Mind, Matter, and Metabolism. About materialism, living systems, and the evolution of subjective experience. The link above goes to the version given as a talk at the NYU Modern Philosophy Conference in 2014. A new version is forthcoming in the Journal of Philosophy; the preprint is here.
Animal Evolution and the Origins of Experience. A paper based on the second half of the NYU talk.
Individuality, Subjectivity, and Minimal Cognition. A third in the same series. This one connects to questions in the philosophy of biology.
Triviality Arguments Against Functionalism. Looks at arguments asserting that a functional description of the kind envisaged in mainstream functionalism about the mind is either trivially applicable to any complex system, or amounts to no more than behavioral description. Arguments in Hinckfuss, Lycan, Putnam, Searle, and Chalmers are discussed and extended (Philosophical Studies, 2009).
Representation and Integration in Animal Minds. A talk given at Harvard at a workshop on animal minds in 2011. Some animals exhibit a degree of self-control and “distance” from their immediate urges, of kinds that philosophers often flatly assert are only found in humans.
Reduction in Real Life. Looks at how “reductionist” explanation works in biology and related sciences, with applications to philosophy of mind (especially the “autonomy” of functional description).
Innateness and Genetic Information. Does recent work on information within biology help make sense of nativism? No.
A paper about teleosemantics, looking back at the classic works and how they relate to newer ideas.
On Folk Psychology and Mental Representation. An overview, looking at unorthodox positions on both topics (2004).
Folk Psychology as a Model. Argues that folk psychology might be seen as a model rather than a theory. (This is not, as it might appear to be, a version of simulationism.) Philosopher’s Imprint, 2004.
Environmental Complexity and the Evolution of Cognition. A summary of the biological side of my 1996 book, Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature.
On the Evolution of Representational and Interpretive Capacities. About the co-evolution of internal representational states and our social skill of folk-psychological interpretation. Appears in the Monist, 2002. “Untangling the Evolution of Mental Representation” (2005) follows up the same themes.
The animal above is a nudibranch, Chromodoris splendida.