Perceiving is not everywhere informed by cognizing. While perceiving is sometimes informed by what one thinks, knows, or believes about, for example, a visual figure, other times perceiving remains unaffected by our knowledge or belief. Why perceiving is sometimes not informed by background cognising, while other times it is not, is still an explanatory difficulty.
The phenomena of cognitive impenetrability have been a longstanding way to explain the power of perceptual illusions (such as, for example, the Müller-Lyer, see Figure 1. below). Remarkably, for people susceptible to such illusions, it seems impossible to bring ourselves to see what one thinks or believes to be the case into play to adjust what one perceives. On this account, it seems that there are reasons to think that perceiving is not informed by what is known about the visual figure, that is, by background cognising. Modular theories rightly acknowledge that there has to be some kind of boundary. They explain it through the idea of informational encapsulation. Perception, claimed as a modular input system, only has access to the information contained in inputs plus whatever information is available within the module.On such account, perceptual processing is informationally encapsulated from background cognising.
Philosophical arguments, however, increasingly question informational encapsulation. Advocates for ‘cognitive penetrability’ argue that there has to be an intelligible link between perception and cognition, such that perceptual experience becomes informed by cognitive attitudes.. The predictive processing framework explains this link by the idea that top-down cognising binds perceptual experience by embodying predictions or anticipations that parametrize or force conformity in lower-levels. On this account, even the lowest levels of perceiving are informed by background cognizing. Although many have argued that the predictive processing framework necessarily entails or is compatible with the idea of ‘cognitive penetrability’, it is controversial whether cognitive penetrability necessarily follows from the rejection of modularity and the embracement of predictive processing.
I aim to explore the boundaries between cognition and perception. My research enquires: why think that optimisation schemes of predictive processing can provide such an explanation for cognitive penetrability? And if so, do these new theories, that claim the dissolution of perception in background cognising, allow some form of explanatory boundary that differentiates between perceiving and believing?
Hilbert 24th problem (2016-) Team member Mathematics Department, Nova University of Lisbon, Foundation of Science and Technology funded project
In 2000, a draft note of Hilbert was found concerning a 24th problem for his Paris problem list.
This problem concerns simplicity of proofs.
The aim of the project to reassess Hilbert’s 24th problem as a philosophical challenge (rather than a purely formal exercise).
We take a closer look at the specifically mathematical examples that concerned Hilbert himself, in particular syzygies (the modern understanding of which is subsumed by the notion of Gröbner bases).
Syzygies are, however, just a starting point for looking at Hilbert’s problem in other suitable mathematical contexts.
Special emphasis is put on the potential impact of Hilbert’s 24th problem on contemporary philosophy of mathematics.
The Notion of Mathematical Proof” (2014-2015). Grant Research Fellow, Centre for Artificial Intelligence, Nova University of Lisbon, at the Science and Technology Foundation (FCT) funded Project
In this project, we review the current state of the notion of mathematical proof, with special emphasis on recent developments on probabilistic proofs and computer-assisted proofs. The principle goal is to obtain a better philosophical understanding of the nature of proofs in general, and computerized proofs in particular.
The Cognitive Foundations of the Self” (2013-2014). Grant Research Fellow, Institute for Philosophy of Nova, Nova University of Lisbon, at the Science and Technology Foundation (FCT) funded Project
These are exciting times in what the studies regarding the notion of the ‘Self’ are concerned. Nevertheless, the transdisplinary approach (phenomenology, cognitive neuroscience, psychiatry, psychoanalysis) comes with a cost: a taxonomical confusion and fragmentation inherent to the proliferation of such distinct methodological approaches. Philosophy, given its general, far reaching, synoptic and conceptual approach, is specially suited to overcome this unfortunate scenario by providing conceptual clarification that facilitates the establishment of links between disciplines. This is the aim of the current research proposal: to adopt a general methodology suited to solve the problem of the conceptual fragmentation of the notion of ‘Self’.
The project aims to trace the development of Wittgenstein’ssecond book project laying the foundations for a principled view of the origin of the Philosophical Investigations. The idea is to yield an adequate view of what belongs in the Philosophical Investigations corpus, while at the same time showing what its status is. In this way, the connections between the philosophy of culture and mind and the philosophy of psychology, on one hand, and between these and the philosophy of mathematics, on the other, as spread among Wittgenstein’s various projects for the Philosophical Investigations, will be re-evaluated. The majority of these sources have been available since 2000 in the Bergen Electronic Edition of Wittgenstein’s Nachlass, but we are still in need of a thorough examination of them. In addition, new items have come to light in the meantime which justify a close study. It is such a philological-philosophical study that the project aims to carry out, analysing the genesis of Wittgenstein’sPhilosophical Investigations and also editing hitherto unpublished texts. Our understanding of the Philosophical Investigationsprojectand itsrelation to other Nachlass parts and periods will be significantly improved, and this will make it possible to establish its potential for continued influence on 21st century thought in ways that are anchored to a secure text basis. This objective will be achieved in close cooperation with the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen(WAB).