The Ontology of Mind: Events, Processes, and States

Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press (1997)
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Helen Steward puts forward a radical critique of the foundations of contemporary philosophy of mind, arguing that it relies too heavily on insecure assumptions about the sorts of things there are in the mind--events, processes, and states. She offers a fresh investigation of these three categories, clarifying the distinctions between them, and argues that the category of state has been very widely and seriously misunderstood.



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This introductory chapter opens with a discussion of the philosophy and mind and the mind-body problem. It argues that philosophers have been surprisingly slow to ask about the distinctions between the categories in terms of which they characterize the mind. It is not, of course, that nobo... see more

Events, Particularity, and Properties

This chapter considers two theories of events which connect the category of event quite closely to the category of property by utilizing the notion of a property exemplification. Both Jaegwon Kim and Jonathan Bennett have defended views according to which events are exemplifications of pro... see more

The Temporal Strategy: Time and Aspect

This chapter begins by trying to build on the suggestion, adumbrated at the end of Chapter 2, that what is common and peculiar to events, and what distinguishes them from states, is a certain kind of ‘temporal shape’ — to exploit a so-called ‘temporal strategy’. The temporal strategy appea... see more

States and the Type-Token Distinction

This chapter attempts to explain how we come by the nouns and nominal phrases which suggest reference to states, before going on to argue that the idea that events and states are close relations in the same ontological family — an idea present either explicitly or implicitly in the writing... see more

The Network Model of Causation in Philosophy of Mind

This chapter describes and attempts to undermine a model or picture of causation which is believed dominates contemporary philosophy of mind (as well as many accounts of the nature of causation in general) and shapes prevailing ideas about the form of some of its most important questions —... see more

Token Identity Theories

This chapter argues that the mistakes embodied in the view of causation called network model — the view according to which states are to be thought of as separate, causally efficacious particulars, each of which acts in concert with other events and states in a causal network — have lent i... see more

Eliminativism and the Problem of Epiphenomenalism

In Chapter 8 it was argued that the token identity theory is not only false, but proves ultimately to be unintelligible, when it is conceived of as a general theory of the nature of mind, i.e., as a theory which is intended to encompass such psychological ‘states’ as beliefs, desires, inte... see more

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Author's Profile

Helen Steward
University of Leeds

Citations of this work

Physicalism.Daniel Stoljar - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Events.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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