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Ned Block
New York University
  1. Perceptual Consciousness Overflows Cognitive Access.Ned Block - 2011 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15 (12):567-575.
    One of the most important issues concerning the foundations ofconscious perception centerson thequestion of whether perceptual consciousness is rich or sparse. The overflow argument uses a form of ‘iconic memory’ toarguethatperceptual consciousnessisricher (i.e.,has a higher capacity) than cognitive access: when observing a complex scene we are conscious of more than we can report or think about. Recently, the overflow argumenthas been challenged both empirically and conceptually. This paper reviews the controversy, arguing that proponents of sparse perception are committed to the (...)
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  2. Seeing‐As in the Light of Vision Science.Ned Block - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):560-572.
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  3. Rich Conscious Perception Outside Focal Attention.Ned Block - 2014 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 18 (9):445-447.
    Can we consciously see more items at once than can be held in visual working memory? This question has elud- ed resolution because the ultimate evidence is subjects’ reports in which phenomenal consciousness is filtered through working memory. However, a new technique makes use of the fact that unattended ‘ensemble prop- erties’ can be detected ‘for free’ without decreasing working memory capacity.
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  4. If Perception is Probabilistic, Why Doesn't It Seem Probabilistic?Ned Block - forthcoming - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
    The success of the Bayesian approach to perception suggests probabilistic perceptual representations. But if perceptual representation is probabilistic, why doesn't normal conscious perception reflect the full probability distributions that the probabilistic point of view endorses? For example, neurons in MT/V5 that respond to the direction of motion are broadly tuned: a patch of cortex that is tuned to vertical motion also responds to horizontal motion, but when we see vertical motion, foveally, in good conditions, it does not look at all (...)
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  5. What is Functionalism?Ned Block - 1996 - In Donald M. Borchert (ed.), [Book Chapter]. MacMillan.
    What is Functionalism? Functionalism is one of the major proposals that have been offered as solutions to the mind/body problem. Solutions to the mind/body problem usually try to answer questions such as: What is the ultimate nature of the mental? At the most general level, what makes a mental state mental? Or more specifically, What do thoughts have in common in virtue of which they are thoughts? That is, what makes a thought a thought? What makes a pain a pain? (...)
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  6. Le fonctionnalisme face au problème Des qualia.Ned Block - 1992 - Les Etudes Philosophiques (3):337-369.
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  7. The Grain of Vision and the Grain of Attention.Ned Block - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (3):170-184.
    Often when there is no attention to an object, there is no conscious perception of it either, leading some to conclude that conscious perception is an attentional phenomenon. There is a well-known perceptual phenomenon—visuo-spatial crowding, in which objects are too closely packed for attention to single out one of them. This article argues that there is a variant of crowding—what I call ‘‘identity-crowding’’—in which one can consciously see a thing despite failure of attention to it. This conclusion, together with new (...)
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  8. Consciousness and Accessibility.Ned Block - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4):596-598.
    This is my first publication of the distinction between phenomenal consciousness and access consciousness, though not using quite those terms. It ends with this: "The upshot is this: If Searle is using the access sense of "consciousness," his argument doesn't get to first base. If, as is more likely, he intends the what-it-is-like sense, his argument depends on assumptions about issues that the cognitivist is bound to regard as deeply unsettled empirical questions." Searle replies: "He refers to what he calls (...)
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  9. Do Causal Powers Drain Away.Ned Block - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (1):133-150.
    In this note, I will discuss one issue concerning the main argument of Mind in a Physical World (Kim, 1998), the Causal Exclusion Argument. The issue is whether it is a consequence of the Causal Exclusion Argument that all macro level causation (that is, causation above the level of fundamental physics) is an illusion, with all of the apparent causal powers of mental and other macro properties draining into the bottom level of physics. I will argue that such a consequence (...)
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  10. Seeing and Windows of Integration.Ned Block - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):29-39.
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  11. The Canberra Plan Neglects Ground.Ned Block - 2015 - In Terence Horgan, Marcelo Sabates & David Sosa (eds.), Qualia and Mental Causation in a Physical World: Themes from the Philosophy of Jaegwon Kim,. Cambridge University Press. pp. 105-133.
    This paper argues that the “Canberra Plan” picture of physicalistic reduction of mind--a picture shared by both its proponents and opponents, philosophers as diverse as David Armstrong, David Chalmers Frank Jackson, Jaegwon Kim, Joe Levine and David Lewis--neglects ground (Fine, 2001, 2012). To the extent that the point of view endorsed by the Canberra Plan has an account of the physical/functional ground of mind at all, it is in one version trivial and in another version implausible. In its most general (...)
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  12. The Defective Armchair: A Reply to Tye.Ned Block - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (2):159-165.
    Michael Tye's response to my “Grain” (Block ) and “Windows” (Block ) raises general metaphilosophical issues about the value of intuitions and judgments about one's perceptions and the relations of those intuitions and judgments to empirical research, as well as specific philosophical issues about the relation between seeing, attention and de re thought. I will argue that Tye's appeal to what is (§. 2) “intuitively obvious, once we reflect upon these cases” (“intuition”) is problematic. I will also argue that first (...)
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  13. Consciousness, Big Science and Conceptual Clarity.Ned Block - 2014 - In Gary Marcus & Jeremy Freeman (eds.), in The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World’s Leading Neuroscientists. Princeton University Press. pp. 161-176.
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  14. Review of Julian Jaynes, Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. [REVIEW]Ned Block - 1977 - Boston Globe.
    Review of Julian Jaynes, Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind from the Boston Globe, March 6, 1977, p. A17.
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  15. The Mind as the Software of the Brain.Ned Block - 1995 - In Daniel N. Osherson, Lila Gleitman, Stephen M. Kosslyn, S. Smith & Saadya Sternberg (eds.), An Invitation to Cognitive Science, Second Edition, Volume 3. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. pp. 377-425.
    In this section, we will start with an influential attempt to define `intelligence', and then we will move to a consideration of how human intelligence is to be investigated on the machine model. The last part of the section will discuss the relation between the mental and the biological.
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  16. Attention and Perceptual Adaptation.Ned Block & Susanna Siegel - 2013 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (4):205-206.
    Commentary on Andy Clark's target article on predictive coding.
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  17. The Anna Karenina Theory of the Unconscious.Ned Block - 2011 - Neuropsychoanalysis 13 (1):34-37.
    The Anna Karenina Theory says: all conscious states are alike; each unconscious state is unconscious in its own way. This note argues that many components have to function properly to produce consciousness, but failure in any one of many different ones can yield an unconscious state in different ways. In that sense the Anna Karenina theory is true. But in another respect it is false: kinds of unconsciousness depend on kinds of consciousness.
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  18. Sexism, Racism, Ageism and the Nature of Consciousness.Ned Block - 2000 - In Richard Moran, Alan Sidelle & Jennifer E. Whiting (eds.), Philosophical Topics. University of Arkansas Press. pp. 71--88.
    Everyone would agree that the American flag is red, white and blue. Everyone should also agree that it looks red, white and blue to people with normal color vision in appropriate circumstances. If a philosophical theory led to the conclusion that the red stripes cannot look red to both men and women, both blacks and whites, both young and old, we would be reluctant (to say the least) to accept that philosophical theory. But there is a widespread philosophical view about (...)
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  19. Top-Down Attention and Consciousness: Comment on Cohen, Et.Al.Naotsuga Tsuchiya, Ned Block & Christof Koch - 2012 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 16 (11):527.
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  20. Holism, Mental and Semantic.Ned Block - 1996 - In Edward Craig (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Routledge.
    Mental (or semantic) holism is the doctrine that the identity of a belief content (or the meaning of a sentence that expresses it) is determined by its place in the web of beliefs or sentences comprising a whole theory or group of theories. It can be contrasted with two other views: atomism and molecularism. Molecularism characterizes meaning and content in terms of relatively small parts of the web in a way that allows many different theories to share those parts. For (...)
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  21.  25
    Measuring Away an Attentional Confound?Jorge Morales, Yasha Mouradi, Claire Sergent, Ned Block, Vincent Taschereau-Dumouchel, David Rosenthal, Piercesare Grimaldi & Hakwan Lau - 2017 - Neuroscience of Consciousness 3 (1):1-3.
    A recent fMRI study by Webb et al. (Cortical networks involved in visual awareness independent of visual attention, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016;113:13923–28) proposes a new method for finding the neural correlates of awareness by matching atten- tion across awareness conditions. The experimental design, however, seems at odds with known features of attention. We highlight logical and methodological points that are critical when trying to disentangle attention and awareness.
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