Thursday 20 November 2014

10th Mind Network Meeting

On Saturday 4th October, the 10th Meeting of the Mind Network was held at University of York, organised by Louise Richardson. The meeting was supported by the Department of Philosophy at the University of York, and the Mind Association.

Dominic Gregory from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield opened the meeting with his paper ‘Perception and Imagery’. Gregory was interested in what he called ‘distinctively sensory representations’, which are imagistic representations standing in a special relationship to our sensory powers. Gregory tried to do two things in the paper. First, he gave an account of the contents possessed by distinctively sensory representations, so-called ‘distinctively sensory’ contents. Gregory offered an explanation of the way in which distinctively sensory contents depend upon sensory experience. Second, Gregory discussed the possibility that the dependency relations between distinctively sensory contents and sensory experience might also hold in the other direction insofar as some of our expectations thought crucial to our being able to see objects as external, have contents which are distinctively sensory.

Next was Maja Spener from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, giving a paper called ‘Abilities and the Nature of Perception’. Spener brought the notion of ‘Good Visual Experiences’ and abilities, to bear on the debate between experiential monists and experiential pluralists. Good Visual Experiences are those which ‘figure in seeing the world aright’, we might think of them as consciously presenting the world the way it is, and as being world-involving. Spener suggested that if there are visual experiences which are world-involving, Experiential Pluralism follows. She then mounted an argument for Experiential Pluralism on the grounds that the possession of some of our situation-dependent abilities is explained by appeal to good visual experiences.

Robbie Williams from the School of Philosophy, Religion, and the History of Science at the University of Leeds closed the meeting with his paper ‘Representations of an External World’. Williams was concerned with looking at David Lewis’s Bubble Argument, a challenge to Radical Interpretation. If the challenge is successful, representational scepticism threatens, that is: a subject cannot represent the difference between two possibilities, if those possibilities are evidentially and agentially the same for her. Williams looked at possible lines of response to the Bubble Argument—ways of rethinking constraints on interpretation—and concluded that charity represents a genuine antisceptical answer to the Bubble Argument, since it is essential to the purposes of interpretation as such.

Information about future Mind Network Meetings will appear here.

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