Alex Byrne

Alex Byrne is Professor of Philosophy at MIT and the coeditor of Fact and Value: Essays on Ethics and Metaphysics for Judith Jarvis Thomson (2001) and Readings on Color, volumes 1 and 2 (1997), all published by the MIT Press.

  • Disjunctivism

    Disjunctivism

    Contemporary Readings

    Alex Byrne and Heather Logue

    Classic texts that define the disjunctivist theory of perception.

    A central debate in contemporary philosophy of perception concerns the disjunctive theory of perceptual experience. Until the 1960s, philosophers of perception generally assumed that a veridical perception (a perceptual experience that presents the world as it really is) and a subjectively similar hallucination must have significant mental commonalities. Disjunctivists challenge this assumption, contending that the veridical perception and the corresponding hallucination share no mental core. Suppose that while you are looking at a lemon, God suddenly removes it, while keeping your brain activity constant. Although you notice no change, disjunctivists argue that the preremoval and postremoval experiences are radically different. Disjunctivism has gained prominent supporters in recent years, as well as attracting much criticism. This reader collects for the first time in one volume classic texts that define and react to disjunctivism. These include an excerpt from a book by the late J. M. Hinton, who was the first to propose an explicitly disjunctivist position, and papers stating a number of important objections.

    Contributors Alex Byrne, Jonathan Dancy, J. M. Hinton, Mark Johnston, Harold Langsam, Heather Logue, M. G. F. Martin, John McDowell, Alan Millar, Howard Robinson, A. D. Smith, Paul Snowdon

    • Hardcover $15.75
    • Paperback $40.00
  • Fact and Value

    Fact and Value

    Essays on Ethics and Metaphysics for Judith Jarvis Thomson

    Alex Byrne, Robert C. Stalnaker, and Ralph Wedgwood

    A diverse collection of essays, which reflect the breadth of Judith Jarvis Thomson's philosophical work.

    The diversity of topics discussed in this book reflects the breadth of Judith Jarvis Thomson's philosophical work. Throughout her long career at MIT, Thomson's straightforward approach and emphasis on problem-solving have shaped philosophy in significant ways. Some of the book's contributions discuss specific moral and political issues such as abortion, self-defense, the rights and obligations of prospective fathers, and political campaign finance. Other contributions concern the foundations of moral theory, focusing on hedonism, virtue ethics, the nature of nonconsequentialism, and the objectivity of moral claims. Finally, contributions in metaphysics and epistemology discuss the existence of sets, the structures reflected in conditional statements, and the commitments of testimony.

    Contributors Jonathan Bennett, Richard L. Cartwright, Joshua Cohen, N. Ann Davis, Catherine Z. Elgin, Gilbert Harman, Barbara Herman, Frances Myrna Kamm, Claudia Mills, T.M. Scanlon, Ernest Sosa

    • Hardcover $8.75
    • Paperback $20.00
  • Readings on Color, Volume 1

    Readings on Color, Volume 1

    The Philosophy of Color

    Alex Byrne and David R. Hilbert

    Color is an endlessly fascinating subject to philosophers, scientists, and laypersons, as well an an instructive microcosm of cognitive science. In these two anthologies, Alex Byrne and David Hilbert present a survey of the important recent philosophical and scientific writings on color. The introduction to volume 1 provides a philosophical background and links the philosophical issues to the empirical work covered in volume 2.

    The bibliography in volume 1 is an extensive resource for those doing philosophical work on color. The scientific selections in volume 2 present work in color science that is relevant to philosophical thinking about color; the material is comprehensive and sophisticated enough to be useful to the scientific reader. The introduction to volume 2 is an overview of color science; the volume also contains suggestions for further reading.

    • Hardcover $20.75
    • Paperback $45.00

Contributor

  • Color Ontology and Color Science

    Color Ontology and Color Science

    Jonathan Cohen and Mohan Matthen

    Leading philosophers and scientists consider what conclusions about color can be drawn when the latest analytic tools are applied to the most sophisticated color science.

    Philosophers and scientists have long speculated about the nature of color. Atomists such as Democritus thought color to be "conventional," not real; Galileo and other key figures of the Scientific Revolution thought that it was an erroneous projection of our own sensations onto external objects. More recently, philosophers have enriched the debate about color by aligning the most advanced color science with the most sophisticated methods of analytical philosophy. In this volume, leading scientists and philosophers examine new problems with new analytic tools, considering such topics as the psychophysical measurement of color and its implications, the nature of color experience in both normal color-perceivers and the color blind, and questions that arise from what we now know about the neural processing of color information, color consciousness, and color language. Taken together, these papers point toward a complete restructuring of current orthodoxy concerning color experience and how it relates to objective reality. Kuehni, Jameson, Mausfeld, and Niederee discuss how the traditional framework of a three-dimensional color space and basic color terms is far too simple to capture the complexities of color experience. Clark and MacLeod discuss the difficulties of a materialist account of color experience. Churchland, Cohen, Matthen, and Westphal offer competing accounts of color ontology. Finally, Broackes and Byrne and Hilbert discuss the phenomenology of color blindness.

    Contributors Justin Broackes, Alex Byrne, Paul M. Churchland, Austen Clark, Jonathan Cohen, David R. Hilbert, Kimberly A. Jameson, Rolf Kuehni, Don I.A. MacLeod, Mohan Matthen, Rainer Mausfeld, Richard Niederée, Jonathan Westphal

    • Hardcover $19.75
    • Paperback $50.00
  • Neurons, Networks, and Motor Behavior

    Neurons, Networks, and Motor Behavior

    Sten Grillner, Allen I. Selverston, Paul S.G. Stein, and Douglas G. Stuart

    Recent advances in motor behavior research rely on detailed knowledge of the characteristics of the neurons and networks that generate motor behavior. At the cellular level, Neurons, Networks, and Motor Behavior describes the computational characteristics of individual neurons and how these characteristics are modified by neuromodulators. At the network and behavioral levels, the volume discusses how network structure is dynamically modulated to produce adaptive behavior. Comparisons of model systems throughout the animal kingdom provide insights into general principles of motor control. Contributors describe how networks generate such motor behaviors as walking, swimming, flying, scratching, reaching, breathing, feeding, and chewing. An emerging principle of organization is that nervous systems are remarkably efficient in constructing neural networks that control multiple tasks and dynamically adapt to change.The volume contains six sections: selection and initiation of motor patterns; generation and formation of motor patterns: cellular and systems properties; generation and formation of motor patterns: computational approaches; modulation and reconfiguration; short-term modulation of pattern generating circuits; and sensory modification of motor output to control whole body orientation.

    • Hardcover $85.00
    • Paperback $9.75