David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Robert Kane (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford (2011)
If you start taking courses in contemporary cognitive science, you will soon encounter a particular picture of the human mind. This picture says that the mind is a lot like a computer. Specifically, the mind is made up of certain states and certain processes. These states and processes interact, in accordance with certain general rules, to generate specific behaviors. If you want to know how those states and processes got there in the first place, the only answer is that they arose through the interaction of other states and processes, which arose from others... until, ultimately, the chain goes back to factors in our genes and our environment. Hence, one can explain human behavior just by positing a collection of mental states and psychological processes and discussing the ways in which these states and processes interact. This picture of the mind sometimes leaves people feeling deeply uncomfortable. They find themselves thinking something like: 'If the mind actually does work like that, it seems like we could never truly be morally responsible for anything we did. After all, we would never be free to choose any behavior other than the one we actually performed. Our behaviors would just follow inevitably from certain facts about the configuration of the states and processes within us.' Many philosophers think that this sort of discomfort is fundamentally confused or wrongheaded. They think that the confusion here can be cleared up just by saying something like: 'Wait! It doesn't make any sense to say that the interaction of these states and processes is preventing you from controlling your own life. The thing you are forgetting is that the interaction of these states and processes – this whole complex system described by cognitive science – is simply you. So when you learn that these states and processes control your behavior, all you are learning is that you are controlling your behavior. There is no reason at all to see these discoveries as a threat to your freedom or responsibility.'2 Philosophers may regard this argument as a powerful one, perhaps even irrefutable..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Paul Bello & Selmer Bringsjord (2013). On How to Build a Moral Machine. Topoi 32 (2):251-266.
Similar books and articles
J. J. C. Smart, The Identity Theory of Mind. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
M. Oswald & Volker Gadenne (2000). Are Controlled Processes Conscious? In Walter J. Perrig & Alexander Grob (eds.), Control of Human Behavior, Mental Processes, and Consciousness: Essays in Honor of the 60th Birthday of August Flammer. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 87--101.
John A. Barnden (2001). Uncertain Reasoning About Agents' Beliefs and Reasoning. Artificial Intelligence and Law 9 (2-3):115-152.
Jerome A. Shaffer (1961). Could Mental States Be Brain Processes? Journal of Philosophy 58 (December):813-22.
Justine Kingsbury (2008). Learning and Selection. Biology and Philosophy 23 (4):493-507.
Robert C. Coburn (1963). Shaffer on the Identity of Mental States and Brain Processes. Journal of Philosophy 60 (February):89-92.
Georg Theiner & Tim O'Connor (2010). The Emergence of Group Cognition. In A. Corradini & T. O'Connor (eds.), Emergence in Science and Philosophy. Routledge 6--78.
Joel Krueger (2012). Seeing Mind in Action. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (2):149-173.
Stephen Stich & Shaun Nichols (2004). Reading One's Own Mind: Self-Awareness and Developmental Psychology. In R. Stanton, M. Ezcurdia & C. Viger (eds.), Canadian Journal of Philosophy. University of Calgary Press 297-339.
Lisa Feldman Barrett, Paula M. Niedenthal & Piotr Winkielman (eds.) (2005). Emotion and Consciousness. Guilford Press.
Terence Horgan & John Tienson (2002). The Intentionality of Phenomenology and the Phenomenology of Intentionality. In David J. Chalmers (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings. OUP Usa 520--533.
Charles M. Myers (1962). Perceptual Events, States, and Processes. Philosophy of Science 29 (July):285-291.
Harald Atmanspacher (2010). Acategorial States in a Representational Theory of Mental Processes. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (5-6):5 - 6.
Added to index2010-10-27
Total downloads269 ( #3,349 of 1,725,630 )
Recent downloads (6 months)18 ( #44,343 of 1,725,630 )
How can I increase my downloads?