Identity theory The doctrine that mental states are identical with physical states was defended in antiquity by Lucretius and in the early modern era by Hobbes. It achieved considerable prominence in the 1950s as a result of the writings of Herbert Feigl, U. T. Place, and J. J. C. Smart. (See, e.g., Smart (1959). These authors developed reasonably precise formulations of the doctrine, clarified the grounds for embracing it, and responded persuasively to a range of objections. More recently it has (...) been defended systematically by Hill (1991) and Papineau (2002). Other contemporary advocates include Loar (1990), McLaughlin (2004), and Polger (2005). The doctrine also figures explicitly or implicitly in the writings of dualists, who are of course concerned to oppose it. Thus, for example, it plays an important role in Kripke’s influential defense of dualism (Kripke 1980). (shrink)
It is generally possible to distinguish between the appearance of an empirical phenomenon and the corresponding reality. Moreover, generally speaking, the appearance of an empirical phenomenon is ontologically and nomologically independent of the corresponding reality: it is possible for the phenomenon to exist without its appearing to anyone that it exists, and it is possible for it to appear to exist without its actually existing. It is remarkable, therefore, that our thought and talk about bodily sensations presupposes that the appearance (...) of a bodily sensation is linked indissolubly to the sensation itself. This is true, in particular, of our thought and talk about pain. Thus, we presuppose that the following principles are valid. (shrink)
Th e type identity theory, according to which types of mental state are identical to types of physical state, fell out of favour for some years but is now being considered with renewed interest. Many philosophers are critically re-examining the arguments which were marshalled against it, fi nding in the type identity theory both resources to strengthen a comprehensive, physicalistic metaphysics, and a useful tool in understanding the relationship between developments in psychology and new results in neuroscience. Th is volume (...) brings together leading philosophers of mind, whose essays challenge in new ways the standard objections to type identity theory, such as the multiple realizability objection and the modal argument. Other essays show how cognitive science and neuroscience are lending new support to type identity theory, and still others provide, extend and improve traditional arguments concerning the theory’s explanatory power. -/- Introduction Simone Gozzano and Christopher S. Hill; 1. Acquaintance and the mind-body problem Katalin Balog; 2. Identity, reduction, and conserved mechanisms: perspectives from circadian rhythm research William Bechtel; 3. Property identity and reductive explanation Ansgar Beckermann; 4. A brief history of neuroscience's actual influences on mind-brain reductionism John Bickle; 5. Type-identity conditions for phenomenal properties Simone Gozzano; 6. Locating qualia: do they reside in the brain or in the body and the world? Christopher S. Hill; 7. In defense of the identity theory Mark I Frank Jackson; 8. The very idea of token physicalism Jaegwon Kim; 9. About face: philosophical naturalism, the heuristic identity theory, and recent findings about prosopagnosia Robert McCauley; 10. On justifying neurobiologicalism for consciousness Brian McLaughlin; 11. The causal contribution of mental events Alyssa Ney; 12. Return of the zombies? John Perry; 13. Identity, variability, and multiple realization in the special sciences Lawrence Shapiro and Thomas Polger; Bibliography; Index. (shrink)
Précis of Consciousness Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9813-3 Authors Christopher S. Hill, Department of Philosophy, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Reply to Alex Byrne and Fred Dretske Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-9 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9814-2 Authors Christopher S. Hill, Department of Philosophy, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
This book provides a comprehensive and novel theory of consciousness. In clear and non-technical language, Christopher Hill provides interrelated accounts of six main forms of consciousness - agent consciousness, propositional consciousness (consciousness that), introspective consciousness, relational consciousness (consciousness of), experiential consciousness, and phenomenal consciousness. He develops the representational theory of mind in new directions, showing in detail how it can be used to undercut dualistic accounts of mental states. In addition he offers original and stimulating discussions of a range of (...) psychological phenomena, including visual awareness, pain, emotional qualia, and introspection. His important book will interest a wide readership of students and scholars in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. (shrink)
In the first chapter of his Knowledge and Lotteries, John Hawthorne argues that thinkers do not ordinarily know lottery propositions. His arguments depend on claims about the intimate connections between knowledge and assertion, epistemic possibility, practical reasoning, and theoretical reasoning. In this paper, we cast doubt on the proposed connections. We also put forward an alternative picture of belief and reasoning. In particular, we argue that assertion is governed by a Gricean constraint that makes no reference to knowledge, and that (...) practical reasoning has more to do with rational degrees of belief than with states of knowledge. (shrink)
I will be concerned in these pages with the views that Gilbert Harman puts forward in his immensely stimulating paper Self-Reflexive Thoughts.<sup>1</sup> Harman maintains that self referential thoughts are possible, and also that they are useful. I applaud both of these claims. An example of a self referential thought is the thought that every thought, including this present one, has a logical structure. I feel sure that this thought exists, for I have entertained it on a number of occasions. Moreover, (...) I feel that it is extremely useful. Without deploying it, how could we tell the whole truth about the nature of thoughts? (shrink)
Thought and World has three main concerns.1 First, it presents and defends a deflationary theory of propositional truth—that is, a deflationary theory of the concept of truth that figures in claims like the proposition that snow is white is true. I have long admired the deflationary theory of truth that Paul Horwich developed in the eighties, but I have also had substantial misgivings about that theory.2 In writing TW I was concerned to formulate an alternative view that enjoys the virtues (...) of Horwich’s theory while lacking its defects. Second, the book presents deflationary accounts of our relational semantic con- cepts—for example, the concept of reference that figures in the proposition the concept of the Evening Star refers to the planet Venus, and the concept of expression that figures in the proposition the concept of a triangle expresses the property triangularity. Third, the book provides an account of our correspondence intuitions. As we all recognize, commonsense semantics includes a concept of semantic correspondence: we are all prepared to say, for example, that the proposition that snow is white corresponds semantically to the state of affairs snow’s being white, and that the proposition that the uni- verse is expanding corresponds semantically to a state of affairs that actually obtains. I wanted to explain the relationship between this concept and the concept of propositional truth, to identify the factors that make the concept useful, and, most importantly, to show that it is possible to extend deflation- ism so as to provide an analysis of the concept. (The concept of correspon- dence stands for a relation between propositions and states of affairs. What I maintain in the book is that this relation can be characterized in deflationary terms. I do not maintain that it is possible to give a deflationary account of.. (shrink)
I thank the commentators for their extremely rich and stimulating discussions of Thought and World.1 Their commentaries show that a number of TW’s claims are in need of clarification and defense, and that some of its arguments contain substantial lacunae. I am very pleased to have these flaws called to my attention, and to have an opportunity to try to correct them. Also, I am grateful for the commentators’ endorsements. As is perhaps inevitable in a symposium of this kind, the (...) commentaries contain more questions and objections than expressions of agreement; but even so, each of the com- mentators conveys the impression that he found TW to be worth reading. It is an honor to receive endorsements, even qualified endorsements, from such a distinguished company. (shrink)
Thinking about Consciousness is a wonderfully clear and vigorous commen- tary on the nature of consciousness and its relationship to brain processes. It advances the contemporary discussion of a number of important issues, but it also introduces several quite valuable ideas that are independent of the con- temporary literature. Papineau has performed an important service by writing it.
There is an important family of semantic notions that are applied to thoughts and to the conceptual constituents of thoughts--as when one says that the thought that the Universe is expanding is true. Christopher Hill presents a theory of the content of such notions. That theory is largely deflationary in spirit. It represents a broad range of semantic notions free from substantive metaphysical and empirical presuppositions. He also explains the relationship of mirroring or semantic correspondence linking thoughts to reality.
This paper has three main concerns. First, it proposes a deflationary theory of the concept of truth, arguing thatthe concept can be explicitly defined in terms of substitutionalquantification. Second, it attempts to describe and explainthe intuitions that have traditionally been thought tofavor correspondence theories of truth over deflationarytheories. And third, it argues that these intuitions areultimately compatible with deflationism, maintaining,among other things, that the relation of semantic correspondence can itself be characterized in terms ofsubstitutional quantification.
This is a book about sensory states and their apparent characteristics. It confronts a whole series of metaphysical and epistemological questions and presents an argument for type materialism: the view that sensory states are identical with the neural states with which they are correlated. According to type materialism, sensations are only possessed by human beings and members of related biological species; silicon-based androids cannot have sensations. The author rebuts several other rival theories (dualism, double aspect theory, eliminative materialism, functionalism), and (...) explores a number of important issues: the forms and limits of introspective awareness of sensations, the semantic properties of sensory concepts, knowledge of other minds, and unity of consciousness. The book is a significant contribution to the philosophy of mind, and has much to say to psychologists and cognitive scientists. (shrink)
My goal is to formulate a theory of introspection that can be integrated with a strongly reductionist account of sensations that I have defended elsewhere. In pursuit of this goal, I offer a skeletal explanation of the metaphysical nature of introspection and I attempt to resolve several of the main questions about the epistemological status of introspective beliefs.