Psychological explanation


  • Drayson, Zoe (2012). The uses and abuses of the personal/subpersonal distinction. Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):1-18. [Draft] I claim that the personal/subpersonal distinction is first and foremost a distinction between two kinds of psychological theory or explanation, and argue that on one of the most common metaphysical interpretations of the explanatory distinction, talk of a distinction between personal and subpersonal states simply makes no sense.

  • Drayson, Zoe. (2014) The Personal/Subpersonal Distinction. Philosophy Compass 9 (5):338-346. [Draft] Since Dennett's distinction was first introduced in 1969, the personal/subpersonal distinction has been adapted to fit different approaches to the mind. The ‘Pittsburgh school’ of philosophers attempted to map Dennett’s distinction onto their own distinction between the ‘space of reasons’ and the ‘space of causes’, whereas contemporary philosophy of psychology presumes the distinction to be equivalent to Stephen Stich’s distinction between doxastic and subdoxastic states. Both involve supplementing the distinction with metaphysical claims.

  • Drayson, Zoe. (2015) Stephen Stich, Collected Papers volumes 1 and 2. Mind 124 (495), 988-993. [Draft] A review of Stich (2011, 2012).

In progress: 
  • Drayson, Zoe. The realizers and vehicles of mental representation. [Draft] The neural vehicles of mental representation play an explanatory role in cognitive psychology that their realizers do not. In this paper, I argue that the individuation of realizers as vehicles of representation restricts the sorts of explanations in which they can participate. I illustrate this with reference to Rupert’s (2011) claim that representational vehicles can play an explanatory role in psychology in virtue of their quantity or proportion. I propose that such quantity-based explanatory claims can apply only to realizers and not to vehicles, in virtue of the particular causal role that vehicles play in psychological explanations.

Embodied and extended cognition


  • Drayson, Zoe (2009). Embodied cognitive science and its implications for psychopathology. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 16 (4):329-340. [Draft] I review recent work in the area of embodied cognitive science and explore the approach each takes to the ideas of consciousness, computation and representation, and explore the current relationship between orthodox cognitive science and the study of mental disorder, in order to consider the implications that the embodied trend could have for issues in psychopathology.

  • Drayson, Zoe (2010). Extended cognition and the metaphysics of mind. Cognitive Systems Research 11 (4):367-377. [Draft] It has recently been suggested that the hypothesis of extended cognition is entailed by functionalism, and that functionalism entails a version of extended cognition which is sufficiently radical as to be obviously false. I survey the debate and propose several ways of avoiding this conclusion, emphasizing the importance of distinguishing the hypothesis of extended cognition from the related notion of the extended mind.

In progress:

  • Drayson, Zoe. Extended minds and prime mental conditions: probing the parallels. [Draft] Two very different forms of externalism about mental states appear prima facie unrelated: Williamson’s (1995, 2000) claim that knowledge is a mental state, and Clark & Chalmers’ (1998) extended mind hypothesis. I demonstrate, however, that the two approaches justify their radically externalist by appealing to the same argument from explanatory generality. I argue that if one accepts either Williamson’s claims or Clark & Chalmers’ claims on considerations of explanatory generality then, ceteris paribus, one should accept the other. This conclusion has interesting implications for philosophy of mind, epistemology, and cognitive science.

  • Drayson, Zoe & Clark, Andy. Augmentation, Agency, and the Spreading of the Mental State. [Draft] This paper was originally written for a special issue of a journal that was didn't happen. It will now be substantially rewritten for inclusion in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability. The draft linked to here is the old version and not for citation. 



In progress:

  • Drayson, Zoe. Modularity and the predictive mind. [Draft] Modular approaches to the architecture of the mind claim that some mental mechanisms, such as sensory input processes, operate in special-purpose subsystems that are functionally independent from the rest of the mind. This assumption of modularity seems to be in tension with recent claims that the mind has a predictive architecture: predictive approaches propose that there is no clear boundary between perception and cognition, and that no part of perceptual processing is exempt from top-down influence. I explore and ultimately reject both these apparent commitments and argue that predictive architectures are in fact modular architectures.

  • Drayson, Zoe. Direct perception and the predictive mind. [Draft] Predictive approaches to the mind claim that perception, cognition, and action can be understood in terms of a single framework: a hierarchy of Bayesian models employing the computational strategy of predictive coding. Proponents of this view disagree, however, over the extent to which perception is direct on the predictive approach. In this paper I argue that we can resolve these disagreements by identifying three distinct notions of perceptual directness: psychological, metaphysical, and epistemological. I propose that while perception is plausibly construed as psychologically indirect on the predictive approach, this doesn’t justify its proponents’ claims of metaphysical or epistemological indirectness. 

  • Drayson, Zoe. What is action-oriented perception? [Draft] Contemporary scientific and philosophical literature on perception often focuses on the relationship between perception and action, emphasizing the ways in which perception can be understood as geared towards action. I first provide a framework within which to classify approaches to action-oriented perception, and show that each approach within the framework is logically independent of the others. Next, I use this framework to show that those in embodied cognitive science who claim that perceptual representations can be action-oriented (Clark 1997, Wheeler 2008) are committed to both the representational mechanisms of perception being action-oriented and to their contents being action oriented. I argue that justification for either one of these commitments undermines justification for the other. 



  • Drayson, Zoe (2014). Intentional action and the post-coma patient. Topoi 33 (1):23-31. [Draft] Judgments about comatose and vegetative patients' capacities for intentional action have traditionally focused on the nature of their bodily movements, but recent neuroimaging data suggests that brain activity can be indicative of intentional action. I suggest that this change of focus, from the interpretation of motor behaviour as intentional (bodily) action to the interpretation of neural activity as intentional (mental) action, raises philosophical issues that have not yet been addressed.