The primary aim of this study is to dissolve the mind-body problem. It shows how the ‘problem’ separates into two distinct sets of issues, concerning ontology on the one hand, and explanation on the other, and argues that explanation – whether or not human behaviour can be explained in physical terms – is the more crucial. The author contends that a functionalist methodology in psychology and neurophysiology will prove adequate to explain human behaviour. Defence of this thesis requires: an examination (...) of the mental/physical dichotomy, and its rejection in favour of a distinction between psychological and physical terms; a description and discussion of functionalism in psychology and neurophysiology, showing how the notorious problem of the necessary intensionality of psychological terms may be circumvented; an examination of the role of computer simulation in psycho-physical research; and an explanation of how the phenomena of sentience fit the functional framework. The book concludes that the thesis presented is in all essentials that of Aristotle; Aristotle had no ‘mind-body problem’, and were it not for a subsequent over-obsession with Cartesian scepticism, we need not have had one either. (shrink)
Making the Human Mind is an attack on the widespread assumption that the mind has parts, that the interaction between these parts accounts for some of the most characteristic human behavior, the sorts of irrational behavior displayed in self-deception and weakness of will. The implications of this attack are considerable: Sharpe contests a realism about the mind, the belief that there is an inventory which an all-seeing deity could compile containing answers to all the questions we ask about people, whether (...) they are deceitful or in love, or what their motivation is. With this goes the hermeneutic approach to the understanding of human behavior. These forms of understanding are markedly different from that suggested by the scientific model and favored by those who partition the mind. (shrink)
First published in 2004, this book is a rigorous textbook on the metaphysics of the mind for advanced students of philosophy, covering the background they need to understand the debates and bringing them to the frontiers of current research. It is also a monograph on the nature of de re and de se states of mind, incorporating material the author published in journals. The short file you will see is only a gateway to more than two dozen other files which (...) are rewrites of the book. (shrink)
Isaac Levi's new book is concerned with how one can justify changing one's beliefs. The discussion is deeply informed by the belief-doubt model advocated by C. S. Peirce and John Dewey, of which the book provides a substantial analysis. Professor Levi then addresses the conceptual framework of potential changes available to an inquirer. A structural approach to propositional attitudes is proposed which rejects the conventional view that a propositional attitude involves a relation between an agent and either a linguistic entity (...) or some other intentional object such as a proposition or set of possible worlds. The last two chapters offer an account of change in states of full belief understood as changes in commitments rather than changes in performance; one chapter deals with adding new information to a belief state, the other with giving up information. The book builds upon topics discussed in some of Levi's earlier work. It will be of particular interest to discussion theorists, epistemologists, philosophers of science, computer scientists, and cognitive psychologists. (shrink)
In this study, George Rudebusch addresses whether Socrates was a hedonist--whether he believed pleasure to be the good. In attempting to locate Socrates' position on hedonism, Rudebusch examines the passages in Plato's early dialogues that are the most disputed on the topic. He maintains that Socrates identifies pleasant activity with virtuous activity, describing Socrates' hedonism as one of activity, not sensation. This analysis allows for Socrates to find both virtue and pleasure to be the good, thus solving the textual puzzle (...) and showing the power of Socratic argument in leading human beings toward the good. (shrink)
Human beings have the unique ability to consciously reflect on the nature of the self. But reflection has its costs. We can ask what the self is, but as David Hume pointed out, the self, once reflected upon, may be nowhere to be found. The favored view is that we are material beings living in the material world. But if so, a host of destabilizing questions surface. If persons are just a sophisticated sort of animal, then what sense is there (...) to the idea that we are free agents who control our own destinies? What makes the life of any animal, even one as sophisticated as Homo sapiens, worth anything? What place is there in a material world for God? And if there is no place for a God, then what hold can morality possibly have on us--why isn't everything allowed? Flanagan's collection of essays takes on these questions and more. He continues the old philosophical project of reconciling a scientific view of ourselves with a view of ourselves as agents of free will and meaning-makers. But to this project he brings the latest insights of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychiatry, exploring topics such as whether the conscious mind can be explained scientifically, whether dreams are self-expressive or just noise, the moral socialization of children, and the nature of psychological phenomena such as multiple personality disorder and false memory syndrome. What emerges from these explorations is a liberating vision which can make sense of the self, agency, character transformation, and the value and worth of human life. Flanagan concludes that nothing about a scientific view of persons must lead to nihilism. (shrink)
Ross (philosophy and comparative literature, State U. of New York, Binghamton) explores how it might be possible to represent representation. Interpretations of a wide range of modern philosophical works combine with original contributions.
McCarthy develops a theory of radical interpretation--the project of characterizing from scratch the language and attitudes of an agent or population--and applies it to the problems of indeterminacy of interpretation first described by Quine. The major theme in McCarthy's study is that a relatively modest set of interpretive principles, properly applied, can serve to resolve the major indeterminacies of interpretation.
The Character of Mind provides a sweeping and accessible general introduction to the philosophy of mind. Colin McGinn covers all of the main topics--the mind-body problem, the nature of acquaintance, the relation between thought and language, agency, and the self.In particular, McGinn addresses the issue of consciousness, and the difficulty of combining the two very different perspectives on the mind that arise from introspection and from the observation of other people. This second edition has been updated with three new cutting-edge (...) chapters on consciousness, content, and cognitive science to make it the reader of choice on this vital topic. (shrink)
Communication is not just about the transfer of verbal information. Gestures, facial expressions, intonation and body language are all major sources of information during conversation. This book presents a new perspective on communication, one that will help us to better understand humans, and also to build machines that can communicate.
Edited proceedings of an interdisciplinary symposium on consciousness held at the University of Cambridge in January 1978. Includes a foreword by Freeman Dyson. Chapter authors: G. Vesey, R.L. Gregory, H.C. Longuet-Higgins, N.K. Humphrey, H.B. Barlow, D.M. MacKay, B.D. Josephson, M. Roth, V.S. Ramachandran, S. Padfield, and (editorial summary only) E. Noakes. -/- Page numbering convention: 'go to page n' accesses the pair of scanned pages 2n and 2n+1. A text-format version of the book (OCR generated with occasional errors) is available (...) via the repository.cam link below. -/- Applicable licence: CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0. (shrink)
Contemporary Materialism presents an important collection of recent work on materialism in connection with metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and theories of value. This anthology charts the contemporary problems, positions and themes on the topic of materialism. It illuminates materialism's complex intersection with related subjects such as cognition and psychology. By gathering a wide-range of philosophical interventions around the subject of materialism, this anthology provides a valuable discussion of how materialism can effectively serve the purposes of philosophical assessment. (...) To further assist the reader, it also contains an extensive bibliography on contemporary materialism. (shrink)
Demonstrating that in George Berkeley's last major work, Siris, Berkeley had converted to a belief in the usefulness of the concept and existence of minute particles, Moked here posits that Berkeley developed a highly original brand of corpuscularian physics.
Since the beginning of philosophy, philosophers have sought objective knowledge: knowledge of things whose existence does not depend on one's conceiving of them. This book uses lessons from debates over objective knowledge to characterize the kinds of reasons pertinent to philosophical and other theoretical views. It argues that we cannot meet skeptics' typical demands for nonquestion-begging support for claims to objective truth, and that therefore we should not regard our supporting reasons as resistant to skeptical challenges. One key lesson is (...) that a constructive, explanatory approach to philosophy must change the subject from skeptic-resistant reasons to perspectival reasons arising from variable semantic commitments and instrumental, purpose-relative considerations. The book lays foundations for such a reorientation of philosophy, treating fundamental methodological issues in ontology, epistemology, the theory of meaning, the philosophy of mind, and the theory of practical rationality. It explains how certain perennial debates in philosophy rest not on genuine disagreement, but on conceptual diversity: talk about different matters. The book shows how acknowledgment of conceptual diversity can resolve a range of traditional disputes in philosophy. It also explains why philosophers need not anchor their discipline in the physicalism of the natural sciences. (shrink)
Social action is central to social thought. This centrality reflects the overwhelming causal significance of action for social life, the centrality of action to any account of social phenomena, and the fact that conventions and normativity are features of human activity. This book provides philosophical analyses of fundamental categories of human social action, including cooperative action, conventional action, social norm governed action, and the actions of the occupants of organizational roles. A distinctive feature of the book is that it applies (...) these theories of social action categories to some important moral issues that arise in social contexts such as the collective responsibility for environmental pollution, humanitarian intervention, and dealing with the rights of minority groups. Avoiding both the excessively atomistic individualism of rational choice theorists and implausible collectivist assumptions, this important book will be widely read by philosophers of the social sciences, political scientists and sociologists. (shrink)
Conventional wisdom and commonsense morality tend to take the integrity of persons for granted. But for people in systematically unjust societies, self-respect and human dignity may prove to be impossible dreams.Susan Babbitt explores the implications of this insight, arguing that in the face of systemic injustice, individual and social rationality may require the transformation rather than the realization of deep-seated aims, interests, and values. In particular, under such conditions, she argues, the cultivation and ongoing exercise of moral imagination is necessary (...) to discover and defend a more humane social vision. Impossible Dreams is one of those rare books that fruitfully combines discourses that were previously largely separate: feminist and antiracist political theory, analytic ethics and philosophy of mind, and a wide range of non-philosophical literature on the lives of oppressed peoples around the world. It is both an object lesson in reaching across academic barriers and a demonstration of how the best of feminist philosophy can be in conversation with the best of “mainstream” philosophy—as well as affect the lives of real people. (shrink)
Frontiers of Consciousness is a study of the problem of consciousness in a historic period of revolutionary change, and an authentic example of “interdisciplinary studies.” The book contains a wealth of insight into the conceptual interrelationships between the work of the American philosophers who have been called the Builders (William James, Josiah Royce, Charles Peirce, and John Dewey) and the work of three great modernist poets (T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams).
Emotions, Values, and the Law brings together ten of John Deigh's essays written over the past fifteen years. In the first five essays, Deigh ask questions about the nature of emotions and the relation of evaluative judgment to the intentionality of emotions, and critically examines the cognitivist theories of emotion that have dominated philosophy and psychology over the past thirty years. A central criticism of these theories is that they do not satisfactorily account for the emotions of babies or animals (...) other than human beings. Drawing on this criticism, Deigh develops an alternative theory of the intentionality of emotions on which the education of emotions explains how human emotions, which innately contain no evaluative thought, come to have evaluative judgments as their principal cognitive component. The second group of five essays challenge the idea of the voluntary as essential to understanding moral responsibility, moral commitment, political obligation, and other moral and political phenomena that have traditionally been thought to depend on people's will. Each of these studies focuses on a different aspect of our common moral and political life and shows, contrary to conventional opinion, that it does not depend on voluntary action or the exercise of a will constituted solely by rational thought. Together, the essays in this collection represent an effort to shift our understanding of the phenomena traditionally studied in moral and political philosophy from that of their being products of reason and will, operating independently of feeling and sentiment to that of their being manifestations of the work of emotion. (shrink)
This study examines the relationship between thought and language by considering the views of Kant and the later Wittgenstein along with many strands of contemporary debate in the area of mental content. Building on an analysis of the nature of concepts and conceptions of objects, Gillett provides an account of psychological explanation and the subject of experience, offers a novel perspective on mental representation and linguistic meaning, looks at the difficult topics of cognitive roles and singular thought, and concludes with (...) an outline of certain considerations relevant to skeptical arguments and the nature of perception. The resulting synthesis demonstrates interesting correlations with current work in cognitive and developmental psychology, and is directly relevant to continuing work in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophical psychology. (shrink)
Sergio Moravia's The Enigma of the Mind 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/body problem 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-body problem. 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)