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 (...) class='Hi'>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)
We falter and stammer when trying to describe our own mentalacts. Many mentalacts, including thinking, are what the author calls ‘chain-undertakings’, that is, courses of action with some over-arching purpose governing the moment-by-moment sub-acts of which we are introspectively aware. Hence the intermittency and sporadicness of the passage of mental activity which constitutes thinking about something.
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 mentalacts 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 mentalacts 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 mentalacts. (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.
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)
According to the predominant view within contemporary philosophy of psychiatry, mental disorders involve essentially personal and societal values, and thus, the concept of mental disorder cannot, even in principle, be elucidated in a thoroughly objective manner. Several arguments have been adduced in support of this impossibility thesis. My critical examination of two master arguments advanced to this effect by Derek Bolton and Jerome Wakefield, respectively, raises serious doubts about their soundness. Furthermore, I articulate an alternative, thoroughly objective, though (...) in part normative, framework for the elucidation of the concept of mental disorder. The concepts of mental dysfunction and impairment of basic psychological capacities to satisfy one’s basic needs are the building blocks of this framework. I provide an argument for the objective harmfulness of genuine mental disorders as patterns of mental dysfunctions with objectively negative biotic values, as well as a formally correct definition of the concept of mental disorder. Contrary to the received view, this objective framework allows for the possibility of genuine mental disorders due to adverse social conditions, as well as for quasi-universal mental disorders. I conclude that overall, the project of providing an objective account of the concept of mental disorder is far from impossible, and moreover, that it is, at least in principle, feasible. (shrink)
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)
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).
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)
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)
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.
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 paper takes issue with a widely accepted view of mental causation. This is the view that mental causation is either reducible to physical causation or ultimately untenable, because incompatible with the causal completeness of physics. The paper examines, first, why recent attempts to save the phenomena of mental causation by way of the notion of supervenient causation fail. The result of this examination is the claim that any attempted specification of the most basic causal factors which (...) supposedly underlie a causal transaction cannot account for the counterfactually necessary connections with the effect in question. By contrast, the specification of these factors at a higher-level would allow establishing such connections. The paper closes with a discussion of how this view of autonomous ligher-level causation grounded on counterfactual relations can be made compatible with the physicalistic commitment to a complete specification of the particular causes of any physical effect exclusively in physical terms. (shrink)
Philosophical ideas about the mind, brain, and behavior can seem theoretical and unimportant when placed alongside the urgent questions of mental distress and disorder. However, there is a need to give direction to attempts to answer these questions. On the one hand, a substantial research effort is going into the investigation of brain processes and the development of drug treatments for psychiatric disorders, and on the other, a wide range of psychotherapies is becoming available to adults and children with (...)mental health problems. These two strands reflect traditional distinctions between mind and body, and causal as opposed to meaningful explanations of behavior. In this book, which has been written for psychiatrists, psychologists, philosophers, and others in related fields, the authors propose a radical re-interpretation of these traditional distinctions. Throughout the discussions philosophical theories are brought to bear on the particular questions of the explanation of behaviors, the nature of mental causation, and eventually the origins of major disorders including depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorder. (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.
This chapter examines whether, and in what sense, one can speak of agentive mental events. An adequate characterization of mentalacts should respond to three main worries. First, mentalacts cannot have pre-specified goal contents. For example, one cannot prespecify the content of a judgment or of a deliberation. Second, mentalacts seem to depend crucially on receptive attitudes. Third, it does not seem that intentions play any role in mental actions. Given (...) these three constraints, mental and bodily actions appear to have a significantly different structure. A careful analysis of the role of normative requirements, distinguishing them from instrumental reasons, allows the distinction between mental and bodily forms of action to be clarified. Two kinds of motives must be present for a mental act to develop. The first kind is instrumental: a mental act is performed because of some basic informational need, such as the need to "remember the name of that play". The second kind is normative: given the specific type of mental action performed, there is a specific epistemic norm relevant to that act (such as truth, coherence, fluency, or consensus). These two motives actually correspond to different phases of a single mental act. The first motivates the mental act, i.e. makes salient the corresponding goal. The second offers an evaluation of the feasibility of the act, on the basis of its constitutive normative requirement(s). Conceived in this way, a characterization of mentalacts avoids the three difficulties mentioned above. The possibility of pre-specifying the outcome of epistemic mentalacts is blocked by the fact that such acts are constituted by strict normative requirements. That mentalacts include receptive features is shown to be a necessary architectural constraint for mental agents to be sensitive to epistemic requirements (through emotional feelings and other normatively relevant attitudes). Finally, the phenomenology of intending is shown to be absent in most mentalacts; the motivational structure of mentalacts is, rather, associated with error- signals and self-directed doubtings. Mentalacts need to be recognized as a natural kind of action meant to normatively control and enhance cognitive efficiency according to current processing needs. (shrink)
In this paper I first try to clarify the essential features of tropes and then I use the resulting analysis to cope with the problem of mental causation. As to the first step, I argue that tropes, beside being essentially particular and abstract, are simple, where such a simplicity can be considered either from a phenomenal point of view or from a structural point of view. Once this feature is spelled out, the role tropes may play in solving (...) the problem of mental causation is evaluated. It is argued that no solution based on the determinable/determinate relation is viable without begging the question as regards the individuating conditions of the related properties. Next, it is shown that Robb’s solution, much in the spirit of Davidson’s anomalous monism, entails abandoning the assumption that tropes are essentially simple, a consequence that I find not acceptable. My conclusion is that these entities are of no help in solving the problem of mental causation, and that a universalist approach should be preferred. (shrink)
Attention to the conversational role of alethic terms seems to dominate, and even sometimes exhaust, many contemporary analyses of the nature of truth. Yet, because truth plays a role in judgment and assertion regardless of whether alethic terms are expressly used, such analyses cannot be comprehensive or fully adequate. A more general analysis of the nature of truth is therefore required – one which continues to explain the significance of truth independently of the role alethic terms play in discourse. We (...) undertake such an analysis in this paper; in particular, we start with certain elements from Kant and Frege, and develop a construct of truth as a normative modality of cognitive acts (e.g., thought, judgment, assertion). Using the various biconditional T-schemas to sanction the general passage from assertions to (equivalent) assertions of truth, we then suggest that an illocutionary analysis of truth can contribute to its locutionary analysis as well, including the analysis of diverse constructions involving alethic terms that have been largely overlooked in the philosophical literature. Finally, we briefly indicate the importance of distinguishing between alethic and epistemic modalities. (shrink)
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) were recently introduced into the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) via an amendment to mental health legislation in England and Wales. As Shah (2011) discusses, the rationale behind creating these protocols was to close what is commonly referred to as the ‘Bournewood gap’; a legislative loophole that allowed a severely autistic man (H.L.) who did not initially dissent to admission to be detained in a hospital and deprived of his liberty in his ‘best (...) interests’ as judged by his clinical team. Before the implementation of the DOLS, patients who lacked the capacity to consent to admission or treatment but who were nonetheless compliant could be admitted informally and treated as .. (shrink)
The mental capacity Act 2005 (MCA; Department of Constitutional Affairs 2005) was partially implemented on April 1, 2007, and fully implemented on October 1, 2007, in England and Wales. The MCA provides a statutory framework for people who lack decision-making capacity (DMC) or who have capacity and want to plan for the future when they may lack DMC. Health care and social care providers need to be familiar with the MCA and the associated legal structures and processes. The MCA (...) is supported by a Code of Practice (Department of Constitutional Affairs 2007), which was developed after extensive consultation and includes case examples. Those involved in the assessment of DMC and the application of the MCA should .. (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 psychiatry, pharmacological drugs play an important experimental role in attempts to identify the neurobiological causes of mental disorders. Besides being developed in applied contexts as potential treatments for patients with mental disorders, pharmacological drugs play a crucial role in research contexts as experimental instruments that facilitate the formulation and revision of neurobiological theories of psychopathology. This paper examines the various epistemic functions that pharmacological drugs serve in the discovery, refinement, testing, and elaboration of neurobiological theories of (...) class='Hi'>mental disorders. I articulate this thesis with reference to the history of antipsychotic drugs and the evolution of the dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia in the second half of the twentieth century. I argue that interventions with psychiatric patients through the medium of antipsychotic drugs provide researchers with information and evidence about the neurobiological causes of schizophrenia. This analysis highlights the importance of pharmacological drugs as research tools in the generation of psychiatric knowledge and the dynamic relationship between practical and theoretical contexts in psychiatry. (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)
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)
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)
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 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)
The most obvious cases of ego-involvement in conscious life are those which Husserl calls conscious acts or cogitationes. They are the most obvious cases because they are the ones in which the ego explicitly involves himself in some way ; they exhibit the character of being engaged in by the ego or having been engaged in by him. This ego-quality or character belongs demonstrably to every conscious process in which the ego engages or lives. In the ego's conscious life, (...) the life to which his, her, or its acts belong, there also occur mental or intentive processes in which the ego does not or did not engage, and these Husserl calls passive or non-actional processes as contrasted with the active or actional processes characterized by egoengagement. (shrink)
While classifications of mental disorders have existed for over one hundred years, it still remains unspecified what terms such as 'mental disorder', 'disease' and 'illness' might actually denote. While ontologies have been called in aid to address this shortfall since the GALEN project of the early 1990s, most attempts thus far have sought to provide a formal description of the structure of some pre-existing terminology or classification, rather than of the corresponding structures and processes on the side of (...) the patient. We here present a view of mental disease that is based on ontological realism and which follows the principles embodied in Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) and in the application of BFO in the Ontology of General Medical Science (OGMS). We analyzed statements about what counts as a mental disease provided (1) in the research agenda for the DSM-V, and (2) in Pies' model. The results were used to assess whether the representational units of BFO and OGMS were adequate as foundations for a formal representation of the entities in reality that these statements attempt to describe. We then analyzed the representational units specific to mental disease and provided corresponding definitions. Our key contributions lie in the identification of confusions and conflations in the existing terminology of mental disease and in providing what we believe is a framework for the sort of clear and unambiguous reference to entities on the side of the patient that is needed in order to avoid these confusions in the future. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor now holds (1990) that the content of mental state types opaquely taxonomized (de dicto content: DDC) is determined by the 'orthographical' syntax + the computational/functional role of such states. Mental states whose tokens are both orthographically and truth-conditionally identical may be different with regard to the computational/functional role played by their respective representational cores. This make them tantamount to different contentful states, i.e. states with different DDCs, insofar as they are opaquely taxonomized. Indeed they cannot both (...) be truthfully ascribed to a single subject at the same time. Some years ago (1987), Fodor postulated a notion of mental content which also went beyond that of a mental state's truth-conditions. States whose tokens differ in their truth-conditions, or broad content, might, he claimed, still share a narrow content (NC), which was causally responsible for the shared behavior of the subjects of these states. For instance, two molecularly identical individuals, living in environments in all respects the same, except for the chemical substance of the phenomenically indistinguishable liquids filling their respective lakes and rivers, would behave similarly when having truth-conditionally different thoughts regarding those liquids. According to Fodor, this sameness of behavior was causally dependent on the sameness of the NC of the two individuals' truth-conditionally different thoughts. Now, this way of individuating mental states is still of interest for semantics. Indeed, NC allows one contextually to fix the broad content of a mental state token. Echoing Kaplan's notion of character,1 Fodor explained NC as a function that mapped contexts (of thought) onto broad contents. NC was thus invoked by Fodor mainly in order to account for sameness of intentional behavior. But DDC also plays a role in explaining intentional behavior, precisely by explaining why a subject whose thought-tokens have identical truthconditions may behave differently.. (shrink)
Kant saw in an old argument a threat to his criticism of traditional rational psychology. He called this argument the Achilles of all dialectical inferences. What the Achilles purports to prove is that the unity of consciousness requires the simplicity of the soul. The argument proceeds from, a distinction between two types ofactions that are ascribable to a subject. For example, when we say that a school of fish moves, this movement can be explained by referring to the movements (...) of the fish constituting that whole. Thus, “moving” is an action type that can be attributed to an aggregate. The second premise says that the action of the thinking I cannot be regarded as the concurrence of several things acting. Thus, any thinking self has to be a simple subject because the action of the thinking self cannot be an aggregate of several actions of different subjects constituting that self. In this paper, Kant’s criticism of the Achilles argument is investigated. (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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
The paper reconstructs and discusses three different approaches to the study of speech acts: (i) the intentionalist approach, according to which most illocutionary acts are to be analysed as utterances made with the Gricean communicative intentions, (ii)the institutionalist approach, which is based on the idea of illocutions as institutional acts constituted by systems of collectively accepted rules, and (iii) the interactionalist approach, the main tenet of which is that performing illocutionary acts consists in making conventional moves (...) in accordance with patterns of social interaction. It is claimed, first, that each of the discussed approaches presupposes a different account of thenature and structure of illocutionary acts, and, second, that all those approaches result from one-sided interpretations of Austin’s conception of verbal action. The first part of the paper reconstructs Austin's views on the functions and effects of felicitous illocutionary acts. The second part reconstructs and considers three different research developments in the post-Austinian speech act theory — the intentionalist approach, the institutionalist approach, and the interactionalist approach. (shrink)
This paper explores the question whether an adequate account of the facts about imagination and mental imagery must construe mental images as objects. Much of the paper is a study of Alastair Hannay's defense of an affirmative answer in his wide?ranging study, Mental Images ? A Defence. The paper first sets out and evaluates Hannay's case. The second part develops an alternative account of mental images, including non?visual images, which Hannay does not treat in detail. The (...) alternative account is analogous to the adverbial theory of perception; and it is suggested how this account, without construing mental images as objects, might accommodate the data from which Hannay argues for their objecthood. (shrink)
Since psychiatry remains a descriptive discipline, it is essential for its practitioners to understand how the language of psychiatry came to be formed. This important book, written by a psychiatrist-historian, traces the genesis of the descriptive categories of psychopathology and examines their interaction with the psychological and philosophical context within which they arose. The author explores particularly the language and ideas that have characterised descriptive psychopathology from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. He presents a masterful survey of the (...) history of the main psychiatric symptoms, from the metaphysics of classical antiquity to the operational criteria of today. Tracing the evolution of concepts such as memory, consciousness, will and personality, and of symptoms ranging from catalepsy and aboulia to anxiety and self-harm, this book provides fascinating insights into the subjective nature of mental illness, and into the ideas of British, Continental and American authorities who sought to clarify and define it. (shrink)
This book is psychiatry's reply to the diverse group of antipsychiatrists, including Laing, Foucault, Goffman, Szasz and Bassaglia, that has made fashionable the view that mental illness is merely socially deviant behaviour and that psychiatrists are agents of the capitalist society seeking to repress such behaviour. It establishes, by the use of evidence from historical and transcultural studies, that mental illness has been recognised in all cultures since the beginning of history and goes on to explore the philosophical (...) and medical basis for psychiatry's diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Finally, it tackles two issues where psychiatry has recently been seen as at odds with the values prevailing in society: involuntary hospitalization and the insanity defence. The Reality of Mental Illness does not pretend to offer simple answers to the complex problems it discusses, but will leave the reader with a much greater understanding of psychiatry's aims, practices and problems. (shrink)
This paper develops an approach to analysing the importance of anticipations of the future on present actions in the lives of mental health service users, for whom sensing stability in the future is important as part of the recovery process. The work of Henri Bergson and Alfred North Whitehead is drawn upon to argue that temporality is understood spatially, and that past and future experience only exist in relation to their shaping of present activity. This process is produced spatially (...) rather than chronologically. Drawing on empirical work with community mental health service users the paper focuses on the home space as a key site for organising space in anticipation of future life. This involves analysing accounts of home making in which we see the role of anticipatory futures in the ordering of domestic space. The paper concludes by arguing that home spaces are a key site related to ongoing psychological well being, and that analysis of such spaces is important in terms of highlighting practices through which service users attempt to ‘make the future’. . (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)
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)
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.
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)
In ‘The Power of God’ (Gleeson 2010) I elaborate and defend an argument by the late D.Z. Phillips against definitions of omnipotence in terms of logical possibility. In ‘Which God? What Power? A Response to Andrew Gleeson’ (Hasker 2010), William Hasker criticizes my defense of Phillips’ argument. Here I contend his criticisms do not succeed. I distinguish three definitions of omnipotence in terms of logical possibility. Hasker agrees that the first fails. The second fails because negative properties (like disembodiedment and (...)simplicity) do not amount to a nature that licenses the attribution of causal powers. The third fails because it does not identify actions that can be performed without a body. It cannot be saved by appeal to the idea of purely mentalacts. (shrink)
Ontologically, brains are more basic than mental representations. Epistemologically, mental representations are more basic than brains and, indeed, all other non-mental entities: it is, and must be, on the basis of mental representations that we know anything about non-mental entities. Since, consequently, mental representations are epistemically more fundamental than brains, the former cannot possibly be explained in terms of the latter, notwithstanding that the latter are ontologically more fundamental than the former. There is thus (...) an explanatory gap, notwithstanding the presumptive truth of materialism. (shrink)
A debate has been raging in the philosophy of mind for at least the past two decades. It concerns whether the mental can make a causal difference to the world. Suppose that I am reading the newspaper and it is getting dark. I switch on the light, and continue with my reading. One explanation of why my switching on of the light occurred is that a desiring with a particular content (that I continue reading), a noticing with a particular (...) content (that it is getting dark), and a believing with a particular content (that by switching on the light I could continue reading) occurred in me, and these events caused my switching on of the light. This explanation works by citing the intentional contents of mental phenomena as causes of that action. It is because the intentional causes have the contents that they do, and because those contents play a causal role in bringing about my action, that my action is causally explained. (shrink)
Causal theories of mental content attempt to explain how thoughts can be about things. They attempt to explain how one can think about, for example, dogs. These theories begin with the idea that there are mental representations and that thoughts are meaningful in virtue of a causal connection between a mental representation and some part of the world that is represented. In other words, the point of departure for these theories is that thoughts of dogs are about (...) dogs because dogs cause the mental representations of dogs. (shrink)
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)
The paper provides new perspectives for a dualistic conception of mental causation by putting causation that originates in a nonphysical self into an evolutionary perspective. Nonphysical causation of this type - free agency -, together with nonphysical consciousness, is regarded as being not only compatible with physics, but also as having a natural place in nature. It is described how free agency can work, on the basis of the brain, and how it can be compatible with the result of (...) the Libet-experiment. The necessary condition for the existence of free agency is that the physical macro-world is indeterministic to a degree that is relevant for living beings, that is, for their survival and well-being. From an evolutionary point of view, and on the basis of the facts of consciousness, it is more likely than not that this condition is in fact fulfilled. (shrink)
I argue that there is a distinction to be drawn between two kinds of mental realism, and I draw some lessons for the realism-antirealism debate. Although it is already at hand, the distinction has not yet been drawn clearly. The difference to be shown consists in what realism is about: it may be either about the interpretation of folk psychology, or the ontology of mental entities. I specify the commitment to the fact-stating character of the discourse as the (...) central component of realism about folk psychology, and from this I separate realism about mental entities as an ontological commitment towards them. I point out that the two views are mutually independent, which provides the possibility of considering folk psychology as not being in cognitive competition with scientific psychology. At the end I make a tentative suggestion as to how to interpret the former in order to avoid this conflict. (shrink)
This essay investigates the influences that led J.B. Watson to change from being a student in an introspectionist laboratory at Chicago to being the founder of systematic (or radical) behaviourism. Our focus is the crucial period, 1913-1914, when Watson struggled to give a convincing behaviourist account of mental imaging, which he considered to be the greatest obstacle to his behaviourist programme. We discuss in detail the evidence for and against the view that, at least eventually, Watson rejected outright the (...) very existence of mental images. We also discuss in detail whether or not Knight Dunlap was the crucial influence on his eventual rejection of mental images. Finally we consider whether Watson's rejection of mental images was bolstered by some personal incapacity as regards imaging or whether his rejection was more like a form of 'ideological blindness'. (shrink)
Book Information Philosophy of Mental Representation. Philosophy of Mental Representation Hugh Clapin , ed., Oxford: Clarendon Press , 2002 , xv + 332 , £40 ( cloth ), £18.99 ( paper ) Edited by Hugh Clapin . Oxford: Clarendon Press. Pp. xv + 332. £40.
Abstract In this article, I explain how and why different attempts to defend absolute divine simplicity fail. A proponent of absolute divine simplicity has to explain why different attributions do not suppose a metaphysical complexity in God but just one superproperty, why there is no difference between God and His super-property and finally how a absolute simple entity can be the truthmaker of different intrinsic predications. It does not necessarily lead to a rejection of divine simplicity but (...) it shows that we may consider another conception of divine simplicity compatible with some metaphysical complexity in God. Content Type Journal Article Category Article Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s11153-012-9336-7 Authors Yann Schmitt, Faculté de Philosophie, Institut Catholique de Paris, 21, Rue d’Assas, 75270 Paris Cedex 06, France Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047. (shrink)
On its face, Hume's account of mental representation involves at least two elements. On the one hand, Hume often seems to write as though the representational properties of an idea are fixed solely by what it is a copy or image of. But, on the other, Hume's treatment of abstract ideas (and other similar cases) makes it clear that the representational properties of a Humean idea sometimes depend, not just on what it is copied from, but also on the (...) manner in which the mind associates it with other ideas. Past interpretations of Hume have tended to focus on one of these elements of his account to the neglect of the other. But no interpretation of this sort is likely to capture the role that both copying and association play within Hume's discussion. In what follows, I argue that the most plausible way of understanding Hume's discussion involves attributing to him a unified account of mental representation in which both of these elements play a central role. I close by discussing the manner in which reading Hume in this way would alter our understanding of the relationship between Hume's thought and contemporary philosophy of mind. (shrink)
The DSM-III-R definition of mental disorder is inconsistent with the DSM-III-R definition of paraphilias. The former requires the suffering or increased risk of suffering some harm while the latter allows that deviance, by itself, is sufficient to classify a behavioral syndrome as a paraphilia. This inconsistency is particularly clear when examining the DSM-III-R account of a specific paraphilia, Transvestic Fetishism. The author defends the DSM-III-R definition of mental disorder and argues that the DSM-III-R definition of paraphilias should be (...) changed. He recommends that the diagnostic criteria for specific paraphilias, particularly that for Transvestic Fetishism, be changed to make them consistent with the DSM-III-R definition of mental disorder. Keywords: diagnoses, disease, paraphilia, philosophy, psychiatry CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This paper argues that (1) Richard Swinburne’s general account of the simplicity of empirical hypotheses fails because it involves a deeply problematic notion of postulating a property, while there is a wide range of hypotheses where the assessment of simplicity rests entirely on the number and kinds of postulated properties, (2) Swinburne’s main argument in ’The Christian God’ for the simplicity of theism, the one based on considerations about pure limitless intentional power, is significantly weaker than he (...) seems to believe. The paper does not draw a conclusion about whether theism is simple. (shrink)
If the notion of speech acts is to be taken seriously, it must be possible to treat speech acts as acts. The development of systems of DEL (dynamic epistemic logic) in the last two decades suggests an interesting possibility. These systems are developed on the basis of static epistemic logics by introducing model updating operations to interpret various kinds of speech acts including public announcements as well as private information transmissions as what update epistemic states of (...) agents involved. The methods used in developing DEL can be used to develop logics that deal with a much wider variety of speech acts. For example, in ECL (Eliminative Command Logic) of Yamada (2007a) and ECL II of Yamada (2007b), similar model updating operations are introduced tointerpret acts of commanding as what update deontic aspects of the situations in which agents are involved. In Yamada (2008a), ECL II is further extended so as to model acts of promising along with acts of commanding. Moreover, in Yamada (2008b), ECL II is combined with a modified version of DEUL (dynamic epistemic upgrade logic) introduced in van Benthem & Liu (2007). In the resulting logic DDPL (dynamic deontic preference logic), illocutionary acts of commanding are differentiated from preference upgrading perlocutionary acts. The development of these logics suggests a recipe for developing logics that deal with various specific speech acts: first, carefully identify the aspects affected by the speech acts you want to study; second, find the modal logic that characterizes the aspects in question; and finally, add dynamic modalities that stand for the types of the speech acts being studied and define model updating operation that interprets these speech acts as what update the very aspects. (shrink)
In this paper we explore material simplicity, defined as the virtue disposing us to act appropriately within the sphere of our consumer decisions. Simplicity is a conscientious and restrained attitude toward material goods that typically includes (1) decreased consumption and (2) a more conscious consumption; hence (3) greater deliberation regarding our consumer decisions; (4) a more focused life in general; and (5) a greater and more nuanced appreciation for other things besides material goods, and also for (6) material (...) goods themselves. It is to be distinguished from simple-mindedness, a return to nature, or poverty. Simplicity overlaps with traditional virtues such as temperance, frugality, and wisdom, and sustains and enables traditional virtues such as justice and generosity. Simplicity is a virtue because it furthers human flourishing, both individual and social, and sustains nature’s ecological flourishing. For analytic purposes, we consider six areas in which simplicity can make important contributions: (1) basic individual flourishing, (2) basic societal flourishing, (3) individual freedom or autonomy, (4) the acquisition of knowledge, (5) living meaningfully, and (6) preserving and protecting nonhuman beings. The proven failure of materialism to secure subjective happiness or objective flourishing argues for the practice of voluntary simplicity and for the radical reform of modern consumer societies. (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)
"Cognitive psychology," "cognitive neuroscience," and "philosophy of mind" are names for three very different scientific fields, but they label aspects of the same scientific goal: to understand the nature of mental phenomena. Today, the three disciplines strongly overlap under the roof of the cognitive sciences. The book's purpose is to present views from the different disciplines on one of the central theories in cognitive science: the theory of mental models. Cognitive psychologists report their research on the representation and (...) processing of mental models in human memory. Cognitive neuroscientists demonstrate how the brain processes visual and spatial mental models and which neural processes underlie visual and spatial thinking. Philosophers report their ideas about the role of mental models in relation to perception, emotion, representation, and intentionality. The single articles have different and mutually complementing goals: to introduce new empirical methods and approaches, to report new experimental results, and to locate competing approaches for their interpretation in the cross-disciplinary debate. The book is strongly interdisciplinary in character. It is especially addressed to researchers in any field related to mental models theory as both a reference book and an overview of present research on the topic in other disciplines. However, it is also an ideal reader for a specialized graduate course. (shrink)
Philosophers and psychologists have often maintained that in order to attribute mental states to other people one must have a ‘theory of mind’. This theory facilitates our grasp of other people’s mental states. Debate has then focussed on the form this theory should take. Recently a new approach has been suggested, which I call the ‘Direct Perception approach to social cognition’. This approach maintains that we can directly perceive other people’s mental states. It opposes traditional views on (...) two counts: by claiming that mental states are observable and by claiming that we can attribute them to others without the need for a theory of mind. This paper argues that there are two readings of the direct perception claims: a strong and a weak one. The Theory-theory is compatible with the weak version but not the strong one. The paper argues that the strong version of direct perception is untenable, drawing on evidence from the mirror neuron literature and arguments from the philosophy of science and perception to support this claim. It suggests that one traditional ‘theory of mind’ view, the ‘Theory-theory’ view, is compatible with the claim that mental states are observable, and concludes that direct perception views do not offer a viable alternative to theory of mind approaches to social cognition. (shrink)
Matthew Soteriou provides an analysis of authoritatively knowing one’s own mentalacts which depends on a surprising assumption: One cannot truly judge that one is judging. After briefly criticizing his account of one’s awareness that one is judging, I critically scrutinize two of his arguments against the possibility of truly judging that one is judging. Firstly, assuming such a possibility leads to a regress. Secondly, the second-order judgement inevitably replaces the first-order judgement such as to make the former (...) wrong. (shrink)
In a series of recent works, Ian Hacking has produced a model of social causation in mental illness and begun to sketch in outline how this might be integrated with the medical model of psychiatry. This article elaborates and revises Hacking's model of social forces, criticizes him for attempting a merely semantic resolution of the tension between the social and the biological, and sketches an alternative approach that builds upon his substantial insights.
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)
What is the scope of our conscious mental agency, and how do we acquire self-knowledge of it? Both questions are addressed through an investigation of what best explains our inability to form judgemental thoughts in direct response to practical reasons. Contrary to what Williams and others have argued, it cannot be their subjection to a truth norm, given that our failure to adhere to such a norm need not undermine their status as judgemental. Instead, it is argued that we (...) cannot form judgements at will because we subjectively experience them as responses to epistemic reasons, and because this is incompatible with our experiential awareness of direct mental actions, such as instances of imagining. However, this latter awareness does not extend to indirect agency, which relies on epistemic or causal processes as means. Judging may therefore still count as an indirect action - just like, say, breaking a window by throwing a stone. (shrink)
Simple assumptions represent a decisive reason to prefer one theory to another in everyday scientific praxis. But this praxis has little philosophical justification, since there exist many notions of simplicity, and those that can be defined precisely strongly depend on the language in which the theory is formulated. The language dependence is a natural feature—to some extent—but it is also believed to be a fatal problem, because, according to a common general argument, the simplicity of a theory is (...) always trivial in a suitably chosen language. But, this trivialization argument is typically either applied to toy-models of scientific theories or applied with little regard for the empirical content of the theory. This paper shows that the trivialization argument fails, when one considers realistic theories and requires their empirical content to be preserved . In fact, the concepts that enable a very simple formulation, are not necessarily measurable, in general. Moreover, the inspection of a theory describing a chaotic billiard shows that precisely those concepts that naturally make the theory extremely simple are provably not measurable. This suggests that—whenever a theory possesses sufficiently complex consequences—the constraint of measurability prevents too simple formulations in any language. This explains why the scientists often regard their assessments of simplicity as largely unambiguous. In order to reveal a cultural bias in the scientists’ assessment, one should explicitly identify different characterizations of simplicity of the assumptions that lead to different theory selections. General arguments are not sufficient. (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)
Almost all commentators acknowledge that among the grounds on which scientists perform theory-choices are criteria of simplicity. In general, simplicity is regarded either as only a logico-empirical quality of a theory, diagnostic of the theory's future predictive success, or as a purely aesthetic or otherwise extra-empirical property of it. This paper attempts to demonstrate that the simplicity-criteria applied in scientific practice include both a logico-empirical and a quasi-aesthetic criterion: to conflate these in an account of scientists' theory-choice (...) is to court confusion. (shrink)
The ubiquitous pathways of positive feedback in the human brain are generally held to be a necessary condition for the phenomenon of conscious sensation. However, no dynamic mechanism, no causal link has been established between the physical brain and its mental attributes, our sensations, thoughts, our consciousness. I suggest that the missing link between the world of neurons and that of mind is to be found in the transformations the brain performs on the coordinates of physical space and time. (...) In particular, the convolution of past, present and future, that characterizes subjective sensations, blurs the distinction between cause and effect, and allows the emergence of a self-generated phenomenon of consciousness. (shrink)
Patients suffering from mental disorders are often not treated on an equal basis with patients suffering from organic diseases. In Germany, for example, alcohol-dependent patients will be detoxified on a clinical ward to ensure that they survive acute alcohol withdrawal; however, medical insurances often do not cover treatment costs for a therapy for the addictive behavior that underlies the acute alcohol problem. While patients suffering from diabetes mellitus can also display personally harmful choices and, for example, consume sugar although (...) they know that this is detrimental for their health, medical insurances pay for the acute hyperglycemic shock treatment as well as for dietary and medical treatment of the .. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the view, defended by some philosophers, that it is part of the meaning of mental that being mental is incompatible with being physical. I call this outlook metalinguistic dualism (MLD for short), and I distinguish it from metaphysical theories of the mind-body relation such as Cartesian dualism. I argue that MLD is mistaken, but I don't try to defend the contrary view that mentalistic terms can be definitionally reduced to nonmental (...) ones. After criticizing arguments by certain philosophers which purport to establish MLD, I formulate a criterion for a phenomenon's being mental. I then show that this criterion is neutral between monistic and dualistic theories of the mind-body relation. Since if MLD were true it should be impossible to construct such a criterion, I conclude that it is false (i.e., if it is intended as a descriptive thesis about our language). The significance of my paper is that if I am right then I remove one important type of objection to aposteriori, noneliminative forms of the identity theory of mind, namely that such theories ought to be rejected merely on the basis of semantical considerations about the word mental. Beyond that, I believe that my criterion of mental phenomena correctly captures our intuitions about the nature of the distinction between mental and nonmental phenomena. (shrink)
A particular research program on mental imagery is defended against certain sweeping methodological criticisms that have been advanced against it. The central claim is that the approach taken in the program is an appropriate response to the problem of doing empirical research in a theoretical vacuum, and that when it is viewed in this perspective, the criticisms are not merely unfounded, they are inappropriate. The argument for this claim is developed by first describing the program and then analyzing the (...) methodological rationale behind it. (shrink)
This paper reports the responses of 251 mental health care practitioners to a mail survey examining their views concerning ethical conflicts and practices within their work environments. Besides identifying the sources and types of conflicts they experience, respondents were asked how ethical standards have changed over the last 10 years as well as the factors influencing these changes. Conclusions and implications are outlined and future research needs are described.
The proponents of machine consciousness predicate the mental life of a machine, if any, exclusively on its formal, organizational structure, rather than on its physical composition. Given that matter is organized on a range of levels in time and space, this generic stance must be further constrained by a principled choice of levels on which the posited structure is supposed to reside. Indeed, not only must the formal structure fit well the physical system that realizes it, but it must (...) do so in a manner that is determined by the system itself, simply because the mental life of a machine cannot be up to an external observer. To illustrate just how tall this order is, we carefully analyze the scenario in which a digital computer simulates a network of neurons. We show that the formal correspondence between the two systems thereby established is at best partial, and, furthermore, that it is fundamentally incapable of realizing both some of the essential properties of actual neuronal systems and some of the fundamental properties of experience. Our analysis suggests that, if machine consciousness is at all possible, conscious experience can only be instantiated in a class of machines that are entirely different from digital computers, namely, time-continuous, open, analog dynamical systems. (shrink)
Mental disorders are assessed globally using the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases Classification of Mentaland Behavioural Disorders (ICD), which is largely modeled after (though it also influences) the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) used in the United States. Situated within the scientific narrative of American psychiatry, disorders are typically viewed by practitioners who use the DSM and ICD as essential categories of human experience, with internal, purely descriptive, value-free conditions. Criteria identified in the DSM (...) and ICD describe the behaviors and psychological experiences that manifest from these internal conditions. In .. (shrink)
This paper deals with some formal properties of objects that are supposed to be internal to persons, that is, mental structures and mental functions. Depending on the ways of talking about these internal objects, they will appear different. Two types of discourse will be presented, to be called the realist and the nominalist discourses, and for eachdiscourse I will focus upon the construction of `self'.The realist discourse assumes an identity between the person and his construction of himself. I (...) will illustrate this discourse in terms of Descartes' ideas on himself as a `thinking substance'. The nominalist discourse assumes an impossibility to attain this identity, and instead to imply a complementarity between the person and his self-construction. I will illustrate this discourse in terms of the problems both William James and Sartre discerned when a conscious person chases after his own consciousness (termed `judging thought' and `pour-soi' respectively). (shrink)