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)
A theory of understanding -- Truth's role in understanding -- Critique of justificationist and evidential accounts -- Do pragmatist views avoid this critique? -- A realistic account -- How evidence and truth are related -- Three grades of involvement of truth in theories of understanding -- Anchoring -- Next steps -- Reference and reasons -- The main thesis and its location -- Exposition and four argument-types -- Significance and consequences of the main thesis -- The first person as a case (...) study -- Fully self-conscious thought -- Immunity to error through misidentification relative to the first person -- Can a use of the first-person concept fail to refer? -- Some conceptual roles are distinctive but not fundamental -- Implicit conceptions -- Implicit conceptions : motivation and examples -- Deflationary readings rejected -- The phenomenon of new principles -- Explanation by implicit conceptions -- Rationalist aspects -- Consequences : rationality, justification, understanding -- Transitional -- Applications to mental concepts -- Conceiving of conscious states -- Understanding and identity in other cases -- Constraints on legitimate explanations in terms of identity -- Why is the subjective case different? -- Attractions of the interlocking account -- Tacit knowledge, and externalism about the internal -- Is this the myth of the given? -- Knowledge of others' conscious states -- Communicability : between Frege and Wittgenstein -- Conclusions and significance -- 'Another I' : representing perception and action -- The core rule -- Modal status and its significance -- Comparisons -- The possession-condition and some empirical phenomena -- The model generalized -- Wider issues -- Mental action -- The distinctive features of action-awareness -- The nature and range of mental actions -- The principal hypothesis and its grounds -- The principal hypothesis : distinctions and consequences -- How do we know about our own mental actions? -- Concepts of mental actions and their epistemological significance -- Is this account open to the same objections as perceptual models of introspection? -- Characterizing and unifying schizophrenic experience -- The first person in the self-ascription of action -- Rational agency and action-awareness -- Representing thoughts -- The puzzle -- A proposal -- How the solution treats the constraints that generate the puzzle -- Relation to single-level treatments -- An application : reconciling externalism with distinctive self-knowledge. (shrink)
Here Jean-Pierre Changeux elucidates our current knowledge of the human brain, taking an interdisciplinary approach and explaining in layman's terms the complex theories and scientific breakthroughs that have significantly improved our ...
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)
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)
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)
This second volume in the Limits and Renewals trilogy is an attempt to restate a traditional philosophy of mind, drawing on philosophical and poetical resources that are often neglected in modern and postmodern thought, and emphasizing the moral and political implications of differing philosophies of mind and value. Clark argues that without the traditional concept of the soul, we have little reason to believe that rational thought and individual autonomy are either possible or desirable. The particular topics covered include the (...) political context of identity claims, the possibility of knowledge and the dangers of curiosity, the fear of death, the philoprogenitive gene, and the mind-body problem. (shrink)
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, it might seem that questions about the nature of the mind are best left to scientists rather than philosophers. How could the views of Aristotle or Descartes or Kant possibly contribute anything to debates about these issues, when the relevant neurophysiological facts and principles were completely unknown to them? This Oxford Reader shows that the arguments of philosophers throughout history still provide essential insights into contemporary questions about the mind and help to clarify (...) the underlying scientific assumptions. Contributions from thinkers ranging from Plato and Locke to Roger Penrose and Oliver Sacks show that appreciating the full complexity of debates about consciousness, intelligence, and perception demands attention to fundamental questions that have occupied philosophers for over two thousand years. (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)
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)
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.
Did you know that insects could be tried for criminal acts in pre-industrial Europe, that the dead could be executed, that statues could be subjected to public humiliation, or that it was widely accepted that corpses could return to life? What made reasonable, educated men and women behave in ways that seem utterly nonsensical to us today? Strange Histories presents for the first time a serious account of some of the most extraordinary occurrences of European history. Throughout the ages, people (...) have held ideas and events have taken place which have baffled later societies. Religious disbelievers were thought deserving of death, insects were occasionally excommunicated, studying the biology of angels was a legitimate activity, and the pursuit of personal happiness was considered rather misguided as a life strategy. Using case studies from the Middle Ages and the early modern period with some from the more recent past, this book provides fascinating insights into the world-view through the ages, and shows how such goings-on fitted in quite naturally with the "common sense" of the time. Explanations of these phenomena, riveting and ultimately rational, encourage further reflection on what really shapes our beliefs. In the light of history, can we be sure of the validity of our own ideas? How many of our own beliefs might no longer "make sense" a few centuries from now? (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.
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)
SIMPLE SEEING I met Virgil Aldrich for the first time in the fall of 1969 when I arrived in Chapel Hill to attend a philosophy conference. My book, Seeing and Knowing,1 had just appeared a few months earlier.
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)
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.