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François Kammerer
New York University
  1. The illusion of conscious experience.François Kammerer - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    Illusionism about phenomenal consciousness is the thesis that phenomenal consciousness does not exist, even though it seems to exist. This thesis is widely judged to be uniquely counterintuitive: the idea that consciousness is an illusion strikes most people as absurd, and seems almost impossible to contemplate in earnest. Defenders of illusionism should be able to explain the apparent absurdity of their own thesis, within their own framework. However, this is no trivial task: arguably, none of the illusionist theories currently on (...)
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  2. How Should We Study Animal Consciousness Scientifically?Jonathan Birch, Donald M. Broom, Heather Browning, Andrew Crump, Simona Ginsburg, Marta Halina, David Harrison, Eva Jablonka, Andrew Y. Lee, François Kammerer, Colin Klein, Victor Lamme, Matthias Michel, Françoise Wemelsfelder & Oryan Zacks - 2022 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4):8-28.
    This editorial introduces the Journal of Consciousness Studies special issue on "Animal Consciousness". The 15 contributors and co-editors answer the question "How should we study animal consciousness scientifically?" in 500 words or fewer.
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  3. Can you believe it? Illusionism and the illusion meta-problem.François Kammerer - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (1):44-67.
    Illusionism about consciousness is the thesis that phenomenal consciousness does not exist, but merely seems to exist. Embracing illusionism presents the theoretical advantage that one does not need to explain how consciousness arises from purely physical brains anymore, but only to explain why consciousness seems to exist while it does not. As Keith Frankish puts it, illusionism replaces the “hard problem of consciousness” with the “illusion problem.” However, a satisfying version of illusionism has to explain not only why the illusion (...)
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  4. How Rich is the Illusion of Consciousness?François Kammerer - 2019 - Erkenntnis 87 (2):499-515.
    Illusionists claim that phenomenal consciousness does not exist, but merely seems to exist. Most debates concerning illusionism focus on whether or not it is true—whether phenomenal consciousness really is an illusion. Here I want to tackle a different question: assuming illusionism is true, what kind of illusion is the illusion of phenomenality? Is it a “rich” illusion—the cognitively impenetrable activation of an incorrect representation—or a “sparse” illusion—the cognitively impenetrable activation of an incomplete representation, which leads to drawing incorrect judgments? I (...)
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  5. The Normative Challenge for Illusionist Views of Consciousness.Francois Kammerer - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
    Illusionists about phenomenal consciousness claim that phenomenal consciousness does not exist but merely seems to exist. At the same time, it is quite intuitive for there to be some kind of link between phenomenality and value. For example, some situations seem good or bad in virtue of the conscious experiences they feature. Illusionist views of phenomenal consciousness then face what I call the normative challenge. They have to say where they stand regarding the idea that there is a link between (...)
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  6. The Meta-Problem of Consciousness and the Evidential Approach.François Kammerer - 2019 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (9-10):124-135.
    I present and I implement what I take to be the best approach to solve the meta-problem: the evidential approach. The main tenet of this approach is to explain our problematic phenomenal intuitions by putting our representations of phenomenal states in perspective within the larger frame of the cognitive processes we use to conceive of evidence.
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  7. Does the Explanatory Gap Rest on a Fallacy?François Kammerer - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (4):649-667.
    Many philosophers have tried to defend physicalism concerning phenomenal consciousness, by explaining dualist intuitions within a purely physicalist framework. One of the most common strategies to do so consists in interpreting the alleged “explanatory gap” between phenomenal states and physical states as resulting from a fallacy, or a cognitive illusion. In this paper, I argue that the explanatory gap does not rest on a fallacy or a cognitive illusion. This does not imply the falsity of physicalism, but it has consequences (...)
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  8. How can you be so sure? Illusionism and the obviousness of phenomenal consciousness.François Kammerer - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (9):2845-2867.
    Illusionism is the thesis that phenomenal consciousness does not exist, but merely seems to exist. Many opponents to the thesis take it to be obviously false. They think that they can reject illusionism, even if they conceded that it is coherent and supported by strong arguments. David Chalmers has articulated this reaction to illusionism in terms of a “Moorean” argument against illusionism. This argument contends that illusionism is false, because it is obviously true that we have phenomenal experiences. I argue (...)
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  9. How a Materialist Can Deny That the United States is Probably Conscious – Response to Schwitzgebel.François Kammerer - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (4):1047-1057.
    In a recent paper, Eric Schwitzgebel argues that if materialism about consciousness is true, then the United States is likely to have its own stream of phenomenal consciousness, distinct from the streams of conscious experience of the people who compose it. Indeed, most plausible forms of materialism have to grant that a certain degree of functional and behavioral complexity constitutes a sufficient condition for the ascription of phenomenal consciousness – and Schwitzgebel makes a case to show that the United States (...)
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  10. Ethics Without Sentience: Facing Up to the Probable Insignificance of Phenomenal Consciousness.François Kammerer - 2022 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4):180-204.
    Phenomenal consciousness appears to be particularly normatively significant. For this reason, sentience-based conceptions of ethics are widespread. In the field of animal ethics, knowing which animals are sentient appears to be essential to decide the moral status of these animals. I argue that, given that materialism is true of the mind, phenomenal consciousness is probably not particularly normatively significant. We should face up to this probable insignificance of phenomenal consciousness and move towards an ethic without sentience.
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  11. Self-building technologies.François Kammerer - 2020 - AI and Society 35 (4):901-915.
    On the basis of two thought experiments, I argue that self-building technologies are possible given our current level of technological progress. We could already use technology to make us instantiate selfhood in a more perfect, complete manner. I then examine possible extensions of this thesis, regarding more radical self-building technologies which might become available in a distant future. I also discuss objections and reservations one might have about this view.
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  12. Certainty and our sense of acquaintance with experiences.François Kammerer - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    Why do we tend to think that phenomenal consciousness poses a hard problem? The answer seems to lie in part in the fact that we have the impression that phenomenal experiences are presented to us in a particularly immediate and revelatory way: we have a sense of acquaintance with our experiences. Recent views have offered resources to explain such persisting impression, by hypothesizing that the very design of our cognitive systems inevitably leads us to hold beliefs about our own experiences (...)
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  13. Représentationnalisme et langage privé : une défense wittgensteinienne du caractère non-représentationnel de la phénoménalité.François Kammerer - 2015 - Philosophie 3 (3):62.
    Dans « Représentationnalisme et langage privé », François Kammerer s’attache à la thèse dite du représentationnalisme qui, au regard de la conscience phénoménale, pose que les propriétés qualitatives d’une expérience consciente sont entièrement déterminées par ses propriétés représentationnelles ; de nombreux arguments ont été proposés en faveur de cette thèse, qui est devenue l’orthodoxie en philosophie de l’esprit contemporaine. L’auteur entend réfuter les arguments les plus significatifs, en se fondant sur des considérations de Wittgenstein sur l’impossibilité d’un « langage privé (...)
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