Public Lecture by Robert D. Rupert (Colorado): The College at Brockport

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Public Lecture by Robert D. Rupert (Colorado)

Robert D. Rupert (Colorado) will give a public lecture titled "The Self in the Age of Cognitive Science."

The Center for Philosophic Exchange is pleased to present a public lecture with Robert D. Rupert (University of Colorado at Boulder). Prof. Rupert's lecture is titled "The Self in the Age of Cognitive Science." It will take place in McCue Auditorium (LAB) on Thursday, March 22, at 5 pm.

Abstract: When philosophers characterize mental phenomena, they often distinguish between the personal level — a distinctive realm of conscious thought and careful deliberation — and a “lower,” subpersonal level that appears in the realm of mindless mechanism and natural law. Philosophers of cognitive science tend to treat the personal level as the domain of the self, the facts about which are known by reflection alone. Cognitive science is then assigned a limited role, as pursuing an account of only the mechanistic implementation of self-constituting, personal-level states and processes. This layered view makes little sense, however, of actual work in cognitive science. The explanatory targets of cognitive science are not independently given personal-level states or capacities, or facts about the self known by reflection alone; rather, cognitive scientists model publicly observable behavioral and physiological data, unconstrained by arm-chair pronouncements about the self. In support of this claim, I work through two representative examples, one concerning the cognitive neuroscience of human volition and the other concerning the interaction between explicitly held and implicitly held attitudes. I conclude that, if we take contemporary cognitive science seriously, we must find a place for the self in the mess of computational and neural processing that populates cognitive-scientific models. I’ll sketch the elements of such a self, elements that, as a whole, are not nearly as unified as most philosophers of mind have been inclined to think.



Joseph Long,

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