In Minds and Bodies, one of philosophy's most dynamic and versatile thinkers gathers nearly forty review essays written over the past twenty years for publications of a nonspecialized kind. They cover biography, particularly of Russell and Wittgenstein; philosophy of mind, especially consciousness; and ethics, with an emphasis on applied ethics. Lucid and accessible, these essays together form a vivid picture of contemporary philosophy for the general reader, and will be welcomed by those within the philosophical community for their crisp (...) critical insights and rigorous assessments. (shrink)
A process model of concept development is proposed as a means of understanding the mindbody problem. This paper reviews some definitions and views of mind, reiterates Karl Popper's description of the development of scientific as compared to essentialist methods of concept definition, compares the development of physical and psychological concepts, notes an apparent illogic of the mind and body issue, and discusses a range of psychological theories in relation to this process model, that is, (...) Skinner's behavior view, to Pribram's presentation of cognitive theory, to Epstein's theory of the self concept, and to existentialistic views. In terms of meaning and usefulness, mind and behavioral concepts appear to evolve in the same manner. (shrink)
Mind and Body in Early China critiques Orientalist accounts of early China as a radical "holistic" other, which saw no qualitative difference between mind and body. Drawing on knowledge and techniques from the sciences and digital humanities, Edward Slingerland demonstrates that seeing a difference between mind and body is a psychological universal, and that human sociality would be fundamentally impossible without it. This book has implications for anyone interested in comparative religion, early China, cultural (...) studies, digital humanities, or science-humanities integration. (shrink)
_Minds and Bodies_ is a clear introduction to the mind-body problem. It requires no prior philosophical knowledge and is ideally suited to newcomers to philosophy and philosophy of mind. Robert Wilkinson carefully introduces the fundamental components of the philosophy of mind: Descartes's dualist account of mind and body; monist views including eliminativism; computer science and artificial intelligence. Each chapter is linked to a reading from key thinkers in the field, from Descartes to Paul Churchland.
This chapter discusses Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s philosophical reflections on mind and body. It first considers Leibniz’s distinction between substance and aggregate, referring to the former as a being that must have true unity (what he calls unum per se) and to the latter as simply a collection of other beings. It then describes Leibniz’s extension of the term “substance” to monads and other things such as animals and living beings. It also examines Leibniz’s views about the union of (...)mind and body, whether mind and body interact, and how interaction is related to union. More specifically, it asks whether mind and body together constitute an unum per se and analyzes Leibniz’s account of the per se unity of mind-body composites. In addition, the chapter explores the problem of soul-body union as opposed to mind-body union and concludes by discussing Leibniz’s explanation of soul-body interaction using a system of pre-established harmony. (shrink)
Where is language? Answers to this have attempted to 'incorporate' language in an 'extended mind', through cognition that is 'embodied', 'distributed', 'situated' or 'ecological'. Behind these concepts is a long history that this book is the first to trace. Extending across linguistics, philosophy, psychology and medicine, as well as literary and religious dimensions of the question of what language is, and where it is located, this book challenges mainstream, mind-based accounts of language. Looking at research from the Middle (...) Ages to the present day, and exploring the work of a range of scholars from Aristotle and Galen to Merleau-Ponty and Chomsky, it assesses raging debates about whether mind and language are centred in heart or brain, brain or nervous-muscular system, and whether they are innate or learned, individual or social. This book will appeal to scholars and advanced students in historical linguistics, cognitive linguistics, language evolution and the philosophy of language. (shrink)
Written with the beginner in mind, Robert Wilkinson carefully introduces the reader to the fundamental components of the philosophy of mind. Each chapter is then helpfully linked to a reading from key thinkers in the field such as Descartes and John R. Searle.
Descartes thought his mind and body could exist apart, and that this attested to a real distinction between them. The challenge as Almog initially describes it is to find a reading of “can exist apart” that is strong enough to establish a real distinction, yet weak enough to be justified by what Descartes offers as evidence: that DM and DB can be conceived apart.
Characteristic mental states including thinking about going on holiday, desiring to eat a peach, feeling sad, and believing that that Australia will win the world cup. Mental states are intentional (about other things) and we have privileged access to them.
This article must open with a Warning. In face of the positive information which the sciences supply, the philosophical contribution to this problem will seem disappointingly negative, or at least mine will do so. For I shall insist, and I think we can only rightly insist, that the philosopher is not yet in a position to produce a satisfactory positive theory of the relation between mind and body. And I shall annoy many of you further by insisting that (...) the old-fashioned “dualism” has not really been disproved. However, even if you do not agree with me, it is at any rate a good general piece of advice that, when we are confronted with a philosophical view which has maintained its ground for a very long time but seems to ourselves or to our generation very unreasonable, we should look specially carefully to find the positive grounds which have made so apparently unplausible a doctrine seem true to so many competent thinkers. (shrink)
I propose in this article to consider the question of the relation between mind and body. This question raises some of the most difficult issues in philosophy and constitutes the main problem of psychology.
In this paper I re-examine the status of the mind-body relation in several of Plato’s late dialogues. A range of views has been attributed to Plato here. For example, it has been thought that Plato is a substance dualist, for whom the mind can exist independently of the body; or an attribute dualist, who has left behind the strong dualistic commitments of the Phaedo by allowing that the mind may be the subject of spatial movements. (...) But even in cases where a classification of Plato as a holder of a particular ontology of the mind has been left undefined, it has been a shared assumption that in the late dialogues the mind itself must be immaterial. I take issue with these various views and show that none of them is necessitated by the text. In the first place, I argue there is strong evidence against the view that Plato should, in his late period, be committed not only to substance dualism, but also to attribute dualism. Furthermore, it is possible that Plato may have allowed that the mind itself be a three-dimensional corporeal entity (in a way that sets up a precedent for later Stoic developments). But even if this is not the only possible reading of the text, it is shown how at any rate the mind must be seen in late Plato as the principle of organization of a body and ontologically inseparable from it. Despite prima facie affinities with Aristotle here, we shall see a Plato emerge for whom the mind (without exception) and the body cannot exist without one another – a thesis more radical than that of Aristotle’s. To bring out the provocative nature of this suggestion, I start, in section I, by laying out the state of the question and compare what I shall argue is the late Platonic view with standard interpretations of his previous work, stressing the historical force that I expect this thesis to have. Afterwards, in three respective sections, I proceed to pay heed to relevant passages in the Timaeus, Philebus and Laws in order to establish the main point of this paper. Finally, in section V, I consider the challenge apparently introduced against my thesis by Plato’s occasional talk of immortality and eschatology in those dialogues, and argue instead that many of those passages add further strength to the view defended in this essay. (shrink)
In 1979, James S. and Jean M. Goodwin and Albert V. Vogel published the first of what became a series of articles that studied current patterns of placebo use. They surveyed 60 house officers and 37 nurses in a New Mexico teaching hospital. Only five of the 1900 patients hospitalized during the study period had received a placebo. Their subjects underestimated the pain relief provided by placebos and believed that a positive placebo response showed that the pain was psychogenic and (...) not “real.” The few patients who were prescribed placebos tended to be those whom the staff most disliked. A few other studies published during the 1980s showed similar results.Fast forward now to 2010.... (shrink)
This book begins with a survey of various readings of Locke as a materialist, as a substance dualist, and as a property dualist, and demonstrates that these inconsistent interpretations result from a general failure of modern commentators to notice the significance of Locke’s ‘mind-body nominalism’. By illuminating this largely overlooked aspect of Locke’s philosophy, this book reveals a common mistake of previous interpretations: that of treating what Locke conceives to be ‘nominal’ as real. The nominal symmetry that Locke (...) posits between mind and body is distinct from any form of metaphysical dualism, whether substance dualism or property dualism. It is a brand of naturalism, but does not insist that the material is ontologically more basic than the mental or that the former determines the latter. On this view, the material and the mental both relate solely to a certain set of functional roles, rather than to an intrinsic property that plays these roles. The term ‘matter’ is thus rendered vague, and materialism is conceived as a precariously grounded ontological doctrine. Elaborating on this interpretation of Locke’s Essay, this book examines the insightful readings of Locke developed by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century thinkers such as Richard Burthogge, William Carroll, and Joseph Priestley. This book also seeks to clarify what Locke’s position would look like in a modern setting by noting some significant parallels with the ideas of leading contemporary philosophers such as Donald Davidson, David Lewis, and Colin McGinn. (shrink)