36 terms

Philosophy of mind

what is the philosophy of mind?
a subfield of metaphysics that focuses on questions concerning the nature of personhood, especially in regard to the relationship between the mind and the body, the nature of the self, consciousness, and artificial intelligence.
What is the mind-body problem?
the contradictions that arise as a result of attempting to articulate the precise relationship between two seemingly different realities, the nonphysical mind and the physical body.
What is Leibniz's law?
The dictum that if two things are identical, they share all the same properties and fail to share none. Also known as the indiscernibility of identicals.
What is the essential property?
a characteristic that a thing cannot lack without becoming a different kind of thing or ceasing to be altogether.
What is the contingent property?
a characteristic that a thing may lose or gain without becoming a different kind of thing or ceasing to be altogether.
What are the philosophies of mind?
substance dualism, property dualism, materialist philosophy of mind, and functionalism.
What is substance dualism?
the theory that humans are a conjoining or union of two metaphysically different substances, the mind and the body.
What is descarte's divisibility argument?
descarte's argument for the conclusion that the mind is not identical to the body because the body can be divided into parts but the mind can't.
What are some criticisms of substance dualism?
multiple personality disorder(contemporary psychology); side effects of severing the corpus callosum (contemporary neurobiology).
What is interactionism?
the theory that the nonphysical mind is able to causally affect the physical body and vice versa
What are two models of interactionism?
pilot-in-a-ship model: the body is a kind of container for the mind; and the Cartesian model, which says the mind and body are intermingled with one another.
What are some criticisms of interactionism?
1. Descartes posited that the pineal glad in the brain is the site of interaction, but that implies the mind is spatially located (cf. R. Taylor).
2.The argument from force, i.e. not where interaction takes place, but how it takes place. In order for one thing to influence another it must have mass.
3.Conservation of energy: Non-physical entities, like a mind, cannot transfer energy. But, that is exactly what has to happen for one thing to causal impact another thing.
4.Substance dualism supposes that the mind and body are different things, but if that is so then changes in the physical should not affect the non-physical mental life, but clearly physical changes do change mental life (cognition, personality, etc.).
What is objection from location?
because interactionism must take place within the body, mental states must have spatial location, but nonphysical mental states can't have spatial location.
What is objection from force?
the critique of interactionism to the effect that because nonphysical mental states have neither mass nor are capable of acceleration, it is physically impossible for them to bring about changes to the body.
What is the conservation of energy objection?
the critique of interactionism to the effect that because energy can be neither created nor destroyed in a closed system, nonphysical mental states cannot transfer energy to the body and the body can't transfer energy to the mind.
What is physicalism?
the theory that because a human person is nothing over and above the sum total of his or her physical working parts, there are no nonphysical aspects to human existence.
What are the two pillars of physicalism?
scientific explanation, and Ockham's razor
What is Ockham's razor?
when deciding between two competing hypotheses that explain some phenomenon equally well, all things being equal, the more elegant of the two is rationally preferred.
What is reductive materialism?
the variant of physicalism to the effect that any mental state is identical to some brain and central nervous system state, and that neuroscience will verify such identity relationships; also known as the identity theory.
What is eliminative materialism?
the view that we should reject or eliminate folk psychological concepts and replace them with scientific, neurobiological descriptions of mental phenomena.
What are the criticisms of eliminative materialism?
Why, if at all, should we think neuroscience can explain everything about the ―mind‖ in terms of neuroscience?
-Is eliminative materialism self-defeating?
What are criticisms of reductive materialism?
nagel's neurosurgeon and bat thought experiments
What is nagel's bat thought experiment?
I assume we all be that bats have experience. After all, they are mammals, and there is no more doubt that they have experience than that mice or pigeons or whales have experience . . .
. . . Now we know that most bats (the microchiroptera) perceive the external world primarily by sonar, or echolocation, detecting the reflections, from objects within range, of their own rapid, subtly modulated, high-frequency shrieks. Their brains are designed to correlate the outgoing impulses with the subsequent echoes, and the information thus acquired enables bats to make precise discriminations of distance, size, shape, motion, and texture comparable to those we make by vision . . .
. . . [But] I want to know what it is like for a bat to be a bat."
•Is it possible to describe the first-person standpoint of the bat's experience in third-person, scientific terms?
What is nagel's neurosurgeon experiment?
It seems as if she couldn't find [how the chocolate tastes to you] in your experience of because your experience of tasting chocolate is locked inside your mind in a way that makes it unobservable by anyone else even if she opens up your skull and looks inside your brain. Your experiences are inside your mind with a kind of ‗insideness' that is different from the way your brain is inside your head. [. . .] If what happens in your experience is inside your mind in a way in which what happens in your brain is not, it looks as though your experiences and other mental states can't just be physical states of your brain. There has to be more to you than your body and its central nervous system.‖
What is property dualism?
the theory that, although human beings are material substances, the brain can be understood to have both physical and nonphysical characteristics or aspects; also called dual aspect theory.
What is functionalism?
the theory in the philosophy of mind that mental states are best interpreted as causal relations or functions between a agent's environment, various internal processes, and overt behavior.
What is Lycan's Henrietta?
Imagine that we take a normal human being, Henrietta, and begin gradually replacing parts of her with synthetic materials— first a few prosthetic limbs, then a few synthetic arteries, then some neural fibers, and so forth. Suppose that the surgeons who perform the successive operations (particularly the neurosurgeons) are so clever and skillful that Henrietta survives in fine style: her intelligence, personality, perceptual acuity, poetic abilities, etc., remain just as they were before. But after the replacement process has eventually gone on to completion, Henrietta will have become an artifact—at least, her body will then be nothing but a collection of artifacts. Did she lose consciousness at some point during the sequence of operations, despite her continuing to behave and respond normally?
What is intentionality?
a characteristic of mental states to the effect that conscious awareness is about or of something in such a way that the relevant mental states refer to, or pick out objects or things.
what is the objection from intentionality?
the critique of reductive materialism to the effect that mental states cannot be identical to bodily states because the latter cannot possess or exhibit intentionality.
What is objection from qualitative content?
the critique of reductive materialism to the effect that mental states cannot be identical to bodily states because the latter cannot possess or exhibit qualitative content.
What is a mental event?
the contention that mental states do not exist in their own right, but are nothing over and above what the brain does.
What is panpsychism?
the position that the physical world, or at least its elemental constituents, is inherently conscious to varying degrees, depending on the complexity of the organism in question.
What is supervenience?
the dictum that one thing or event, A, conceptually or causally depends upon, but is not identical to, a further thing or event, B, such that any change in A is due to some relevant change in B.
Nagel's argument against reductive materialism
Physical events can be adequately described objectively (via a 3rd
person, scientific perspective).
2. Mental events cannot be adequately described objectively (via a 3rd
person, scientific perspective).
3. If physical events can be adequately described objectively, but
mental events cannot be so adequately described, then physical
events are not identical to mental events.
4. Thus, physical events are not identical to mental events (as claimed
by reductive materialism)
What is Searle's Chinese room argument?
Searle-in-the-room is nothing more than a manipulator of un-interpreted
2. The operations and accomplishments of a computer are exactly similar to the
operations and accomplishments of Searle in the room.
3. Thus (in all likelihood) a computer is nothing more than a manipulator of
4. If X is nothing more than a manipulator of un-interpreted symbols, then X
possesses no intentional states.
5. If X possesses no intentional states, then X is not a minded creature (or
equivalent to a person).
6. Thus, (in all likelihood) computers are not minded creatures (i.e. they're not
Lycan's argument for functionalism
1. If a being exhibits the same type of behaviors as
minded-creatures, then it is an intelligent being, i.e. a
2. Advanced computers and machines exhibits the same
type of behaviors as minded-creatures.
3. Thus, advanced computers and machines count as
intelligent beings, i.e. persons.