Journal Article

A Difference That Makes a Difference: Passing through Dennett's Stalinesque/Orwellian Impasse

Steven J. Todd

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 60, issue 3, pages 497-520
Published in print September 2009 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online June 2009 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axp023
A Difference That Makes a Difference: Passing through Dennett's Stalinesque/Orwellian Impasse

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Dennett and Kinsbourne ([1992]) argue that metacontrast backward visual masking provides a clear illustration that ‘there is really only a verbal difference’ between two versions of the Cartesian Theater model of the mind. This alleged lack of a distinction is both the crucial premise of their main argument against the Cartesian Theater and a motivator for accepting their own Multiple Drafts model. I argue that metacontrast reveals a difference between the two versions of the Cartesian Theater that meets criteria found in (Dennett and Kinsbourne [1992]) for determining such a difference. This difference undermines the soundness of their argument against the Cartesian Theater, and exerts pressure on Dennett and Kinsbourne to offer a more detailed articulation of their model.

Introduction

Brief Explanation of Metacontrast Backward Visual Masking

The Stalinesque and Orwellian Models of Metacontrast 3.1

Criteria for determining a difference

A Difference That Makes a Difference 4.1

Skeptical hypothesis objection

Other Objections and Replies 5.1

Straw person objection

5.2

Corroborative issues objection

Conclusion

Journal Article.  9740 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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