Philip Goff (left) and David Papineau (right) on physicalism.
Goff rejects physicalism. Papineau accepts it. In this episode, they examine the arguments on each side. They consider the much-discussed “knowledge argument” against physicalism (10:28), explore Goff’s own reasons for rejecting physicalism (17:23), weigh the dualist arguments of Chalmers and Jackson (27:21), discuss Papineau’s reasons to reject the transparency of phenomenal concepts (32:48), ponder what Levine calls the “explanatory gap” (36:19), and confront the specter of epiphenomenalism (47:35).
Continue reading Philip Goff and David Papineau
Kristin Andrews (left) and Robert Lurz (right) on animals and mindreading.
In this two-part conversation*, Andrews and Lurz discuss whether (and to what extent) non-human animals are able to mindread, i.e., understand others’ mental states. In Part 1, they begin with a review of the history of inquiry into animal mindreading, and then examine (starting at 28:18) Andrews’s views about the evolutionary origins and explanatory and predictive roles of mindreading. In Part 2, they discuss Lurz’s plans for experimental investigation of animal mindreading (14:54), Andrews’s and Lurz’s differing views of the abilities of great apes (32:49), and the relative importance of fieldwork and laboratory evidence (48:47).
The drawing to which Lurz refers at 18:44 is in this paper (p. 25).
*=The conversation was interrupted by a tech snafu, so we divided the video in two.
Continue reading Kristin Andrews and Robert Lurz
Shaun Gallagher (left) and Karsten Stueber (right) on empathy.
Most people possess a substantial (although also limited) ability to know and understand the actions, intentions, and desires of other people. This ability, some think, is explained by our capacity to empathize with one another. In this conversation, Gallagher and Stueber examine the notion of empathy and its importance for debates in the philosophy of mind. They ask: What is empathy? Is empathy an automatic process, or does it require effort? What are the neurological and psychological processes involved in empathy? Does our ability to empathize provide us with a reliable guide to the contents of others’ minds, or does empathy routinely mislead us?
Continue reading Shaun Gallagher and Karsten Stueber
Jonathan Weisberg (left) and Kenny Easwaran (right) on full and partial belief.
An epistemic agent might be more deeply committed to some of her beliefs (e.g., that 2+2=4) than others (e.g., that Obama will be re-elected in 2012). In light of this, many philosophers want to distinguish between full and partial belief. But what precisely is that distinction? Easwaran and Weisberg discuss the issue. Along the way, they consider the lottery paradox (6:29), Easwaran’s view of the merits of an inconsistent belief set (16:17), the motivation to reduce full belief to partial belief (32:18), and the relation between action and knowledge (53:09).
Continue reading Jonathan Weisberg and Kenny Easwaran
Christopher Gauker (left) and Kathrin Glüer (right) on the contents of perception.
According to one view, perceptions have propositional content: they tell us that the world is a certain way, and what they tell us can be either true or false. In this debate, Glüer defends that view against Gauker’s attack. Glüer and Gauker also consider (starting at 23:11) whether and how perceptions might justify beliefs. And Glüer interrogates Gauker (starting at 40:08) about how perceptions can be either accurate or inaccurate without having propositional content.
Continue reading Christopher Gauker and Kathrin Glüer
Richard Brown (left) and Keith Frankish (right) on qualia.
Suppose you’re a physicalist and you want to include qualia in your ontology. Unfortunately, “classic qualia” (intrinsic, ineffable, private properties of experience) seem incompatible with physicalism, while “zero qualia” (mere dispositions to judge that we have classic qualia) don’t seem like genuine qualia at all. After all, even zombies have zero qualia! Perhaps you can be satisfied with “diet qualia” (subjective feels of experience). But are there meaningful distinctions between diet qualia and the other two conceptions? Is the notion of diet qualia even coherent? Frankish and Brown discuss the issue.
Continue reading Richard Brown and Keith Frankish
Edouard Machery (left) and Jesse Prinz (right) on concepts.
Machery and Prinz discuss whether a single theory of concepts can satisfy the different explanatory needs of both philosophers and psychologists. Then (starting at 30:52) Machery argues for the surprising thesis that psychologists ought to do away with talk of concepts altogether. Finally (starting at 49:41) Prinz explains his empiricist view of concepts and takes on Machery’s objections to it.
Continue reading Edouard Machery and Jesse Prinz
Alex Byrne (left) and Brie Gertler (right) on self-knowledge of beliefs.
In this conversation, Byrne and Gertler closely examine Gareth Evans’s “transparency procedure” for gaining self-knowledge of beliefs. According to the transparency procedure, one determines whether one believes that p simply by considering whether p is true (rather than via direct access to one’s own beliefs). At first glance, the transparency procedure looks reliable. It also seems to capture ordinary thinking about one’s own beliefs. (For instance, the question “Do you believe that there will be a third world war?” typically prompts consideration of whether there will be a third world war.) However, the transparency procedure involves an invalid inference: from p, it does not follow that I believe that p. Given this, can the transparency procedure be a way to gain genuine self-knowledge?
Continue reading Alex Byrne and Brie Gertler
Peter Carruthers (left) and Eric Schwitzgebel (right) on self-knowledge of attitudes.
According to an intuitively plausible and widely accepted view, we have direct, privileged, and highly reliable access to our own beliefs. In the first part of this conversation, Carruthers and Schwitzgebel both reject that view, while disagreeing about the exact implications of empirical studies that are commonly cited in debates on privileged access. But their positions raise a nagging question: If we lack privileged access to our own beliefs, then why does it seem to us that we have such access? They defend different views (starting at 29:31) about the best answer to that question.
Continue reading Peter Carruthers and Eric Schwitzgebel