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)
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)
Drawing on work in psychophysics, psychometrics, and sensory neurophysiology, Clark analyzes the character and defends the integrity of psychophysical explanations of qualitative facts, arguing that the structure of such explanations is sound and potentially successful.
Daniel Russell develops a fresh and original view of pleasure and its pivotal role in Plato's treatment of value, happiness, and human psychology. This is the first full-length discussion of the topic for fifty years, and Russell shows its relevance to contemporary debates in moral philosophy and philosophical psychology. Plato on Pleasure and the Good Life will make fascinating reading for ancient specialists and for a wide range of philosophers.
Colour fascinates all of us, and scientists and philosophers have sought to understand the true nature of colour vision for many years. In recent times, investigations into colour vision have been one of the main success stories of cognitive science, for each discipline within the field - neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, computer science and artificial intelligence, and philosophy - has contributed significantly to our understanding of colour. Evan Thompson's book is a major contribution to this interdisciplinary project. Colour Vision provides an (...) accessible review of the current scientific and philosophical discussions of colour vision. Thompson steers a course between the subjective and objective positions on colour, arguing for a relational account. This account develops a novel `ecological' approach to colour vision in cognitive science and the philosophy of perception. It is vital reading for all cognitive scientists and philosophers whose interests touch upon this central area. (shrink)
This collection of articles pays homage to the creativity and scientific rigor Jerome Singer has brought to the study of consciousness and play. It will interest personality, social, clinical and developmental psychologists alike.
Eleven pairs of newly commissioned essays face off on opposite sides of fundamental problems in current theories of knowledge. Brings together fresh debates on eleven of the most controversial issues in epistemology. Questions addressed include: Is knowledge contextual? Can skepticism be refuted? Can beliefs be justified through coherence alone? Is justified belief responsible belief? Lively debate format sharply defines the issues, and paves the way for further discussion. Will serve as an accessible introduction to the major topics in contemporary epistemology, (...) whilst also capturing the imagination of professional philosophers. (shrink)
Do we think in natural language? Or is language only for communication? Much recent work in philosophy and cognitive science assumes the latter. In contrast, Peter Carruthers argues that much of human conscious thinking is conducted in the medium of natural language sentences. However, this does not commit him to any sort of Whorfian linguistic relativism, and the view is developed within a framework that is broadly nativist and modularist. His study will be essential reading for all those interested in (...) the nature and significance of natural language, whether they come from philosophy, psychology or linguistics. (shrink)
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)
cognitive, neuropsychological, and neurophysiological studies of both memory and consciousness. Before proceeding further, some discussion of terminology is necessary. It comes as no surprise to state that "consciousness" is one of the ...
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).
The philosophy of mind is one of the fastest-growing areas in philosophy, not least because of its connections with related areas of psychology, linguistics and computation. This _Companion_ is an alphabetically arranged reference guide to the subject, firmly rooted in the philosophy of mind, but with a number of entries that survey adjacent fields of interest. The book is introduced by the editor's substantial _Essay on the Philosophy of Mind_ which serves as an overview of the subject, and is closely (...) referenced to the entries in the Companion. Among the entries themselves are several "self-profiles" by leading philosophers in the field, including Chomsky, Davidson, Dennett, Dretske, Fodor, Lewis, Searle and Stalnaker, in which their own positions within the subject are articulated. In some more complex areas, more than one author has been invited to write on the same topic, giving a polarity of viewpoints within the book's overall coverage. All main entries have a full bibliography, and the book is indexed to the high standards set by other volumes in the Blackwell Companions to Philosophy series. (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)
Some of a person's mental states have the power to represent real and imagined states of affairs: they have semantic properties. What Minds Can Do has two goals: to find a naturalistic or non-semantic basis for the representational powers of a person's mind, and to show that these semantic properties are involved in the causal explanation of the person's behaviour. In the process, the book addresses issues that are central to much contemporary philosophical debate. It will be of interest to (...) a wide range of readers in philosophy of mind and of language, cognitive science, and psychology. (shrink)
We say "the grass is green" or "lemons are yellow" to state what everyone knows. But are the things we see around us really colored, or do they only look that way because of the effects of light rays on our eyes and brains? Is color somehow "unreal" or "subjective" and dependent on our human perceptions and the conditions under which we see things? Distinguished scholar Barry Stroud investigates these and related questions in The Quest for Reality. In this long-awaited (...) book, he examines what a person would have to do and believe in order to reach the conclusion that everyone's perceptions and beliefs about the color of things are "illusions" and do not accurately represent the way things are in the world as it is independently of us. Arguing that no such conclusion could be consistently reached, Stroud finds that the conditions of a successful unmasking of color cannot all be fulfilled. The discussion extends beyond color to present a serious challenge to many other philosophical attempts to discover the way things really are. A model of subtle, elegant, and rigorous philosophical writing, this study will attract a wide audience from all areas of philosophy. (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)
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)
This second Companion deals with the ancient theories of the psyche. The essays range over more than eight hundred years of psychological inquiry and provide critical analyses not only of the ancient discussions of the nature of the psyche and its states, but of such central topics as perception, subjectivity, the explanation of action, and what it is to be a person. In examining the wide variety of psychological theories offered by the ancient thinkers, from the increasingly complex materialism of (...) the Presocratics and Hellenists to the dualism of Plato and Plotinus, the collection demonstrates that psychology had become a wide-ranging and sophisticated discipline long before Descartes. (shrink)
Philosophical approaches -- The history of the mind-body problem -- The philosophy of neuroscience -- Recent advances in functionalism I : homuncular functionalism -- Recent advances in functionalism II : teleological functionalism -- Representation and the physical basis of mental content -- Conscious and unconscious representations -- Brain dynamics, attention and movement -- Memory and perception -- The where and when of visual experience -- Multiple types of consciousness.
In this book, Hodgson presents a clear and compelling case against today's orthodox mechanistic view of the brain-mind, and in favor of the view that "the mind matters." In the course of the argument he ranges over such topics as consciousness, informal reasoning, computers, evolution, and quantum indeterminancy and non-locality. Although written from a philosophical viewpoint, the book has important implications for the sciences concerned with the brain-mind problem. At the same time, it is largely non-technical, and thus accessible to (...) the non-specialist reader. (shrink)
Psychological Metaphysics is an exploration of the most basic and important assumptions in the psychological construction of reality, with the aim of showing what they are, how they originate, and what they are there for. Peter White proposes that people basically understand causation in terms of stable, special powers of things operating to produce effects under suitable conditions. This underpins an analysis of people's understanding of causal processes in the physical world, and of human action. In making a radical break (...) with the Heiderian tradition, Psychological Metaphysics suggests that causal attribution is in the service of the person's practical concerns and any interest in accuracy or understanding is subservient to this. Indeed, a notion of regularity in the world is of no more than minor importance, and social cognition is not a matter of cognitive mechanisms or processes but of cultural ways of thinking imposed upon tacit, unquestioned, universalassumptions. Incorporating not only research and theory in social cognition and developmental psychology, but also philosophy and the history of ideas, Psychological Metaphysics will be challenging to everyone interested in how we try to understand the world. (shrink)
In this controversial new book O'Hear takes a stand against the fashion for explaining human behavior in terms of evolution. He contends that while the theory of evolution is successful in explaining the development of the natural world in general, it is of limited value when applied to the human world. Because of our reflectiveness and our rationality we take on goals and ideals which cannot be justified in terms of survival-promotion or reproductive advantage. O'Hear examines the nature of human (...) self-consciousness, and argues that evolutionary theory cannot give a satisfactory account of such distinctive facets of human life as the quest for knowledge, moral sense, and the appreciation of beauty; in these we transcend our biological origins. It is our rationality that allows each of us to go beyond not only our biological but also our cultural inheritance: as the author says in the Preface, "we are prisoners neither of our genes nor of the ideas we encounter as we each make our personal and individual way through life.". (shrink)
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.
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)