Questions about the transparency of evidence are central to debates between factive and non-factive versions of mentalism about evidence. If all evidence is transparent, then factive mentalism is false, since no factive mental states are transparent. However, Timothy Williamson has argued that transparency is a myth and that no conditions are transparent except trivial ones. This paper responds by drawing a distinction between doxastic and epistemic notions of transparency. Williamson's argument may show that no conditions are doxastically transparent, (...) but it fails to show that no conditions are epistemically transparent. Moreover, this reinstates the argument from the transparency of evidence against factive mentalism. (shrink)
Behaviorism and mentalism are commonly considered to be mutually exclusive and conjunctively exhaustive options for the psychological explanation of behavior. Behaviorism and mentalism do differ in their characterization of inner causes of behavior. However, I argue that they are not mutually exclusive on the grounds that they share important foundational assumptions, two of which are the notion of an innerouter split and the notion of control. I go on to argue that mentalism and behaviorism are not conjunctively (...) exhaustive either, on the grounds that dropping these common foundational assumptions results in a distinctively different framework for the explanation of behavior. This third alternative, which is briefly described, is a version of non-individualism. (shrink)
Behaviourism is the view that preferences, beliefs, and other mental states in social-scientific theories are nothing but constructs re-describing people's behavioural dispositions. Mentalism is the view that they capture real phenomena, no less existent than the unobservable entities and properties in the natural sciences, such as electrons and electromagnetic fields. While behaviourism has long gone out of fashion in psychology and linguistics, it remains influential in economics, especially in `revealed preference' theory. We aim to (i) clear up some common (...) confusions about the two views, (ii) situate the debate in a historical context, and (iii) defend a mentalist approach to economics. Setting aside normative concerns about behaviourism, we show that mentalism is in line with best scientific practice even if economics is treated as a purely positive science of economic behaviour. We distinguish mentalism from, and reject, the radical neuroeconomic view that behaviour should be explained in terms of people's brain processes, as distinct from their mental states. (shrink)
Sellars’ verbal behaviorism demands that linguistic episodes be conceptual in an underivative sense and his theoretical mentalism that thoughts as postulated theoretical entities be modelled on linguistic behaviors. Marras has contended that Sellars’ own methodology requires that semantic categories be theoretical. Thus linguistic behaviors can be conceptual in only a derivative sense. Further he claims that overt linguistic behaviors cannot serve as a model for all thought because thought is primarily symbolic. I support verbal behaviorism by showing that semantic (...) categories are in the first instance teleological explanatory categories and consequently can be observational. And I show how theoretical mentalism can be maintained even though thought is primarily symbolic. (shrink)
Michael Bergmann seeks to motivate his externalist, proper function theory of epistemic justification by providing three objections to the mentalism and mentalist evidentialism characteristic of nonexternalists such as Richard Feldman and Earl Conee. Bergmann argues that (i) mentalism is committed to the false thesis that justification depends on mental states; (ii) mentalism is committed to the false thesis that the epistemic fittingness of an epistemic input to a belief-forming process must be due to an essential feature of (...) that input, and, relatedly, that mentalist evidentialism is committed to the false thesis that the epistemic fittingness of doxastic response B to evidence E is an essential property of B–E; and (iii) mentalist evidentialism is “unmotivated”. I object to each argument. The argument for (i) begs the question. The argument for (ii) suffers from the fact that mentalist evidentialists are not committed to the consequences claimed for them; nevertheless, I show that there is, in the neighborhood, a substantive dispute concerning the nature of doxastic epistemic fittingness. That dispute involves what I call “Necessary Fittingness”, the view that, necessarily, exactly one (at most) doxastic attitude ( belief , or disbelief , or suspension of judgment ) toward a proposition is epistemically fitting with respect to a person’s total evidence at any time. Reflection on my super-blooper epistemic design counterexamples to Bergmann’s proper function theory reveals both the plausibility of Necessary Fittingness and a good reason to deny (iii). Mentalist evidentialism is thus vindicated against the objections. (shrink)
We review recent anticipatory looking and violation-of-expectancy studies suggesting that infants and young preschoolers have spontaneous (implicit) understanding of mind despite their known problems until later in life on elicited (explicit) tests of false-belief reasoning. Straightforwardly differentiating spontaneous and elicited expressions of complex mental state understanding in relation to an implicit-explicit knowledge framework may be challenging; early action predictions may be based on behavior rules that are complementary to the mentalistic attributions under consideration. We discuss that the way forward for (...) diagnosing early mentalism is to analyze whether young candidate mind-readers’ visual orienting cohere across different belief-formation by belief-use combinations. Adopting this formal cognitive analysis, we conclude that whilst some studies come tantalizingly close to sign-posting mentalism in infants and young children’s spontaneous responses, the bulk of evidence for early mentalism grades into behaviorism. (shrink)
Earl Conee and Richard Feldman claim that mentalism identifies the core of internalist epistemology. This is what I call identifying ur-internalism. Their version of ur-internalism differs from the traditional one ? viz., accessibilism ? by not imposing requirements stipulating that subjects must have reflective access to facts which justify their beliefs for these beliefs to be justified. Instead, justification simply supervenes on the mental lives of subjects. I argue that mentalism fails to establish itself as ur-internalism by demonstrating (...) that the strong supervenience claim used by Conee and Feldman is consistent with cognitive externalism (often called ?the extended mind hypothesis?). Briefly, cognitive externalism claims that the mental states themselves (rather than their contents) constitutively depend on factors outside the bodily individual. Given this possibility, I claim Conee and Feldman's supervenience principle no longer suits the purposes to which they put it. (shrink)
We outline some components of a mentalist theory of human communicative competence. Communication in our species is an intentional and overt type of social interaction, based on each agent's capability of entertaining shared mental states and of acting so as to make certain mental states shared with the other. Communicative meaning is a matter of ascription: it is not an intrinsic property of a communicative act, but is instead created here and now as the shared construction of the interlocutors. We (...) then discuss how communicative actions are superficially realized by our species, focusing in particular on the difference between linguistic and extralinguistic (that is, gestural) means of expression. Linguistic communication is the communicative use of a symbol system, whereas extralinguistic communication is the communicative use of a set of symbols. The difference turns out to be a matter of processing rather than of intrinsic structure. (shrink)
The idea that dreams function as fright-simulations rests on the adaptionist notion that anything that has form has function, and psychological argument relies on the mentalist assumption that dream reports are accurate reports of experienced events. Neither assumption seems adequately supported by the evidence presented. [Revonsuo].
The target article addresses important empirical issues, but adopts a nonanalytic stance toward consciousness and presents the mentalistic view as a very radical position that rules out informational description of anything other than conscious mental states. A better mentalistic strategy is to show how the structure of some informational states is both constitutive of consciousness and necessary for psychological functions.
Many philosophers claim that intuitions are evidential. Yet it is hard to see how introspecting one's mental states could provide evidence for such synthetic truths as those concerning, for example, the abstract and the counterfactual. Such considerations have sometimes been taken to lead to mentalism---the view that philosophy must concern itself only with matters of concept application or other mind-dependent topics suited to a contemplative approach---but this provides us with a poor account of what it is that philosophers take (...) themselves to be doing, for many of them are concerned with the extra-mental facts about the universe. Evidentialism therefore gestates a disaster for philosophy, for it ultimately demands an epistemology for the investigation into such matter as the abstract and the modal that simply will not be forthcoming. We make a different suggestion: That intuitions are inclinations to believe. Hence, according to us, a philosophical argument does well, as a socio-rhetorical matter of fact, when it is founded on premises philosophers are generally inclined to believe, whether or not those inclinations to believe connect appropriately to the extra-mental facts. Accordingly, the role of intuitions (inclinations to believe) in philosophical methodology is non-evidential, and the question of how they could be used as evidence falls away. (shrink)
In this chapter, I argue for the thesis that phenomenal consciousness is the basis of epistemic justification. More precisely, I argue for the thesis of phenomenal mentalism, according to which epistemic facts about which doxastic attitudes one has justification to hold are determined by non-epistemic facts about one’s phenomenally individuated mental states. I begin by providing intuitive motivations for phenomenal mentalism and then proceed to sketch a more theoretical line of argument according to which phenomenal mentalism provides (...) the best explanation of the independently motivated thesis of access internalism. The result is a theory of epistemic justification that brings intuition and theory into reflective equilibrium. (shrink)
This paper argues that Dummett’s interpretation of the relationship between Frege’s anti-psychologism and Wittgenstein’s doctrine that meaning is use results in a misreading of Frege. It points out that anti-mentalism is a form of anti-psychologism, but that mentalism is not the only version of psycholgism. Thus, while Frege and Wittgenstein are united in their opposition to mentalism, they are not equally opposed to psychologism, and from Frege’s point of view, the doctrine that meaning is use could also (...) imply a version of psychologism. It then offers a realist and externalist reading of Frege’s understanding of concepts, which is more in line with what Frege intended by anti-psychologism. (shrink)
First, we argue that Dummett, in his accusing Husserl of psychologism, does not pay sufficient attention to the phenomenological framework of Husserl's philosophy. This framework must be taken into account for understanding why Husserl is not a psychologist in the theory of meaning. Second, it is shown that the thoughts required by Evans' theory of understanding indexical utterances are not to be identified with mental events as understood by psychologism. We then emphasize what Husserl's and Evans' explanation of the mind (...) share, and finally argue that Dummett's anti-psychologism is based on a psychologistic view of consciousness which is not questioned by Dummett. (shrink)
Johannes Kinker (1764–1845) who tried to promote Kantian philosophy in different ways, was also interested in the phenomenon of language. His general language theory is presented in Inleiding eener Wijsgeerige Algemeene Theorie der Talen, published in 1817. An impression of that theory is given in this paper. Some important questions arise, viz. whether Kinker was influenced by others; whether his theory was an original one and what the place of the theory is in the linguistic situation of the eighteenth and (...) the beginning of the nineteenth century. (shrink)
It has recently been claimed (1) that mental states such as beliefs are theoretical entities and (2) that they are therefore, in principle, subject to theoretical elimination if intentional psychology were to be supplanted by a psychology not employing mentalistic notions. Debate over these two issues is seriously hampered by the fact that the key terms 'theoretical' and 'belief' are ambiguous. This article argues that there is only one sense of 'theoretical' that is of use to the eliminativist, and in (...) this sense some kinds of "belief" (dispositional states, infra-conscious states and the Freudian unconscious) are indeed "theoretical" and hence possible candidates for elimination, while others (consciously occurring thoughts like judgements and perceptual Gestalten) are not theoretical and hence not candidates for elimination. (shrink)
This paper argues that justification is accessible in the sense that one has justification to believe a proposition if and only if one has higher-order justification to believe that one has justification to believe that proposition. I argue that the accessibility of justification is required for explaining what is wrong with believing Moorean conjunctions of the form, ‘p and I do not have justification to believe that p.’.
The Life of the Mind presents an original and striking conception of the mind and its place in nature. In a spirited and rigorous attack on most of the orthodox positions in contemporary philosophy of mind, McCulloch connects three of the orthodoxy's central themes-- externalism, phenomenology and the relation between science and commonsense psychology in a defense of a thoroughly anti-Cartesian conception of mental life. McCulloch argues that the life of the mind will never be understood until we properly understand (...) the subject's essential embodiment and immersion in the world, until we give up the idea that an understanding of the mind must be "scientific," and until we give up the idea that intentionality and phenomenology must be understood separately. (shrink)
In its October 2001 issue, this journal published a series of articles questioning the Whole-Brain-based definition of death. Much of the concern focused on whether somatic integration - a commonly understood basis for the whole-brain death view - can survive the brain's death. The present article accepts that there are insurmountable problems with whole-brain death views, but challenges the assumption that loss of somatic integration is the proper basis for pronouncing death. It examines three major themes. First, it accepts the (...) claim of the "disaggregators" that some behaviors traditionally associated with death can be unbundled, but argues that other behaviors (including organ procurement) must continue to be associated. Second, it rejects the claims of the "somaticists," that the integration of the body is critical, arguing instead for equating death with the irreversible loss of "embodied consciousness," that is, the loss of integration of bodily and mental function. Third, it defends higher-brain views against the charge that they are necessarily "mentalist," that is, that they equate death with losing some mental function such as consciousness or personhood. It argues, instead, for the integration of bodily and mental function as the critical feature of human life and that its irreversible loss constitutes death. (shrink)
Mentalism (Dulany 1991; 1997) provides a metatheoretical alternative to the dominant cognitive view. This commentary briefly outlines its main propositions and what I see as strategies for its use and support at this stage. These propositions represent conscious states as the sole carriers of symbolic representations, and mental episodes as consisting exclusively of conscious states interrelated by nonconscious operations.
This paper surveys the main attitudes toward intentional explanation in recent psychology. Specifically, the positions of reductionistic behaviorism, materialism and replacement behaviorism are critically examined. Finally, an assessment of the current state of the controversy is presented.
I critically discuss both the particular doctrinal and general meta-philosophical or methodological tenets of Mark Johnston's paper "Human Beings", attending to several weaknesses in his argument. One of the most important amongst them is an apparent reliance on a substitution of identicals within an intensional context as he argues that continuity of functioning brain is essential to the persistence of "Human Beings" as allegedly singled out by his methodology; another equally important is a simple lacuna in place of an argument (...) that candidate entities for re-identification by means we take for granted in the case of persons cannot be what I call "mentalistically" individuated. (shrink)
McDowell's claim that "in mature human beings, embodied coping is permeated with mindedness",1 suggests a new version of the mentalist myth which, like the others, is untrue to the phenomenon. The phenomena show that embodied skills, when we are fully absorbed in enacting them, have a kind of non-mental content that is non-conceptual, non-propositional, non-rational and non-linguistic. This is not to deny that we can monitor our activity while performing it. For solving problems, learning a new skill, receiving coaching, and (...) so forth, such monitoring is invaluable. But monitoring what we are doing as we are doing it degrades performance to at best competence. On McDowell's view, there is no way to account for such a degradation in performance since the same sort of content would be involved whether we were fully absorbed in or paying attention to what we were doing. McDowell claims that it is an advantage of his conceptualism that it avoids any foundationalist attempt to build up the objective world on the basis of an indubitable Given or any other ground-floor experience. And, indeed, if the world is all that is the case and our minds are unproblematically open to it, all experience is on the same footing. But one must distinguish motor intentionality, and the interrelated solicitations our coping body is intertwined with, from conceptual intentionality and the world of propositional structures it opens onto. The existential phenomenologist can then agree with McDowell in rejecting traditional foundationalisms, while yet affirming and describing the ground-floor role of motor intentionality in providing the support on which all forms of conceptual intentionality are based. (shrink)
For most of their respective existences, reliabilism and evidentialism (that is, process reliabilism and mentalist evidentialism) have been rivals. They are generally viewed as incompatible, even antithetical, theories of justification.1 But a few people are beginning to re-think this notion. Perhaps an ideal theory would be a hybrid of the two, combining the best elements of each theory. Juan Comesana (forthcoming) takes this point of view and constructs a position called “Evidentialist Reliabilism.” He tries to show how each theory can (...) profit by borrowing elements from the other. Comesana concentrates on reliabilism’s problems and how it might be improved by infusions from evidentialism. This paper follows a similar tack. My emphasis, however, is the reverse of Comesana’s. I highlight problems for evidentialism and show how it could benefit by incorporating reliabilist themes. I am not sanguine that evidentialists will see it my way. They might even view my proposals as an insidious attempt to convert evidentialists to reliabilism. Well, I won’t debate the best way to formulate this paper’s recipe. At any rate, it began with the idea (which anteceded my reading of Comesana) of creating a synthesis of reliabilism and evidentialism. It retains significant strands of that idea, although the synthesis theme does not pervade the entire paper. What is mentalist evidentialism? Its original formulation was succinct. (shrink)
The philosophical mind-body problem, which Chalmers has named the 'Hard Problem', concerns the nature of the mind and the body. Physicalist approaches have been explored intensively in recent years but have brought us no consensual solution. Dualistic approaches have also been scrutinised since Descartes, but without consensual success. Mentalism has received little attention, yet it offers an elegantly simple solution to the hard problem.
In his latest book, Michael Devitt rejects Chomsky’s mentalist conception of linguistics. The case against Chomsky is based on two principal claims. First, that we can separate the study of linguistic competence from the study of its outputs: only the latter belongs to linguistic inquiry. Second, Chomsky’s account of a speaker’s competence as consisiting in the mental representation of rules of a grammar for his language is mistaken. I shall argue, fi rst, that Devitt fails to make a case for (...) separating the study of outputs from the study of competence, and second, that Devitt mis-characterises Chomsky’s account of competence, and so his objections miss their target. Chomsky’s own views come close to a denial that speaker’s have knowledge of their language. But a satisfactory account of what speakers are able to do will need to ascribe them linguistic knowledge that they use to speak and understand. I shall explore a conception of speaker’s knowledge of language that confi rms Chomsky’s mentalist view of linguistics but which is immune to Devitt’s criticisms. (shrink)
The pain case can appear to undermine the radically intentionalist view that the phenomenal character of any experience is entirely constituted by its representational content. That appearance is illusory, I argue. After categorising versions of pain intentionalism along two dimensions, I argue that an “objectivist” and “non-mentalist” version is the most promising, provided it can withstand two objections: concerning what we say when in pain, and the distinctiveness of the pain case. I rebut these objections, in a way that’s available (...) to both opponents and adherents of the view that experiential content is entirely conceptual. In doing so I illuminate peculiarities of somatosensory perception that should interest even those who take a different view of pain experiences. (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)
It has been over thirty years since the publication of Jerry Fodor’s landmark book The Language of Thought (LOT 1). In LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited, Fodor provides an update on his thoughts concerning a range of topics that have been the focus of his work in the intervening decades. The Representational Theory of Mind (RTM), the central thesis of LOT 1, remains intact in LOT 2: mental states are relations between organisms and syntactically-structured mental representations, and mental (...) processes are computations defined over such representations. The differences between LOT 1 and LOT 2 are mostly differences of focus. Whereas LOT 1 had a number of targets—e.g. reductionism, behaviorism, empiricism, and operationalism—LOT 2 identifies “pragmatism” as the main enemy of the “Cartesian” kind of mentalism Fodor favors (pp. 11-12). Moreover, unlike LOT 1, a main aim of LOT 2 is to defend a theory of concepts that is atomistic and referentialist: lexical concepts lack structure, and their meaning is determined by their relation to the world and not by their relations to other concepts (pp. 16-20). In addition to new discussions of concepts and content, LOT 2 treats us to Fodor’s latest thoughts on compositionality, computationalism, nativism, nonconceptual content, and the causal theory of reference. Although those familiar with Fodor’s work over the last thirty years will find its main conclusions unsurprising, LOT 2 is nevertheless an exciting, breezily written book that’s full of stimulating arguments and (in standard Fodor style) immensely interesting digressions. In the Introduction, Fodor bundles together a number of distinct doctrines under “pragmatism”—e.g., that “knowing how is the paradigm cognitive state and it is prior to knowing that in the order of intentional explanation” (p. 10), and that “the distinctive function of the mind is guiding action” (p. 13). But it’s clear by Chapter 2 that his main target is “concept pragmatism,” according to which concepts are individuated by their inferential properties. Fodor’s “Cartesianism,” in contrast, has it that none of the epistemic properties of concepts are constitutive.. (shrink)
In Justification Without Awareness, Michael Bergmann attacks Internalism and Mentalism. His attack on Internalism refutes some versions of an awareness requirement for justification but leaves another standing and well-motivated. His attack on Mentalism, while successful, leaves us with a difficult question—what non-mental features play a role in determining justification?—that his own externalist theory fails to answer correctly.
The most widely accepted and well worked out approaches to the foundations of meaning take facts about the meanings of linguistic expressions at a time to be derivative from the propositional attitudes of speakers of the language at that time. This mentalist strategy takes two principal forms, one which traces meaning to belief, and one which analyzes it in terms of communicative intentions. I argue that either form of mentalism fails, and conclude by suggesting that we can do better (...) by focusing on connections between linguistic meaning and the contents of perceptions (rather than beliefs or intentions), and by (following Kripke's approach to reference) replacing questions about the nature of meaning with questions about the nature of term introduction and meaning transmission. (shrink)
Abstract: Heidegger's Sein und Zeit (SZ) is commonly viewed as one of the 20th century's great anti-Cartesian works, usually because of its attack on the epistemology-driven dualism and mentalism of modern philosophy of mind or its apparent effort to ‘de-center the subject’ in order to privilege being or sociality over the individual. Most who stress one or other of these anti-Cartesian aspects of SZ, however, pay little attention to Heidegger's own direct engagement with Descartes, apart from the compressed discussion (...) in SZ§§19–21. I here show through a careful reading of Heidegger's lectures on Descartes from the years immediately preceding SZ that, while he has sharp criticisms of Descartes and certain ‘Cartesian’ aspects of modern philosophy along the lines commonly recognized, he also aims to disclose what he calls the ‘positive possibilities’ in Descartes and the philosophy he inspired. I detail a number of these and then show that they force us to see Heidegger's own early project as largely unconcerned with dualism and mentalism per se, and much more with questions of the philosophical methodology that gives rise to them. Moreover, I show that a careful reading of Heidegger's treatment of the cogito makes clear that he is no serious way attempting to ‘de-center the subject’ and that the fundamental question of the ‘analytic of Dasein’ is one that takes Descartes as an immediate jumping off point: how can I articulate what I understand myself to be as the general kind of entity I am, and on what besides me does my being depend? (shrink)
There are three main positions on animalthought: lingualism denies that non-linguistic animalshave any thoughts; mentalism maintains that theirthoughts differ from ours only in degree, due totheir different perceptual inputs; an intermediateposition, occupied by common sense and Wittgenstein,maintains that animals can have thoughts of a simplekind. This paper argues in favor of an intermediateposition. It considers the most important arguments infavor of lingualism, namely those inspired byDavidson: the argument from the intensional nature ofthought (Section 1); the idea that thoughts involveconcepts (...) (Sections 2–3); the argument from the holisticnature of thought (Section 4); and the claim that beliefrequires the concept of belief (Sections 5–6). The lastargument (which Davidson favors) is uncompelling, butthe first three shed valuable light on the extent towhich thought requires language. However, none of themprecludes animals from having simple thoughts. Even ifone adopts the kind of third-person perspective onthought Davidson shares with Wittgenstein, the resultis a version of the intermediate position, albeit oneenriched by Davidson''s insights concerningintensionality, concepts and holism (Section 7). We canonly ascribe simple thoughts to animals, and even thatascription is incongruous in that the rich idiom weemploy has conceptual connections that go beyond thephenomena to which it is applied. (shrink)
The major part of this paper is devoted to the task of showing that Husserl's account of knowledge and truth in terms of a synthesis of fulfilment falls prey neither to a form of “metaphysics of presence” nor to a “myth of interiority” or mentalism. Husserl's presentation of the desire to know, his awareness of irreducible forms of absence at the heart of the intuitive presence of the object of knowledge and his formulation of general rules concerning the possible (...) accomplishment of a synthesis of fulfilment are therefore carefully examined. Special attention is also given to the fact that the determination of knowledge and truth provided by the Sixth Logical Investigation rests on an account of an original interweaving between the thing, consciousness, and language. Unlike in Husserl's earlier and later works, no attempt is thereby made to subordinate any of these three elements involved in all knowledge to one of the others. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against Mentalism, the claim that all the factors that contribute to the epistemic justification of a doxastic attitude towards a proposition by a subject S are mental states of S. My objection to mentalism is that there is a special kind of fact (what I call a "support fact") that contributes to the justification of any belief, and that is not mental. My argument against mentalism, then, is the following: Anti-mentalism argument: (...) 1. If mentalism is true, then support facts are mental. 2. Support facts are not mental. Therefore, 3. Mentalism is not true. In what follows I explain what support facts are, and then defend each of the premises of my argument. I conclude with some remarks regarding the relevance of my argument for the larger internalism/externalism debate(s) in epistemology. (shrink)
Jackendoff defends a mentalist approach to semantics that investigates con- ceptual structures in the mind/brain and their interfaces with other structures, including specifically linguistic structures responsible for syntactic and phono- logical competence. He contrasts this approach with one that seeks to charac- terize the intentional relations between expressions and objects in the world. The latter, he argues, cannot be reconciled with mentalism. He objects in par- ticular that intentionality cannot be naturalized and that the relevant notion of object is (...) suspect. I critically discuss these objections, arguing in part that Jackendoff’s position rests on questionable philosophical assumptions. (shrink)
Directed to scholars and senior-level graduate students, this book is an iconoclastic survey of the history of dualism and its impact on contemporary cognitive psychology. It argues that much of modern cognitive or mentalist psychology is built upon a cryptodualism--the idea that the mind and brain can be thought of as independent entities. This dualism pervades so much of society that it covertly influences many aspects of modern science, particularly psychology. To support the argument, the history of dualism is extended (...) over 100,000 years--from the Paleolithic times until modern philosophical and psychological thinking. The questions regarding this topic that are answered in the book are: 1) Does dualism influence the scientific theories of psychology? 2) If so, should dualism be put aside in the search for a more objective analysis of human mentation? (shrink)
Abstract: Chomsky (1986) has claimed that the prima facie incompatibility between descriptive linguistics and semantic externalism proves that an externalist semantics is impossible. Although it is true that a strong form of externalism does not cohere with descriptive linguistics, sociolinguistic theory can unify the two approaches. The resulting two-level theory reconciles descriptivism, mentalism, and externalism by construing community languages as a function of social identification. This approach allows a fresh look at names and definite descriptions while also responding to (...) Chomsky's (1993, 1995) challenge to articulate an externalist theory of meaning that can be used in the scientific investigation of language. (shrink)
In recent work on the foundations of statistical mechanics and the arrow of time, Barry Loewer and David Albert have developed a view that defends both a best system account of laws and a physicalist fundamentalism. I argue that there is a tension between their account of laws, which emphasizes the pragmatic element in assessing the relative strength of different deductive systems, and their reductivism or funda- mentalism. If we take the pragmatic dimension in their account seriously, then the (...) laws of the special sciences should be part of our best explanatory system of the world, as well. (shrink)
According to mentalism some existing things are endowed with (subjectively) conscious minds. According to physicalism all existing things consist entirely of physical particles in fields of force. Searle holds that mentalism and physicalism are compatible and true.
In this paper, I will present an argument against Husserl’s analysis of picture consciousness. Husserl’s analysis of picture consciousness (as it can be found primarily in the recently translated volume Husserliana 23) moves from a theory of depiction in general to a theory of perceptual imagination. Though, I think that Husserl’s thesis that picture consciousness is different from depictive and linguistic consciousness is legitimate, and that Husserl’s phenomenology avoids the errors of linguistic theories, such as Goodman’s, I submit that his (...) overall theory is unacceptable, especially when it is applied to works of art. Regarding art, the main problem of Husserl’s theory is the assumption that pictures are constituted primarily as a conflict between perception/physical picture thing and imagination/picture object. Against this mentalist claim, I maintain, from a hermeneutic point of view, that pictures are the result of perceptual formations [Bildungen]. I then claim that Husserl’s theory fails, since it does not take into account what I call “plastic perception” [Bildliches Sehen], which plays a prominent role not only within the German tradition of art education but also within German art itself. In this connection, “plastic thinking” [Bildliches Denken] was prominent especially in Klee, in Kandinsky, and in Beuys, as well as in the overall doctrine of the Bauhaus. Ultimately, I argue that Husserl’s notion of picture consciousness and general perceptive imaginary consciousness must be replaced with a more dynamic model of the perception of pictures and art work that takes into account (a) the constructive and plastic moment, (b) the social dimension and (c) the genetic dimension of what it means to see something in something (Wollheim). (shrink)
I argue that thoughts and concepts are mental representations rather than abstracta. I propose that the most important difference between the two views is that the mentalist believes that there are concept and thought tokens as well as types; this reveals that the dispute is not terminological but ontological. I proceed to offer an argument for mentalism. The key step is to establish that concepts and thoughts have lexical as well as semantic properties. I then show that this entails (...) that concepts and thoughts are susceptible to the type/token distinction. I finish by considering some objections to the argument. (shrink)
We can imagine a human operator playing a game of one-upmanship against a programmed computer. If the program is Fn, the human operator can print the theorem Gn, which the programmed computer, or, if you prefer, the program, would never print, if it is consistent. This is true for each whole number n, but the victory is a hollow one since a second computer, loaded with program C, could put the human operator out of a job.... It is useless for (...) the `mentalist' to argue that any given program can always be improves since the process for improving programs can presumably be programmed also; certainly this can be done if the mentalist describes how the improvement is to be made. If he does give such a description, then he has not made a case. (shrink)
In [HKL00] (henceforth HKL), Hamm, Kamp and van Lambalgen declare ‘‘there is no opposition between formal and cognitive semantics,’’ notwithstanding the realist/mentalist divide. That divide separates two sides Jackendo¤ has (in [Jac96], following Chomsky) labeled E(xternalized)-semantics, relating language to a reality independent of speakers, and I(nternalized)-semantics, revolving around mental representations and thought. Although formal semanticists have (following David Lewis) traditionally leaned towards E-semantics, it is reasonable to apply formal methods also to I-semantics. This point is made clear in HKL via (...) two computational approaches to natural language semantics, Discourse Representation Theory (DRT, [KR93]) and the Event Calculus (EC) presented in [LH05]. In this short note, I wish to raise certain questions about EC that can be traced to the applicability of formal methods to E-semantics and I-semantics alike. These opposing orientations suggest di¤erent notions of time, event and representation. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction Jonathan Floyd and Marc Stears; 1. Rescuing political theory from the tyranny of history Paul Kelly; 2. From contextualism, to mentalism, to behaviourism Jonathan Floyd; 3. Contingency and judgement in history of political philosophy Bruce Haddock; 4. Political philosophy and the dead hand of its history Gordon Graham; 5. Politics, political theory, and its history Iain Hampsher-Monk; 6. Constraint, freedom, and exemplar Melissa Lane; 7. History and reality Andrew Sabl; 8. The new realism Bonnie (...) Honig and Marc Stears; Afterword Jonathan Floyd. (shrink)
Skinner has repeatedly asserted that he does not deny either the existence of private events or the possibility of studying them scientifically. But he has never explained how his position in this respect differs from that of the mentalist or provided a practical methodology for the investigation of private events within a radical behaviorist perspective. With respect to the first of these deficiencies, I argue that observation statements describing a public state of affairs in the common public environment of two (...) or more observers which those observers confirm as a correct description provide a far more objective and secure foundation for empirical knowledge than statements describing private events in the experience of a single individual. In the course of this argument, I also invoke Wittgenstein's (1953) demonstration — his 'private language argument' — of the incoherence of traditional subjective empiricism. Regarding the second deficiency, I argue that observation statements describing private events can serve as data for an objective study, provided that (a) the verbal behavior in which they consist and its context are objectively observed and recorded, and (b) an explanation is given of how this verbal behavior is generated by the events it reports. (shrink)
It is argued that there can only be a small-finite number of mathematical objects; that these objects range from the very concrete to the very abstract; and that mathematics is essentially not concerned with objects but with concepts. This viewpoint is described as mentalist and is upheld over Platonism, intuitionism, and formalism.
To what extent can constructive mathematics based on intuitionistc logic recover the mathematics needed for spacetime physics? Certain aspects of this important question are examined, both technical and philosophical. On the technical side, order, connectivity, and extremization properties of the continuum are reviewed, and attention is called to certain striking results concerning causal structure in General Relativity Theory, in particular the singularity theorems of Hawking and Penrose. As they stand, these results appear to elude constructivization. On the philosophical side, it (...) is argued that any mentalist-based radical constructivism suffers from a kind of neo-Kantian apriorism. It would be at best a lucky accident if objective spacetime structure mirrored mentalist mathematics. the latter would seem implicitly committed to a Leibnizian relationist view of spacetime, but is it doubtful if implementation of such a view would overcome the objection. As a result, an anti-realist view of physics seems forced on the radical constructivist. (shrink)
Pragmatist reinterpretations of both deliberative-communicative theory and legal positivism point out the mentalist fallacy entailed by these prevalent models. I argue that pragmatist approaches imply analogous erroneous beliefs since they presuppose as given the shared perception of social contexts. Therefore they take for granted the shared interpretation of social problems and shared selection of common goals. Hence I advance the necessity of inquiring into the possibility conditions for a shared perception of social contexts. This would entail the organization of institutional (...) incentives meant to extend the scope and inclusiveness of the immediate perception of social context expressed by different agents. (shrink)
From a cognitive perspective, intentional communication may be viewed as an agent's activity overtly aimed at modifying a partner's mental states. According to standard Gricean definitions, this requires each party to be able to ascribe mental states to the other, i.e., to entertain a so-called theory of mind. According to the relevant experimental literature, however, such capability does not appear before the third or fourth birthday; it would follow that children under that age should not be viewed as communicating agents. (...) In order to solve the resulting dilemma, we propose that certain specific components of an agent's cognitive architecture (namely, a peculiar version of sharedness and communicative intention), are necessary and sufficient to explain infant communication in a mentalist framework. We also argue that these components are innate in the human species. (shrink)
The foundations of law have been the object ofintense philosophical scrutiny since antiquity.Most importantly, it has been asked whetherthere are really any foundations other thansheer force to be found once more comfortingillusions are abandoned. This paperinvestigates four influential theorists ofradical legal philosophy and postmodern thought(Benjamin, Schmitt, Luhmann, Derrida) who dealwith this problem in comparable ways despitetheir different theoretical outlooks. Themerits of these theories having been assessed,mentalism in ethics and law is introduced as apossible alternative to both the widespreadfoundationalism (...) of the past and theanti-foundationalism of the postmodern present. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's philosophies, from both the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations, are explained and developed. Wittgenstein uses a primitive version of recursion theory to develop his attempt at a purely logical metaphysics in the Tractatus. However, due to his implicit materialist assumptions, he could not make the system completely logical, and built in a mystical division of possible worlds into the true and the false. This incoherence eventually lead him to reject logic as a method for doing metaphysics, and indeed to (...) reject metaphysics entirely. I argue that his move from the Tractatus to the Investigations was valid, but only given his materialist assumptions. If he had been willing to drop this unnecessary baggage, recursion would have played a very different role in his system, since he would then have had no need to separate static objects from processes, which he saw as purely mental. F.H. Bradley developed such a nonmaterialist metaphysics in the nineteenth century, but was crippled by a mentalism that Wittgenstein was free of. The anti-mentalism and anti-materialism that Wittgenstein considered as given were not so obvious to his predecessor, Russell, who revolted against Bradley's idealism in much the same way Wittgenstein ended up revolting against Russell's logical atomism. In my view, none of these positions was the right approach, which would require nonmentalism and nonmaterialism. But for some reason, these things (which seem to go together quite naturally to me) have been widely considered to be incompatible. Bradley was appropriately a non-materialist, but suffered from mentalism. Russell and the early Wittgenstein were appropriately nonmentalists, but suffered from materialism. The later Wittgenstein was, I would argue, still an ardent materialist and anti-mentalist, in spite of the fact that he had long since realized the contradictions to which materialism leads; he just had not recognized that it was his materialist assumptions that had lead him there, since these assumptions were so firmly engrained in his thinking as to be invisible.. (shrink)