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Arts and Humanities
Chapter 2: the Philosophical Approach
Terms in this set (67)
Something in the "mental" world that can stand for
something in the physical world.
○ Something that stands for something else
Actions applied to mental representations are the basis for
thinking about them.
○ Our brain processes information (=represent + transform information).
What kind of information are we encoding and computing with? E.g., the infinite set of
possible computer programs
¤ axioms /basic elements
¤ combinatorial rules; for deriving additional complex representations using the basic elements
How are computations carried out: e.g. by an algorithm encoded in a C++ computer
¤ A set of mechanical procedures for doing the things that are allowed by the theory
by what physical system are the computations carried out? ¤ A mechanical device¤ A man-made computing machine
¤ A human brain
language computational level
Formal properties of language ¤ Rules and constraints
language algorithmic level
Form of representations¤ How language is processed
language implementational level
Physical instantiation of language in brain ¤ Where language is processed¤ Which brain region does what?
Good for asking important questions and for generating
better theories and hypotheses
¤ Method is primarily inductive and deductive reasoning but now employs surveys
reasoning in which a conclusion is reached by stating a general principle and then applying that principle to a specific case (The sun rises every morning; therefore, the sun will rise on Tuesday morning.)
A type of logic in which generalizations are based on a large number of specific observations.
ex: Jennifer at UD studies 3 hours every night.n Ryan at UD studies 3 hours every night.n Conclusion: Every UD student studies 3 hours every night.
search for knowledge
the nature of reality.
• e.g. mind-body problem
the study of knowledge.
What is knowledge?
How is knowledge represented in the mind?
material and physical
thoughts, feelings and beliefs
the mind body problem
The brain: material and physical
q The mind: e.g. thoughts, feelings, and beliefs
q Describes the seeming incompatibility between the physical properties of the brain and the mental qualities of the mind.
q The Main Question: Is the mind physical?
2 theories of consciousness
2 types of dualism
- substance dualism
- property dualism
2 types of monism
3 types of materialism
- identity theory
mind and the body are both made up of the same substance, either mental or physical.
only mind exists
- entirely mental
- The universe as God's mind.à Not scientifically testable but cannot be falsified.
only matter exists
- The universe as material.
(384—322 B.C.) advocated a physical form of monism.
q He stated that aspects of mind correspond to the different physical states the brain assumes.
identity theory (⇔ multiple realization)
c.f. folk psychology
the mind is the brain. q Mental states are physical brain states. q Should we get rid of mental language?
Eliminativism (Eliminative materialism)
says yes, let's use only physical objective scientific terms like "neuron".
uses familiar subjective terms Robert likes to feel good. If Robert walks by the
cookie store on his way home from school, he will buy and then eat some cookies.
simpler, there is only one set of terms. e.g. Occam's razor.
q Evidence to support the brain's role as the mind.q However, pain may be different in different people,
animals, etc.Ø multiple realization.
multiple realization (⇔ identity theory)
pain may be different in different people, animals, etc
q should account for all the subtle mental differences that can exist between individuals
mind and body are of two different natures
Plato (427—347 B.C.)q the body: material, extended, and perishable.q The mind: immaterial, non-extended, and eternal.
mind and body are composed of different substances.
- The body is made up of atoms, molecules, cells.
The mind control the brain and body through the pineal
Mind can do X.No physical object can do X àMinds are not physical objects
mind controls body, body does not control mind
mind and body are made up of the same stuff but have different properties.
e.g. a golf ball and a tennis ball
q Limitation: How do atoms give rise to non-physical properties?
examination of one's own thoughts and feelings
Experimental approach developed by Wilhelm Wundt
qTechnique involved training people to carefully and objectively as possible to analyze the content of their own thoughts
• Highly trained observers were presented with carefully controlled sensory events
• Asked to describe their mental experiences of these events
- mental state
- working of his own mind.
- mental processes:
3 stages of introspection
1. During the observation of external object, the person beings to ponder
over his own _________ _____
2. The person begins to question the _____ ____ ____ ___ ____ He thinks and analyses, why has he said such or such things? Why has he talked in a particular manner? And so on
3. He tries to frame the laws and conditions of the ________ ________: he thinks in terms of improvement of his reasoning or the control of his emotional stages.
Problems?• Results vary from person to person
• Results can not be verified• Can't tell us anything about unconscious events
It could be that the mind is all of the brain's parts and properties taken together (Ryle, 1949)
q What the mind isn't, not what it is, (Clark, 2001) q Dependence of the mental on the physical
q e.g. brain damageq mind and body can't interact causally.
Problem for dualism: how do the mind and body interact?
A mind is the result of the execution of certain processes or functions. These functions can give rise to mind no matter what the physical substrate in which they are embedded.
- define them by the sorts of processes they carry out rather than the stuff
It cannot account for the felt or experienced character of mental states (qualia)
q We can program a computer to see red but does it experience qualia?
q The fact that qualia may be different in different people or machines only complicates the matter
Chinese room (John Searle)
A direct attack on the claim that thought can be represented as a set of functions.
̈ More than functional process
- Once inside the room, Searle simulates how it would be like to be that computer program—except instead of English, he get fed a story in Chinese and gets questions to answer in Chinese
¤ But that's just like it is for the program, it will work with either language
"manipulating uninterpreted formal symbols"
BUT: he still does not "understand" Chinese!
¤ Just like the program/computer is not "understanding"
¤ Searle is just _____________________
n He behaves like a computer by performing computational operations on formally specified symbols—he IS the computer
searle's chinese room and functionalism
Claim: mental processes are functional processes over formally defined elements
̈ The Chinese Room
¤ The use of functional system based on syntactic process without understanding
Can a machine become conscious?
strong AI view
• It is a matter of building more complex, sophisticated machines.
Can a machine become conscious?
weak AI view
• Consciousness is either nonphysical or is so complex it can never be reproduced artificially.
Strong AI claims the programmed computer __________
¤ But Searle does NOT understand Chinese in any meaningful way
¤ Therefore, the computer understands nothing, it is just shuffling around uninterpreted, meaningless (to it) symbols
He understands English though, and from the computational perspective, it is totally isomorphic. Therefore,
¤ there is [...] no reason at all to suppose that my understanding has anything to do with computer programs, that is, with computational operations on purely formally specified elements.
the subjective quality of experience.
The psychological concept of mind:
how the mind causes
- explains behavior
- easier to study.
The phenomenal concept of mind:
subjective aspect of mental life
- may never be adequately explained.
The easy problem of consciousness
is in determining what brain activity underlies different forms of experience. It can be done by cognitive science.
The hard problem of consciousness
requires explaining subjective experience and cannot be explained by cognitive science.
the difference between these two
Ned Block and David Chalmers,
According to philosophers _____________ and ______________ these types of conclusions don't get at the heart of consciousness
We've seen that consciousness is important. for information processing and planning, also evidence that conscious information lasts longer
BUT...providingexamplesofwhatconsciousnessisneededforisonly one of the relatively "easy" problems, not the single, really difficult problem in defining consciousness
easy problem of consciousness (chalmers)
The problem of determining the relationship between physiological processes like nerve firing and perceptual experience. Note that this involves determining a relationship, not a cause.
- we at least have some idea of what a solution would look like (even though we haven't solved them yet)
Still extensive debates in the literature over what ___________ is, no clear answer or solution
• Distinctions made between the type of consciousness we can study with priming and brain disorders, and what big picture consciousness mean
• Area for future work and development in Cognitive Science
Descartes' classical view:
a single point in the brain
Center of Consciousness
approach used when the narrator relates the story in the third person but does so by centering attention on one character
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
Brain of the computer that performs instructions defined by software
- homunculus problem
- Who is interpreting the internal mental symbol inside your head?
- There is a little version of yourself inside your head that interprets the mental representation:
Storage of information in long-term memory
we are born with knowledge. q cf. nativism
Emphasizes on theory
Assumes an "innate
Aims at discovering the
language of the human mind (linguistic competence)
Assigns categories to language units
the view that knowledge originates in experience and that science should, therefore, rely on observation and experimentation
Emphasizes on data2. Assumes all knowledge gathered only via senses
3. Aims at analyzing language as it actually occurs (linguistic performance)
4. Assigns probabilities to language units
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