Recreative Minds develops a philosophical theory of imagination that draws upon the latest work in psychology. This theory illuminates the use of imagination in coming to terms with art, its role in enabling us to live as social beings, and the psychological consequences of disordered imagination. The authors offer a lucid exploration of a fascinating subject.
Many philosophers and cognitive scientists claim that our everyday or "folk" understanding of mental states constitutes a theory of mind. That theory is widely called "folk psychology" (sometimes "commonsense" psychology). The terms in which folk psychology is couched are the familiar ones of "belief" and "desire", "hunger", "pain" and so forth. According to many theorists, folk psychology plays a central role in our capacity to predict and explain the behavior of ourselves and others. However, the nature and status of folk (...) psychology remains controversial. (shrink)
Eliminativism has been a major focus of discussion in the philosophy of mind for the last two decades. According to eliminativists, beliefs and other intentional states are the posits of a folk theory of mind standardly called "folk psychology". That theory, they claim, is radically false and hence beliefs and other intentional states do not exist. We argue that the expression "folk psychology" is ambiguous in an important way. On the one hand, "folk psychology" is used by many philosophers and (...) cognitive scientists to refer to an internally represented theory of human psychology exploited in the prediction of behavior. On the other hand, "folk psychology" is used to refer to the theory of mind implicit in our everyday talk about mental states. We then argue that sorting out the conceptual and terminological confusion surrounding "folk psychology" has major consequences for the eliminativism debate. In particular, if certain models of cognition turn out to be true, then on some readings of "folk psychology" the arguments for eliminativism collapse. (shrink)
This paper explores two models of empathy. One model places theory centre stage; the other emphasises our capacity to re‐enact fragments of another's mental life. I argue that considerations of parsimony strongly support the latter, simulative approach. My results have consequences for the current debate between the theory‐theory and simulation theory. That debate is standardly conceived as a debate about mental state attribution rather than about empathy. However, on the simulation model, empathy and mental state attribution involve a common mechanism. (...) Thus the strength of the simulative approach to empathy lends considerable credence to the simulation account of mental state attribution. Considerations of empathy are thus surprisingly important in the philosophy of mind.. (shrink)
Motor imagery typically involves an experience as of moving a body part. Recent studies reveal close parallels between the constraints on motor imagery and those on actual motor performance. How are these parallels to be explained? We advance a simulative theory of motor imagery, modeled on the idea that we predict and explain the decisions of others by simulating their decision-making processes. By proposing that motor imagery is essentially off-line motor action, we explain the tendency of motor imagery to mimic (...) motor performance. We close by arguing that a simulative theory of motor imagery gives (modest) support to and illumination of the simulative theory of decision-prediction. (shrink)
Designed specifically for students with no background knowledge in the subject, this accessible introduction covers all of the basic concepts and major theories in the philosophy of mind. Topics discussed include dualism, behaviorism, the identity theory, functionalism, the computational theory of mind, connectionism, physicalism, mental causation, and consciousness. The text is enhanced by chapter summaries, a glossary, suggestions for further reading, and self-assessment questions.
Part 1: Metaphysics and Conceptual Analysis 1. Analysis, description and the a priori?, Simon Blackburn 2. Physicalism, conceptual analysis and acts of faith, Jennifer Hornsby 3. Serious metaphysics: Frank Jackson’s defense of conceptual analysis, William G. Lycan 4. Jackson’s classical model of meaning, Laura Schroeter & John Bigelow 5. The semantic foundations of metaphysics, Huw Price 6. The folk theory of colours and the causes of colour experience, Peter Menzies Part 2: The Knowledge Argument 7. Consciousness and the frustrations of (...) physicalism, Philip Pettit 8. Jackson’s change of mind: representationalism, a priorism and the knowledge argument, Robert Van Gulick Part 3: Ethics 9. Analytic moral functionalism meets moral twin earth, Terrence Horgan & Mark Timmons 10. Consequentialism and the nearest and dearest objection, Michael Smith 11. The ’actual’ in actualism, Julia Driver Part 4: Conditionals and the Purposes of Arguing 12. Conditionals, truth and assertion, Dorothy Edgington 13. Conditionals: A debate with Jackson, Graham Priest 14. Two purposes of arguing and two epistemic projects, Martin Davies Replies to my critics, Frank Jackson. (shrink)
This chapter draws an analogy between substance dualism (SD) and one kind of creationism. Some substance dualists appear to believe that SD is preferable to physicalism because only the former can account for the existence of morality. Some dualists are attracted to emergence, although it is unclear that it is a form of SD; indeed, it is not clear that it is a form of dualism at all, and if it is it would seem to be a form of property (...) dualism. The chapter discusses SD's relationship to three key elements of religious doctrine and the idea of emergence. It describes most serious arguments for physicalism and consequently against SD. According to SD, mind and brain are radically different substances, the former nonphysical, the latter physical. Advocates of occasionalist SD claim that God appropriately correlates mental and physical events occasion by occasion. (shrink)
Voices on the political right have long claimed that the welfare state ought to be kept small, and that charities can take over many of the tasks involved in helping those at the bottom of society. The arguments in favor of this claim are controversial, but even if they are accepted at face value the policy proposal remains problematic. For the proposal presupposes that charities would, in fact, be able to raise enough money to provide adequate help to those in (...) need, and therefore assumes that charities are able to very significantly increase the number and/or size of donations they receive. We argue that there are good reasons for doubting that charities will be able to do this. Our argument turns on the fact that the most powerful strategy for eliciting donations—namely, allowing donors to use their donation to signal their pro-sociality—has an inbuilt upper limit. If too much emphasis is placed on the signaling opportunities donating to charity provides, donating no longer functions as an effective signal and the motivation to donate declines. (shrink)
Francis Crick has identified a doctrine‐the neuron doctrine‐which he apparently regards as both true and astonishing. I begin by carefully articulating Crick’s doctrine, arguing that whilst plausible it is certainly not astonishing. I then consider a related doctrine, the biological neuroscience thesis (BNT). According to BNT, mental science is biological neuroscience, where biological neuroscience is pretty much exhausted by neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neurochemistry. Stoljar and Gold argue that BNT is unsupported by current scientific developments. I argue that well‐established results in (...) the cognitive sciences show that it is false. (shrink)
What’s Darwin got to do with it? The role of evolutionary theory in psychiatry Content Type Journal Article Category Review Essay Pages 1-12 DOI 10.1007/s10539-011-9301-3 Authors Ian Ravenscroft, Philosophy Department, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia Journal Biology and Philosophy Online ISSN 1572-8404 Print ISSN 0169-3867.
According to the ‘collapse’ argument, episodes of mental simulation necessarily involve tacit knowledge of folk psychological generalisations. In response, I show that there is little risk that the simulation of theoretical reasoning involves such generalisations. However, the case of practical reasoning is quite different. If practical reasoning is Humean, then the risk of collapse is very great indeed. Moreover, there are compelling reasons for thinking that practical reasoning is Humean. I close by replying, qua simulationist, to the (very real) prospect (...) of collapse. (shrink)
I have rewritten—often several times—every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.A pen is a machine to think with.The writer engages the world not only by living in and reflecting it but also by two dynamic processes, one sensory/motor, the other social. The former involves cycles of writing, reading what has been written, responding to it, and writing again; the latter involves writing, reading to an audience, responding to their reactions, and writing again. Dynamic processes involving brain (...) and world, via perception and behavior, have been of great interest to philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists in recent decades. In contrast to classical cognitive science, enactivism proposes... (shrink)
Neo-pragmatists propose that content is determined by social convention. A convention is a coordination problem in which each agent prefers any solution to none, yet has no preference amongst the alternative solutions. This paper argues that the best known theory of convention, David Lewis’, cannot yield a theory of content because it appeals to beliefs and other states that themselves have content. The question then arises whether a theory of convention that does not appeal to states with content can be (...) developed. The idea that a radical enactivist approach to convention based on basic emotions is then tentatively proposed. (shrink)