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Mind Body Problem Objective
Terms in this set (28)
What are the sorts of things that seem to be mental?
Important one - Qualia
Qualia - subjective conscious experience
Intuitive Mind: the thing that does mental stuff (has emotions, makes decisions, etc.)
What are the sorts of things that seem to be physical?
**Sometimes called 'materialism'):
Stuff made of atoms
Energies and forces (ex. Light waves)
Located in time and space
"Body" - the central nervous system (brain and associated parts)
Central nervous system (CNS) is relevant part of the physical world when it comes to the mind
So, if mental and physical have relationship, then CNS is "the physical"
What does it mean for something to "supervene" on something else?
Philosophers usually construe the supervenience relation as a relation between classes of properties, where a class of properties, F, supervenes on a class of properties, G, just in case there is no difference in F-properties without some difference in G-properties.
-Seems there are close connections, but also some possible differences between how we think about minds vs. brains
Agree with the thesis?
(S) For every change in the mental, there is always some change in the physical
Ex. If I have a dream, is something necessarily happening in my brain? If I fall in love, is there some change in my brain? Etc.
What about this?
For any change in the physical, there is always a change in the mental
Can you think of your own
example of one set of things supervening on another set of things?
(S) For every change in the mental, there is always some change in the physical
Supervenience - for every change in x, there is always a change in y
Heads/tails on a coin (any change in whether the coin is heads up...)
Night and day (any change in whether it is daytime...)
Reflection in the mirror (for any change in my reflection, there is always a change in me)
If (S) is true, then the mental supervenes on the physical
If anything mental happens, then something physical happens, too
What is the Mind/Body Problem?
What explains the supervenience relation between the mental and the physical?
What is the problem of other minds?
Whether or not we know other people apart from ourselves have minds
What does Russell mean when he claims we know about them by "analogy"?
Russell - It is possible to explain everything by materialism, this may
be undeniable, but we want to go beyond physics to show something about other minds we have no way of proving we need to make some kind of inference. Russell Thinks we might can get there from Analogy
• Analogy - A form of inference or induction that draws relations
between particular things this could take the from of a comparison, correspondence, or partial Identity • the analogy between the heart and a pump. • there is some analogy between the two variables • I see no analogy between your problem and mine.
• In mathematics, If A = B and B = C, then A = C. • William is a bachelor, all bachelors are single; hence William is
• Induction (probability)
• All cats that you have observed purr. Therefore, every cat
• All basketball players in your school are tall, so all basketball
players must be tall.
Instead of being valid or invalid, inductive arguments are either strong
or weak, which describes how probable it is that the conclusion is true.
Strong Induction - All biological life forms that we know of depend on liquid water to exist. All biological life probably depends on liquid water to exist.
Weak Induction - All of the swans we have seen are white. Therefore, all swans are white
What is solipsism?
The view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.
What is the Turing Test? What does it suggest about the possibility of artificial minds?
The Turing test is a test of a machine's ability to hold a conversation equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.
• Originally done with keyboard and
• Can a computer simulate natural
• Not judged on correctness of answers but closeness to human responses
What is monism?
The entire world is made up of only one kind of stuff
What is dualism?
The entire world is made up of two fundamentally distinct kinds of stuff
Physical stuff AND mental stuff, and neither is fundamentally the same as the other
What is physicalism?
The one kind of stuff that makes the world is all and only physical
What is substance dualism?
Substance Dualism - the world is made up of fundamentally different types of substances
Physical substances: trees, rocks, human bodies, etc.
Mental substances: minds
Properties of mental substances:
Not located in space (time??)
No spatial parts
Can have experiences
Can cause behavior and thoughts???
What is the principle of Indiscernability of Identicals?
If x is identical to y, then x has every property y has, and y has every property x has
X and y are variables that might pick out one object
If x + 2 = y + 2, then x and y pick out same number
Breakdown: to discern - be able to tell the difference whether the case or not
'Indiscernible' - can't tell the difference
Indiscernibility of Identicals - shouldn't be able to tell any differences if x is identical y
The Sun and the star closest to Earth?
Mind and Body?
What are the primary considerations in favor of substance dualism?
According to Substance Dualists:
1. Mind is not spatial (does not have spatial location or spatial parts); body is
Where is your mind? Does your mind have a front half and a back half? Can you cut a mind in half?
2. Minds can think and be rational; bodies (without minds) cannot
We know we can think, but could a robot? Some animals seems to think, but also seem to be the same animals that have minds
3. Minds can think about things with which we can have no physical connection; bodies can only interact with other physical things
We can think of what it would be like to ride a Pegasus, but it doesn't exist
Brains can't connect to a Pegasus in the physical universe, so can't "think" about it
4. Only minds can feel pain or sensations; bodies without minds cannot
We annihilate millions of living organisms all the time - showering, cooking, cleaning, etc.
We don't feel bad, because we think they don't feel pain - they are bodies without minds
5. Knowledge of our minds is more intimate and thus not open to skepticism; knowledge of our bodies is open to skepticism
Remember brain-in-a-vat skeptical hypotheses?
Even skeptic thinks we could be wrong about our bodies (external world), but concedes we would know our own minds (internal world)
If these are true differences, then minds have properties that bodies don't have
Thus, if x = minds and y = bodies, y would not have every property x has
Thus, mind/body would violate **indiscernibility of identicals
What is the causal interaction problem for substance dualism?
How can something not in space, with no physical aspects, cause a change in something that is in space and has physical aspects?
Typically causation occurs:
Bodies in spatial proximity (billiard balls knocking into each other)
Physical push or pull (crushing an aluminum can)
Transfer of energy (stove transfers heat to pot of water, causes to boil)
None of these can apply in the case of Dualist Minds!!
What is Identity Theory?
It is a monist, physicalist view
-Everything in the World is physical, including
-Though there are surface differences,
Identity Theorists say in a deeper sense, the mental is just part of the physical
How does identity theory solve the causal interaction problem that faces substance dualism?
Identity theory's solution - the mind is just the
central nervous system (CNS)
-Causal interaction problem is solved - nervous system
communicates to brain, which sends message to nerves,
muscles, and tear ducts
How does identity theory solve the Mind/Body Problem?
Supervenience is due to identity
- Every time there is a change in the mental there
is a change in the physical because the mental is the physical
-Every time there is a change in y, there is a change in
•If x = y, the problem is solved right away without any mysterious interactions
•Every time Jay-Z leaves, Sean Carter leaves. Jay-Z = Sean Carter!
How does the Zombie Argument illustrate this problem for Identity Theory?
They ask us to imagine that there are philosophical zombies
- Not like the movies
-Zombies are creatures exactly like human beings in all
- have brains and bodies, make decisions, behave like we do, etc.
-However, they do not experience qualia
- Do not have any subjective conscious experiences
• If you ask a zombie to bring you the blue toy, they can bring you a blue toy
• But they will not have the experience of blue toys - they just detect the light waves that have the same frequency we see as blue and respond accordingly
• Similarly, if they stub their toes, they cry out and wince, but they actually
feel no pain at all
-Zombies' brains would look just like our brains
- Their c-fibers would fire when they stubbed their toes,
-But it wouldn't feel like anything "from the inside"
-Zombies are physical duplicates in every way,
except they do not have subjective qualia
-Are philosophical Zombies possible?
-If so, spells trouble for Identity Theory
-Something mental (qualia) which is not physical
What is property dualism?
only one fundamental type of substance, but two distinct types of properties substances might have
▫ 1) Physical properties; 2) Non-physical Qualia
• Attempts to thread needle between problems
▫ Every substance is physical, so addresses Causal
Interaction Problem (we'll return to this) ▫ Accounts for zombies - qualia is non-physical
How is property dualism distinct from substance dualism?
Substance dualism- two different types of substances
property dualism- one type of substance w/ two distinct types of properties.
Explain inverted spectrum in relation to property dualism.
Imagine A and B appear to be normal people
• When you ask A to fetch the blue toy, A fetches the blue toy
• When you ask B to fetch the blue toy, B fetches it
• However, B sees what we think of as red, when we say 'blue'
▫ What we think of as red, B sees as blue
• B's whole life, every time someone said "blue," they've pointed to what we know think of is red
• So B would've learned that term 'blue' refers to things that look red to B
▫ Would not be any behavioral hiccups
Key: what red or blue looks like looks like "from the inside" is qualia
▫ Not a matter of causation, which would mean it's physical, from property dualist perspective
Explain the zombie argument in relation to property dualism.
Same argument (inverted spectrum) we talked about before
-Property dualism allows for zombies
▫ Causal relations are all physical
▫ Allows for zombies to exist, but have no qualia
-For property dualist, qualia are not physical
Ex: have physical ability to detect color. Aka qualia different than physical
Explain the knowledge argument in relation to property dualism.
Imagine Mary is ultimate color scientist
• Knows everything any scientist could describe about color
▫ All of color's physical properties: reflectance properties, light wave frequencies, what people say when they see various colors, what color everything is
• Mary lives in a totally black and white room and has never left
▫ Even wears black and white head-to-toe suit
• Mary's knowledge is all from books and black-and-white tv and computer monitor
Suppose on her 21st birthday, Mary gets to leave the room. Steps outside and sees red rose.
• Does she learn something new?
▫ What red looks like?
• If she learns something new about color, but already knew everything physical, then qualia is not physical
1. Mary knows everything physical about color.
• 2. If all colors properties are totally physical, Mary could not learn something new about colors properties.
• 3. When Mary sees the rose, she learns something new about the properties of the color red.
• 4. Therefore, Not all of color's properties are physical.
• Valid? • Sound? • If sound, then physicalism is false, and there are at
least two fundamental types of properties
What is a central problem for property dualism?
Doesn't explain supervenience (the change in the mental there's a change in the physical but didn't necessarily cause the change in the physical)
How do the two properties interact?
What is the postulate for the argument from analogy for other minds--Russell?
-Things have causal antecedents. Think of these things as the set of events, certain history, or causes of what happens.
-If every cause we find a of certain behavior is of having a mind, then when we see this behavior it is possible that the cause of the behavior is of having a mind, even when we can not observe the mind.
-So...If the cause of studying philosophy is having a mind, when we see someone studying philosophy we can be mostly sure they have a mind even if we can not observe it.
If substance dualism is true..
If substance dualism is true, we still need to explain close connection between mind and body
How does something without spatial relations or dimensions interact with something that has them?
What is connection between pain my mind feels, and physical reaction (crying, wincing)?
Substance dualist's answer:
Substance dualism's answer: causation
The mind causes behavior - mental states can change physical behavior
For Substance Dualist, (S) is explained by fact that any change in mind causes a change in the body
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