Up to David L. Thompson's Homepage Outline by Section: I INTRODUCTION II A COLOURED ILLUSTRATION III THE NATURE OF WORLDS #1. Generalization from colour to all perceived #2. Chess as a model world. #3. Worlds depend on supervenience #4. Supervenience #5. Supervenience applied to worlds #6. Five dependencies #6. Interrelationships between the five #7. The enactive approach to transformation #8. The transformation of worlds #9. A world is a condensed history #10. A shared world defined by individuals #11. Summary VI (...) ONTOLOGY #1. Are perceived objects duplicates of physical #2. Are objects in the world real or illusory? #3. Ontological status of worlds and objects #3. Ontological status of worlds and objects V. CONCLUSION ENDNOTES. (shrink)
My aim is to give an overview of what minds are and how they came to be. Minds are a product of billions of years of evolution so it is a daunting task to summarize this history in 45 minutes. My attempt will involve vast oversimplifications, highly speculative and condensed “just so” stories, and a great amount of hand waving. In particular, I will presuppose the theory of evolution and will not attempt to either explain it or justify it.
About thirty years ago, I suffered from severe back pain. For some weeks I lay in a body cast, dazed by pain-killers and muscle-relaxants. When I was recovering, I decided one day that I needed exercise. Very gingerly I got on my bike and, feeling rather sorry for myself, rode slowly up Mundy Pond Road. I drew abreast of a group of boys going home from school for lunch. One of them was holding a stick, and he suddenly turned and (...) stuck it into the spokes of my front wheel. Since I was moving very slowly, I easily stopped before it threw me off or damaged the bike. Perhaps unwisely, I challenged them: "Do you think that's funny?" One of the boys stepped forward, laughed and brazenly relied, "Yes, I do!" Enraged, my hand reached out and slapped him across the face. (shrink)
"Imagination", says Aristotle, "is the process by which we say that an image is presented to us."1 While the OED accepts at least five other entries for the word -- including, for instance, poetic genius -- its first entry refers to the production of mental images. So in this paper, the one and only way I will use the term imagination is in reference to images.
My thesis is that modern neurological discoveries overthrow the classical dualism which assigns all the constitutive activity of perception to the mind and leaves the body a purely passive role. The paper is in four parts: first I will present the traditional theory, using Berkeley's concept of activity as the key; then I will summarize the relevant aspects of contemporary neurology; third, the incompatibility of these two approaches will be discussed; finally, I will propose that we must reject the materialistic (...) notion of the body and grant it a power of activity which was formerly held to be the monopoly of the mind. Throughout, I will take the spatialization of sensation as the prime example of a constitutive activity. (shrink)
Two twelve-year old boys, Jerry and David, break into a shed, just for the fun of it. Jerry steals a hammer. David takes a screwdriver. Afterwards, Jerry continues to steal things and ends up as a criminal, spending time in jail. David doesn't steal again but in contrast becomes an honest person. He pursues an academic career and ends up as a professor of philosophy.
Intuition. Originally an alleged direct relation, analogous to visual seeing, between the mind and something abstract and so not accessible to the senses. What are intuited (which can be derivatively called 'intuitions') may be abstract objects, like numbers or properties, or certain truths regarded as not accessible to investigation through the senses or calculation; the mere short circuiting of such processes in 'bank managers intuition' would not count as intuition for philosophy. Kant talks of our intuiting space and time, in (...) a way which is direct and entirely free from any mediation by the intellect - but this must be distinguished from an alleged pure reception of 'raw data' from the senses; the intuiting is presupposed by, and so cannot depend upon, sensory experience. (shrink)
Difference and sameness -- or identity -- are correlated concepts: to understand one is to understand the other. I will distinguish two accounts of sameness and difference: first, an essentialist account of sameness against which an understanding of difference is presented as derivative; secondly, a contextualist account which relates both sameness and difference to a more fundamental horizon or context. I will contrast two kinds of horizons, synchronic and diachronic, and within diachronic contexts I will discuss the biological horizon and (...) the cultural or moral horizon. (shrink)
Outline by Section: I. INTRODUCTION: METHOD OF PHENOMENOLOGY II. REDUCTION FROM DOGMAS III. EXAMPLES OF PHENOMENOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION OF A. SENTENCE B. MELODY C. DIAGRAM OF TIME IV. MODIFICATIONS AS MODES OF TEMPORAL STRUCTURE V. RETENTION VI. CONSTITUTION OF EXTERNAL TIME Time present and time past.
Intentionality, as Brentano originally introduced the term in modern philosophy, was meant to provide a distinctive characteristic definitively separating the mental from the physical.(1) Mental states have an intrinsic relationship to an object, to that which they are "about." Physical entities just are what they are, they cannot, by their very essence, refer to anything, they have no "outreach", as one might put it. Mental states have, as it were, an incomplete essence, they cannot exist at all unless they are (...) completed by something other than themselves, their object. Brentano's position is opposed to all theories which represent the mental as only extrinsically related to the world, that is, to all theories in which mental states are themselves self-sufficient for their own existence and only secondarily relate to the world by means of something external to their nature, e.g., neurological causation, divine intervention, or pre-established harmony. In these later cases, any mental act whatsoever could be related to any object, or indeed to none, for the relation is external to the nature of the act, it is superimposed on it by outside forces. Brentano's point is that a mental act has, by its very essence, an Intentional object without which it would not be a mental act. It would therefore appear that since causality is an external relationship which could in principle relate any two things regardless of their nature, the Intentional relation between an act and its object cannot be a causal relation. (shrink)
Outline by Section: INTRODUCTION HUSSERL'S TRANSCENDENTAL POSITION Brentano's Notion of Intentionality Frege's Notion of Sinn Husserl's Transcendental Position Intentional Relations are not Causal. Realism is Wrong, Objects must be Meaningful Psychological States are Empirical. Meanings cannot be In-Themselves, but always for an Ego SEARLE'S THEORY OF INTENTIONALITY CONFRONTATION OF SEARLE'S THEORY WITH THE FOUR THESES Searle Intentionalizes or Trivializes Causation Searle is still a Realist Visual Experience is a Thing-In-Itself Intentional States Presented as Stopping Points CONCLUSION.