Monthly Archives: December 2014

Program for Inaugural Meeting, January 9, 2015

The details for NorMind‘s Inaugural Workshop are now clear, and we are excited to welcome you all!


For catering purposes, please email Ole Koksvik at by 12 noon on Friday December 19  to register your intention to attend. Please indicate whether you sign up for the workshop dinner or not.


Room 210, Sydnesplassen 12-13, in Bergen, Norway. The front door is usually locked, so please proceed through the street on the building’s left-hand side (called Sydneshaugen), and in through the visitor’s entrance, like this.


1030 – 1100: Welcome
1100 – 1230: Adrian Alsmith: ‘Imagine that’s yours’
1230 – 1300: Lunch
1300 – 1430: Hedda Hassel Mørch: ‘Phenomenal Information as Knowing Why’
1430 – 1445: Break
1445 – 1615: Kathrin Glüer-Pagin: ‘Constancy in Variation: Reflections on Shape Constancy’
1615 – 1630: Break
1630 – 1800: Tim Bayne: ‘The Puzzle of Cognitive Phenomenology’
1800 – 1900: Discussion: the Future of NorMind
2030: Conference dinner


The Workshop dinner will take place at Naboen Restaurant, in Sigurds Gate 4, less than 10 minutes walk from the workshop venue, at a cost of about 300 nok per person (excluding drinks).

Costs – Support

NorMind does not have its own funds, so attendees are generally expected to cover their own costs. We recognitse that this is not always easy, and hope that the late start will allow some to fly in on the day, reducing costs. In addition, there are for this meeting some limited funds available for travel and accommodation support, which will be distributed on a needs basis. Please contact Ole Koksvik, at by 9am on December 12th to apply. Please make clear what (if any) economic support you have access to in other ways.


Adrian Alsmith: ‘Imagine that’s yours’

In certain multisensory experimental paradigms, participants may report experiences of owning a rubber hand, a third hand, an invisible hand, a virtual hand, the hand of a robotic device, or even the entire body of a mannequin or an avatar. Reports of this kind (O reports) are typically claimed to be sincere because they are a matter of what participants perceive, which is independent of what they think about what they perceive. Two recent developments make this picture problematic: O reports can be dissociated from perceptual responses; O reports can occur for non-perceptual objects. On this basis, I argue that O reports elicited in these paradigms are better explained as reports of imaginative perceptual experiences. Participants imagine that they are perceiving their own body while looking at something that they know is not their body and they report what this is like. These reports can still be claimed to be sincere; after all, one does not necessarily notice that one is imagining when one does so.  If this is right, further investigations of experiences of ownership in multisensory paradigms ought to consider participants’ capacity for imaginative perception as a potential source of variation. This would also begin to address the more general issue of determining whether and the extent to which a participant’s imagination may contribute to their report in certain kinds of illusion.

Hedda Hassel Mørch: ‘Phenomenal Information as Knowing Why’

According to the knowledge argument (Jackson 1982, 1986), phenomenal information is knowledge of facts – knowing that. According to the ability hypothesis (Lewis 1983), phenomenal information is knowing how. I will argue that some phenomenal information is knowing why. Someone who has just experienced pain for the first time, learns not only that this is what pain is like, but also why people tend to avoid it. In the literature, there has been discussion of how learning what it is like to feel pain yields normative knowledge: it tells us why pain is bad and why inflicting it is wrong. I argue that phenomenal information can answer not only normative why-questions but causal why-questions, and that it answers such questions in a distinct way. Firstly, it explains regularities in an ultimate way, i.e., it stops regresses of why-questions in a way physical information cannot. Secondly, it enables prediction of the regularities it explains without the assistance of inductive reasoning, which is something physical information cannot either. It follows from this that phenomenal information is not identical to physical information.

Kathrin Glüer-Pagin: ‘Constancy in Variation: Reflections on Shape Constancy’

When you look at a circular plate at an angle, the plate looks circular. But at the same time, there also is a sense in which its look can be described as oval. When you move around the plate, the way it looks changes with your perspective on it — nevertheless, it continues to look circular. Focusing on shape phenomenology, I shall investigate whether such “constancy in variation” can be explained in terms of the representational content of visual experience. I shall argue that views construing constancy in variation as a matter of the representation of two different kinds of properties or features — objective and perspectival ones — are subject to phenomenological demands pulling them in opposite directions and thus limiting their explanatory powers. By contrast, adopting the non-standard intentionalism I have called phenomenal intentionalism, we get rather natural explanations of the phenomenology of constancy in variation.

Tim Bayne: ‘The Puzzle of Cognitive Phenomenology’

What is the nature of conscious thought? Answers to this question cluster into two groups. According to a position that I dub ‘phenomenal conservatism’, the phenomenal character of thought is restricted to that of the sensory and affective states that accompany thought. According to a view I dub ‘phenomenal liberalism’, thought is characterized by a distinctive range of phenomenal properties—what we might call ‘cognitive phenomenological properties’. The debate between conservatives and liberals generates a puzzle, for we cannot account for it without rejecting one (or more) prima facie plausible claim about consciousness. I argue that this debate is best explained by supposing that conservatives and liberals are operating with different notions of ‘phenomenal consciousness’. This result is an important one, for it calls into question the widespread assumption that there is a unitary notion of phenomenal consciousness at work in the philosophy of mind.