PPIG: Philosophy, Psychology and Informatics Reading Group

Date: 
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Location: 
Room 1.17 - Dugald Stewart Building
Event type: 
Reading Groups

Prof Rob Rupert (University of Colorado at Boulder & University of Edinburgh) talks about "Cognition and Persons, without Realization or Implementation"

Abstract: Philosophers of cognitive science often accept a personal-subpersonal distinction. Frequently this is couched in robust, even metaphysical, terms, described as a difference between levels of reality, for example. Moreover, philosophers often treat the personal level as privileged, holding certain claims about the personal level fixed — claims purportedly justified by introspection, common sense, or conceptual analysis — and leaving cognitive science to investigate the subpersonal level, the realm of subconscious, mechanistic processes that realize or otherwise ground given, person-level facts. In this paper, I argue against this top-heavy, two-level view of the person and its relation to cognitive science. I argue that no set of person-level facts asymmetrically constrains investigation of (what is normally referred to as) the subpersonal domain and that the processes and facts grounding true, person-level attributions are not different in kind from those that ground true attributions of so-called subpersonal states. In closing, I offer meta-remarks concerning how best to understand the justification of philosophical and scientific reasoning in the absence of a robust, independent level of personal facts.