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Susan Brower-Toland
Saint Louis University
  1. Medieval Approaches to Consciousness: Ockham and Chatton.Susan Brower-Toland - 2012 - Philosophers' Imprint 12:1-29.
    My aim in this paper is to advance our understanding of medieval approaches to consciousness by focusing on a particular but, as it seems to me, representative medieval debate. The debate in question is between William Ockham and Walter Chatton over the existence of what these two thinkers refer to as “reflexive intellective intuitive cognition”. Although framed in the technical terminology of late-medieval cognitive psychology, the basic question at issue between them is this: Does the mind (or “intellect”) cognize its (...)
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  2.  7
    Causation and Mental Content: Against the Externalist Interpretation of Ockham.Susan Brower-Toland - 2017 - In Magali Elise Roques & Jenny Pelletier (eds.), The Language of Thought in Late Medieval Philosophy. Essays in Honour of Claude Panaccio.
    On the dominant interpretation, Ockham is an externalist about mental content. This reading is founded principally on his theory of intuitive cognition. Intuitive cognition plays a foundational role in Ockham’s account of concept formation and judgment, and Ockham insists that the content of intuitive states is determined by the causal relations such states bear to their objects. The aim of this paper is to challenge the externalist interpretation by situating Ockham’s account of intuitive cognition vis-à-vis his broader account of efficient (...)
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  3.  6
    "Self-Knowledge and the Science of the Soul in Buridan's Quaestiones De Anima".Susan Brower-Toland - 2017 - In Gyula Klima (ed.), Questions on the Soul by John Buridan and Others: A Companion to John Buridan's Philosophy of Mind.
    Buridan holds that the proper subject of psychology (i.e., the science undertaken in Aristotle’s De Anima) is the soul, its powers, and characteristic functions. But, on his view, the science of psychology should not be understood as including the body nor even the soul-body composite as its proper subject. Rather its subject is just “the soul in itself and its powers and functions insofar as they stand on the side of the soul". Buridan takes it as obvious that, even thus (...)
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  4. William Ockham on the Scope and Limits of Consciousness.Susan Brower-Toland - 2014 - Vivarium 52 (3-4):197-219.
    Ockham holds what nowadays would be characterized as a “higher-order perception” theory of consciousness. Among the most common objections to such a theory is the charge that it gives rise to an infinite regress in higher-order states. In this paper, I examine Ockham’s various responses to the regress problem, focusing in particular on his attempts to restrict the scope of consciousness so as to avoid it. In his earlier writings, Ockham holds that we are conscious only of those states to (...)
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  5. Intuition, Externalism, and Direct Reference in Ockham.Susan Brower-Toland - 2007 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 24 (4):317-336.
    In this paper I challenge recent externalist interpretations of Ockham’s theory of intuitive cognition. I begin by distinguishing two distinct theses that defenders of the externalist interpretation typically attribute to Ockham: a ‘direct reference thesis’, according to which intuitive cognitions are states that lack all internal, descriptive content; and a ‘causal thesis’, according to which intuitive states are wholly determined by causal connections they bear to singular objects. I then argue that neither can be plausibly credited to Ockham. In particular, (...)
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  6. Facts Vs. Things: Adam Wodeham and the Later Medieval Debate About Objects of Judgment.Susan Brower-Toland - 2006 - Review of Metaphysics 60 (3):597-642.
    Commentators have long agreed that Wodeham’s account of objects of judgment is highly innovative, but they have continued to disagree about its proper interpretation. Some read him as introducing items that are merely supervenient on (and nothing in addition to) Aristotelian substances and accidents; others take him to be introducing a new type of entity in addition to substances and accidents—namely, abstract states of affairs. In this paper, I argue that both interpretations are mistaken: the entities Wodeham introduces are really (...)
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  7.  81
    How Chatton Changed Ockham's Mind: William Ockham and Walter Chatton on Objects and Acts of Judgment.Susan Brower-Toland - 2014 - In G. Klima (ed.), Intentionality, Cognition and Mental Representation in Medieval Philosophy. Fordham University Press.
    It is well-known that Chatton is among the earliest and most vehement critics of Ockham’s theory of judgment, but scholars have overlooked the role Chatton’s criticisms play in shaping Ockham’s final account. In this paper, I demonstrate that Ockham’s most mature treatment of judgment not only contains revisions that resolve the problems Chatton identifies in his earlier theories, but also that these revisions ultimately bring his final account of the objects of judgment surprisingly close to Chatton’s own. Even so, I (...)
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  8. Ockham on Judgment, Concepts, and the Problem of Intentionality.Susan Brower-Toland - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (1):67-110.
    In this paper I examine William Ockham’s theory of judgment and, in particular, his account of the nature and ontological status of its objects. Commentators, both past and present, habitually interpret Ockham as defending a kind of anti-realism about objects of judgment. My aim in this paper is two-fold. The first is to show that the traditional interpretation rests on a failure to appreciate the ways in which Ockham’s theory of judgment changes over the course of his career. The second, (...)
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  9.  61
    Olivi on Consciousness and Self-Knowledge: The Phenomenology, Metaphysics, and Epistemology of Mind's Reflexivity.Susan Brower-Toland - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy 1 (1).
    The theory of mind that medieval philosophers inherit from Augustine is predicated on the thesis that the human mind is essentially self-reflexive. This paper examines Peter John Olivi's (1248-1298) distinctive development of this traditional Augustinian thesis. The aim of the paper is three-fold. The first is to establish that Olivi's theory of reflexive awareness amounts to a theory of phenomenal consciousness. The second is to show that, despite appearances, Olivi rejects a higher-order analysis of consciousness in favor of a same-order (...)
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