This article charts the history of mental testing in the context of the rise and fall of Russian child science between the 1890s and the 1930s. Tracing the genealogy of testing in scientific experimentation, scholastic assessment, medical diagnostics and bureaucratic accounting, it follows the displacements of this technology along and across the boundaries of the child science movement. The article focuses on three domains of expertise – psychology, pedagogy and psychiatry, examining the key guises that mental testing assumed (...) in them – namely, the experiment, the exam and the diagnosis. It then analyses the failed state-bureaucratic harnessing of mental testing in early Soviet attempts to manage mass education, discussing the peculiar dynamics of the legitimation of testing, as it swung between black-boxing and instrumentalization, on the one hand, and scandal and controversy, on the other. The article argues that mental testing thrived in Russia as a strategically ambiguous and flexibly interpreted ‘boundary object’, which interconnected a highly heterogeneous field, enabling the coexistence and cooperation of diverse occupational agendas and normative regimes. (shrink)
What is it to remember an episode from one’s past? How does episodic memory give us knowledge of the personal past? What explains the emergence of the apparently uniquely human ability to relive the past? Drawing on current research on mental time travel, this book proposes an integrated set of answers to these questions, arguing that remembering is a matter of simulating past episodes, that we can identify metacognitive mechanisms enabling episodic simulation to meet standards of reliability sufficient for (...) knowledge, and that the subjective experience of reliving the past is a precondition for the reliability of simulational remembering. The resulting account of memory, memory knowledge, and their evolution will be of interest both to philosophers interested in empirically-informed approaches to memory and to psychologists interested in the philosophical implications of empirical memory research. (shrink)
David DeGrazia’s stated purposes for Taking Animals Seriously are to apply a coherentist methodology to animal ethics, to do the philosophical work necessary for discussing animal minds, and to fill in some of the gaps in the existing literature on animal ethics.
Introduction -- A default position -- Experience -- The character of experience -- Understanding-experience -- A note about dispositional mental states -- Purely experiential content -- An account of four seconds of thought -- Questions -- The mental and the nonmental -- The mental and the publicly observable -- The mental and the behavioral -- Neobehaviorism and reductionism -- Naturalism in the philosophy of mind -- Conclusion: The three questions -- Agnostic materialism, part 1 -- Monism (...) -- The linguistic argument -- Materialism and monism -- A comment on reduction -- The impossibility of an objective phenomenology -- Asymmetry and reduction -- Equal-status monism -- Panpsychism -- The inescapability of metaphysics -- Agnostic materialism, part 2 -- Ignorance -- Sensory spaces -- Experience, explanation, and theoretical integration -- The hard part of the mind-body problem -- Neutral monism and agnostic monism -- A comment on eliminativism, instrumentalism, and so on -- Mentalism, idealism, and immaterialism -- Mentalism -- Strict or pure process idealism -- Active-principle idealism -- Stuff idealism -- Immaterialism -- The positions restated -- The dualist options -- Frege's thesis -- Objections to pure process idealism -- The problem of mental dispositions -- Mental -- Shared abilities -- The sorting ability -- The definition of mental being -- Mental phenomena -- The view that all mental phenomena are experiential phenomena -- Natural intentionality -- E/c intentionality -- The experienceless -- Intentionality and abstract and nonexistent objects -- Experience, purely experiential content, and n/c intentionality -- Concepts in nature -- Intentionality and experience -- Summary with problem -- Pain and pain -- The neo-behaviorist view -- A linguistic argument for the necessary connection between pain and behavior -- A challenge -- The Sirians -- N.N. Novel -- An objection to the Sirians -- The Betelgeuzians -- The point of the Sirians -- Functionalism, naturalism, and realism about pain -- Unpleasantness and qualitative character -- The weather watchers -- The rooting story -- What is it like to be a weather watcher? -- The aptitudes of mental states -- The argument from the conditions for possessing the concept of space -- The argument from the conditions for language ability -- The argument from the nature of desire -- Desire and affect -- The argument from the phenomenology of desire -- Behavior -- A hopeless definition -- Difficulties -- Other-observability -- Neo-behaviorism -- The concept of mind. (shrink)
In this paper, I will present several interpretations of Brentano’s notion of the intentional inexistence of a mental state’s intentional object, i.e., what that state is about. I will moreover hold that, while all the interpretations from Section 1 to Section 4 are wrong, the penultimate interpretation that I focus in Section 5, the one according to which intentional inexistence amounts to the individuation of a mental state by means of its intentional object, is correct provided that it (...) is nested into the really right interpretation, the final one I give in Section 6. For it provides one of the merely necessary conditions of this latter interpretation. According to this final interpretation,intentional inexistence amounts to the constitution of a mental state by means of its intentional object. Finally, I will hold that both such interpretations preserve the idea, which strikes everyone as true, that an intentional object exists in the mental state aboutit pretty much as a pictorial character exists in the picture (qua interpreted entity) that depicts it. (shrink)
Nonreductive physicalism provides an appealing solution to the nature of mental properties. But its success as a theory of mental properties has been called into doubt by claims that it cannot adequately handle the problems of mental causation, as it leads either to epiphenomenalism or to thoroughgoing overdetermination. I argue that these apparent problems for the nonreductivist are based in fundamental confusion about causation and explanation. I distinguish two different types of explanation and two different relations to (...) which they appeal: causation and determination. I argue that these types of explanation do not compete with one another, nor do these relations jointly result in overdetermination. In closing I develop a nonreductivist solution to mental causation which avoids both the hazards of epiphenomenalism and of overdetermination and so demonstrates a way to save nonreductive physicalism from the problems of mental causation. (shrink)
Over the past fifty years the philosophy of language and mind has been dominated by a nondescriptivist approach to content and reference. This book attempts to recast and systematize that approach by offering an indexical model in terms of mental files. According to Recanati, we refer through mental files, the function of which is to store information derived through certain types of contextual relation the subject bears to objects in his or her environment. The reference of a file (...) is determined relationally, not satisfactionally, so a file is not to be equated to the body of (mis-)information it contains. Mental files are the mental equivalent of singular terms, and the reference of linguistic expressions is inherited from that of the files we associate with them. On this approach, mental files, the vehicles of singular thought, do all the work of so-called 'modes of presentation' in Fregean and neo-Russellian theories. (shrink)
A variety of scientific disciplines have set as their task explaining mental activities, recognizing that in some way these activities depend upon our brain. But, until recently, the opportunities to conduct experiments directly on our brains were limited. As a result, research efforts were split between disciplines such as cognitive psychology, linguistics, and artificial intelligence that investigated behavior, while disciplines such as neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and genetics experimented on the brains of non-human animals. In recent decades these disciplines integrated, and (...) with the advent of techniques for imaging activity in human brains, the term cognitive neuroscience has been applied to the integrated investigations of mind and brain. This book is a philosophical examination of how these disciplines continue in the mission of explaining our mental capacities. (shrink)
This book offers a broad, systematic philosophical approach to mental disorder. The authors spend the first half of the book presenting their basic philosophical allegiances, and they go on to apply their philosophical approach to mental disorder. As the authors note, psychiatry has been largely neglected by contemporary philosophy of mind, and this book is a laudable attempt to rectify the situation by producing a sustained and clinically well-informed philosophical treatment of mental disorder.
This dissertation argues that mental representation is identical to phenomenal consciousness, and everything else that appears to be both mental and a matter of representation is not genuine mental representation, but either in some way derived from mental representation, or a case of non-mental representation.
The problem of amodal perception is the problem of how we represent features of perceived objects that are occluded or otherwise hidden from us. Bence Nanay (2010) has recently proposed that we amodally perceive an object's occluded features by imaginatively projecting them into the relevant regions of visual egocentric space. In this paper, I argue that amodal perception is not a single, unitary capacity. Drawing appropriate distinctions reveals amodal perception to be characterized not only by mental imagery, as Nanay (...) suggests, but also by genuinely visual representations as well as beliefs. I conclude with some brief remarks on the role of object-directed bodily action in conferring a sense of unseen presence on an object's occluded features. (shrink)
Historically, mental imagery has been defined as an experiential state - as something necessarily conscious. But most behavioural or neuroimaging experiments on mental imagery - including the most famous ones - don’t actually take the conscious experience of the subject into consideration. Further, recent research highlights that there are very few behavioural or neural differences between conscious and unconscious mental imagery. I argue that treating mental imagery as not necessarily conscious (as potentially unconscious) would bring much (...) needed explanatory unification to mental imagery research. It would also help us to reassess some of the recent aphantasia findings inasmuch as at least some subjects with aphantasia would be best described as having unconscious mental imagery. (shrink)
This paper is about a puzzle which lies at the heart of contemporary physicalist theories of mind. On the one hand, the original motivation for physicalism was the need to explain the place of mental causation in the physical world. On the other hand, physicalists have recently come to see the explanation of mental causation as one of their major problems. But how can this be? How can it be that physicalist theories still have a problem explaining something (...) which their physicalism was intended to explain in the first place? If physicalism is meant to be an explanation of mental causation, then why should it still face the problem of mental causation? (shrink)
When I am looking at my coffee machine that makes funny noises, this is an instance of multisensory perception – I perceive this event by means of both vision and audition. But very often we only receive sensory stimulation from a multisensory event by means of one sense modality, for example, when I hear the noisy coffee machine in the next room, that is, without seeing it. The aim of this paper is to bring together empirical findings about multimodal perception (...) and empirical findings about (visual, auditory, tactile) mental imagery and argue that on occasions like this, we have multimodal mental imagery: perceptual processing in one sense modality (here: vision) that is triggered by sensory stimulation in another sense modality (here: audition). Multimodal mental imagery is not a rare and obscure phenomenon. The vast majority of what we perceive are multisensory events: events that can be perceived in more than one sense modality – like the noisy coffee machine. And most of the time we are only acquainted with these multisensory events via a subset of the sense modalities involved – all the other aspects of these multisensory events are represented by means of multisensory mental imagery. This means that multisensory mental imagery is a crucial element of almost all instances of everyday perception. (shrink)
This paper considers the connection between automaticity, control and agency. Indeed, recent philosophical and psychological works play up the incompatibility of automaticity and agency. Specifically, there is a threat of automaticity, for automaticity eliminates agency. Such conclusions stem from a tension between two thoughts: that automaticity pervades agency and yet automaticity rules out control. I provide an analysis of the notions of automaticity and control that maintains a simple connection: automaticity entails the absence of control. An appropriate analysis, however, shows (...) that actions are forms of control and pervasively automatic even if automaticity implies the absence of control. Consequences are drawn for the theory of mental agency and the psychological concepts of automaticity and control. (shrink)
We provide a cognitive analysis of how children represent belief using mental files. We explain why children who pass the false belief test are not aware of the intensionality of belief. Fifty-one 3½- to 7-year old children were familiarized with a dual object, e.g., a ball that rattles and is described as a rattle. They observed how a puppet agent witnessed the ball being put into box 1. In the agent’s absence the ball was taken from box 1, the (...) child was reminded of it being a rattle, and emphasising its being a rattle it was put back into box 1. Then the agent returned, the object was hidden in the experimenter’s hands and removed from box 1, described as a ‘‘rattle,” and transferred to box 2. Children who passed false belief had no problem saying where the puppet would look for the ball. However, in a different condition in which the agent was also shown that the ball was a rattle they erroneously said that the agent would look for the ball in box 1, ignoring the agent’s knowledge of the identity of rattle and ball. Their problems cease with their mastery of second-order beliefs. Problems also vanish when the ball is described not as a rattle but as a thing that rattles. We describe how our theory can account for these data as well as all other relevant data in the literature. (shrink)
This paper takes issue with a widely accepted view of mental causation. This is the view that mental causation is either reducible to physical causation or ultimately untenable, because incompatible with the causal completeness of physics The paper examines, first, why recent attempts to save the phenomena of mental causation by way of the notion of supervenient causation fail The result of t/us examination is the claim that any attempted specification of the most basic causal factors which (...) supposedly underlie a causal transaction cannot account for the counterfactually necessary connections with the effect m question. By contrast, the specification of these factors at a higher-level would allow establishing such connections. The paper doses with a discussion of how the view of autonomous higher-level causation grounded on counterfactual relations can be made compatible with the physicalistic commitment to a complete specification of the particular causes of any physical effect exclusively in physical terms. (shrink)
The notion of a "mental representation" is, arguably, in the first instance a theoretical construct of cognitive science. As such, it is a basic concept of the Computational Theory of Mind, according to which cognitive states and processes are constituted by the occurrence, transformation and storage (in the mind/brain) of information-bearing structures (representations) of one kind or another.
The paper argues that dualism can explain mental causation and solve the exclusion problem. If dualism is combined with the assumption that the psychophysical laws have a special status, it follows that some physical events counterfactually depend on, and are therefore caused by, mental events. Proponents of this account of mental causation can solve the exclusion problem in either of two ways: they can deny that it follows that the physical effect of a mental event is (...) overdetermined by its mental and physical causes, or they can accept that the physical effect is overdetermined but claim that this is unproblematic because the case is sufficiently dissimilar to prototypical cases of overdetermination. (shrink)
Ascribing mental qualities like beliefs, intentions and wants to a machine is sometimes correct if done conservatively and is sometimes necessary to express what is known about its state. We propose some new definitional tools for this: definitions relative to an approximate theory and second order structural definitions.
Such claims are part 0f a viewpoint according t0 which mental images represent in thc manner of pictures. It is very natural t0 think that such claims are confused or nonsensical. One of my purposes here is a limited dcfcnsc of this supposedly confused doctrine, especially against its chief cognitive science rival. But this..
This paper argues that the exclusion problem for mental causation can be solved by a variant of non-reductive physicalism that takes the mental not merely to supervene on, but to be grounded in, the physical. A grounding relation between events can be used to establish a principle that links the causal relations of grounded events to those of grounding events. Given this principle, mental events and their physical grounds either do not count as overdetermining physical effects, or (...) they do so in a way that is not objectionable. (shrink)
After experiments with various economic systems, we appear to have conceded, to misquote Winston Churchill that "free enterprise is the worst economic system, except all the others that have been tried." Affirming that conclusion, I shall argue that in today's expanding global economy, we need to revisit our mind-sets about corporate governance and leadership to fit what will be new kinds of free enterprise. The aim is to develop a values-based model for corporate governance in this age of globalization that (...) will be appropriate in a variety of challenging cultural and economic settings. I shall present an analysis of mental models from a social constructivist perspective. I shall then develop the notion of moral imagination as one way to revisit traditional mind-sets about values-based corporate governance and outline what I mean by systems thinking. I shall conclude with examples for modeling corporate governance in multi-cultural settings and draw tentative conclusions about globalization. (shrink)
This paper explores and defends the idea that mental properties and their physical bases jointly cause their physical effects. The paper evaluates the view as an emergentist response to the exclusion problem, comparing it with a competing nonreductive physicalist solution, the compatibilist solution, and argues that the joint causation view is more defensible than commonly supposed. Specifically, the paper distinguishes two theses of closure, Strong Closure and Weak Closure, two causal exclusion problems, the overdetermination problem and the supervenience problem, (...) and argues that emergentists can avoid the overdetermination problem by denying Strong Closure and respond to the supervenience problem by accepting the joint causation view. (shrink)
This paper discusses some issues concerning the relationship between the mental and the physical, including the so-called causal exclusion argument, within the framework of a broadly interventionist approach to causation.
1. The Naturalistic Turn in Philosophy of Science 2. The Framework of Mechanistic Explanation: Parts, Operations, and Organization 3. Representing and Reasoning About Mechanisms 4. Mental Mechanisms: Mechanisms that Process Information 5. Discovering Mental Mechanisms 6 . Summary.
What is the relationship between perception and mental imagery? I aim to eliminate an answer that I call perceptualism about mental imagery. Strong perceptualism, defended by Bence Nanay, predictive processing theorists, and several others, claims that imagery is a kind of perceptual state. Weak perceptualism, defended by M. G. F. Martin and Matthew Soteriou, claims that mental imagery is a representation of a perceptual state, a view sometimes called The Dependency Thesis. Strong perceptualism is to be rejected (...) since it misclassifies imagery disorders and abnormalities as perceptual disorders and abnormalities. Weak Perceptualism is to be rejected since it gets wrong the aim and accuracy conditions of a whole class of mental imagery--projected mental imagery--and relies on an impoverished concept of perceptual states, ignoring certain of their structural features. Whatever the relationship between perception and imagery, the perceptualist has it wrong. (shrink)
The paper argues that mental causation can be explained from the sufficiency of counterfactual dependence for causation together with relatively weak assumptions about the metaphysics of mind. If a physical event counterfactually depends on an earlier physical event, it also counterfactually depends on, and hence is caused by, a mental event that correlates with (or supervenes on) this earlier physical event, provided that this correlation (or supervenience) is sufficiently modally robust. This account of mental causation is consistent (...) with the overdetermination of physical events by mental events and other physical events, but does not entail it. (shrink)
Authenticity has recently emerged as an important issue in discussions of mental disorder. We show, on the basis of personal accounts and empirical studies, that many people with psychological disorders are preoccupied with questions of authenticity. Most of the data considered in this paper are from studies of people with bipolar disorder and anorexia nervosa. We distinguish the various ways in which these people view the relationship between the disorder and their sense of their authentic self. We discuss the (...) principal modern ac-counts of authenticity within the analytic philosophical tradition. We argue that accounts based on autonomous, or wholehearted, endorsement of personal characteris-tics fail to provide an adequate analysis of authenticity in the context of mental disorder. Signiﬁcant elements of true self accounts of authenticity are required. The concept of authenticity is a basic one that can be of particular value, in the context of self-development, to people with mental disorder and to others experiencing substantial inner conﬂict. (shrink)
I survey recent work on mental causation. The discussion is conducted under the twin presumptions that mental states, including especially what subjects believe and desire, causally explain what subjects do, and that the physical sciences can in principle give a complete explanation for each and every bodily movement. I start with sceptical discussions of various views that hold that, in some strong sense, the causal explanations offered by psychology are autonomous with respect to those offered by the physical (...) sciences. I then proceed to views that see the problem of mental causation as that of identifying where in the physical story about us and our world lie the parts that in effect tell us abut mental causation - the kind of position that is pretty much standard in the cognitive science community - and consider issues raised by various forms of functionalism and externalism. The general thrust of my discussion is sympathetic to the story about mental causation suggested by those type-type versions of the mind-brain identity theory that allow for the possiblity of multiple realisability. I include a brief discussion of how a map-system account of belief, by contrast with a language of thought one, should understand explanations of behaviour in terms of what a subject believes. (shrink)
Mental Spaces is the classic introduction to the study of mental spaces and conceptual projection, as revealed through the structure and use of language. It examines in detail the dynamic construction of connected domains as discourse unfolds. The discovery of mental space organization has modified our conception of language and thought: powerful and uniform accounts of superficially disparate phenomena have become available in the areas of reference, presupposition projection, counterfactual and analogical reasoning, metaphor and metonymy, and time (...) and aspect in discourse. The present work lays the foundation for this research. It uncovers simple and general principles that lie behind the awesome complexity of everyday logic. (shrink)
It is becoming increasingly clear that the deepest problems currently exercising philosophers of mind arise from an ill-begotten ontology, in particular, a mistaken ontology of properties. After going through some preliminaries, we identify three doctrines at the heart of this mistaken ontology: (P) For each distinct predicate, “F”, there exists one, and only one, property, F, such that, if “F” is applicable to an object a, then “F” is applicable in virtue of a’s being F. (U) Properties are universals, not (...) particulars. (D) Every property is either categorical or dispositional, but not both. We show how these doctrines influence current philosophical thinking about the mind, suggest and defend an alternative conception of properties, and indicate how this conception provides answers to two puzzles besetting contemporary philosophy of mind: the problem of mental causation and the problem of qualia. (shrink)
Our minds have physical effects. This happens, for instance, when we move our bodies when we act. How is this possible? Thomas Kroedel defends an account of mental causation in terms of difference-making: if our minds had been different, the physical world would have been different; therefore, the mind causes events in the physical world. His account not only explains how the mind has physical effects at all, but solves the exclusion problem - the problem of how those effects (...) can have both mental and physical causes. It is also unprecedented in scope, because it is available to dualists about the mind as well as physicalists, drawing on traditional views of causation as well as on the latest developments in the field of causal modelling. It will be of interest to a range of readers in philosophy of mind and philosophy of science. This book is also available as Open Access. (shrink)
In this paper we develop a hermeneutic approach to the concept of competence. Patient competence, according to a hermeneutic approach, is not primarily a matter of being able to reason, but of being able to interpret the world and respond to it. Capacity should then not be seen as theoretical, but as practical. From the perspective of practical rationality, competence and capacity are two sides of the same coin. If a person has the capacity to understand the world and give (...) meaning to the situation, he or she is able to make decisions, and is thus competent. People can fail in the area of practical rationality. They can feel ill at ease, uncomfortable or not at home in the situation. Under such conditions, they appear as incompetent, and urge caregivers to respond in such a way that their competence can be raised. The issue is not how to measure their incompetence, but how to help them to become more competent, that is to get a practical grip on their situation and to be able to live out their lives in such a way that they develop their identity in relations with others. From a hermeneutic point of view, assessing a patient's capacity implies focusing on the patient's way of meaning making and regarding her behavior from the perspective of practical rationality. The focus should not be on the assessment as a matter of fact, but on improving capacity. This requires allowing the patient to experience the world meaningfully and affording her, in the context of a supportive and trustful institutional environment, the possibility of developing a personal narrative where her choices are expressed verbally or non-verbally. (shrink)
It is generally accepted that there is something special about reasoning by using mental images. The question of how it is special, however, has never been satisfactorily spelled out, despite more than thirty years of research in the post-behaviorist tradition. This article considers some of the general motivation for the assumption that entertaining mental images involves inspecting a picture-like object. It sets out a distinction between phenomena attributable to the nature of mind to what is called the cognitive (...) architecture, and ones that are attributable to tacit knowledge used to simulate what would happen in a visual situation. With this distinction in mind, the paper then considers in detail the widely held assumption that in some important sense images are spatially displayed or are depictive, and that examining images uses the same mechanisms that are deployed in visual perception. I argue that the assumption of the spatial or depictive nature of images is only explanatory if taken literally, as a claim about how images are physically instantiated in the brain, and that the literal view fails for a number of empirical reasons – for example, because of the cognitive penetrability of the phenomena cited in its favor. Similarly, while it is arguably the case that imagery and vision involve some of the same mechanisms, this tells us very little about the nature of mental imagery and does not support claims about the pictorial nature of mental images. Finally, I consider whether recent neuroscience evidence clarifies the debate over the nature of mental images. I claim that when such questions as whether images are depictive or spatial are formulated more clearly, the evidence does not provide support for the picture-theory over a symbol-structure theory of mental imagery. Even if all the empirical claims were true, they do not warrant the conclusion that many people have drawn from them: that mental images are depictive or are displayed in some (possibly cortical) space. Such a conclusion is incompatible with what is known about how images function in thought. We are then left with the provisional counterintuitive conclusion that the available evidence does not support rejection of what I call the “null hypothesis”; namely, that reasoning with mental images involves the same form of representation and the same processes as that of reasoning in general, except that the content or subject matter of thoughts experienced as images includes information about how things would look. (shrink)
We have argued elsewhere that moral responsibility over time depends in part upon the having of psychological connections which facilitate forms of self-control. In this chapter we explore the importance of mental time travel - our ordinary ability to mentally travel to temporal locations outside the present, involving both memory of our personal past and the ability to imagine ourselves in the future - to our agential capacities for planning and control. We suggest that in many individuals with dissociative (...) disorders, forms of amnesia, or other frontal lobe damage, our capacity for mental time travel is impaired, resulting in commensurate losses to agency autonomy, and a forensic condition essential for holding persons responsible: in legal terms, the capacity for mens rea. (shrink)
The problem of downward causation is that an intuitive response to an intuitive picture leads to counterintuitive results. Suppose a mental event, m1, causes another mental event, m2. Unless the mental and the physical are completely independent, there will be a physical event in your brain or your body or the physical world as a whole that underlies this event. The mental event occurs at least partly in virtue of the physical event’s occurring. And the same (...) goes for m2  and p2. Let’s not worry about what exactly “underlying” or “in virtue of” means here. Here’s the picture. m1 -----> m2 | | p1 -----> p2 The horizontal arrows represent causation, and the vertical lines represent underlying, whatever that may be. There’s some reason to think that the only way m1 can bring about m2 is by bringing about p2. You can’t convince someone of something through mental telepathy. You need to interact with the physical world, perhaps by saying something and so making some noise, or by pointing and getting them to turn their head and see. What goes for the case of two people goes for the case of one person as well. Superstition aside, there is no purely mental energy that floats free of the merely physical workings of the brain. If m1 brings about m2 by bringing about p2, then m1 brings about p2. This is downward causation. But wait. Doesn’t p1 bring about p2? Isn’t that what the bottom arrow represents? Maybe m1 and p1 work together to bring about p2. There are little holes in the physical causal structure that need to be filled by mental events. You don’t need a sweeping metaphysical thesis about the causal closure of the physical to find this implausible. Maybe p2 is overdetermined. (shrink)
The present paper offers a philosophical discussion of phenomena which in the empirical literature have recently been subsumed under the concept of ‘mental time travel’. More precisely, the paper considers differences and similarities between two cases of ‘mental time travel’, recollective memories (‘R-memories’) of past events on the one hand, and sensory imaginations (‘S-imaginations’) of future events on the other. It develops and defends the claim that, because a subject who R-remembers a past event is experientially aware of (...) a past particular event, while a subject who S-imagines a future event could not possibly be experientially aware of a future particular event, R-memories of past events and S-imaginations of future events are ultimately mental occurrences of two different kinds. (shrink)
Mental causation has been a hotly disputed topic in recent years, with reductive and non-reductive physicalists vying with each other and with dualists over how to accommodate, or else to challenge, two widely accepted metaphysical principles—the principle of the causal closure of the physical domain and the principle of causal non-overdetermination—which together appear to support reductive physicalism, despite the latter’s lack of intuitive appeal. Current debate about these matters appears to have reached something of an impasse, prompting the question (...) of why this should be so. One possibility well worth exploring is that, while this debate makes extensive use of ontological vocabulary—by talking, for instance, of substances, events, states, properties, powers, and relations—relatively little attempt has been made within the debate itself to achieve either clarity or agreement about what, precisely, such terms should be taken to mean. Hence, the debate has become somewhat detached from broader developments in metaphysics and ontology, which have lately been proceeding apace, providing us with an increasingly rich and refined set of ontological categories upon which to draw, as well as a much deeper understanding of how they are related to one another. In preparing this volume, the editors invited leading metaphysicians and philosophers of mind to reflect afresh upon the problem of mental causation in the light of some of these recent developments, with a view to making new headway with one of the most challenging and seemingly intractable issues in contemporary philosophy. (shrink)