‘How, then, she had asked herself, did one know one thing or another thing about people, sealed as they were?’ So asks Lily Briscoe in To the Lighthouse. It is this question, rather than any concern about pretence or deception, which forms the basis for the philosophical problem of other minds. Responses to this problem have tended to cluster around two solutions: either we know others’ minds through perception; or we know others’ minds through a form of inference. In the (...) first part of this paper I argue that this debate is best understood as concerning the question of whether our knowledge of others’ minds is based on perception or based on evidence. In the second part of the paper I suggest that our ordinary ways of thinking take our knowledge of others’ minds to be both non- evidential and non-perceptual. A satisfactory resolution to the philosophical problem of other minds thus requires us to take seriously the idea that we have a way of knowing about others’ minds which is both non-evidential and non-perceptual. I suggest that our knowledge of others’ minds which is based on their expressions – our expressive knowledge - may fit this bill. (shrink)
According to the perceptual model, our knowledge of others' minds is a form of perceptual knowledge. We know, for example, that Jones is angry because we can literally see that he is. In this essay, I argue that mental states do not have the kind of distinctive looks that could sufficiently justify perceptual knowledge of others’ mentality. I present a puzzle that can arise with respect to mental states that I claim does not arise for non-mental properties like being an (...) apple and argue that this is explained by the fact that the looks of non-mental properties adhere to a certain explanatory principle that does not hold for mental states. This shows, I argue, that, even if we think mental states do have looks, these cannot offer sufficient grounds for perceptual knowledge of others' minds. In the final section of the essay, I suggest an alternative way of thinking about our knowledge of others' minds and about the sorts of looks or appearances that might be associated with mental states. (shrink)
In this paper I defend the claim that testimony can serve as a basic source of knowledge of other people’s mental lives against the objection that testimonial knowledge presupposes knowledge of other people’s mental lives and therefore can’t be used to explain it.
Cet article aborde le problème de la justification des attributions d'expérience à autrui (problem of other minds). Je compare ce problème à d'autres problèmes sceptiques contemporains dus à Nelson Goodman et Saoül Kripke et je montre qu'il constitue un défi plus pressant et auquel il est plus difficile de répondre de manière modeste. Je propose une solution radicale à ce problème, qui repose sur l'idée, avérée empiriquement, selon laquelle nous disposons de deux formes d'empathie distinctes pour accéder à autrui. Très (...) sommairement, lorsque je m'interroge sur autrui de manière objective et désengagée, je ne peux accéder à son esprit que par empathie cognitive, et le problème des autres esprits est alors insoluble. Lorsqu'autrui m'est présenté en personne, par contre, j'accède à son esprit par une forme d'empathie affective et le problème de l'esprit autrui est alors littéralement dépourvu de sens. (shrink)
Quassim Cassam has recently defended a perceptual model of knowledge of other minds: one on which we can see and thereby know that another thinks and feels. In the course of defending this model, he addresses issues about our ability to think about other minds. I argue that his solution to this 'conceptual problem' does not work. A solution to the conceptual problem is necessary if we wish to explain knowledge of other minds.
‘What am I’ is the question which is generally asked and answered differently , since the history of thought. It is related to one’s identity, so everyone gives different answer according to their personal history, physical features and circumstances. For Hume self is neither a body, nor a mind, nor a combination of both, nor an unknown substance as some thinkers generally say and defend. It is only a series of experiences, a strew of feelings, sensations, desires, thoughts, beliefs etc (...) After that he considers the problem of personal identity by adopting the classical exposition of the positivist’s theory of personal identity. It is the view of those thinkers, who adopted sceptical view and also think that the idea of self can be described in the empirical or linguistic formula. It is common to all positivist that they think self is an abstraction from the facts with no ontological status of its own. (shrink)
This is an introductory textbook on probability and induction written by one of the world's foremost philosophers of science. The book has been designed to offer maximal accessibility to the widest range of students and assumes no formal training in elementary symbolic logic. It offers a comprehensive course covering all basic definitions of induction and probability, and it considers such topics as decision theory, Bayesianism, frequency ideas, and the philosophical problem of induction. The key features of the book are a (...) lively and vigorous prose style; lucid and systematic organisation and presentation of the ideas; many practical applications; a rich supply of exercises drawing on examples from such fields as psychology, ecology, economics, bioethics, engineering, and political science; numerous brief historical accounts of how fundamental ideas of probability and induction developed; a full bibliography of further reading. Although designed primarily for courses in philosophy, the book could certainly be read and enjoyed by those in the social sciences or medical sciences seeking a reader-friendly account of the basic ideas of probability and induction. (shrink)
Psychologists distinguish between intentional systems which have beliefs and those which are also able to attribute beliefs to others. The ability to do the latter is called having a 'theory of mind', and many cognitive ethologists are hoping to find evidence for this ability in animal behaviour. I argue that Dennett's theory entails that any intentional system that interacts with another intentional system (such as vervet monkeys and chess-playing computers) has a theory of mind, which would make the distinction all (...) but meaningless. This entailment should not be accepted; instead, Dennett's position that intentional behaviour is best predictable via the intentional stance should be rejected in favour of a pluralistic view of behaviour prediction. I introduce an additional method which humans often use to predict intentional and non-intentional behaviour, which could be called the inductive stance. (shrink)
Solipsism can be refuted along fairly traditional, internalist lines, by means of a second-order induction. We are justified in believing in other minds, because other people tell us that they have minds, and we have good inductive reason to believe that whatever certain others say is likely to be true. This simple argument is sound, the author argues, even though we are in no prior position to believe that other thinking people exist as such, or that the sounds they make (...) have any meaning. The mere phenomenal surfaces of others' statements form sufficient grounds for the induction that the argument requires. (shrink)
Alvin plantinga and michael slote, Following ayer, Have attempted to formulate the argument from analogy for the existence of other minds as an enumerative induction. Their way of avoiding the 'generalizing from a single case' objection is shown to be fallacious.
Plantinga's attempts generally to undermine inductive-Analogical arguments for the other minds are criticized, And an attempt is made to present a sound analogical argument for other minds that can withstand plantinga's and other sceptical criticisms. It is then argued that a similar demonstration of the reasonableness of believing in objects when we are not observing them is also possible.
The analogical position, as traditionally understood, is the claim that a person can inductively infer the existence of other minds from what he knows about his own mind and about physical objects. Of course this body of knowledge must not include such propositions about physical objects as "that human body over there is animated by a human mind," or "this automobile was designed by a human mind"; nor could my evidence for the existence of other minds be that I have (...) it on the authority of some of the best minds in the country. The body of knowledge in question must not entail that there are any other minds. In "Induction and Other Minds" I used the term "total evidence" to refer to this body of knowledge, defining that term as follows. (shrink)
But here a preliminary difficulty must be dealt with: can't we sometimes see that a man is in pain? Can't we sometimes see that someone is thinking, depressed, or exuberant? And if anything would be "determining by observation" that another is in pain, surely seeing that he is would be: so why is a tenuous analogical inference necessary?
I argue in this paper that philosophers have not clearly introduced the concept of a body in terms of which the problem of other minds and its solutions have been traditionally stated; that one can raise fatal objections to attempts to introduce this concept; and that the particular form of the problem of other minds which is stated in terms of the concept is confused and requires no solution. The concept of a "body" which may or may not be the (...) body of a person, which is required to state the traditional problem, is, on close examination, incoherent and cannot be introduced into a reasonable philosophical discussion. Also published in The Philosophy of the Body, Rejections of Cartesian Dualism, ed. Stuart F. Spicker. (shrink)
I give some reason for accepting a form of the view that there is some logical, And not just contingent, Connection between publicly observable behavior and a person's psychological states. If my contentions are sound, They open the way to the enterprise of delineating a stratification of psychological state concepts. This involves determining which mental concepts are logically connected to observable behavior and how the other categories of mental states are specified on the basis of these.