David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Donald F. Gustafson & Bangs L. Tapscott (eds.), Body, Mind And Method. Dordrecht: Reidel 129--148 (1979)
One of the goals of physiologists who study the detailed physical, chemical,and neurological mechanisms operating within the human body is to understand the intricate causal processes which underlie human abilities and activities. It is doubtless premature to predict that they will eventually be able to explain the behaviour of a particular human being as we might now explain the behaviour of a pendulum clock or even the invisible changes occurring within the hardware of a modern electronic computer. Nonetheless, it seems fair to say that hovering in the background of investigations into human physiology is the promise or threat, depending upon how one looks at the matter that human beings are complete physical-chemical systems and that all events taking place within their bodies and all movements of their bodies could be accounted for by physical causes if we but knew enough. I am not concerned at the moment with whether or not this ’mechanistic’ hypothesis is true, assuming that it is clear enough to be intelligible, nor with whether or not we could ever know that it is true. I wish to consider the somewhat more accessible yet equally important question whether our coming to believe that the hypothesis is true would warrant our relinquishing our conception of ourselves as beings who are capable of acting for reasons to achieve ends of our own choosing. I use the word ’warrant’ to indicate that I will not be discussing the possibility that believing the mechanistic hypothesis might lead us, as a matter of psychological fact, to think of human beings as mere automata, as objects whose movements are to be explained only by causes rather than by reasons, as are the actions of a personal subject. I intend to consider only whether the acceptance of mechanism would in fact justify such a change in conception.
|Keywords||Agent Mechanism Metaphysics Other Minds Purposiveness Malcolm, N Free will Deterninism|
|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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
David M. Rosenthal (1998). Dualism. In E. Craig (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Routledge
Andy Egan (2008). Seeing and Believing: Perception, Belief Formation and the Divided Mind. Philosophical Studies 140 (1):47 - 63.
Phyllis McKay Illari & Jon Williamson (2011). Mechanisms Are Real and Local. In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. OUP Oxford
Richard L. Smith (1974). From an Intentionalist Perspective. Inquiry 17 (1-4):1 – 22.
Ernest Sosa (1984). Mind-Body Interaction and Supervenient Causation. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 9 (1):271-81.
Daniel C. Dennett (1997). Consciousness in Human and Robot Minds. In M. Ito, Y. Miyashita & Edmund T. Rolls (eds.), Cognition, Computation and Consciousness. Oxford University Press
Heath White (2011). Mattering and Mechanism: Must a Mechanistic Universe Be Depressing? Ratio 24 (3):326-339.
John L. Roberts (1947). Human Minds and Physical Objects. Journal of Philosophy 44 (July):434-441.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads19 ( #166,357 of 1,780,627 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #290,888 of 1,780,627 )
How can I increase my downloads?