Understanding the place of thought and feeling in the natural world is central to that general comprehension of nature, as well as that special self-understanding, which are the primary goals of science and philosophy. The general form of the project, which has exercised scientists and philosophers since the ancient world, is given by the question, ‘What is the relation, in general, between mental and physical phenomena?’ There is no settled agreement on the correct answer. This is the single most important (...) gap in our understanding of the natural world. The trouble is that the question presents us with a problem: each possible answer to it has consequences that appear unacceptable. This problem has traditionally gone under the heading ‘The Mind–BodyProblem.’1 My primary aim in this chapter is to explain in what this traditional mind–bodyproblem consists, what its possible solutions are, and what obstacles lie in the way of a resolution. (shrink)
This work speaks about very special solution of the mind–bodyproblem. This solution based on the so-called Principle of Co-existence stands out as one of the most interesting attempts at solving the mind–bodyproblem. It states that substances can only exert a mutual influence on one another if they have something in common. This does not have to be a common property but rather, a binding relationship. Thus, substances co-exist when they remain bound by (...) a common relationship, for instance, to an external subject. The Principle of Co-existence played an extremely important role in Kant’s philosophy, not only since it provided a framework for solving the mind–bodyproblem, but since it captured the very basis of its existence. The Principle found also reflection in the works of Kant’s successors, such as Fichte, Schelling, Hegel or Feuerbach. It had significant—though often hidden—repercussions on later philosophy of mind. The notion of force and the principle of its operation became key concepts in resolving the mind–bodyproblem. As a result, philosophy of mind concentrated on the search for a principle explaining the occurrence of two complementary types of phenomena. This established a tradition which, to a greater or lesser extent, has survived to our day. (shrink)
The Clarke-Collins correspondence was widely read and frequently printed during the 18th century. Its central topic is the question whether matter can think. Samuel Clarke defends the immateriality of the human soul against Anthony Collins’ materialism. Clarke argues that consciousness must belong to an indivisible entity, and matter is divisible. Collins contends that consciousness could belong to a composite subject by emerging from material qualities that belong to its parts. While many early modern thinkers assumed that this is not possible, (...) this correspondence offers an unusually detailed discussion of this issue. Clarke rejects emergentism because real qualities of a composite must be homogeneous with the qualities of the parts. This rejection is based on considerations about the nature of causation. In addition, the disagreement derives in part from a disagreement between Clarke and Collins about the limits of our knowledge. (shrink)
In this paper I begin to develop an account of the acquaintance that each of us has with our own conscious states and processes. The account is a speculative proposal about human mental architecture and specifically about the nature of the concepts via which we think in first personish ways about our qualia. In a certain sense my account is neutral between physicalist and dualist accounts of consciousness. As will be clear, a dualist could adopt the account I will offer (...) while maintaining that qualia themselves are non-physical properties. In this case the non-physical nature of qualia may play no role in accounting for the features of acquaintance. But although the account could be used by a dualist, its existence provides support for physicalism. (shrink)
Taking into account the difficulties that all attempts at a solution of the problem of causal-explanatory exclusion have experienced, we analyze in this paper the chances that mind-body causation is a case of overdetermination, a line of attack that has scarcely been explored. Our conclusion is that claiming that behaviors are causally overdetermined cannot solve the problem of causal-explanatory exclusion. The reason is the problem of massive coincidence, that can only be avoided by establishing a (...) relation between mind and body; that is, by denying overdetermination. The only way to defend that mind-body causation is a case of overdetermination would be by denying any modal force whatever to the principle of the causal closure of the physical, and this is a claim we would not like to reject. (shrink)
Intuitions based on the first-person perspective can easily mislead us about what is and is not conceivable.1 This point is usually made in support of familiar reductionist positions on the mind-bodyproblem, but I believe it can be detached from that approach. It seems to me that the powerful appearance of contingency in the relation between the functioning of the physical organism and the conscious mind -- an appearance that depends directly or indirectly on the first- (...) person perspective -- must be an illusion. But the denial of this contingency should not take the form of a reductionist account of consciousness of the usual type, whereby the logical gap between the mental and the physical is closed by conceptual analysis -- in effect, by analyzing the mental in terms of the physical (however elaborately this is done -- and I count functionalism as such a theory, along with the topic-neutral causal role analyses of mental concepts from which it descends). (shrink)
This collection of new essays put the debates on the mind-bodyproblem into historical context. The discussions range from Aristotle, Aquinas and Descartes to the origins of the qualia and intentionality.
It is widely held that the current debate on the mind-bodyproblem in analytic philosophy began during the 1950s at two distinct sources: one in America, de- riving from Herbert Feigl's writings, and the other in Australia, related to writings by U. T. Place and J. J. C. Smart (Feigl  1967). Jaegwon Kim recently wrote that "it was the papers by Smart and Feigl that introduced the mind-bodyproblem as a mainstream metaphysical Problematik (...) of analytical philosophy, and launched the debate that has continued to this day" (Kim 1998, 1). Nonetheless, it is not at all obvious why these particular articles sparked a debate, nor why Feigl's work in particular came to play such a prominent part in it, nor how and to what extent Feigl's approach rests on the logical empiricism he endorsed. (shrink)
The Mind/BodyProblem (M/BP) is about causation not correlation. And its solution (if there is one) will require a mechanism in which the mental component somehow manages to play a causal role of its own, rather than just supervening superflously on other, nonmental components that look, for all the world, as if they can do the full causal job perfectly well without it. Correlations confirm that M does indeed "supervene" on B, but causality is needed to show (...) how/why M is not supererogatory; and that's the hard part. (shrink)
Most scholars who presently deal with the Mind-Bodyproblem consider themselves monist materialists. Nevertheless, many of them also assume that there exist (in some sense of existence) mental entities. But since these two positions do not harmonize quite well, the literature is full of discussions about how to reconcile the positions. In this paper, I will defend a materialist theory that avoids all these problems by completely rejecting the existence of mental entities. This is Quine's repudiation theory. (...) According to the theory, there are no mental entities, and the behavioral or physiological phenomena that have been attributed to mental entities, or that point to the existence of these entities, are exclusively caused by physiological factors. To be sure, several objections have been raised to materialist theories that do not assign some role to mental entities. But we will see that Quine is able to give convincing replies to these objections. (shrink)
This paper contrasts two approaches to the mind-bodyproblem and the possibility of mental causation: the conceptual approach advocated by Collingwood/Dray and the metaphysical approach advocated by Davidson. On the conceptual approach to show that mental causation is possible is equivalent to demonstrating that mentalistic explanations possess a different logical structure from naturalistic explanations. On the metaphysical approach to show that mental causation is possible entails explaining how the mind can intelligibly be accommodated within a physicalist (...) universe. I argue that the conceptual approach offers a much more powerful defence of the autonomy of the mental. (shrink)
* Argument from authoritative self-knowledge ("privileged access" to one's own mental states) 1. We have a "privileged access" to our own mental states in the sense we have the authority on what mental states we are in. 2. Through introspection, we are aware of our mental states but not aware of them as physical states of any sort or as functional states. 3. Therefore, our mental states cannot be physical states.
At the very heart of the mind-bodyproblem is the question of the nature of consciousness. It is consciousness, and in particular _phenomenal_ consciousness, that makes the mind-body relation so deeply perplexing. Many philosophers hold that no defi nition of phenomenal consciousness is possible: any such putative defi nition would automatically use the concept of phenomenal consciousness and thus render the defi nition circular. The usual view is that the concept of phenomenal consciousness is one (...) that must be explained by means of specifi c examples and associated comments. (shrink)
The idea that we may continue to exist in a bodiless condition after our death has long played an important role in beliefs about immortality, ultimate rewards and punishments, the transmigration of souls, and the like. There has also been long and heated disagreement about whether the idea of disembodied existence even makes sense, let alone whether anybody can or does survive dissolution of his material form. It may seem doubtful that anything new could be added to the debate at (...) this late date, but I hope to show that this is not so. I will explore the problem of disembodiment from a somewhat different direction than has been tried before, one that leads to what seem to me more interesting and more definite conclusions about its unintelligibility. Furthermore, the approach I will be taking puts both the traditional mind-bodyproblem and the competing claims of dualism and physicalism in a fresh light that can help us to understand better the nature of our embodied existence. (shrink)
Sergio Moravia's The Enigma of the Mind (originally published in Italian as L'enigma della mente) offers a broad and lucid critical and historical survey of one of the fundamental debates in the philosophy of mind - the relationship of mind and body. This problem continues to raise deep questions concerning the nature of man. The book has two central aims. First, Professor Moravia sketches the major recent contributions to the mind/bodyproblem from (...) philosophers of mind. Having established this framework Professor Moravia pursues his second aim - the articulation of a particular interpretation of the mental and the mind-bodyproblem. The book's detailed and systematic treatment of this fundamental philosophical issue make it ideal for upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in epistemology and the philosophy of mind. It should also prove provocative reading for psychologists and cognitive scientists. (shrink)
I argue that Descartes treated the action of body on mind differently from the action of mind on body, as was common in the period. Descartes explicitly denied that there is a problem for interaction but his descriptions of interaction seem to suggest that he thought there was a problem. I argue that these descriptions are motivated by a different issue, the seemingly arbitrary connections between particular physical states and the particular mental states they (...) produce. Within scholasticism there was already a (yet different) problem concerning action of body on mind. I offer a comparison between Descartes and the scholastics. (shrink)
This first extensive study of Spinoza's philosophy of mind concentrates on two problems crucial to the philosopher's thoughts on the matter: the requirements for having a thought about a particular object, and the problem of the mind's relation to the body. Della Rocca contends that Spinoza's positions are systematically connected with each other and with a principle at the heart of his metaphysical system: his denial of causal or explanatory relations between the mental and the physical. (...) In this way, Della Rocca's exploration of these two problems provides a new and illuminating perspective on Spinoza's philosophy as a system. (shrink)
One of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, Sir Karl Popper here examines the problems connected with human freedom, creativity, rationality and the relationship between human beings and their actions. In this illuminating series of papers, Popper suggests a theory of mind-body interaction that relates to evolutionary emergence, human language and what he calls "the three worlds." Rene; Descartes first posited the existence of two worlds--the world of physical bodies and the world of mental states. Popper (...) argues for the existence of "world 3" which comprises the products of our human minds. He examines the interaction between mental states--hopes, needs, plans, ideologies or hypotheses--and the physical states of our brain. Popper forcefully argues against the materialism forwarded by many philosophers which denies the existence of mental states. Instead, he demonstrates that the problem of the interaction between mental and physical states remains unresolved. Knowledge and the Body-MindProblem is based on Popper's never-before published lectures at Emory University in 1969. Popper has extensively revised the lectures but has retained their accessible format. He has also incorporated some of the discussions which followed the lectures, providing an engaging exchange between the philosopher and his audience. (shrink)
In his Meditations, Rene Descartes asks, "what am I?" His initial answer is "a man." But he soon discards it: "But what is a man? Shall I say 'a rational animal'? No: for then I should inquire what an animal is, what rationality is, and in this way one question would lead down the slope to harder ones." Instead of understanding what a man is, Descartes shifts to two new questions: "What is Mind?" and "What is Body?" These (...) questions develop into Descartes's main philosophical preoccupation: the Mind-Body distinction. How can Mind and Body be independent entities, yet joined--essentially so--within a single human being? If Mind and Body are really distinct, are human beings merely a "construction"? On the other hand, if we respect the integrity of humans, are Mind and Body merely aspects of a human being and not subjects in and of themselves? For centuries, philosophers have considered this classic philosophical puzzle. Now, in this compact, engaging, and long-awaited work UCLA philosopher Joseph Almog closely decodes the French philosopher's argument for distinguishing between the human mind and body while maintaining simultaneously their essential integration in a human being. He argues that Descartes constructed a solution whereby the trio of Human Mind, Body, and Being are essentially interdependent yet remain each a genuine individual subject. Almog's reading not only steers away from the most popular interpretations of Descartes, but also represents a scholar coming to grips directly with Descartes himself. In doing so, Almog creates a work that Cartesian scholars will value, and that will also prove indispensable to philosophers of language, ontology, and the metaphysics of mind. (shrink)
Cartesian mindbody dualism and modern versions of this viewpoint posit a mind thermodynamically unrelated to the body but informationally interactive. The relation between information and entropy developed by Leon Brillouin demonstrates that any information about the state of a system has entropic consequences. It is therefore impossible to dissociate the mind's information from the body's entropy. Knowledge of that state of the system without an energetically significant measurement would lead to a violation of (...) the second law of thermodynamics. (shrink)
This is a multi-disciplinary exploration of the history of understanding of the human mind or soul and its relationship to the body, through the course of more than two thousand years. Thirteen specially commissioned chapters, each written by a recognized expert, discuss such figures as the doctors Hippocrates and Galen, the theologians St Paul, Augustine, and Aquinas, and philosophers from Plato to Leibniz.
An important part of the mind-brain problem arises because sentience and consciousness seem inherently resistant to scientific explanation and understanding. The solution to this dilemma is to recognize, first, that scientific explanation can only render comprehensible a selected aspect of what there is, and second, that there is a mode of explanation and understanding, the personalistic, quite different from, but just as viable as, scientific explanation. In order to understand the mental aspect of brain processes - that aspect (...) we know about as a result of having relevant neurological processes occur in our own brain - we need to avail ourselves of personalistic explanation, irreducible to scientific explanation. The problem of explaining and understanding why experiential or mental aspects of brain processes or things should be correlated with certain physical processes, things or states of affairs is a non-problem because there is no kind of explanation possible in terms of which an explanation could be couched. A physical theory, amplified to include the experiential, might be predictive but would, necessarily, cease to be explanatory; and an amplified personalistic explanation could not succeed either. There is, in short, an explanation as to why there cannot be an explanation of correlations between physical and mental aspects of processes going on inside our heads. (shrink)
An old philosophical problem, the mind-bodyproblem, has not been yet solved by philosophers or scientists. Even if in cognitive neuroscience has been a stunning development in the last 20 years, the mind-bodyproblem remained unsolved. Even if the majority of researchers in this domain accept the identity theory from an ontological viewpoint, many of them reject this position from an epistemological viewpoint. In this context, I consider that it is quite possible the (...) framework of this problem to be wrong and this is the main reason the problem -/- could not be solved. I offer an alternative, the epistemologically different world’s perspective, which replaces -/- the world or the universe. In this new context, the mind-bodyproblem becomes a pseudo-problem. (shrink)
One answer: Because medieval philosophy is just the continuation of ancient philosophy by other means—the Latin language and the Catholic Church— and, as Wallace Matson pointed out some time ago, the mind-bodyproblem isn’t ancient.
Despite substantial efforts by many researchers, we still have no scientific theory of how brain activity can create or be con- scious experience. This is troubling since we have a large body of correlations between brain activity and consciousness, correlations normally assumed to entail that brain activity creates conscious experience. Here I explore a solution to the mind-bodyproblem that starts with the converse assumption: these correlations arise because consciousness creates brain activity and indeed creates all (...) objects and properties of the physical world To this end, I develop two theses. The multimodal user interface theory of perception states that perceptual experiences do not match or approximate properties of the objective world but instead provide a simplified species-specific, user interface to that world Conscious realism states that the objective world consists of conscious agents and their experiences; these can be mathematically modeled and em- pirically explored in the normal scientific manner. (shrink)
There have been many attempts to retire dualism from active philosophic life, replacing it with something less removed from science, but we are no closer to that goal now than fifty years ago. I propose breaking the stalemate by considering marginal perspectives that may help identify unrecognized assumptions that limit the mainstream debate. Comparison with Whitehead highlights ways that opponents of dualism continue to uphold the Cartesian “real distinction” between mind and body. Whitehead, by contrast, insists on a (...) conceptual distinction: there can no more be body without mind than mind without body (at least at the level of ultimate constituents). Key to this integration is Whitehead’s understanding that mind, at its most rudimentary, is simply the intrinsic temporality of a physical event. Thus, the resulting form of “panpsychism” is more naturalistic than commonly supposed, and it solves both the composition problem (traditionally fatal to panpsychism) and the “hard problem.”. (shrink)
Explaining the mind by building machines with minds runs into the other-minds problem: How can we tell whether any body other than our own has a mind when the only way to know is by being the other body? In practice we all use some form of Turing Test: If it can do everything a body with a mind can do such that we can't tell them apart, we have no basis for doubting (...) it has a mind. But what is "everything" a body with a mind can do? Turing's original "pen-pal" version (the TT) only tested linguistic capacity, but Searle has shown that a mindless symbol-manipulator could pass the TT undetected. The Total Turing Test (TTT) calls for all of our linguistic and robotic capacities; immune to Searle's argument, it suggests how to ground a symbol manipulating system in the capacity to pick out the objects its symbols refer to. No Turing Test, however, can guarantee that a body has a mind. Worse, nothing in the explanation of its successful performance requires a model to have a mind at all. Minds are hence very different from the unobservables of physics (e.g., superstrings); and Turing Testing, though essential for machine-modeling the mind, can really only yield an explanation of the body. (shrink)
The mind-bodyproblem is the problem of explaining how our mental states, events and processes—like beliefs, actions and thinking—are related to the physical states, events and processes in our bodies. A question of the form, ‘how is A related to B?’ does not by itself pose a philosophical problem. To pose such a problem, there has to be something about A and B which makes the relation between them seem problematic. Many features of (...) class='Hi'>mind and body have been cited as responsible for our sense of the problem. Here I will concentrate on two: the fact that mind and body seem to interact causally, and the distinctive features of consciousness. A long tradition in philosophy has held, with René Descartes, that the mind must be a non-bodily entity: a soul or mental substance. This thesis is called ‘substance dualism’ (or ‘Cartesian dualism’) because it says that there are two kinds of substance in the world, mental and physical or material. One reason for believing this is the belief that the soul, unlike the body, is immortal. Another reason for believing it is that we have free will, and this seems to require that the mind is a non-physical thing, since all physical things are subject to the laws of nature. To say that the mind (or soul) is a mental substance is not to say that the mind is made up of some non-physical kind of stuff or material. The use of the term ‘substance’ is rather the traditional philosophical use: a substance is an entity which has properties and persists through change in its properties. A tiger, for instance, is a substance, whereas a hurricane is not. To say that there are mental substances— individual minds or souls—is to say that there are objects which are non-material or non-physical, and these objects can exist independently of physical objects, like a person’s body. These objects, if they exist, are not made of non-physical ‘stuff’: they are not made of ‘stuff’ at all.. (shrink)
This paper gives an account of Colin McGinn's essay: "Can We Solve the Mind-BodyProblem?". McGinn's answer to his own essay title is that the problem is forever beyond us due to the particular nature of our cognitive abilities.The present author offers a number of criticisms of the arguments which support this conclusion.
In this paper, I argue that it is in the fourteenth century that the problem of the compatibility or unity of efficient and final causality emerges. William Ockham and John Buridan start to flirt with a mechanized view of nature solely explainable by efficient causality, and they hence push final causality into the human mind and use it to explain for example action, morality and the good. Their argumentation introduces the problem of how to give a unified (...) account of the world, that is, how are nature and freedom compatible. In the paper, I set up the discussion by going through some of the problems associated with final causality in the seventeenth century and show that Ockham and Buridan's problems are similar. I then argue using a formulation from Leibniz's Monadology that the problems here traced should be seen as versions of the mind/bodyproblem. (shrink)
From the Lockean point of view, the mind-bodyproblem is conceived as a problem created by us. It is an error to think there is a problem with mind and body, an error of confusing nominality with reality. I argue that Locke’s agnosticism should be understood as a warning not to confuse our human point of view with what really is. From this perspective, the mind-bodyproblem is a nominal (...) class='Hi'>problem, not a real one. It appears to us as a problem, but is not really so. But what makes it appear to us as a problem? This is Locke’s starting point for solving the mind-bodyproblem. (shrink)
In our century a Frege/Brentano wedge has gradually been driven into the mind/bodyproblem so deeply that it appears to have split it into two: The problem of "qualia" and the problem of "intentionality." Both problems use similar intuition pumps: For qualia, we imagine a robot that is indistinguishable from us in every objective respect, but it lacks subjective experiences; it is mindless. For intentionality, we again imagine a robot that is indistinguishable from us in (...) every objective respect but its "thoughts" lack "aboutness"; they are meaningless. I will try to show that there is a way to re-unify the mind/bodyproblem by grounding the "language of thought" (symbols) in our perceptual categorization capacity. The model is bottom-up and hybrid symbolic/nonsymbolic. (shrink)
Some people say that the founding document of twentieth-century cognitive science was Chomsky’s (1959) review of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior. (Certainly it converted me.2) By any measure, Chomsky was a leading ﬁgure in the victory of cognitivism over behaviorism in psychology. In philosophy too, Chomsky led the attack against Quine’s behaviorism regarding language and language learning.3 Moreover, Chomsky’s (1957, 1965) expressly computational view of language processing was a major inspiration for Functionalism in the philosophy of mind, as founded by Hilary (...) Putnam and Jerry Fodor.4 Thus, when Chomsky turned his attention speciﬁcally and explicitly to the mind–bodyproblem, one might naturally have expected him to grant his endorsement to Functionalism, whether or not he were to say anything further.5 But if one had expected that, one would have been wrong. For in his writings on the mind–bodyproblem, Chomsky has vigorously challenged several of the claims and presuppositions characteristically made by Functionalists. I shall survey some of those challenges and, as a zealous Functionalist myself, try to rebut them seriatim. (shrink)
In 1747, Kant believed that the mind/bodyproblem presupposed several false and interrelated assumptions that fell under the general view that the essential force of body is vis motrix , namely that bodies act only by causing changes of motion, that bodies can be acted upon only by being moved, and that souls and bodies do not share a common force. He argued in Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces that the traditional vis motrix (...) view, which was defended by Wolff, appealed to an unexplanatory and metaphysically incoherent conception of force. (shrink)
There is a long-standing view that Malebranche and his fellow occasionalists accepted occasionalism to solve the problem of interaction between immaterial souls and extended bodies. Recently, however, scholars have shown this story to be a myth. Malebranche, Geulincx, La Forge, and Cordemoy adopted occasionalism for a variety of reasons, but none did so because of a need to provide a solution to a perceived mind-bodyproblem. Yet there is one Cartesian for whom the “traditional” reading is (...) largely on the mark. François Lamy argues in the second volume of his De la Connoissance de Soi-Meme much as the standard story has it. In this article I discuss and analyze Lamy’s argument, showing how he deals with some of the many concerns that made occasionalism attractive, and how he brings out some of the thorny questions that an occasionalist must face. (shrink)
Naturalism about the mind is often taken to be equivalent to some form of physicalism: the existence of mental properties must be shown not to compromise the autonomy of the physical realm. It is argued that this leads to a choice between reductionism, eliminativism, epiphenomenalism or interactionism. The central aim of the paper is to outline an Aristotelian alternative to the physicalist conception of natural bodies. It is argued that the distinction between form and matter, and an ontology which (...) treats individual natural bodies as real, unified things, rather than as complexes, enables us to achieve the non-reductionist, non-epiphenomenalist and non-interactionist position which eludes the post-Cartesian. (shrink)
Nagel has argued that the ‘mind-body’ problem, as traditionally conceived, is insoluble. His challenge to philosophers is to devise a metaphysical scheme that incorporates materialist concepts in describing first person experience and mentalistic concepts in describing third person experience, such that the internal relations between the concepts thereby constructed are necessary. Nagel's own suggestion, a scheme not unlike the ‘underlying process’ schemes of the physical sciences, seems to lead him towards a covert materialism. Progress can be made (...) in meeting the challenge by tackling the problem first by taking the units in each ‘sphere’ to be brains and persons. I show that a metaphysics based on the metaphor of person defined tasks and materially defined tools does satisfy both Nagel's challenge conditions. To devise a scheme for qualia and brain-states I turn back to Locke's presentation of the primary/secondary quality distinction. This depends on the concept of a causal power, grounded in material states of the world. While this scheme is inadequate, a variation, based on Gibson's concept of an affordance, and drawing on Bohr's resolution of the seeming incompatibility between wave and particle ontologies for physics, is promising. The world, whatever it is, affords material states to our perceptual apparatus, and mental states to our proprioceptual apparatus. The mental states/brain states duality is not a duality of types of states, which might stand in causal relations to one another, but is a duality of means of access to two classes of affordances of whatever the world is. There is no mind-bodyproblem in the traditional sense, namely ‘How could a material state cause or be caused by a mental state?’. (shrink)