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The Robots of the Dawn of Experimental Philosophy of Mind

By Justin Sytsma


In this chapter, I consider two hypotheses that have informed recent work in experimental philosophy of mind. The first is a positive hypothesis put forward by Fiala, Arico, and Nichols (FAN): Categorization of an entity as an agent through fast, automatic, and domain-specific processing produces a disposition to ascribe a wide range of mental states to that entity. The second is a negative hypothesis put forward by Sytsma and Machery: The existence of phenomenally conscious mental states is not obvious from first-person experience with states like seeing red and feeling pain. I argue that these hypotheses are not necessary at odds. Despite this, empirical results reported by Sytsma and Machery raise concerns for FAN's hypothesis, while results reported by FAN in response raise concerns for our hypothesis. I address these concerns in this essay, presenting the results of four new studies that support our negative hypothesis against FAN's challenge

Topics: Cognitive Science
Year: 2013
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PhilSci Archive

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