Language of thought theories fall primarily into two views. The first view sees the language of thought as an innate language known as mentalese, which is hypothesized to operate at a level below conscious awareness while at the same time operating at a higher level than the neural events in the brain. The second view supposes that the language of thought is not innate. Rather, the language of thought is natural language. So, as an English speaker, my language of thought (...) would be English. -/- My goal is to defend the second view. My methodology will see the project broken down into three major areas. First I will show that human thinking requires a language of thought, after which I will highlight some problems with assuming that this language is innate and hidden. Included in this section will be a small introduction to the compatibility problem. The compatibility problem offers some obvious difficulties for mentalese theories and these will be discussed. The next stage of the project will focus on evidence that can be put forward in support of the claim that natural language is the language of thought. Our most direct source of evidence comes from introspection, and this will play a dominant role in the discussion. The final part of the thesis will involve an examination of the principle arguments that have been put forward against the idea that natural language is the language of thought. My goal will be to show that these arguments do not entail the existence of mentalese, nor do they show that natural language is not the language of thought. I will provide answers to the arguments, and will explain the phenomena they point to in terms of natural language being the language of thought. (shrink)
During my childhood I was fascinated by videogames. One game that stands out in my memory is Pacman. It wasn’t the gameplay that interested me so much as the behavior of the ghosts. As you watch them roam around the maze, you get the feeling that they are intelligent. They seem to be making decisions about how best to catch Pacman. But how free are their decisions? One of the interesting things I noticed was that I could play exactly the (...) same game over and over if I moved Pacman in precisely the same way each time. The ghosts always followed the same behavioral pattern and didn’t deviate from that pattern until I changed my pattern. Experimenting with Pacman in this way revealed to me something about the ghosts’ behavior. True, they make decisions, but their decisions are firmly and predictably determined by the way I move around the maze. (shrink)
This article explores the Simulated Universe argument with particular reference to Nick Bostrom’s formulation. After providing an exposition of the argument, I address two problems and conclude that we reject the possibility that we exist in a simulation.
One of the major concerns for the contemporary philosophy of mind involves the problem of qualia. The word qualia refers to our subjective experience of the world and includes the properties of our experience that cannot be located in the world external to our minds. For example, the ineffable feel of a blue experience when one looks at the sky, or the pain one feels when one is stuck with a pin. These sensations are the essence of our experience and (...) yet cannot be pointed to in the external world. (shrink)
In this paper I compare two different approaches to the supposed distinction between the mental and the physical: 1. Brentano's theory of `Intentionality', which, in its early formulation, proposes a true distinction between physical objects and the objects of thought; and 2. Dennett's `Intentional Systems Theory', which is an attempt to naturalise the mind and to reduce mental phenomena such as beliefs and desires to simple physical systems.