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)
The thought of Alexius Meinong (1853–1920) has a distinguished position within the conceptual space of ontology. He was the first philosopher who tried systematically to develop a quasi-ontological discipline which was intended to be much more general than the metaphysics in the traditional sense. Metaphysics investigates being qua being; and this constitutes only a small part of the domain of the theory of objects (Gegenstandstheorie) as Meinong conceived of it. For – so reads one of Meinong’s most frequently cited theses (...) – the objects considered purely qua objects are neutral concerning their being or non-being. In this book Meinong’s theory of objects is presented in its historical development and investigated within the context of his theory of intentionality. This connection is justified because the real motivation behind Meinong’s introduction of entities "beyond being and non being" lies in the philosophical puzzles of the theory of intentionality. (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)
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)
Directed to scholars and senior-level graduate students, this book is an iconoclastic survey of the history of dualism and its impact on contemporary cognitive psychology. It argues that much of modern cognitive or mentalist psychology is built upon a cryptodualism--the idea that the mind and brain can be thought of as independent entities. This dualism pervades so much of society that it covertly influences many aspects of modern science, particularly psychology. To support the argument, the history of dualism is extended (...) over 100,000 years--from the Paleolithic times until modern philosophical and psychological thinking. The questions regarding this topic that are answered in the book are: 1) Does dualism influence the scientific theories of psychology? 2) If so, should dualism be put aside in the search for a more objective analysis of human mentation? (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 ...
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)
Intrigues: From Being to the Other examines the possibility of writing the other, explores whether an ethical writing that preserves the other as such is possible, and discusses what the implications are for an ethically inflected criticism. Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, whose works constitute the most thorough contemporary exploration of the question of the other and of its relation to writing, are the main focus of this study. The book's horizon is ethics in the Levinasian sense: the question of (...) the other, which, on the hither side of language understood as a system of signs and of representation, must be welcomed by language and preserved in its alterity. Martin Heidegger is an unavoidable reference, however. While it is true that for the German philosopher Being is an immanent production, his elucidation of a more essential understanding of Being entails a deconstruction of onto-theology, of the sign and the grammatical and logical determinations of language, all decisive starting points for both Levinas and Blanchot.At stake for both Levinas and Blanchot, then, is how to mark a nondiscursive excess within discourse without erasing or reducing it. How should one read and write the other in the same without reducing the other to the same?Critics in recent years have discussed an "ethical moment or turn" characterized by the other's irruption into the order of discourse. The other becomes a true crossroads of disciplines, since it affects several aspects of discourse: the constitution of the subject, the status of knowledge, the nature of representation, and what that representation represses (gender, power). Yet there has been a tendency to graft the other onto paradigms whose main purpose is to reassess questions of identity, fundamentally in terms of representation; the other thus loses some of its most crucial features.Through close readings of texts by Heidegger, Levinas, and Blanchot the book examines how the question of the other engages the very limits of philosophy, rationality, and power. (shrink)
In Minds and Bodies, one of philosophy's most dynamic and versatile thinkers gathers nearly forty review essays written over the past twenty years for publications of a nonspecialized kind. They cover biography, particularly of Russell and Wittgenstein; philosophy of mind, especially consciousness; and ethics, with an emphasis on applied ethics. Lucid and accessible, these essays together form a vivid picture of contemporary philosophy for the general reader, and will be welcomed by those within the philosophical community for their crisp critical (...) insights and rigorous assessments. (shrink)
One of the most fruitful interdisciplinary boundaries in contemporary scholarship is that between philosophy and cognitive science. Now that solid empirical results about the activities of the human mind are available, it is no longer necessary for philosophers to practice armchair psychology.In this short, accessible, and entertaining book, Alvin Goldman presents a masterly survey of recent work in cognitive science that has particular relevance to philosophy. Besides providing a valuable review of the most suggestive work in cognitive and social psychology, (...) Goldman demonstrates conclusively that the best work in philosophy in a surprising number of different fields—including philosophy of science, epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics as well as philosophy of mind—must take into account empirical breakthroughs in psychology.One of those rare texts that will also be useful for professionals, Philosophical Applications of Cognitive Science is appropriate for students in a wide range of philosophy courses. It will also interest researchers and students in psychology who are intrigued by the wider theoretical implications of their work. (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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
This book aims at reconciling the emerging conceptions of mind and their contents that have, in recent years, come to seem irreconcilable. Post-Cartesian philosophers face the challenge of comprehending minds as natural objects possessing apparently non-natural powers of thought. The difficulty is to understand how our mental capacities, no less than our biological or chemical characteristics, might ultimately be products of our fundamental physical constituents, and to do so in a way that preserves the phenomena. Externalists argue that the significance (...) of thought turns on the circumstances of thinkers; reductionists hold that mental characteristics are physical; eliminationists contend that the concept of thought belongs to an outmoded folk theory of behavior. John Heil explores these topics and points the way to a naturalistic synthesis, one that accords the mental a place in the physical world alongside the non-mental. (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)
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)
The philosophy of mind has always been a staple of the philosophy curriculum. But it has never held a more important place than it does today, with both traditional problems and new topics often sparked by the developments in the psychological, cognitive, and computer sciences. Jaegwon Kim’s Philosophy of Mind is the classic, comprehensive survey of the subject. Now in its second edition, Kim explores, maps, and interprets this complex and exciting terrain. Designed as an introduction to the field for (...) upper-level undergraduates and graduate students, Philosophy of Mind focuses on the mind/body problem and related issues, some touching on the status of psychology and cognitive science. The second edition features a new chapter on Cartesian substance dualism-a perspective that has been little discussed in the mainstream philosophy of mind and almost entirely ignored in most introductory books in philosophy of mind. In addition, all the chapters have been revised and updated to reflect the trends and developments of the last decade. Throughout the text, Kim allows readers to come to their own terms with the central problems of the mind. At the same time, the author’s own emerging views are on display and serve to move the discussion forward. Comprehensive, clear, and fair, Philosophy of Mind is a model of philosophical exposition. It is a major contribution to the study and teaching of the philosophy of mind. (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)
In The Nature of Consciousness, Mark Rowlands develops an innovative and radical account of the nature of phenomenal consciousness, one that has significant consequences for attempts to find a place for it in the natural order. The most significant feature of consciousness is its dual nature: consciousness can be both the directing of awareness and that upon which awareness is directed. Rowlands offers a clear and philosophically insightful discussion of the main positions in this fast-moving debate, and argues that the (...) phenomenal aspects of conscious experience are aspects that exist only in the directing of experience towards non-phenomenal objects, a theory that undermines reductive attempts to explain consciousness in terms of what is not conscious. His book will be of interest to a wide range of readers in the philosophy of mind and language, psychology, and cognitive science. (shrink)