My aim is twofold: first, to root out the metaphysical assumptions that generate the problem of mental causation and to show that they preclude its solution; second, to dissolve the problem of mental causation by motivating rejection of one of the metaphysical assumptions that give rise to it. There are three features of this metaphysical background picture that are important for our purposes. The first concerns the nature of reality: all reality depends on physical reality, where physical reality (...) consists of a network of events.1 The second concerns the nature of causation, and the third concerns the conception of behavior. I try to vindicate a robust idea of mental causation. (shrink)
I. the view that reasons cannot be causes. II. the view that the explanatory relevance of psychological states such as beliefs and intentions derives from their content, their explanatory role is not causal and we thus have no good reason to ascribe causal power to them. III. the idea that if the mental supervenes on the physical, then what really explains our actions is the physical properties determining our propositional attitudes, and not those attitudes themselves. IV. the thesis that (...) since there are no laws linking (intentional) mental states to actions, those states cannot be genuine causes of action. (shrink)
In this Introduction, I situate the underlying project “Autonomy and Mental Disorder” with reference to current debates on autonomy in moral and political philosophy, and the philosophy of action. I then offer an overview of the individual contributions. More specifically, I begin by identifying three points of convergence in the debates at issue, stating that autonomy is: 1) a fundamentally liberal concept; 2) an agency concept and; 3) incompatible with (severe) mental disorder. Next, I explore, in the context (...) of decisional capacity assessments, the difficulties to reconcile 1) and 2) with 3) which they at the same time seem to imply. Having clarified the centrality of a cogent notion of mental disorder for addressing these difficulties, I comment on three promising lines of inquiry about the nature and scope of autonomy that emerge from the following chapters. (shrink)
Originally motivated by a sophism, Pardo's discussion about the unity of mental propositions allows him to elaborate on his ideas about the nature of propositions. His option for a non-composite character of mental propositions is grounded in an original view about syncategorems: propositions have a syncategorematic signification, which allows them to signify aliquid aliqualiter, just by virtue of the mental copula, without the need of any added categorematic element. Pardo's general claim about the simplicity of mental (...) propositions is developed into several specific thesis about mental propositions: a) it is not judgement which gives its unity to mental propositions, but judicative acts always follow some previous apprehensive act that is simple in its own right; b) this simplicity is compatible with a certain kind of complexity, that can be explained in terms of the "causal history" of the acts of knowing; c) traditional conceptions about subject and predicate must be recast, while keeping their usual explicative power concerning logical properties; d) of course, the traditional conception about the copula has been modified, giving rise to a fully innovative conception of the nature of mental propositions. Nevertheless, this innovative conception of mental language seems still infected by certain "common sense" prejudices, which lead Pardo to propose also a provocative conception of vocal language, which I consider unnecessary. (shrink)
Mental and behavioral disorders represent a signiﬁcant portion of the public health burden in all countries. The human cost of these disorders is immense, yet treatment options for sufferers are currently limited, with many patients failing to respond sufﬁciently to available interventions and drugs. High quality ontologies facilitate data aggregation and comparison across different disciplines, and may therefore speed up the translation of primary research into novel therapeutics. Realism-based ontologies describe entities in reality and the relationships between them in (...) such a way that – once formulated in a suitable formal language – the ontologies can be used for sophisticated automated reasoning applications. Reference ontologies can be applied across different contexts in which different, and often mutually incompatible, domain-speciﬁc vocabularies have traditionally been used. In this contribution we describe the Mental Functioning Ontology (MF) and Mental Disease Ontology (MD), two realism-based ontologies currently under development for the description of humanmental functioning and disease. We describe the structure and upper levels of the ontologies and preliminary application scenarios, and identify some open questions. (shrink)
Non-Cartesian substance dualism (NCSD) maintains that persons or selves are distinct from their organic physical bodies and any parts of those bodies. It regards persons as ‘substances’ in their own right, but does not maintain that persons are necessarily separable from their bodies, in the sense of being capable of disembodied existence. In this paper, it is urged that NCSD is better equipped than either Cartesian dualism or standard forms of physicalism to explain the possibility of mental (...) causation. A model of mental causation adopting the NCSD perspective is proposed which, it is argued, is consistent with all that is currently known about the operations of the human central nervous system, including the brain. Physicalism, by contrast, seems ill-equipped to explain the distinctively intentional or teleological character of mental causation, because it effectively reduces all such causation to ‘blind’ physical causation at a neurological level. (shrink)
‘It is of the very nature of consciousness to be intentional’ said Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘and a consciousness that ceases to be a consciousness of something would ipso facto cease to exist’.1 Sartre here endorses the central doctrine of Husserl’s phenomenology, itself inspired by a famous idea of Brentano’s: that intentionality, the mind’s ‘direction upon its objects’, is what is distinctive of mental phenomena. Brentano’s originality does not lie in pointing out the existence of intentionality, or in inventing the terminology, (...) which derives from scholastic discussions of concepts or intentiones.2 Rather, his originality consists in his claim that the concept of intentionality marks out the subject matter of psychology: the mental. His view was that intentionality ‘is characteristic exclusively of mental phenomena. No physical phenomenon manifests anything like it’.3 This is Brentano’s thesis that intentionality is the mark of the mental. Despite the centrality of the concept of intentionality in contemporary philosophy of mind, and despite the customary homage paid to Brentano as the one who revived the terminology and placed the concept at the centre of philosophy, Brentano’s thesis is widely rejected by contemporary philosophers of mind. What is more, its rejection is not something which is thought to require substantial philosophical argument. Rather, the falsity of the thesis is taken as a starting-point in many contemporary discussions of intentionality, something so obvious that it only needs to be stated to be recognised as true. Consider, for instance, these remarks from the opening pages of Searle’s Intentionality: Some, not all, mental states and events have Intentionality. Beliefs, fears, hopes and desires are Intentional; but there are forms of nervousness, elation and undirected anxiety that are not Intentional.... My beliefs and desires must always be about something. But my nervousness and undirected anxiety need not in that way be about anything.4 Searle takes this as obvious, so obvious that it is not in need of further argument or elucidation. (shrink)
The problem of amodal perception is the problem of how we represent features of perceived objects that are occluded or otherwise hidden from us. Bence Nanay (2010) has recently proposed that we amodally perceive an object's occluded features by imaginatively projecting them into the relevant regions of visual egocentric space. In this paper, I argue that amodal perception is not a single, unitary capacity. Drawing appropriate distinctions reveals amodal perception to be characterized not only by mental imagery, as Nanay (...) suggests, but also by genuinely visual representations as well as beliefs. I conclude with some brief remarks on the role of object-directed bodily action in conferring a sense of unseen presence on an object's occluded features. (shrink)
It is a live possibility that certain of our experiences reliably misrepresent the world around us. I argue that tracking theories of mental representation (e.g. those of Dretske, Fodor, and Millikan) have difficulty allowing for this possibility, and that this is a major consideration against them.
This dissertation examines psychiatry from a philosophy of science perspective, focusing on issues of realism and classification. Questions addressed in the dissertation include: What evidence is there for the reality of mental disorders? Are any mental disorders natural kinds? When are disease explanations of abnormality warranted? How should mental disorders be classified? -/- In addressing issues concerning the reality of mental disorders, I draw on the accounts of realism defended by Ian Hacking and William Wimsatt, arguing (...) that biological research on mental disorders supports the inference that some mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders) are real theoretical entities, and that the evidence supporting this inference is causal and abductive. In explicating the nature of such entities, I argue that real mental disorders are natural kinds insofar as they are natural classes of abnormal behavior whose members share the same causal structure. I present this position in terms of Richard Boyd’s homeostatic cluster property theory of natural kinds, and argue that this perspective reveals limitations of Hacking’s account on the looping effects of human kinds, which suggests that the objects classified by psychiatrists are unstable entities. I subsequently argue that a subset of mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia and Down syndrome) are mental illnesses insofar as they are disorders caused by a dysfunctional biological process that leads to harmful consequences for individuals. I present this analysis against Thomas Szasz’s argument that mental illness is a myth. -/- In addressing issues of psychiatric classification, my analysis focuses on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which has been published regularly by the American Psychiatric Association since 1952, and is currently in its fourth edition. After examining the history of DSM in the twentieth century, and in particular, DSM’s shift to an atheoretical and purely descriptive system in the 1980s, I consider the relative merits of descriptive versus causal systems of classification. Drawing on Carl Hempel’s analysis of taxonomic systems in psychiatry, I argue that a causal classification system would provide a superior approach to psychiatric classification than the descriptive system currently favored by DSM. (shrink)
Philosophical and scientific investigations of the proprietary aspects of self—mineness or mental ownership—often presuppose that searching for unique constituents is a productive strategy. But there seem not to be any unique constituents. Here, it is argued that the “self-specificity” paradigm, which emphasizes subjective perspective, fails. Previously, it was argued that mode of access also fails to explain mineness. Fortunately, these failures, when leavened by other findings (those that exhibit varieties and vagaries of mineness), intimate an approach better suited to (...) searching for an explanation. Having an alternative in hand, one that shows promise of achieving explanatory adequacy, provides an additional reason to suspend the search for unique constituents. In short, a negative and a positive thesis are developed: we should cease looking for unique constituents and should seek to explain mineness in accord with the model developed here. This model rejects attempts to explain the phenomenon in terms of either a narrative or a minimal sense of self; it seeks to explain at a “molecular” level, one that appeals to multiple, interacting dimensions. The molecular-level model allows for the possibility that subjective perspective is distinct from a stark perspective (one that does not imply mineness). It proposes that the confounding of tacit expectations plays an important role in explaining mental ownership and its complement, disownership. But the confounding of tacit expectations is not sufficient. Because we are able to be aware of the existence of mental states that do not belong to self, we require a mechanism for determining degree of self-relatedness. One such mechanism is proposed here, and it is shown how this mechanism can be integrated into a general model of mental ownership. In the spirit of suggesting how this model might be able to help resolve outstanding problems, the question as to whether inserted thoughts belong to the patient who reports them is also considered. (shrink)
When we see an object, we also represent those parts of it that are not visible. The question is how we represent them: this is the problem of amodal perception. I will consider three possible accounts: (a) we see them, (b) we have non-perceptual beliefs about them and (c) we have immediate perceptual access to them, and point out that all of these views face both empirical and conceptual objections. I suggest and defend a fourth account, according to which we (...) represent the occluded parts of perceived objects by means of mental imagery. This conclusion could be thought of as a (weak) version of the Strawsonian dictum, according to which “imagination is a necessary ingredient of perception itself”. (shrink)
In the philosophical literature on mental states, the paradigmatic examples of mental states are beliefs, desires, intentions, and phenomenal states such as being in pain. The corresponding list in the psychological literature on mental state attribution includes one further member: the state of knowledge. This article examines the reasons why developmental, comparative and social psychologists have classified knowledge as a mental state, while most recent philosophers--with the notable exception of Timothy Williamson-- have not. The disagreement is (...) traced back to a difference in how each side understands the relationship between the concepts of knowledge and belief, concepts which are understood in both disciplines to be closely linked. Psychologists and philosophers other than Williamson have generally have disagreed about which of the pair is prior and which is derivative. The rival claims of priority are examined both in the light of philosophical arguments by Williamson and others, and in the light of empirical work on mental state attribution. (shrink)
The main thesis of this paper is twofold. In the first half of the paper, (§§1-2), I argue that there are two notions of mental representation, which I call objective and subjective. In the second part (§§3-7), I argue that this casts familiar tracking theories of mental representation as incomplete: while it is clear how they might account for objective representation, they at least require supplementation to account for subjective representation.
In this paper, I attempt to map out the 'logical geography' of the territory in which issues of mental content and of personal identity meet. In particular, I investigate the possibility of combining a psychological criterion of personal identity with an externalist theory of content. I argue that this can be done, but only by accepting an assumption that has been widely accepted but barely argued for, namely that when someone switches linguistic communities, the contents of their thoughts do (...) not change immediately, but only after the person becomes integrated within the new linguistic community. I also suggest that recent work on personal identity, notably by Derek Parfit, has tacitly assumed internalism regarding mental content. I do not intend to argue for either externalism or a psychological criterion. My aim is merely to explicate the issues involved in making them compatible. (shrink)
How can mental properties bring about physical effects, as they seem to do, given that the physical realizers of the mental goings-on are already sufficient to cause these effects? This question gives rise to the problem of mental causation (MC) and its associated threats of causal overdetermination, mental causal exclusion, and mental causal irrelevance. Some (e.g., Cynthia and Graham Macdonald, and Stephen Yablo) have suggested that understanding mental-physical realization in terms of the determinable/determinate relation (...) (henceforth, 'determination') provides the key to solving the problem of MC: if mental properties are determinables of their physical realizers, then (since determinables and determinates are distinct, yet don't causally compete) all three threats may be avoided. Not everyone agrees that determination can do this good work, however. Some (e.g., Douglas Ehring, Eric Funkhauser, and Sven Walter) object that mental-physical realization can't be determination, since such realization lacks one or other characteristic feature of determination. I argue that on a proper understanding of the features of determination key to solving the problem of MC, these arguments can be resisted. (shrink)
It is becoming increasingly clear that the deepest problems currently exercising philosophers of mind arise from an ill-begotten ontology, in particular, a mistaken ontology of properties. After going through some preliminaries, we identify three doctrines at the heart of this mistaken ontology: (P) For each distinct predicate, “F”, there exists one, and only one, property, F, such that, if “F” is applicable to an object a, then “F” is applicable in virtue of a’s being F. (U) Properties are universals, not (...) particulars. (D) Every property is either categorical or dispositional, but not both. We show how these doctrines influence current philosophical thinking about the mind, suggest and defend an alternative conception of properties, and indicate how this conception provides answers to two puzzles besetting contemporary philosophy of mind: the problem of mental causation and the problem of qualia. (shrink)
Many have urged that the biggest obstacles to a physicalistic understanding of consciousness are the problems raised in connection with the subjectivity of consciousness. These problems are most acutely expressed in consideration of the knowledge argument against physicalism. I develop a novel account of the subjectivity of consciousness by explicating the ways in which mental representations may be perspectival. Crucial features of my account involve analogies between the representations involved in sensory experience and the ways in which pictorial representations (...) exhibit perspectives or points of view. I argue that the resultant account of subjectivity provides a basis for the strongest response physicalists can give to the knowledge argument. (shrink)
Some mental states are about themselves. Nothing is a cause of itself. So some mental states are not about their causes; they are about things distinct from their causes. If this argument is sound, it spells trouble for causal theories of mental content—the precise sort of trouble depending on the precise sort of causal theory. This paper shows that the argument is sound (§§1-3), and then spells out the trouble (§4).
Functionalists think an event's causes and effects, its 'causal role', determines whether it is a mental state and, if so, which kind. Functionalists see this causal role principle as supporting their orthodox materialism, their commitment to the neuroscientist's ontology. I examine and refute the functionalist's causal principle and the orthodox materialism that attends that principle.
to counterintuitive results. Suppose a mental event, m1, causes another mental event, m2. Unless the mental and the physical are completely independent, there will be a physical event in your brain or your body or the physical world as a whole that underlies this event. The mental event occurs at least partly in virtue of the physical event’s occurring. And the same goes for m2  and p2. Let’s not worry about what exactly “underlying” or “in (...) virtue of” means here. Here’s the picture. m1 -----> m2 | | p1 -----> p2 The horizontal arrows represent causation, and the vertical lines represent underlying, whatever that may be. There’s some reason to think that the only way m1 can bring about m2 is by bringing about p2. You can’t convince someone of something through mental telepathy. You need to interact with the physical world, perhaps by saying something and so making some noise, or by pointing and getting them to turn their head and see. What goes for the case of two people goes for the case of one person as well. Superstition aside, there is no purely mental energy that floats free of the merely physical workings of the brain. If m1 brings about m2 by bringing about p2, then m1 brings about p2. This is downward causation. But wait. Doesn’t p1 bring about p2? Isn’t that what the bottom arrow represents? Maybe m1 and p1 work together to bring about p2. There are little holes in the physical causal structure that need to be filled by mental events. You don’t need a sweeping metaphysical thesis about the causal closure of the physical to find this implausible. Maybe p2 is overdetermined. (shrink)
This paper considers the connection between automaticity, control and agency. Indeed, recent philosophical and psychological works play up the incompatibility of automaticity and agency. Specifically, there is a threat of automaticity, for automaticity eliminates agency. Such conclusions stem from a tension between two thoughts: that automaticity pervades agency and yet automaticity rules out control. I provide an analysis of the notions of automaticity and control that maintains a simple connection: automaticity entails the absence of control. An appropriate analysis, however, shows (...) that actions are forms of control and pervasively automatic even if automaticity implies the absence of control. Consequences are drawn for the theory of mental agency and the psychological concepts of automaticity and control. (shrink)
Recent discussions of mental causation have focused on three principles: (1) Mental properties are (sometimes) causally relevant to physical effects; (2) mental properties are not physical properties; (3) every physical event has in its causal history only physical events and physical properties. Since these principles seem to be inconsistent, solutions have focused on rejecting one or more of them. But I argue that, in spite of appearances, (1)–(3) are not inconsistent. The reason is that 'properties' is used (...) in different senses in the principles. In (1) and (3), 'properties' should be read as 'tropes' (properties here are particulars), while in (2) 'properties' should read as 'types' (properties here are universals or classes). Although mental types are distinct from physical types, every mental trope is a physical trope. This allows mental properties to be causally relevant to physical effects without violating the closed character of the physical world. (shrink)
This dissertation argues that mental representation is identical to phenomenal consciousness, and everything else that appears to be both mental and a matter of representation is not genuine mental representation, but either in some way derived from mental representation, or a case of non-mental representation.
It is argued that Nozick's experience machine thought experiment does not pose a particular difficulty for mental state theories of well-being. While the example shows that we value many things beyond our mental states, this simply reflects the fact that we value more than our own well-being. Nor is a mental state theorist forced to make the dubious claim that we maintain these other values simply as a means to desirable mental states. Valuing more than our (...)mental states is compatible with maintaining that the impact of such values upon our well-being lies in their impact upon our mental lives. (shrink)
Cognitive ethology is the comparative study of animal cognition from an evolutionary perspective. As a sub-discipline of biology it shares interest in questions concerning the immediate causes and development of behavior. As a part of ethology it is also concerned with questions about the function and evolution of behavior. I examine some recent work in cognitive ethology, and I argue that the notions of mental content and representation are important to enable researchers to answer questions and state generalizations about (...) the function and volution of behavior. (shrink)
It is far too early to say what global impact the neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric sciences will have on our intuitions about moral responsibility. And it is far too early to say whether the notion of moral responsibility will survive this impact (and if so, in what form). But it is certainly worth starting to think about the local impact that these sciences can or should have on some of our distinctions and criteria. It might be possible to use some of (...) the tools offered by these sciences in order to refine or revise some of the categories currently used, without – for the time being at least – worrying too much about the fate of the notion of moral responsibility. This is an area where a piecemeal approach might be more productive: only after an evaluation of many distinct cases and situations it will be possible to say something general about the current notion of moral responsibility. In this article, we will focus on a single clinical case: a young man who has been convicted for assault on a neighbour and whose sentence was affected by a pre-existing diagnosis of mental illness. We will use this case, and an analysis of the similarities and differences between this case and other possible cases, in order to raise some (local but important) issues about the implications that discoveries in neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry can have for the way moral responsibility is attributed to agents and, more specifically, to agents with diagnoses of mental illnesses. (shrink)
The Exclusion Problem (EP) for mental causation suggests that there is a tension between the claim that the mental causes physical effects, and the claim that the mental does not overdetermine its physical effects. In response, Karen Bennett (2008, 2003) puts forward an extra necessary condition for overdetermination: if one candidate cause were to occur but the other were not to occur, the effect would still occur. She thus denies one of the assumptions of EP, the assumption (...) that if an effect has two sufficient causes, it is overdetermined. If sound, her argument does two things: it solves EP, and it shows how to use counterfactuals in order to make the notion of overdetermination precise. However, the argument is not sound. (shrink)
Introduction -- A default position -- Experience -- The character of experience -- Understanding-experience -- A note about dispositional mental states -- Purely experiential content -- An account of four seconds of thought -- Questions -- The mental and the nonmental -- The mental and the publicly observable -- The mental and the behavioral -- Neobehaviorism and reductionism -- Naturalism in the philosophy of mind -- Conclusion: The three questions -- Agnostic materialism, part 1 -- Monism (...) -- The linguistic argument -- Materialism and monism -- A comment on reduction -- The impossibility of an objective phenomenology -- Asymmetry and reduction -- Equal-status monism -- Panpsychism -- The inescapability of metaphysics -- Agnostic materialism, part 2 -- Ignorance -- Sensory spaces -- Experience, explanation, and theoretical integration -- The hard part of the mind-body problem -- Neutral monism and agnostic monism -- A comment on eliminativism, instrumentalism, and so on -- Mentalism, idealism, and immaterialism -- Mentalism -- Strict or pure process idealism -- Active-principle idealism -- Stuff idealism -- Immaterialism -- The positions restated -- The dualist options -- Frege's thesis -- Objections to pure process idealism -- The problem of mental dispositions -- Mental -- Shared abilities -- The sorting ability -- The definition of mental being -- Mental phenomena -- The view that all mental phenomena are experiential phenomena -- Natural intentionality -- E/c intentionality -- The experienceless -- Intentionality and abstract and nonexistent objects -- Experience, purely experiential content, and n/c intentionality -- Concepts in nature -- Intentionality and experience -- Summary with problem -- Pain and pain -- The neo-behaviorist view -- A linguistic argument for the necessary connection between pain and behavior -- A challenge -- The Sirians -- N.N. Novel -- An objection to the Sirians -- The Betelgeuzians -- The point of the Sirians -- Functionalism, naturalism, and realism about pain -- Unpleasantness and qualitative character -- The weather watchers -- The rooting story -- What is it like to be a weather watcher? -- The aptitudes of mental states -- The argument from the conditions for possessing the concept of space -- The argument from the conditions for language ability -- The argument from the nature of desire -- Desire and affect -- The argument from the phenomenology of desire -- Behavior -- A hopeless definition -- Difficulties -- Other-observability -- Neo-behaviorism -- The concept of mind. (shrink)
I survey recent work on mental causation. The discussion is conducted under the twin presumptions that mental states, including especially what subjects believe and desire, causally explain what subjects do, and that the physical sciences can in principle give a complete explanation for each and every bodily movement. I start with sceptical discussions of various views that hold that, in some strong sense, the causal explanations offered by psychology are autonomous with respect to those offered by the physical (...) sciences. I then proceed to views that see the problem of mental causation as that of identifying where in the physical story about us and our world lie the parts that in effect tell us abut mental causation - the kind of position that is pretty much standard in the cognitive science community - and consider issues raised by various forms of functionalism and externalism. The general thrust of my discussion is sympathetic to the story about mental causation suggested by those type-type versions of the mind-brain identity theory that allow for the possiblity of multiple realisability. I include a brief discussion of how a map-system account of belief, by contrast with a language of thought one, should understand explanations of behaviour in terms of what a subject believes. (shrink)
A prominent but poorly understood domain of human agency is mental action, i.e., thecapacity for reaching specific desirable mental statesthrough an appropriate monitoring of one's own mentalprocesses. The present paper aims to define mentalacts, and to defend their explanatory role againsttwo objections. One is Gilbert Ryle's contention thatpostulating mental acts leads to an infinite regress.The other is a different although related difficulty,here called the access puzzle: How can the mindalready know how to act in order to reach (...) somepredefined result? A crucial element in the solutionof these puzzles consists in making explicit thecontingency between mental acts and mentaloperations, parallel to the contingency betweenphysical acts and bodily movements. The paper finallydiscusses the kind of reflexivity at stake in mentalacts; it is shown that the capacity to refer tooneself is not a necessary condition of the successfulexecution of mental acts. (shrink)
In my article I evaluate Searle's account of mental causation, in particular his account of the causal efficacy of unconscious intentional states. I argue that top-down causation and overdetermination are unsolved problems in Searle's philosophy of mind, despite his assurances to the contrary. I also argue that there are conflicting claims involved in his account of mental causation and his account of the unconscious. As a result, it becomes impossible to understand how unconscious intentional states can be causally (...) efficacious. My conclusion will be that if Searle's conception of unconscious intentionality is to play a genuine role in the causal explanation of human action, it needs to be rethought. (shrink)
This paper explores how the diagnosis of mental disorder may affect the diagnosed subject’s self-concept by supplying an account that emphasizes the influence of autobiographical and social narratives on self-understanding. It focuses primarily on the diagnoses made according to the criteria provided by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and suggests that the DSM diagnosis may function as a source of narrative that affects the subject’s self-concept. Engaging in this analysis by appealing to autobiographies and memoirs (...) written by people diagnosed with mental disorder, the paper concludes that a DSM diagnosis is a double-edged sword for self- concept. On the one hand, it sets the subject’s experience in an established classificatory system which can facilitate self-understanding by providing insight into subject’s condition and guiding her personal growth, as well as treatment and recovery. In this sense, the DSM diagnosis may have positive repercussions on self-development. On the other hand, however, given the DSM’s symptom-based approach and its adoption of the Biomedical Disease model, a diagnosis may force the subject to make sense of her condition divorced from other elements in her life that may be affecting her mental- health. It may lead her frame her experience only as an irreversible imbalance. This form of self-understanding may set limits on the subject’s hopes of recovery and may create impediments to her flourishing. (shrink)
I examine Galen Strawson's recent work on mental action in his paper, 'Mental Ballistics or The Involuntariness of Spontaneity'. I argue that his account of mental action is too restrictive. I offer a means of testing tokens of mental activity types to determine if they are actional. The upshot is that a good deal more mental activity than Strawson admits is actional.
Conceiving mental disorder -- Disorder of mental disorder -- On being skeptical about mental disorder -- Seeking norms for mental disorder -- An original position -- Addiction and responsibility for self -- Reality lost and found -- Minding the missing me.
The Tidal Model represents a significant alternative to mainstream mental health theories, emphasizing how those suffering from mental health problems can benefit from taking a more active role in their own treatment. Based on extensive research, The Tidal Model charts the development of this approach, outlining the theoretical basis of the model to illustrate the benefits of a holistic model of care which promotes self-management and recovery. Clinical examples are also employed to show how, by exploring rather than (...) ignoring a client's narrative, practitioners can encourage the individual's greater involvement in the decisions affecting their assessment and treatment. The Tidal Model 's comprehensive coverage of the theory and practice of this model will be of great use to a range of mental health professionals and those in training in the fields of mental health nursing, social work, psychotherapy, clinical psychology and occupational therapy. (shrink)
The effects of mental disorder are apparent and pervasive, in suffering, loss of freedom and life opportunities, negative impacts on education, work satisfaction and productivity, complications in law, institutions of healthcare, and more. With a new edition of the 'bible' of psychiatric diagnosis - the DSM - under developmental, it is timely to take a step back and re-evalutate exactly how we diagnose and define mental disorder. This new book by Derek Bolton tackles the problems involved in the (...) definition and boundaries of mental disorder. It addresses two main questions regarding mental illness. Firstly, what is the basis of the standards or norms by which we judge that a person has a mental disorder - that the person's mind is not working as it should, that their mental functioning is abnormal? Controversies about these questions have been dominated by the contrast between norms that are medical, scientific or natural, on the one hand, and social norms on the other. The norms that define mental disorder seem to belong to psychiatry, to be medical and scientific, but are they really social norms, hijacked and disguised by the medical profession? Secondly, what is the validity of the distinction between mental disorder and order, between abnormal and normal mental functioning? To what extent, notwithstanding appearances, does mental disorder involve meaningful reactions and problem-solving? These responses may be to normal problems of living, or to not so normal problems - to severe psycho-social challenges. Is there after all order in mental disorder? With the closing of asylums and the appearance of care in the community, mental disorder is now in our midst. While attempts have been made to define clearly a concept of mental disorder that is truly medical as opposed to social, there is increasing evidence that such a distinction is unviable - there is no clear line between what is normal in the population and what is abnormal. 'What is Mental Disorder?' reviews these various crucial developments and their profound impact for the concept and its boundaries in a provocative and timely book. (shrink)
In Philosophy of Mental Representation five of the most original and important thinkers in philosophy of mind engage in an overlapping dialogue about mental representation. In new papers, contributors Andy Clark, Robert Cummins, Daniel Dennett, John Haugeland, and Brian Cantwell Smith each investigate the views and claims of one of the other contributors regarding mental representation. The subject then offers a reply. An exciting feature of this collection is the dynamic discussion among all contributors following each exchange. (...) This collection offers the latest thinking on mental representation carefully and critically analyzed by the leading thinkers in the field. (shrink)
Despite the fact that the nature of the properties of causation is rarely discussed within the mental causation debate, the implicit assumption is that they are universals as opposed to tropes. However, in recent literature on the problem of mental causation, a new solution has emerged which aims to address the problem by appealing to tropes. It is argued that if the properties of causation are tropes rather than universals, then a psychophysical reductionism can be advanced which does (...) not face the problem of multiple realizability. However, the 'trope solution' rests upon the assumption that one can combine a trope monism with a type dualism. I argue that such a combination cannot be allowed. Given a plausible interpretation of types within a trope ontology, trope monism in fact entails type monism. Consequently, if one identifies mental tropes with physical tropes, one must also identify mental and physical types and in doing so face a modified version of the multiple realizability argument. (shrink)
Abstract: It is generally accepted that the most serious threat to the possibility of mental causation is posed by the causal self-sufficiency of physical causal processes. I argue, however, that this feature of the world, which I articulate in principle I call Completeness, in fact poses no genuine threat to mental causation. Some find Completeness threatening to mental causation because they confuse it with a stronger principle, which I call Closure. Others do not simply conflate Completeness (...) and Closure, but hold that Completeness, together with certain plausible assumptions, _entails_ Closure. I refute the most fully worked-out version of such an argument. Finally, some find Completeness all by itself threatening to mental causation. I argue that one will only find Completeness threatening if one operates with a philosophically distorted conception of mental causation. I thereby defend what I call naïve realism about mental causation. (shrink)
Nonreductive physicalism is currently one of the most widely held views about the world in general and about the status of the mental in particular. However, the view has recently faced a series of powerful criticisms from, among others, Jaegwon Kim. In several papers, Kim has argued that the nonreductivist's view of the mental is an unstable position, one harboring contradictions that push it either to reductivism or to eliminativism. The problems arise, Kim maintains, when we consider the (...) causal powers that mental properties are held to carry on the nonreductivist's view and the causal transactions into which mental events are said to enter. My aim here is less than that of defending nonreductive physicalism against all of Kim's criticisms. I wish primarily to call into question the claim that nonreductive physicalism is committed to emergentism with respect to the causal powers of the mental. As subsidiary points, I shall offer a limited defense of nonreductivism against two related objections that Kim raises. However, even if my conclusions are correct, problems remain for the nonreductivist's treatment of mental causation. I shall close the paper with a brief discussion of these difficulties. (shrink)
In what follows, I appeal to Charles Babbage’s discussion of the division of mental labor to provide evidence that—at least with respect to the social acquisition, storage, retrieval, and transmission of knowledge—epistemologists have, for a broad range of phenomena of crucial importance to actual knowers in their epistemic practices in everyday life, failed adequately to appreciate the significance of socially distributed cognition. If the discussion here is successful, I will have demonstrated that a particular presumption widely held within the (...) contemporary discussion of the epistemology of testimony—a presumption that I will term the personalist requirement—fails to account for those very practices of knowers that I detail here. I will then conclude by suggesting that an alternate account of testimonial warrant, one that has heretofore been underappreciated, ought to be given more serious consideration—in particular because it is well suited to account for those actual practices of knowers that the personalist requirement leaves unrecognized. (shrink)
Since the 1960's, work in the analytic tradition on the nature of mental and linguistic content has converged on the views that social facts about public language meaning are derived from facts about the thoughts of individuals, and that these thoughts are constituted by properties of the internal states of agents. I give a two-part argument against this picture of intentionality: first, that if mental content is prior to public language meaning, then a view of mental content (...) much like the causal-pragmatic theory presented by Robert Stalnaker in Inquiry must be correct; second, that the causal-pragmatic theory is false. I conclude with some positive suggestions regarding alternative solutions to the `problem of intentionality.'. (shrink)
Most scientists and theorists concerned with the problem of consciousness focus on our consciousness of the physical world (our sensations, feelings, and awareness). In this paper I consider our consciousness of the mental world (our thoughts about thoughts, intentions, wishes, and emotions).The argument is made that these are two distinct forms of consciousness, the evidence for this deriving from studies of autism. Autism is a severe childhood psychiatric condition in which individuals may be conscious of the physical world but (...) not of the mental world. Relevant experimental evidence is described, including some recent neuroimaging studies pointing towards the neural basis of our consciousness of the mental. (shrink)
Aside from brute force, there are several philosophically respectable ways of eliminating the mental. In recent years the most popular elimination strategy has been directed against our common sense or folk psychological understanding of the mental. The strategy goes by the name of eliminative materialism (or eliminativism, in short). The motivation behind this strategy seems to be the following. If common sense psychology can be construed as the principled theory of the mental, whose vocabulary and principles implicitly (...) define what counts as mental, then eliminating the theory is eliminating its subject matter. If the theory is shown to be false, then its subject matter does not exist. If, in other words, common sense psychology can be shown to describe and explain nothing real in human cognition, then the mental itself is a fiction. (shrink)
Introduction : the existence of mental illness -- The likeness argument -- The categorical argument -- Metaphor -- Two metaphors from physical medicine -- The metaphor of mental illness -- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, social construction, and metaphor -- Metaphors and models.
Perhaps because both explanation and prediction are key components to understanding, philosophers and psychologists often portray these two abilities as though they arise from the same competence, and sometimes they are taken to be the same competence. When explanation and prediction are associated in this way, they are taken to be two expressions of a single cognitive capacity that differ from one another only pragmatically. If the difference between prediction and explanation of human behavior is merely pragmatic, then anytime I (...) predict someone’s future behavior, I would at that moment also have an explanation of the behavior. I argue that advocates of both the theory theory and the simulation theory accept the symmetry of psychological prediction and explanation. However, there is very good reason to believe that this hypothesis is false. Just as we can predict the occurrence of some physical phenomena that we have no explanation for, we are also able to make accurate predictions of intentional behavior without having an explanation. Rather than requiring mental state attribution, I argue that the prediction of human behavior is most often accomplished by statistical induction rather than through an appeal to mental states. However, explanations are not given in these terms. (shrink)
The standard paradigm for mental causation is a person’s acting for a reason. Something happens - she intentionally φ’s - the occurrence of which we explain by citing a relevant belief or desire. In the present context, I simply take for granted the following two conditions on the appropriateness of this explanation. First, the agent φ’s _because_ she believes/desires what we say she does, where this is expressive of a _causal_ dependence.1 Second, her believing/desiring this gives her a _reason_ (...) for φ-ing: recognizing that she has this belief/desire makes her φ-ing intelligible as rational in the light of her other attitudes and circumstances. A further condition must be met, though, if this is to be a genuine psychological explanation, a case of her acting _for_ the reason in question. Consider the following example of Davidson’s (1973, p. 79). An exhausted climber is desperate to rid herself of the weight and danger of holding her partner on a rope; and her sudden realization that simply letting go would achieve this so unnerves her that her grip loosens slightly and he falls. Her releasing him causally depends upon her having this belief and desire, which provide _a_ reason for doing what she does. But this is not _why_ she does it: it would be at best misleading to say that she dropped him, intentionally, because she was fed up with holding his weight, or because she thought that she might otherwise fall. Her letting go does not depend upon her having these reasons in the right way. The reason-giving relation is causally irrelevant. If we are to explain a person’s acting _for_ a reason, then her doing. (shrink)
Nonreductive physicalism provides an appealing solution to the nature of mental properties. But its success as a theory of mental properties has been called into doubt by claims that it cannot adequately handle the problems of mental causation, as it leads either to epiphenomenalism or to thoroughgoing overdetermination. I argue that these apparent problems for the nonreductivist are based in fundamental confusion about causation and explanation. I distinguish two different types of explanation and two different relations to (...) which they appeal: causation and determination. I argue that these types of explanation do not compete with one another, nor do these relations jointly result in overdetermination. In closing I develop a nonreductivist solution to mental causation which avoids both the hazards of epiphenomenalism and of overdetermination and so demonstrates a way to save nonreductive physicalism from the problems of mental causation. (shrink)
By what types of properties do we specify twinges, toothaches, and other kinds of mental states? Wittgenstein considers two methods. Procedure one, direct, private acquaintance: A person connects a word to the sensation it specifies through noticing what that sensation is like in his own experience. Procedure two, outward signs: A person pins his use of a word to outward, pre-verbal signs of the sensation. I identify and explain a third procedure and show we in fact specify many kinds (...) of mental states in this way. (shrink)
Libet's experiments, supported by a strict one-to-one identity thesis between brain events and mental events, have prompted the conclusion that physical events precede the mental events to which they correspond. We examine this claim and conclude that it is suspect for several reasons. First, there is a dual assumption that an intention is the kind of thing that causes an action and that can be accurately introspected. Second, there is a real problem with the method of timing the (...)mental events concerned given that Libet himself has found the reports of subjects to be unreliable in this regard. Third, there is a suspect assumption that there are such things as timable and locatable mental and brain events accompanying and causing human behaviour. For all these reasons we reject the claim that physical events are prior to and explain mental events. (shrink)
I shall begin with the "anti-psychiatry" view that the lack of a physical basis excludes many familiar mental disorders from the category of "illness". My response to this argument will be that anti-psychiatrists are probably right to hold that most mental disorders do not involve any physical disorder, but that they are wrong to conclude from this that these mental disorders are not illnesses.
Some philosophers have conﬂated functionalism and computationalism. I reconstruct how this came about and uncover two assumptions that made the conﬂation possible. They are the assumptions that (i) psychological functional analyses are computational descriptions and (ii) everything may be described as performing computations. I argue that, if we want to improve our understanding of both the metaphysics of mental states and the functional relations between them, we should reject these assumptions. # 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The thesis of this paper is that the causal theory of mental content (hereafter CT) is incompatible with an elementary fact of perceptual psychology, namely, that the detection of distal properties generally requires the mediation of a “theory.” I shall call this fact the nontransducibility of distal properties (hereafter NTDP). The argument proceeds in two stages. The burden of stage one is that, taken together, CT and the language of thought hypothesis (hereafter LOT) are incompatible with NTDP. The burden (...) of stage two is that acceptance of CT requires acceptance of LOT as well. It follows that CT is incompatible with NTDP. I organize things in this way in part because it makes the argument easier to understand, and in part because the stage-two thesis—that CT entails LOT—has some independent interest and is therefore worth separating from the rest of the argument. (shrink)
I question Brentano's thesis that all and only mental phenomena are intentional. The common gloss on intentionality in terms of directedness does not justify the claim that intentionality is sufficient for mentality. One response to this problem is to lay down further requirements for intentionality. For example, it may be said that we have intentionality only where we have such phenomena as failure of substitution or existential presupposition. I consider a variety of such requirements for intentionality. I argue they (...) either fail to exclude all non-mental phenomena or are so demanding that they ground new, serious challenges to the claim that qualitative states of mind are intentional. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to defend the causal homogeneity of functional, mental properties against Kim’s attack. It is argued that (a) token identity is sufficient for mental causation, that (b) token identity implies a sort of functional reduction, but that (c) nonetheless functional, mental properties can be causally homogeneous despite being multiply realizable: multiple composition is sufficient for multiple realizability, but multiple composition does not prevent the realizers from having their pertinent effects in common. Thus, (...) the causal exclusion problem provides no argument for abandoning the position that there are functional, mental properties that are natural kind properties. (shrink)
In this paper I distinguish two types of mental causation, called 'higher-level causation' and 'exploitation'. These notions superficially resemble the traditional problematic notions of supervenient causation and downward causation, but they are different in crucial respects. My new distinction is supported by a radically externalist competitor of the so-called Standard View of mental states, i.e. the view that mental states are brain states. I argue that on the Alternative View, the notions of 'higher-level causation' and 'exploitation' can (...) in combination dissolve the problem of mental causation as standardly discussed. (shrink)
James decides that the best price today on pork chops is at Supermarket S, then James makes driving motions for twenty minutes, then James’ car enters the parking lot at Supermarket S. Common sense supposes that the stages in this sequence may be causally connected, and that the pattern is commonplace: James’ belief (together with his desire for pork chops) causes bodily behavior, and the behavior causes a change in James’ whereabouts. Anyone committed to the idea that beliefs and desires (...) are states installed by evolution must, it seems, think something similar. For how can one see beliefs and desires as conferring selective advantage if not by supposing that, by causing bodily behavior in their subjects, they brought about changes in their subjects’ surroundings? Yet many, many philosophers currently think or worry that mental causation is illusory (see, e.g., Heil and Mele 1993, or Macdonald and Macdonald 1995). Any physical changes which a mental state appears to cause can be viewed as a complex event involving microparticles, and for any such complex event, many philosophers suppose, there will have been previous microphysical occurrences sufficient to cause it. Barring routine overdetermination of such complex events, the apparent causation of mental events seems to be excluded. Nor does it help to say that some salient segment of the previous microphysical event just is the mental event, differently described (Davidson 1970). For describing the previous events as microphysical seems to spotlight the very features in virtue of which they did their causal work; the mental features seem epiphenomenal (Yablo 1992b: pp. 425-36; Yablo 1992a). This paper argues that the complex physical events, which mental events seem excluded from causing, are not caused at all. For they are either accidents, in something like Aristotle’s sense (Sorabji 1980: pp. 3-25), or coincidences, in a sense which David Owens has recently sharpened (Owens 1992). (shrink)
In recent years Jaegwon Kim has offered an argument – the ‘supervenience argument’ – to show that supervenient mental properties, construed as second- order properties distinct from their first-order realizers, do not have causal powers of their own. In response, several philosophers have argued that if Kim’s argument is sound, it generalizes in such a way as to condemn to causal impotency all properties above the level of basic physics. This paper discusses Kim’s supervenience argument in the context of (...) his reply to this so-called ‘generalization argument’. In particular, the paper focuses on the level/order distinction, to which Kim appeals in his reply to the generalization argument, and on the relation between this distinction and two varieties of functionalism, ‘realizer’ vs. ‘role’ functionalism. The author argues that a proper analysis of the notions of levels and orders undermines Kim’s response to the generalization argument, and suggests that Kim’s reductionist strategy for vindicating the causal powers of mental properties is better served if mental properties are construed as first-order properties, as realizer-functionalism recommends. (shrink)
HOST is the theory that to be conscious of a mental state is totarget it with a higher-order state (a `HOS'), either an innerperception or a higher-order thought. Some champions of HOSTmaintain that the phenomenological character of a sensory stateis induced in it by representing it with a HOS. I argue that thisthesis is vulnerable to overwhelming objections that flow largelyfrom HOST itself. In the process I answer two questions: `What isa plausible sufficient condition for a quale's belonging to (...) aparticular mental state?' and `What is the propositional contentof HOSs that target sensory states?'. (shrink)
Keywords: action, dualism, functionalism, materialism, physicalism Contents l. What is mental causation? 2. History 3. Mental causation as a problem for dualism 4. Mental causation as a problem for physicalism 5. Mental causation and cognitive science..
The ability to reason ethically is an extraordinarily important aspect of professionalism in any field. Indeed, the greatest challenge in ethical professional practice involves resolving the conflict that arises when the professional is required to choose between two competing ethical principles. Ethical Reasoning in the Mental Health Professions explores how to develop the ability to reason ethically in difficult situations. Other books merely present ethical and legal issues one at a time, along with case examples involving "right" and "wrong" (...) answers. In dramatic contrast, Ethical Reasoning in the Mental Health Professions provides you with the needed background in methods of ethical reasoning and introduces an innovative nine-step model of ethical decision-making for resolving ethical dilemmas. Ethical Reasoning in the Mental Health Profession discusses the ethical codes of both psychology and counseling. This interdisciplinary approach promotes a better understanding of the similarities and differences in the points of emphasis in the two codes, which, in turn, enriches your understanding of the range of ethical considerations relevant to the practice of the mental health professions. (shrink)
Recent philosophy of psychology has seen the rise of so-called "dual-component" and "two-dimensional" theories of mental content as what I call a "Middle Way" between internalism (the view that contents of states like belief are "narrow") and externalism (the view that by and large, such contents are "wide"). On these Middle Way views, mental states are supposed to have two kinds of content: the "folk-psychological" kind, which we ordinarily talk about and which is wide; and some non-folk-psychological kind (...) which is narrow. Jerry Fodor is responsible for one of the most influential arguments that we need to believe in some such non-folk-psychological kind of content. In this paper I argue that the ideas behind Fodor's premises are mutually inconsistent - so it would be irrational to believe in a Middle Way theory of mental content no matter how many of Fodor's premises you find plausible. Common opinion notwithstanding, we have to choose between internalism and externalism, full-stop. (shrink)
During the last years, there has been an important discussion on the concept of mental disorder. Several accounts of such a concept have been offered by theorists, although neither of these accounts seems to have successfully answered both the question of what it means for a certain mental condition to be a disorder and the question of what it means for a certain disorder to be mental. In this paper, I propose an account of the concept of (...)mental disorder that, if I am right, provides satisfactory answers to both of these questions. Furthermore, this account (unlike other accounts presented in the literature on the subject) meets the requirements for achieving a crucial goal underlying the project of sorting out the concept of mental disorder, namely the goal of allowing the existence of a dialogue between mental health professionals of different theoretical orientations. To achieve this goal, the account herein proposed is not based in any particular theoretical framework, but in both ordinary and technical theory-neutral concepts. In the last part of the paper, I argue that it follows from most accounts of the concept of mental disorder that the disciplines concerned with explaining some mental disorders are not branches of medicine, and that the treatment of some mental disorders is not a matter of medical intervention. (shrink)
A well-known ``overdetermination''argument aims to show that the possibility of mental causes of physical events in a causally closed physical world and the possibility of causally relevant mental properties are both problematic. In the first part of this paper, I extend an identity reply that has been given to the first problem to a property-instance account of causal relata. In the second, I argue that mental types are composed of physical types and, as a consequence, both (...) class='Hi'>mental and physical types may be causally relevant with respect to the same physical effect, contrary to the overdetermination argument. In further sections, I argue that mental types have causal powers, consider some objections and reject an alternative version of part-whole physicalism. Throughout I assume that causal relata are tropes and property types are classes of tropes. (shrink)
Fred Dretske?s (1988) account of the causal role of intentional mental states was widely criticized for missing the target: he explained why a type of intentional state causes the type of bodily motion it does rather than some other type, when what we wanted was an account of how the intentional properties of these states play a causal role in each singular causal relation with a token bodily motion. I argue that the non-reductive metaphysics that Dretske defends for his (...) account of behavior can be extended to the case of intentional states, and that this extension provides a way to show how intentional properties can play the causal role that we wanted explained. (shrink)
Brentano held that every mental phenomenon has an object and is conscious (the dual relation thesis). The dual relation thesis faces a number of wellknown problems. The paper explores how Brentano tried to overcome these problems. In considering Brentano's responses, the paper sheds light on Brentano's theory of judgement that underpins his philosophy of mind.
In ‘Mental Events’ Donald Davidson argued for the anomalism of the mental on the basis of the operation of incompatible constitutive principles in the mental and physical domains. Many years later, he has suggested that externalism provides further support for the anomalism of the mental. I examine the basis for that claim. The answer to the question in the title will be a qualiﬁed ‘Yes’. That is an important result in the metaphysics of mind and an (...) interesting consequence of externalism. (shrink)
Yablo suggests that we can understand the possibility of mental causation by supposing that mental properties determine physical properties, in the classic sense of determination according to which red determines scarlet. Determinates and their determinables do not compete for causal relevance, so if mental and physical properties are related as determinable and determinates, they should not compete for causal relevance either. I argue that this solution won''t work. I first construct a more adequate account of determination than (...) that provided by Yablo. I then consider two common accounts of the mental, token identity theories and dispositional theories, and argue that on neither do mental and physical properties satisfy the requirements for determination. (shrink)
This paper identifies and critiques a theory of mental causation defended by some proponents of nonredutive physicalism that I call “intralevelism.” Intralevelist theories differ in their details. On all versions, the causal outcome of the manifestation of physical properties is physical and the causal outcome of the manifestation of mental properties is mental. Thus, mental causation on this view is intralevel mental to mental causation. This characterization of mental causation as intralevel is taken (...) to insulate nonreductive physicalism from some objections to nonreductive physicalism, including versions of the exclusion argument. This paper examines some features of three recent versions of intralevelism defended by John Gibbons, Markus Schlosser, and Amie Thomasson. This paper shows that the distinctive problems faced by these three representative versions of intralevelism suggest that the intralevelist strategy does not provide a viable solution to the exclusion problem. (shrink)
The by now famous exclusion problem for mental causation admits only one possible solution, as far as I can see, namely: that mental and physical properties are linked by a vertical relation. In this paper, starting from what I take to be sensible premises about properties, I will be visiting some general relations between them, in order to see whether, first, it is true that some vertical relation, other than identity, makes different sorts of causation compatible and second, (...) whether physical and mental properties can be pairs of such relation. (shrink)
Tyler Burge's critique of individualistic conceptions of mental content is well known.This paper employs a novel strategy to defend a strong form of Burge's conclusion. The division of epistemic labor rests on the possibility of language-mediated transactions, such as asking for something in a store and getting it. The paper shows that any individualistic conception of content will render such transactions unintelligible.
subjects mean when they report their mental states it is useful to be guided by a sound grasp of their concepts for mental events. 3 Though this is often ignored in favor of libertarian notions of free will, in which free action is seen as completely undetermined by the subject.
The philosophical problem of mental causation concerns a clash between commonsense and scientific views about the causation of human behaviour. On the one hand, commonsense suggests that our actions are caused by our mental states—our thoughts, intentions, beliefs and so on. On the other hand, neuroscience assumes that all bodily movements are caused by neurochemical events. It is implausible to suppose that our actions are causally overdetermined in the same way that the ringing of a bell may be (...) overdetermined by two hammers striking it at the same time. So how are we to reconcile these two views about the causal origins of human behaviour? One philosophical doctrine effects a nice reconciliation. Neuralism, or the token-identity theory, states that every particular mental event is a neurophysiological event and that every action is a physically specifiable bodily movement. If these identities hold, there is no problem of causal overdetermination: the apparently different causal pathways to the behaviour are actually one and the same pathway viewed from different perspectives. This attractively simple view is enjoying a recent revival in fortunes. (shrink)
In this paper I will discuss Kims powerful explanatory exclusion argument against the causal efficacy of mental properties. Baker and Burge misconstrue Kims challenge if they understand it as being based on a purely metaphysical understanding of causation that has no grounding in an epistemological analysis of our successful scientific practices. As I will show, the emphasis on explanatory practices can only be effective in answering Kim if it is understood as being part of the dual-explanandum strategy. Furthermore, a (...) fundamental problem of the contemporary debate about mental causation consists in the fact that all sides take very different examples to be paradigmatic for the relation between psychological and neurobiological explanations. Even if we should expect some alignment in the explanatory scope of neurobiology and psychology/folk-psychology, there is no reason to expect that all mental explanations are exempted by physical explanations, since they do not in general explain the same phenomena. (shrink)
There is a difference between someone breaking a glass by accidentally brushing up against it and smashing a glass in a fit of anger. In the first case, the person's cognitive state has little to do with the event, but in the second, the mental state qua anger is quite relevant. How are we to understand this difference? What is the proper way to understand the relation between the mind, the brain, and the resultant behavior? This paper explores the (...) popular "middle ground" reply in which mental phenomena are claimed to be "as real as" other higher level properties. It argues that this solution fails to answer epistemological difficulties surrounding how to chose the appropriate factors in an explanation. A more sophisticated understanding of scientific theorizing and of the relation between ontology and explanation give us a framework in which we can determine when we should refer to mental states as being the causally efficacious agents for some behavior. (shrink)
You are asked to call out the letters on a chart during an eyeexamination: you see and then read out the letters ‘U’, ‘R’, and ‘X’. Commonsense says that your perceptual experiences causally control your calling out the letters. Or suppose you are playing a game of chess intent on winning: you plan your strategy and move your chess pieces accordingly. Again, commonsense says that your intentions and plans causally control your moving the chess pieces. These causal judgements are as (...) plain and evident as any can be. (shrink)
A common conception of what it is for one property to “realize” another suggests that it is the realizer property that does the causal work, and that the realized property is epiphenomenal. The same conception underlies George Bealer’s argument that functionalism leads to the absurd conclusion that what we take to be self-ascriptions of a mental state are really self-ascriptions of “first-order” properties that realize that state. This paper argues for a different concept of realization. A property realizes another (...) if its “forward looking” causal features are a subset of those of the property realized. The instantiation of the realizer property will include the instantiation of the property realized; and when the effects produced are due to the causal features of the latter, it is the instantiation of it that is appropriately regarded as their cause. Epiphenomenalism is avoided, and so is Bealer’s absurd conclusion. (shrink)
An account of the contents of the propositional attitudes is fundamental to the success of the cognitive sciences if, as seems correct, the cognitive sciences do presuppose propositional attitudes. Fodor has recently pointed the way towards a naturalistic explication of mental content in his Psychosemantics (1987). Fodor's theory is a version of the causal theory of meaning and thus inherits many of its virtues, including its intrinsic plausibility. Nevertheless, the proposal may suffer from two deficiencies: (1) It seems not (...) to provide an adequate explanation of misrepresentation. (2) It may also fail, as a species of empiricism, to provide a correct explication of the content of observational concepts and those non-observational concepts whose meaning is to be traced to their causal connections with observational concepts. (shrink)
In Connectionism and the Philosophy of Psychology, Horgan and Tienson (1996) argue that cognitive processes, pace classicism, are not governed by exceptionless, representation-level rules; they are instead the work of defeasible cognitive tendencies subserved by the non-linear dynamics of the brains neural networks. Many theorists are sympathetic with the dynamical characterisation of connectionism and the general (re)conception of cognition that it affords. But in all the excitement surrounding the connectionist revolution in cognitive science, it has largely gone unnoticed that connectionism (...) adds to the traditional focus on computational processes, a new focus one on the vehicles of mental representation, on the entities that carry content through the mind. Indeed, if Horgan and Tiensons dynamical characterisation of connectionism is on the right track, then so intimate is the relationship between computational processes and representational vehicles, that connectionist cognitive science is committed to a resemblance theory of mental content. (shrink)
Some philosophers have conflated functionalism and computationalism. I reconstruct how this came about and uncover two assumptions that made the conflation possible. They are the assumptions that (i) psychological functional analyses are computational descriptions and (ii) everything may be described as performing computations. I argue that, if we want to improve our understanding of both the metaphysics of mental states and the functional relations between them, we should reject these assumptions.
We undertake to bring a phenomenological perspective to bear on a challenge of contemporary law and clinical practice. In a wide variety of contexts, legal and medical professionals are called upon to assess the competence or capacity of an individual to exercise her own judgement in making a decision for herself. We focus on decisions regarding consent to or refusal of medical treatment and contrast a widely recognised clinical instrument, the MacCAT-T, with a more phenomenologically informed approach. While the MacCAT-T (...) focuses attention on individual cognitive performance criteria, an approach oriented by second-person phenomenology brings into view the complex role of time, others and identity in constituting the capacity for individual autonomous judgement. Our phenomenological analysis has consequences both for the practice of capacity assessments and for further research in this arena. Good practice in capacity assessment must attend to decision communities, distributed capacity, and temporal competence, while research on mental capacity will miss the phenomenon if it trains its focus ‘between the ears.’ We illustrate our approach by considering two recent cases of contested capacity: one involving cognitive disability in a dysfunctional decision community, the second presenting the possibility of competent decision-making under conditions of paranoid schizophrenia. (shrink)
We argue that the causal account offered by analytic functionalism provides the best account of the folk psychological theory of mind, and that people ordinarily define mental states relative to the causal roles these states occupy in relation to environmental impingements, external behaviors, and other mental states. We present new empirical evidence, as well as review several key studies on mental state ascription to diverse types of entities such as robots, cyborgs, corporations and God, and explain how (...) this evidence supports a functional account. We also respond to two challenges to this view based on the embodiment hypothesis, or the claim that physical realizers matter over and above functional role, and qualia. In both cases we conclude that research to date best supports a functional account of ordinary mental state concepts. (shrink)
In Why pains are not mental objects (1998) Guy Douglasrightly argues that pains are modes rather than objects ofperceptions or sensations. In this paper I try to go a stepfurther and argue that there are circumstances when pains canbecome objects even while they remain modes of experience.By analysing cases of extreme pain as presented by Scarry,Sartre, Wiesel, Grahek and Wall, I attempt to show thatintense physical pain may evolve into a force that, likeimagination, can make our most intense state (...) of experiencebecome a mental object. I shall finally argue that, thoughextreme pains cannot serve as paradigm cases, they do showthe general importance of taking pain states to be objects. (shrink)
This paper engages the extended cognition controversy by advancing a theory which fits nicely into an attractive and surprisingly unoccupied conceptual niche situated comfortably between traditional individualism and the radical externalism espoused by the majority of supporters of the extended mind hypothesis. I call this theory moderate active externalism, or MAE. In alliance with other externalist theories of cognition, MAE is committed to the view that certain cognitive processes extend across brain, body, and world—a conclusion which follows from a theory (...) I develop in “Synergic Coordination: an argument for cognitive process externalism.” Yet, in contradistinction with radical externalism, and in agreement with the internalist orthodoxy, MAE defends the view that mental states are situated invariably inside our heads. This is done, inter alia, by developing a novel hypothesis regarding the vehicles of content (in “Extended cognition without externalized mental states”, and by criticizing arguments in support of mental states externalism (in “Reflections and objections”). The result, I believe, is a coherent theoretical alternative worthy of serious consideration. (shrink)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association, currently in its fourth edition and considered the reference for the characterization and diagnosis of mental disorders, has undergone various developments since its inception in the mid-twentieth century. With the fifth edition of the DSM presently in field trials for release in 2013, there is renewed discussion and debate over the extent of its relative successes - and shortcomings - at iteratively incorporating scientific evidence on the often ambiguous (...) nature and etiology of mental illness. Given the power that the DSM has exerted both within psychiatry and society at large, this essay seeks to analyze variations in content and context of various editions of the DSM, address contributory influences and repercussion of such variations on the evolving landscape of psychiatry as discipline and practice over the past sixty years. Specifically, we document major modifications in the definition, characterization, and classification of mental disorders throughout successive editions of the DSM, in light of shifting trends in the conceptualization of psychopathology within evolving schools of thought in psychiatry, and in the context of progress in behavioral and psychopharmacological therapeutics over time. We touch upon the social, political, and financial environments in which these changes took places, address the significance of these changes with respect to the legitimacy (and legitimization) of what constitutes mental illness and health, and examine the impact and implications of these changes on psychiatric practice, research, and teaching. We argue that problematic issues in psychiatry, arguably reflecting the large-scale adoption of the DSM, may be linked to difficulties in formulating a standardized nosology of psychopathology. In this light, we highlight 1) issues relating to attempts to align the DSM with the medical model, with regard to increasing specificity in the characterization of discrete mental disease entities and the incorporation of neurogenetic, neurochemical and neuroimaging data in its nosological framework; 2) controversies surrounding the medicalization of cognition, emotion, and behavior, and the interpretation of subjective variables as 'normal' or 'abnormal' in the context of society and culture; and 3) what constitutes treatment, enablement, or enhancement - and what metrics, guidelines, and policies may need to be established to clarify such criteria. (shrink)
In her landmark book, Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories (Millikan1984),1 Ruth Garrett Millikan utilizes the idea of a biological function to solve philosophical problems associated with the phenomena of language, thought, and meaning. Language and thought are activities of biological organisms, according to Millikan, and we should treat them as such when trying to answer related philosophical questions. Of special interest is Millikan’s treatment of intentionality. Here Millikan employs the notion of a biological function to explain what it is (...) for one thing in nature, a bee dance (43), for example, to be about another, in this case, the location of a nectar source. My concern in this paper is to understand whether Millikan’s account of intentionality adequately explains how humans achieve reference, in language or thought, to individuals and groups in their environment. In bringing her theory of intentional content to bear on human activities, Millikan focuses largely on natural language. Thus, in what follows, I begin by laying out the biology-based principles that underlie Millikan’s theory of content, then proceed with an explanation of how the theory is to apply to natural language. As it appears, Millikan’s account of how content is determined for natural language terms and sentences rests on the determinacy of intentional content at the psychological level. This leads me to take a careful look at what Millikan says about the content of mental representations, in hopes of finding a sufficient basis there for the application of Millikan’s theory of content to natural language. Ultimately, I conclude that Millikan’s theory faces a problem of vacuity. If we approach the theory as a theory of intentional content, intended to explain the nature of reference, the theory is lacking in an extremely important respect: Millikan explains how it could be one of the biological functions of a mental or natural language term to refer, without telling us precisely what in the natural order constitutes the reference relation.. (shrink)
A ‘Radical Simulationist’ account of how folk psychology functions has been developed by Robert Gordon. I argue that Radical Simulationism is false. In its simplest form it is not sufficient to explain our attribution of mental states to subjects whose desires and preferences differ from our own. Modifying the theory to capture these attributions invariably generates innumerable other false attributions. Further, the theory predicts that deficits in mentalizing ought to co-occur with certain deficits in imagining perceptually-based scenarios. I present (...) evidence suggesting that this prediction is false, and outline further possible empirical tests of the theory. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the problem of mental causation can be solved by distinguishing between classificatory mental properties, like being a pain, and instances of those properties.Antireductive physicalism allows only that the former be irreducibly mental. Consequently, properties like being a pain cannot have causal commerce with the physical without violating causal closure. But instances of painfulness, according to the token identity thesis, are identical with various physical tokens and can therefore have causal efficacy in (...) the physical world. Since we expect particular mental phenomena, not types or classes of mental phenomena to be involved in causal interactions, it is argued that antireductive physicalism can explain satisfactorily mental causation, despite the protests of Kim, Sosa, Honderich, and others. Being a mental state of a certain sort may have no causal efficacy, but the intentional and phenomenal properties of such states should, if my argument is correct. (shrink)
The paper argues that dualism can explain mental causation and solve the exclusion problem. If dualism is combined with the assumption that the psychophysical laws have a special status, it follows that some physical events counterfactually depend on, and are therefore caused by, mental events. Proponents of this account of mental causation can solve the exclusion problem in either of two ways: they can deny that it follows that the physical effect of a mental event is (...) overdetermined by its mental and physical causes, or they can accept that the physical effect is overdetermined but claim that this is unproblematic because the case is sufficiently dissimilar to prototypical cases of overdetermination. (shrink)
The present trend towards an atheoretical statistical method of psychiatric classification has prompted many psychiatrists to conceive of "mental disorder", or for that matter any other psychopathological designation, as an indexical cluster of properties and events more than a distinct psychological impairment. By employing different combinations of inclusion and exclusion criteria, the current American Psychiatric Association's scheme (called DSM-III) hopes to avoid the over-selectivity of more metaphysical systems and thereby provide the clinician with a flexible means of dealing with (...) a wide diversity of cases. In the hope of redirecting future inquiry, the paper will argue: (1) that this recent trend might appear to be clinically beneficial, but in point of fact it is riddled by unsound theoretical conclusions which leave the field without a deeply reaching base for understanding and treating mental disorder, and (2) that, a fortiori, "mental disorder" is best conceived as not a cluster of properties and events, nor a metaphorical reaction to a breakdown in social interpersonal relations, but as a deeply laid condition characterized by the absence of an imaginally integrated system. (shrink)
This paper explores citizens’ views about the welfare of farmed fish and the mental abilities of fish with a large survey data sample from Finland (n = 1,890). Although studies on attitudes towards animal welfare have been increasing, fish welfare has received only limited empirical attention, despite the rapid expansion of aquaculture sector. The results show that the welfare of farmed fish is not any great concern in the Finnish society. The analysis confirms the distinct character given to farmed (...) fish compared to traditional farmed animals. Salmon are rated low in their mental abilities, including the capacity to feel pain, which may weaken ethical concerns for fish welfare. When analyzing the social determinants surrounding the rating of the welfare of farmed fish, it was shown that fish welfare attitudes follow general animal welfare attitudes regarding age and place of residence as fish welfare tends to be rated more negatively among younger age groups and among urban residents. However, no clear connection could be identified between gender and the rating of fish welfare, which may suggest that the distinct cultural categorization of fish diminishes the typical gender difference identified in animal attitudes. It is concluded that in order to improve awareness about fish welfare, there is a need to increase dissemination of scientific knowledge about fish and their welfare. Moreover, further research should be directed toward studying the moral positioning of fish and the distinct moral categorization they receive. (shrink)
If mental anomalism is to be interpreted as a thesisunique to psychology, the anomalousness must begrounded in some feature unique to the mental,presumably its rational nature. While the ground forsuch arguments from normativity has been notoriouslyslippery terrain, there are two recently influentialstrategies which make the argument precise. The firstis to deny the possibility of psychophysical bridgelaws because of the different constitutive essences ofmental and physical laws, and the second is to arguethat mental anomalism follows from the uncodifiabilityof (...) rationality. In this paper I argue that bothstrategies fail – the latter because it conflates primafacie and all things considered rationality and theformer because it rests on a false premise, theprinciple of the rational character of belief. Idistinguish four different formulations of thisprinciple and argue that those formulations which areplausible cannot support the argument for mentalanomalism. (shrink)