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Philosophy of Mind

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Connie Helder

on 21 September 2017

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Transcript of Philosophy of Mind

Philosophy of Mind
What is Philosophy of Mind?
What is Mind?
Mind is X.

Mark Rutte is the Prime Minister of the Netherlands.
Money is the Root of all evil.
A noun is a word that describes a person, place or thing.
Dough is flour, yeast, water and salt.
A cat is a feline.
Bill Stickers is innocent.
Water is H2O.

Substance Dualism

Mind and matter are two different substances or stuff.
What are the properties of mind and body?
We use our minds to understand the complexities of the universe, but we do not understand human consciousness itself.
Can you open your brain and find consciousness?

Where is taste?

Can I cut open my brain and see a memory?

How does my mind interact and connect with my body?
Leibniz's Law
If 'A' is identical to 'B', then any property of 'A' is a property of 'B' or whatever is true of 'A' is true of 'B'.
The Principle of the identity of indiscernables.
If A and B are identical in all respects, then they are identical objects, i.e. one and the same.
In order to understand dualism, We must first understand what it means to have identity.
As we look at different theories, remember:
When philosophers say 'mind is X', they are not always using 'is' in the same way!


Exists in time, but not in space Exists in space and time

Private, i.e. only directly observable Is directly observable by all
by the person that has the mind

Is not subject to the laws of physics Is subject to the laws of physics
Cannot be divided Can be divided

If these are genuine differences and we apply Leibniz's law to them, here is the resulting argument:

If mind is matter, then then mind must have the same properties as matter.
Mind has different properties than matter.
Therefore, mind is not identical to matter.
Does dualism make sense?
Are mind and body two different substances?
Are there any problems with this answer to the question: What is mind?

Matter is a kind of Substance; therefore, mind must be another kind of substance.

Problems with Dualism
We know how matter affects matter, but how can mind affect matter if they are two different substances? How can a thing without mass (mind) move a thing with mass (body)?
The clearly interact, sometimes causally, but HOW?
Possible Criticisms of Dualism:

The Masked Man Fallacy

Dualism is an example of a category Mistake--Gilbert Ryle (substance and attribute)

property dualism, neutral monism and the aspect theory

With dualism, one is left with a private self in a public body.

Problem: When mental events are supposed to be private and physical events are supposed to be public, how do we explain their interaction?
Mental concepts are not private, they are public events. We don't talk about what 'goes on in our heads', rather, we talk about behaviour.
Physicalists claim that 'mind is brain'.
Arguments for physcialism:

Supposing that there are two substances in the world (mind and matter) causes huge problems. Dualists cannot explain interaction, so according to the physicalist one should apply Ockham's Razor.

Ockham's Razor: The term comes from the medieval philosopher William of Ockham who said that when one is confronted by two or more equal ideas, he should accept the simplest one.

Argument one:
Argument Two:
This is also based on Ockham's Razor!
It doesn't make sense to say that everything in the universe except for mind is made up of complex arrangements of matter. Why shouldn't mind be made up of matter as well.
Argument 3:
This is based on things we know about the world. Cognitive experiments show that mind and brain are intimately connected. Why not say that they are identical?
i.e.Everywhere the prime minister is, Mark Rutte is. Mark Rutte is the prime minister.
Problems with physicalism
Philosophical problem with physicalism:
We can conceive of aliens (A.I.) with mind, but without brain. If this is the case, mind can't be brain. Brain is earth biology.
One response:
Mind could conceivably other things, but in our case it is brain.
Problems with physicalism 2:
'Mind' cannot be 'brain' because the meanings of the words are completely different.
We have recognised something called mind for thousands of years without identifying it as brain. Simply stating that a mental state is the same as a brain state does not mean 'mind' and 'brain' are necessarily the same thing.

Problems with Physicalism #1
Problems with Physicalism 2:
Lightning is identical with electrical discharge; but this does not mean that 'lightning' and 'electrical discharge' mean the same thing.

These are all electrical discharges as well,
but they are not lightning.
We have to distinguish between the 'intension' and 'extension' of a noun.

The 'intension' of the noun is the definition that the word has and the 'extension' is those things that the noun applies to.

Lightning and electirical discharge have the same extension, but not the same intension.
Apply this understanding of intension and extension to the question of 'mind' and 'brain'.
The second problem associated with physicalism argues that mind and brain are logically distinct (remember intension and extension). This means the we cannot deduce facts about one from facts about the other.

Example from text: 'nations' and 'citizens'
Is it possible that mind and brain could be semantically different, logically different and still be the same ontologically (still be the same thing)?
Problems with Physicalism 3:
There are irreducible mental qualities that
cannot be described in physical terms.

i. e. qualia and consciousness

Physicalism seems to have provided an answer to the question 'What is Mind?' that leaves out
elements that must be essential parts of 'mind'.

Physicalism argues that mind and brain are intimately connected, but does this mean that they are one and the same?
Functionalism attempts to answer the question 'What is mind?' in light of the genuine possibility of artificial intelligence.
The mathematician Alan Turing devised the 'Turing Test' as a way to test whether or not a machine could think.
The Turing Test argues that if a computer is able
to produce outputs in response to inputs that
are identical to a human being, then we can say
that the computer has a mind. This means that a thing has a mind if it is able to produce intelligable
Functionalists claim that this is a good definition of mind. Mind is simply a thing that can produce intelligible outputs.
This belongs to the
realm of psychology
This belongs to the realm
of Philosophy

logical positivism
The Principle of Verification
According to logical positivists,
there are three kinds of statements:
Those that can be verified logically;
Those that can be verified empirically;
Nonsense statements

What can we know of mind that is either logically verifiable or empirically verifiable through observation?
Personal Identity
What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for person 'A' at one time being the same as person 'B' at another time?
How would a dualist answer this question?
For a dualist, continuity of the self depends
the continuity of the soul. Your essence is that
of a non-material, thinking thing.
John Locke--Continuity of Consciousness or Psychological Reductionism
For Locke, continuity of consciousness is the key factor for personal identity. He thought that memory this psychological connectedness is founded in memory.

Is memory a good measure of psychological continuity?
read Baggini, p.p. 106-108
Psychological reductionists respond to
to criticism of Locke by stating that the
criterion of memory is not enough to
describe psychological continuity.
They define psychological continuity as
intention, personality, dispositions and preferences as well.
According to behaviourism, all we know of mind is what we see in behaviour.
By stating that all we can know of mind is what we see in behaviour, behaviourists seem to

satisfy the criteria of analytic philosophers because behaviour is empirically verifiable.
solve the problem of dualism that seems to create two worlds--a private internal one of thought that is not verifiable and a public world of action that may or may not connect to this internal private world. For a behaviourist discussion of something internal and private (such as a thought world) is pointless).
Does behaviourism solve the problems connected with dualism, or does it simply create another set of contradictions or difficulties?
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