In the constructive part of my paper I consider an alternative account of mental intentionality. I assume that human minds are structured into functionally individuated systems, most of which perform their operations in a modular fashion (see Fodor 1983, Pylyshyn 2007). With this assumption in hand I claim, first, that what makes some informational states intentional representations is their function rather than their phenomenal character. Second, I put forth a hypothesis according to which an agent's ability to discriminate between perceptual, mnemonic and anticipatory experiences can be best explained in terms of cognitive architecture rather than in terms of temporal phenomenology. Third, I conclude that the Phenomenal Intentionality Outlook puts the cart before the horse: rather than being explanatory basic, the phenomenal character of some of our mental states calls for a systematic explanation.


Fodor, Jerry, 1983, The Modularity of Mind, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Horgan, Terry and Kriegel, Uriah, 2008, “Phenomenal Intentionality Meets the Extended Mind”, The Monist, 91 (2), 347-373.

Horgan, Terence and Tienson, John, 2002, “The Intentionality of Phenomenology and the Phenomenology of Intentionality”, in: D. J. Chalmers (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, Oxford: OUP, 520-533.

Kriegel, Uriah, 2009, “Temporally Token Reflexive Experiences”, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 39 (4), 585-618.

Pylyshyn, Zenon, 2007, Things and Places, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

William Hirstein

"'He is Not My Father' and 'That is Not My Arm': Making Sense of Delusional Misidentifications"

Abstract

The patient with Capgras’ syndrome claims that people very familiar to him have been replaced by impostors. I argue that this disorder is due to the destruction of a representation that the patient has of the mind of the familiar person. This creates the appearance of a familiar body and face, but without the familiar personality, beliefs, and thoughts. The posterior site of damage in Capgras’ is often reported to be the temporoparietal junction, an area that has a role in the mindreading system, a connected system of cortical areas that allow us to attribute mental states to others. Just as the Capgras’ patient claims that that man is not his father, the patient with asomatognosia claims that his arm is not really his. A similar account applies here, in that a nearby brain area, the supramarginal gyrus, is damaged. This area works in concert with the temporoparietal junction and other areas to produce a large representation of a mind inside a body situated in an environment. Damage to the mind-representing part of this system (coupled with damage to executive processes in the prefrontal lobes) causes Capgras’ syndrome, whereas damage to the body-representing part of this system (also coupled with executive damage) causes asomatognosia.

Mohan Matthen (Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto)

"Image and Content in Sensory Representation"

Abstract

Sensory states express their representational content through images.  Images cannot express tense, place-relative-to-the-observer, or factiveness.  This creates a puzzle.  Memory, fantasy, pictorial vision, and sense perception can be directed towards similar images.  Yet they are different in precisely the respects that images cannot express: the image in memory is past tensed, unlocated relative to the observer, and factive; in sense-perception, it is present tensed, located relative to the observer, and factive; in pictorial vision, it is unlocated relative to the observer, untensed, and non-factive.  How are these semantically significant differences expressed?  Here the distinction between content (the situation expressed by the image) and force of expression (how the subject means that situation to be expressed) is relevant, as the same image could be meant with different force.  But how does a sensory system express a force operator?  The paper deals with the problem and a solution.


Sean Enda Power (Department of Philosophy, University of Cork)

"Temporal Illusions - Some Philosophical Considerations"

Abstract

Does the status of certain temporal experiences as illusory depend on one's conception of time? Our concept of time in part determines our concept of what we hold to be real and unreal; what we hold to be real and unreal partially determines what we hold to be illusory; thus, our concept of time in part determines what we hold to be illusory. This paper argues that this dependency of illusions on the concept of time is applicable to illusions of time. Two possible temporal illusions given the evidence are examined, simultaneity and the experience of the past; it is argued that the evidence points at temporal illusions depending on which conception of time is true.


Mike Wheeler (Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling)

"Perception, Action, and the Extended Mind"

Abstract

According to the extended cognition hypothesis (henceforth ExC), there are actual (in-this-world) cases in which thinking and thoughts (more precisely, the material vehicles that realize thinking and thoughts) are spatially distributed over brain, body and world, in such a way that the external (beyond-the-skin) factors concerned are rightly accorded cognitive status. David Chalmers, one of the original architects of ExC, has recently articulated an objection to the view which turns on the claim that the idea of cognitive extension is in conflict with an intuitive thought that we ought to preserve. Chalmers puts that intuitive thought like this: “It is natural to hold that perception is the interface where the world affects the mind, and that action is the interface where the mind affects the world. If so, it is tempting to hold that what precedes perception and what follows action is not truly mental.” Chalmers proceeds to offer a defence of ExC against the worry. In my talk I'll (i) set the scene with some comments about how one ought to understand ExC, (ii) explain Chalmers' objection and his response to it, (iii) argue that Chalmers' response fails, and (iv) suggest that we should solve the problem by ditching the intuitive thought. This final move will enable me to address a challenge that, up until now, has arguably not been met successfully by advocates of ExC, that is, to say what consequences the view has for empirical work in cognitive science and psychology. To begin to explore these consequences, I'll discuss the lessons of some recent empirical work in robotics in which chaotic search allows a network of indirectly coupled neural oscillators to achieve coordinated motor patterns.


Marco Fenici (Philosophy, University of Sienna)

"Passing spontaneous-answer false belief tasks in infancy by reading others’ motor intentions"

Abstract

Infants in their second year of life have been found already sensitive to others’ false beliefs. Yet, it is still subject of debate whether the cognitive processes granting this capacity represent the earliest stage of a theory-of-mind module or rather exploit behaviour-reading strategies. Consistently with an embodied view of action planning and recognition, I propose that early social cognitive abilities depend on infants’ sensitivity to hierarchically-structured motor behaviour. By focusing infants’ earliest understanding of others’ motor intentions, I thus explain early social cognitive development without the need of strong mentalistic interpretations.


Karl Friston (Neuroscience, UCL)

"Embodied Inference"

Abstract

How much about our interactions with – and experience of – our world can be deduced from basic principles? This paper reviews recent attempts to understand the self-organised behaviour of embodied agents, like ourselves, as satisfying basic imperatives for sustained exchanges with the environment. In brief, one simple driving force appears to explain many aspects of perception, action and the perception of action. This driving force is the minimisation of surprise or prediction error that – in the context of perception – corresponds to Bayes-optimal predictive coding (that suppresses exteroceptive prediction errors) and – in the context of action – reduces to classical motor reflexes (that suppress proprioceptive prediction errors). In what follows, we look at some of the phenomena that emerge from this single principle; such as the perceptual encoding of spatial trajectories that can both generate movement (of self) and recognise the movements (of others). These emergent behaviours rest upon prior beliefs about itinerant states of the world – but where do these beliefs come from? In this paper, we focus on recent proposals about the nature of prior beliefs and how they underwrite the active sampling of a spatially extended sensorium. Put simply, to minimise surprising states of the world, it is necessary to sample inputs that minimise uncertainty about the causes of sensory input. When this minimisation is implemented via prior beliefs – about how we sample the world – the resulting behaviour is remarkably reminiscent of searches of the sort seen in exploration or measured, in visual searches, with saccadic eye movements.


Stephen Butterfill (Philosophy, Warwick)

"Intention and Motor Representation"

Abstract

Are there distinct roles for intention and motor representation in explaining the purposiveness of action? Standard accounts of action assign a role to intention but are silent on motor representation. The temptation is to suppose that nothing need be said here because motor representation is either only an enabling condition for purposive action or else merely a variety of intention. In this talk we will provide reasons for resisting that temptation. Some motor representations, like intentions, coordinate actions in virtue of representing outcomes; but, unlike intentions, motor representations cannot feature as premises or conclusions in practical reasoning. This implies that motor representation has a distinctive role in explaining the purposiveness of action. It also gives rise to a problem: were the roles of intention and motor representation entirely independent, this would impair effective action. It is therefore necessary to explain how intentions interlock with motor representations. The solution, we argue, is to recognise that the contents of intentions can be partially determined by the contents of motor representations. Understanding this content-determining relation enables better understanding how intentions relate to actions.


Malika Auvray (Computer Sciences Laboratory for Mechanics and Engineering Sciences, LIMSI-CNRS, Paris)

"Spatial Cognition and Sensory Substitution"

Abstract

Sensory substitution devices provide through an unusual sensory modality (the substituting modality, e.g. audition) the kind of information that is normally accessed through another sensory modality (the substituted modality, e.g. vision). Various kinds of devices have been developed, tested, and shown to allow their users to behave to some degree as if they possessed the substituted sensory organ. These systems thus question the usual taxonomy of our sensory modalities. Through a set of behavioral and theoretical studies, the question of which sensory modality the acquired perception belongs to will be addressed. Though certain results might be taken to point to the conclusion that perception with sensory substitution devices belong to the substituted modality, overall evidence leads to an alternative view. According to it, the experience after sensory substitution is a transformation, extension, or augmentation of our spatial cognition skills, rather than something equivalent or reducible to an already existing sensory modality.


Ian Phillips (Philosophy, UCL)

"Perceiving the Passing of Time"

Abstract

During moments of life-threatening danger, people often experience time to pass more slowly. Psychological data suggest that these experiences lie on a continuum: for instance, subjects exposed to mildly frightening stimuli over-estimate the durations of those stimuli relative to controls. This paper focuses on two conceptual puzzles which such experiences raise. The first puzzle is how (if at all) we can reconcile such experiences with what I have elsewhere argued is our naïve conception of temporal experience, according to which experience unfolds over a period of objective time in a way that precisely matches the apparent duration of the period it presents. The second puzzle is how to understand the connection between subjective temporal expansion and our evolved response to danger. For whilst many theorists (and subjects) claim that such experiences aid survival, it is obscure why an illusion of temporal expansion would have any survival benefit. By identifying the key assumptions behind these puzzles, I develop an account of duration perception which resolves both puzzles. The first puzzle is resolved by denying that we perceive duration relative to an objective, subject-independent measure. The second puzzle is resolved by claiming that our subjective measure of time is in itself relevant to our survival. Drawing on Locke’s remarks on duration perception I offer one natural candidate proposal: we perceive duration relative to our conscious mental activity.


Frank Pollick (Psychology, Glasgow)

"Fusing the sight and sound of swing-groove in the brains of drummers"

Abstract

Merging audio and visual signals into a unitary event is essential for interpreting the actions around us. We examined how experience influences this process by using both behavioural and brain imaging (fMRI) techniques. Our studies present audio and visual streams and compare the ability of drummers and control participants to detect mismatches in the synchrony or congruence of these information streams. All studies employed a novel means of transforming motion capture data of swing groove drumming into visual point-light displays and corresponding sounds generated from physical simulation. Behavioural results showed that drummers, are more narrowly tuned to detect timing differences between the audio and visual signals, and show robust performance across variations in tempo, occlusion and image rotation.  Brain imaging results showed both patterns of reduced activity for drummers when viewing synchronous displays and different brain networks involved in detecting synchrony and congruence.


Alexander Logvienko (Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian)

"What Clours do the Colour Blind Really See?"

Abstract

Dichromatic colour vision is commonly believed to be a reduced form of trichromatic colour vision (referred to as the reductionist  
principle). In particular, the colour palette of the dichromats is believed to be a part of the colour palette of the trichromats. As the  
light-colour palette differs from the object-colour palette, the dichromatic colour palettes have been derived separately for  
light-colours and object-colours in this report. As to light-colours, the results are in line with the widely accepted view that the  
dichromatic colour palettes contain only two hues. However, the dichromatic object-colour palettes have proved to contain the same six  
component colours which constitute the trichromatic object-colour palette (yellow, blue, red, green, black, and white). Moreover, all  
the binary and tertiary combinations of the six component colours present in the trichromatic object-colour palette also occur in the  
dichromatic object-colour palettes. Yet, only five of the six component colours are experienced by dichromats as unitary (unique)  
object-colours. The green unitary colour is absent in the dichromatic object-colour palettes. The difference between the dichromatic and  
trichromatic object-colour palettes arises from the fact that not every combination of the component-colour magnitudes occurs in the  
dichromatic object-colour palettes. For instance, in the dichromatic object-colour palettes there is no colour with the strong green  
component colour. Furthermore, each achromatic (black or white) component colour of a particular magnitude is combined with the only  
combination of the chromatic components. In other words, the achromatic component colours are bound with the chromatic component  
combinations in dichromats.

Nico Silins (Philosophy, Cornell University)

"What is the scope of aesthetic experience?"

Abstract:

According to proponents of the "Grand Illusion" such as Daniel Dennett, we take in much less about the world through visual experience than we think we do. The "Grand Illusion" view is standardly supported by consideration of the psychological phenomena of "inattentional blindness" (IB) and "change blindness" (CB). The case of IB is sometimes taken to show that we only experience those entities to which we attend. The case of CB is sometimes taken to show that our experience fails to register large differences between scenes. My aim in this paper is to examine how a counterpart of the "Grand Illusion" debate arises in the case of aesthetic experience. I will focus mainly on the case of our experience of pictures, considering potential upshots of IB and CB in turn. I will argue that there is no "grand illusion" in the case of aesthetic experience. In the case of IB, I will argue that we do have aesthetic experiences of parts of pictures we do not attend to. In the case of CB, I will argue that we have aesthetic experiences that differ in ways that mirror differences in pictures that appear in cases of change blindness.

Charles Spence (Psychology, Oxford University)

"Crossmodal correspondences: Crossmodal grouping by similarity or a weak form of synaesthesia that is common to us all?"

Abstract:

All of us exhibit a tendency to match (or associate) sensory features in one sensory modality, either physically present, or merely imagined, with sensory features, either physically present, or merely imagined, in another modality. Such crossmodal correspondences have now been demonstrated between all combinations of senses, and affect everything from speeded responses to people’s performance in unspeeded psychophysical tasks. While some correspondences are culture-specific, others are likely universal (e.g., the correspondence between auditory pitch and visual or haptic size). Crossmodal correspondences, unlike other forms of crossmodal binding, such as the multisensory integration of shape or semantic information (e.g., the binding or pairing of the sight of a dog with the sound of a dog’s barking), tend to be initially surprising (in this regard being similar with synaesthesia). Intriguingly, the latest research has demonstrated that some animals (e.g., chimps), as well as very young (i.e., pre-linguistic) infants, are sensitive to a number of crossmodal correspondences thus ruling out a linguistic explanation of at least certain correspondences. I will discuss a number of the other plausible explanations that have been put forward over the years in order to account for the existence of crossmodal correspondences. I will question whether, as many have argued, crossmodal correspondences should be thought of as a weak form of synaesthesia that is common to us all. Instead, I will suggest that crossmodal correspondences may be better conceptualized in terms of the Gestalt principal of grouping by similarity.

Mitch Green (Philosophy, University of Connecticut)

"Organic Meaning"

Abstract:

I develop a notion of meaning that is richer than the mere transmission of information, but does not require communicative intentions such as one finds in the tradition flowing from Paul Grice’s Intention-Based Semantics.  This notion—which I call organic meaning—applies to a wide variety of animal communication, and can be embedded within the framework of evolutionary game theory. It also allows us to sharpen some questions that are currently of interest to students of the evolution of language.

John O'Dea (Philosophy, University of Toyko)

"Why, and in what sense, things look different in the shade: solving the puzzle of constancy"

Abstract:

I want to dispute an assumption about perceptual experience that is almost universally held but is undefended because it is unnoticed.  This assumption is wreaking havoc in certain debates in the philosophy of mind. It is this: that insofar as perceptual qualities represent properties, they do so in a one-to-one manner; one experiential quality represents one, and only one, property. Call it the simplicity assumption. For example, this assumption would have it that there is an experiential quality as of redness, and this represents simply the quality of being red. Hopefully, as just stated this assumption will seem somewhat platitudinous. In this paper, I will make a case that it is actually pernicious, because there are no good reasons to believe it, and it hides from view solutions to some quite contentious debates. I begin by spelling out the assumption in more detail, and why it has little going for it. Then I discuss a problem in which we have the most to gain from ditching it — the problem of perceptual constancy.

Thomas Hummel (Smell & Taste Clinic, Dept. of ORL, TU Dresden)

"Why and how we smell, how to measure olfactory function, and how to diagnose and treat olfactory loss"

Abstract:

Smell and taste disorders can markedly affect the quality of life. In recent years we have become much better in the assessment of the ability to smell and taste. In addition, information is now available to say something about the prognosis of individual patients. With regard to therapy there also seems to be low but steady progress. Of special importance for the treatment is the ability of the olfactory epithelium to regenerate.

Alan Johnston (Psychology, UCL)

"Illusions of motion and their perceptual significance"

Abstract:

The motion aftereffect and other motion adaptation effects have proved useful in uncovering the mechanisms of human motion vision. In this talk I will review work on the motion aftereffect, describe the various phenomena, and outline what this work has taught us about human vision. I will also talk about the interaction of motion processing and spatial vision and phenomena such as motion induced spatial jitter and motion induced blindness in which motion influences visual experience.

Matthew McGrath (Philosophy, Missouri—Columbia)

"Knowing What Things Look Like"

Abstract:

The paper asks whether knowing what things of a kind — say, oboes — look like amounts to having knowledge of facts or amounts instead merely having an ability to identify oboes by sight. It shows how the answers to this question bear on traditional questions in epistemology about the foundations of knowledge.