Nordic Network for Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science

Annual Workshop 6 October 2017

The meeting is a general philosophy of mind and cognitive science workshop, open to researchers working both within and outside the Nordic region, though a central aim is to foster networking activities within the region. Everyone is welcome, not least early career students and scholars!

Registration is not necessary, but please send an email to Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (filasp@cas.au.dk) by September 25 if you want to join us for lunch (sponsored) and/or dinner (at your own expense).

Program

10:30 – 10:45 Welcome
10:45 – 12:00 Melanie Rosen (Aarhus)
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 14:15 Jesper Kallestrup (Edinburgh)
14:30 – 15:45 Madeleine Hyde (Stockholm)
16:00 – 17:15 Thor Grünbaum (Copenhagen)
17:15 – 18:00 Open session
19:00: Dinner (venue TBA)

Titles and abstracts

Melanie Rosen

Measuring the unmeasurable? Implicit and explicit measures of the sense of agency in sleep
Can we measure the sense of agency in dreams? Accurately measuring consciousness presents many challenges. Due to the subjectivity involved in reporting our own mental states, bias can occur, while in contrast, with objective measures it can be unclear whether conscious or unconscious process are in fact being measured. Dream consciousness presents further complications, such as the inability to report while dreaming, cognitive deficits such as reduced memory, metacognitive abilities and rationality, and increased confabulation. The sense of agency (SoA), which is an important aspect of the sense of self, is studied in waking participants using both implicit measures and explicit measures to control for biasing factors. Explicit measures include reporting the extent to which one feels in control over certain movements or outcomes, while implicit measures include temporal binding and sensory attenuation paradigms which correlate with the SoA. Studying the SoA in sleep may be informative for dream theory as well as consciousness research, however prima facie it appears that we are restricted to analysing explicit dream reports which can be vague or ambiguous. One limitation is that unlike regular laboratory conditions, experience of the dream world cannot be influenced to a great degree by experimenters. In this paper, I analyse the methods used to measure waking SoA, and assess to what extent waking measures can be applied to dreaming. I outline some potential future applications, including controls to explicit measures and further argue that implicit measures may be applicable. For example, external sensory infiltration and measuring the dreamer’s bodily movements can be used to judge dream length and apply temporal binding paradigms, self-tickle experiments can assess sensory attenuation, while lucid dreaming and pre-sleep exercises may to some extent control dream content. 

Jesper Kallestrup

Varieties of Cognitive Integration
Extended cognition theorists argue that cognitive processes constitutively depend on resources that are neither organically composed, nor located inside the bodily boundaries of the agent, provided certain conditions on the integration of those processes into the agent’s cognitive architecture are met. Epistemologists, however, worry that in so far as such cognitively integrated processes are epistemically relevant, agents could thus come to enjoy an untoward explosion of knowledge. This paper develops and defends an approach to cognitive integration—cluster-model functionalism—which finds application in both domains of inquiry, and which meets the challenge posed by putative cases of cognitive or epistemic bloat.

Madeleine Hyde

Imagination, Mental Agency and Justification
Episodes of the imagination are mental states that cannot provide us with propositional justification for our first-order, empirical beliefs. By this I mean that whilst they might be good at telling us what a possible scenario might look like, or good at helping us to introspect, they cannot tell us how things are in the world, right now. Comparatively, perceptual experiences do an excellent job of this. Yet sometimes, perceptual experiences and imaginative episodes can subjectively feel rather alike. Both employ sensory imagery and hence their phenomenal characters can, on occasions, lie not so far apart. What, then, if not their phenomenology, makes perceptual experiences better propositional justifiers? One candidate answer is that when we imagine, as opposed to when we have a perceptual experience, we have command over the content. Crudely, we get to decide what objects and properties we imagine. If this is the case in a perceptual experience, then something has gone wrong, and we should lose our reason for believing the content of that experience. My job will be to test this thesis: Do we really such agency over what we imagine? Correspondingly, are perceptual experiences always devoid of mental agency?

Thor Grünbaum

Intentions and desires
Temporally extended agency requires that agents can remember what they decided to do. If intentions just are desires, agents must be able to retrieve desires from memory. The conclusion of this paper is that desires cannot be remembered. There is no such thing as the direct retrieval of desires from memory. This conclusion is interesting for two reasons. First, if it is true, it is an independently interesting fact about desires. Something theories of desire should be able to make sense of. Second, if it is true, it has ramifications for our theories of practical reasoning and intentions. It is this latter consequence I will use to set the stage for the present paper.

Practical information:


Venue

Aarhus University
Depatment of Philosophy and History of Ideas
Jens Chr. Skous Vej
Building 1484, room 204.


Airport

Aarhus can be reached from Aarhus Airport (40 minutes by shuttle bus), Billund Airport (90 minutes by shuttle bus), or Copenhagen Airport (3 hours by train).

Note for students (PhD or MA level)
Students are able to give very short presentations (~5 min) of their projects within the open session toward the end of the day, if this facilitates the release of funding for attendance. Please contact Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (filasp@cas.au.dk) if this applies to you.