In the 19th century, "Psychophysical Parallelism" was the most popular solution of the mind-bodyproblem among physiologists, psychologists and philosophers. (This is not to be mixed up with Leibnizian and other cases of "Cartesian" parallelism.) The fate of this non-Cartesian view, as founded by Gustav Theodor Fechner, is reviewed. It is shown that Feigl's "identity theory" eventually goes back to Alois Riehl who promoted a hybrid version of psychophysical parallelism and Kantian mind-body theory which was (...) taken up by Feigl's teacher Moritz Schlick. (shrink)
The emphasis is always on the arguments used, and the way one position develops from another. By the end of the book the reader is afforded both a grasp of the state of the controversy, and how we got there.
This paper was chosen by The Philosopher’s Annual as one of the ten best articles appearing in print in 2000. Reprinted in Volume XXIII of The Philosopher’s Annual. In his very influential book David Chalmers argues that if physicalism is true then every positive truth is a priori entailed by the full physical description – this is called “the a priori entailment thesis – but ascriptions of phenomenal consciousness are not so entailed and he concludes that Physicalism is false. As (...) he puts it, “zombies” are metaphysically possible. I attempt to show that this argument is refuted by considering an analogous argument in the mouth of a zombie. The conclusion of this argument is false so one of the premises is false. I argue at length that this shows that the original conceivability argument also has a false premise and so is invalid. (shrink)
It was about half a century ago that the mind–bodyproblem, which like much else in serious metaphysics had been moribund for several decades, was resurrected as a mainstream philosophical problem. The first impetus came from Gilbert Ryle's The Concept of Mind , published in 1948, and Wittgenstein's well-known, if not well-understood, reflections on the nature of mentality and mental language, especially in his Philosophical Investigations which appeared in 1953. The primary concerns of Ryle and (...) Wittgenstein, however, focused on the logic of mental discourse rather than the metaphysical issue of how our mentality is related to our bodily nature. In fact, Ryle and Wittgenstein would have regarded, each for different reasons, the metaphysical problem of the mind-body relation as arising out of deplorable linguistic confusions and not amenable to intelligible discussion. There was C. D. Broad's earlier and much neglected classic, The Mind and Its Place in Nature , which appeared in 1925, but this work, although robustly metaphysical, failed to connect with, and shape, the mind–body debate in the second half of this century. (shrink)
My primary aim in this chapter is to explain in what the traditional mind–bodyproblem consists, what its possible solutions are, and what obstacles lie in the way of a resolution. The discussion will develop in two phases. The first phase, sections 1.2–1.4, will be concerned to get clearer about the import of our initial question as a precondition of developing an account of possible responses to it. The second phase, sections 1.5–1.6, explains how a problem (...) arises in our attempts to answer the question we have characterized, and surveys the various solutions that can be and have been offered. More specifically, sections 1.2–1.4 are concerned with how to understand the basic elements of our initial question – how we should identify the mental, on the one hand, and the physical, on the other – and with what sorts of relations between them we are concerned. Section 1.2 identifies and explains the two traditional marks of the mental, consciousness and intentionality, and discusses how they are related. Section 1.3 gives an account of how we should understand ‘physical’ in our initial question so as not to foreclose any of the traditional positions on the mind–bodyproblem. Section 1.4 then addresses the third element in our initial question, mapping out the basic sorts of relations that may hold between mental and physical phenomena, and identifying some for special attention. Sections 1.5–1.6 are concerned with explaining the source of the difficulty in answering our initial question, and the kinds of solutions that have been offered to it. Section 1.5 explains why our initial question gives rise to a problem, and gives a precise form to the mind–bodyproblem, which is presented as a set of four propositions, each of which, when presented independently, seems compelling, but which are jointly inconsistent. Section 1.6 classifies responses to the mind–bodyproblem on the basis of which of the propositions in our inconsistent set they reject, and provides a brief overview of the main varieties in each category, together with some of the difficulties that arise for each. Section 1.7 is a brief conclusion about the source of our difficulties in understanding the place of mind in the natural world. (shrink)
An important part of the mind-brain problem arises because sentience and consciousness seem inherently resistant to scientific explanation and understanding. The solution to this dilemma is to recognize, first, that scientific explanation can only render comprehensible a selected aspect of what there is, and second, that there is a mode of explanation and understanding, the personalistic, quite different from, but just as viable as, scientific explanation. In order to understand the mental aspect of brain processes - that aspect (...) we know about as a result of having relevant neurological processes occur in our own brain - we need to avail ourselves of personalistic explanation, irreducible to scientific explanation. The problem of explaining and understanding why experiential or mental aspects of brain processes or things should be correlated with certain physical processes, things or states of affairs is a non-problem because there is no kind of explanation possible in terms of which an explanation could be couched. A physical theory, amplified to include the experiential, might be predictive but would, necessarily, cease to be explanatory; and an amplified personalistic explanation could not succeed either. There is, in short, an explanation as to why there cannot be an explanation of correlations between physical and mental aspects of processes going on inside our heads. (shrink)
In this paper I begin to develop an account of the acquaintance that each of us has with our own conscious states and processes. The account is a speculative proposal about human mental architecture and specifically about the nature of the concepts via which we think in first personish ways about our qualia. In a certain sense my account is neutral between physicalist and dualist accounts of consciousness. As will be clear, a dualist could adopt the account I will offer (...) while maintaining that qualia themselves are non-physical properties. In this case the non-physical nature of qualia may play no role in accounting for the features of acquaintance. But although the account could be used by a dualist, its existence provides support for physicalism. (shrink)
Most scholars who presently deal with the Mind-Bodyproblem consider themselves monist materialists. Nevertheless, many of them also assume that there exist (in some sense of existence) mental entities. But since these two positions do not harmonize quite well, the literature is full of discussions about how to reconcile the positions. In this paper, I will defend a materialist theory that avoids all these problems by completely rejecting the existence of mental entities. This is Quine's repudiation theory. (...) According to the theory, there are no mental entities, and the behavioral or physiological phenomena that have been attributed to mental entities, or that point to the existence of these entities, are exclusively caused by physiological factors. To be sure, several objections have been raised to materialist theories that do not assign some role to mental entities. But we will see that Quine is able to give convincing replies to these objections. (shrink)
A plausible terminus for the mind-body debate begins by embracing ontological physicalism—the view that there is only one kind of substance in the concrete world, and that it is material substance. Taking mental causation seriously, this terminus also embraces conditional reductionism, the thesis that only physically reducible (i.e., functionalizable) mental properties can be causally efficacious. Intentional/cognitive properties (what David Chalmers calls “psychological” aspects of mind) are physically reducible, but qualia (“phenomenal” aspects of mind) are not. In (...) saving the causal efficacy of intentional/cognitive properties, we save cognition and agency—and even relational facts about the similarities and differences between qualia—but not the intrinsic qualities of qualia themselves, which are physically irreducible and thus causally impotent. As there seems no credible alternative to physicalism as a general worldview, and this is as much physicalism as we can have, physicalism is not the whole truth—but it is the truth near enough. -/- [1. Cartesian Minds Eliminated] [2. The Collapse of Property Dualism] [3. Physicalism at a Crossroads] [4. Can We Reduce Minds?] [5. Living with the Mental Residue] [6. Where We Are with the Mind-BodyProblem] [7. Beyond the Mind-BodyProblem: Self and Subjectivity]. (shrink)
Cartesian mindbody dualism and modern versions of this viewpoint posit a mind thermodynamically unrelated to the body but informationally interactive. The relation between information and entropy developed by Leon Brillouin demonstrates that any information about the state of a system has entropic consequences. It is therefore impossible to dissociate the mind's information from the body's entropy. Knowledge of that state of the system without an energetically significant measurement would lead to a violation of (...) the second law of thermodynamics. (shrink)
The mindbodyproblem is a continuing issue in philosophy. No surveys known to us have been conducted about the actual preferences of, for example, psychology students for particular preconceptions about the mindbody relation. These preconceptions may have different practical implications for decisions concerning the object and method of research, the choice of explanatory device for psychological and other research data and for the approach of professionals in practice. A questionnaire comprising ten different preconceptions (...) about the mindbody relation and other items was returned by 209 German students of various disciplines and by a second sample of 233 first year psychology students. Identity theory, interactionism and complementarity were preferred most. The students clearly believed that the preference for certain preconceptions has important practical implications. There were no differences between the students of different disciplines in the choice of preferred preconceptions about the mindbody relation or in the view that these preconceptions are of practical importance. (shrink)
It was about half a century ago that the mind–bodyproblem, which like much else in serious metaphysics had been moribund for several decades, was resurrected as a mainstream philosophical problem. The first impetus came from Gilbert Ryle's The Concept of Mind, published in 1948, and Wittgenstein's well-known, if not well-understood, reflections on the nature of mentality and mental language, especially in his Philosophical Investigations which appeared in 1953. The primary concerns of Ryle and Wittgenstein, (...) however, focused on the logic of mental discourse rather than the metaphysical issue of how our mentality is related to our bodily nature. In fact, Ryle and Wittgenstein would have regarded, each for different reasons, the metaphysical problem of the mind-body relation as arising out of deplorable linguistic confusions and not amenable to intelligible discussion. There was C. D. Broad's earlier and much neglected classic, The Mind and Its Place in Nature, which appeared in 1925, but this work, although robustly metaphysical, failed to connect with, and shape, the mind–body debate in the second half of this century. (shrink)
* Argument from authoritative self-knowledge 1. We have a "privileged access" to our own mental states in the sense we have the authority on what mental states we are in. 2. Through introspection, we are aware of our mental states but not aware of them as physical states of any sort or as functional states. 3. Therefore, our mental states cannot be physical states.
At the very heart of the mind-bodyproblem is the question of the nature of consciousness. It is consciousness, and in particular _phenomenal_ consciousness, that makes the mind-body relation so deeply perplexing. Many philosophers hold that no defi nition of phenomenal consciousness is possible: any such putative defi nition would automatically use the concept of phenomenal consciousness and thus render the defi nition circular. The usual view is that the concept of phenomenal consciousness is one (...) that must be explained by means of specifi c examples and associated comments. (shrink)
There have been many attempts to retire dualism from active philosophic life, replacing it with something less removed from science, but we are no closer to that goal now than fifty years ago. I propose breaking the stalemate by considering marginal perspectives that may help identify unrecognized assumptions that limit the mainstream debate. Comparison with Whitehead highlights ways that opponents of dualism continue to uphold the Cartesian “real distinction” between mind and body. Whitehead, by contrast, insists on a (...) conceptual distinction: there can no more be body without mind than mind without body (at least at the level of ultimate constituents). Key to this integration is Whitehead’s understanding that mind, at its most rudimentary, is simply the intrinsic temporality of a physical event. Thus, the resulting form of “panpsychism” is more naturalistic than commonly supposed, and it solves both the composition problem (traditionally fatal to panpsychism) and the “hard problem.”. (shrink)
The Clarke-Collins correspondence was widely read and frequently printed during the 18th century. Its central topic is the question whether matter can think. Samuel Clarke defends the immateriality of the human soul against Anthony Collins’ materialism. Clarke argues that consciousness must belong to an indivisible entity, and matter is divisible. Collins contends that consciousness could belong to a composite subject by emerging from material qualities that belong to its parts. While many early modern thinkers assumed that this is not possible, (...) this correspondence offers an unusually detailed discussion of this issue. Clarke rejects emergentism because real qualities of a composite must be homogeneous with the qualities of the parts. This rejection is based on considerations about the nature of causation. In addition, the disagreement derives in part from a disagreement between Clarke and Collins about the limits of our knowledge. (shrink)
William Jaworski shows how hylomorphism can be used to solve mind-body problems--the question of how thought, feeling, perception, and other mental phenomena fit into the physical world. Hylomorphism claims that structure is a basic ontological and explanatory principle, and is responsible for individuals being the kinds of things they are, and having the powers or capacities they have. From a hylomorphic perspective, mind-body problems are byproducts of a worldview that rejects structure, and which lacks a basic (...) principle which distinguishes the parts of the physical universe that can think, feel, and perceive from those that can't. Without such a principle, the existence of those powers in the physical world can start to look inexplicable and mysterious. But if mental phenomena are structural phenomena then they are uncontroversially part of the physical world. Hylomorphism thus provides an elegant way of solving mind-body problems. (shrink)
In recent decades, a view of identity I call Sortalism has gained popularity. According to this view, if a is identical to b, then there is some sortal S such that a is the same S as b. Sortalism has typically been discussed with respect to the identity of objects. I argue that the motivations for Sortalism about object-identity apply equally well to event-identity. But Sortalism about event-identity poses a serious threat to the view that mental events are token identical (...) to physical events: A particular mental event m is identical with a particular physical event p only if there is a sortal S such that m and p are both Ss. If there is no such sortal, the doctrine of token-identity is not true. I argue here that we have no good reason for thinking that there is any such sortal. (shrink)
This first extensive study of Spinoza's philosophy of mind concentrates on two problems crucial to the philosopher's thoughts on the matter: the requirements for having a thought about a particular object, and the problem of the mind's relation to the body. Della Rocca contends that Spinoza's positions are systematically connected with each other and with a principle at the heart of his metaphysical system: his denial of causal or explanatory relations between the mental and the physical. (...) In this way, Della Rocca's exploration of these two problems provides a new and illuminating perspective on Spinoza's philosophy as a system. (shrink)
In this book, Della Rocca traces out the conceptual links between key concepts and principles of Spinoza's system bearing on representation and the mind-bodyproblem. In the course of doing so, he presents and defends a number of new, interesting theses about Spinoza's thought on these matters. The arguments are presented with impressive clarity and in great detail. All in all, the book is a significant contribution to the literature on Spinoza's metaphysics and epistemology, and should be (...) read by anyone with a serious interest in its historical subject or in the two perennial philosophical problems on which it focuses. (shrink)
Despite substantial efforts by many researchers, we still have no scientific theory of how brain activity can create or be con- scious experience. This is troubling since we have a large body of correlations between brain activity and consciousness, correlations normally assumed to entail that brain activity creates conscious experience. Here I explore a solution to the mind-bodyproblem that starts with the converse assumption: these correlations arise because consciousness creates brain activity and indeed creates all (...) objects and properties of the physical world To this end, I develop two theses. The multimodal user interface theory of perception states that perceptual experiences do not match or approximate properties of the objective world but instead provide a simplified species-specific, user interface to that world Conscious realism states that the objective world consists of conscious agents and their experiences; these can be mathematically modeled and em- pirically explored in the normal scientific manner. (shrink)
The identity of conscious states and brain states must remain a mystery until we find a way of characterising both sides of the equation in terms that have the same ‘dimensions’. In this paper I stress the need for ‘dual currency concepts’ that not only are but can be seen to be as appropriate for talking about, say, the experience of pain as for talking about the corresponding working of the brain. In the light of evolutionary theory I make a (...) radically new proposal for what the common dimension is, centred on the idea of ‘authorship’. (shrink)
The first two sections of the paper characterize the nineteenth century respect for the phenomenal by considering Helmholtz’s position and James’ and Russell’s move to neutral monism. The third section displays a moment’s sympathy with those who recoiled from the latter view -- but only a moment’s. The recoil overshot what was a reasonable response, and denied the reality of the phenomenal, largely in the name of the physical or the material. The final two sections of the paper develop a (...) third way, which retains a healthy respect for the mental and for the mind–body relation, does not attempt to equate objects with congeries of sensations, and does not attempt to deny the reality of the phenomenal. In fact, I will claim that on some conceptions (and not merely idealist-phenomenalist conceptions), the phenomenal is a fact of nature, and hence a part of the natural world. Some aspects of this third way are familiar in the various representational and critical realisms of the twentieth-century. But the realization -- or, more neutrally, the conception -- that the natural might include the phenomenal is less familiar. Yet this position has its predecessors too, not only among the physicists and psychologists of the nineteenth century, but among major physicists (as opposed to physicalist philosophers) and psychologists of the twentieth. [A re-edited version of this paper appears in Gary Hatfield, Perception and Cognition: Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology, Clarendon Press, 2009.]. (shrink)
The mind–bodyproblem is analyzed in a physicalist perspective. By combining the concepts of emergence and algorithmic information theory in a thought experiment, employing a basic nonlinear process, it is shown that epistemologically emergent properties may develop in a physical system. Turning to the significantly more complex neural network of the brain it is subsequently argued that consciousness is epistemologically emergent. Thus reductionist understanding of consciousness appears not possible; the mind–bodyproblem does not have (...) a reductionist solution. The ontologically emergent character of consciousness is then identified from a combinatorial analysis relating to universal limits set by quantum mechanics, implying that consciousness is fundamentally irreducible to low-level phenomena. (shrink)
states are to be understood in terms of their functional relationships to other mental states, not in terms of their material instantiation in any particular kind of hardware. But the argument that material instantiation is irrelevant to functional..
Della Rocca concentrates on two problems crucial to Spinoza 's philosophy of mind: the requirements for having a thought about a particular object, and the problem of the mind's relation to the body. He contends that for Spinoza these two problems are linked and thus part of a systematic philosophy of mind.
The mind-bodyproblem is analyzed in a physicalist perspective. By combining the concepts of emergence and algorithmic information theory in a thought experiment employing a basic nonlinear process, it is shown that epistemically strongly emergent properties may develop in a physical system. Turning to the significantly more complex neural network of the brain it is subsequently argued that consciousness is epistemically emergent. Thus reductionist understanding of consciousness appears not possible; the mind-bodyproblem does not (...) have a reductionist solution. The ontologically emergent character of consciousness is then identified from a combinatorial analysis relating to universal limits set by quantum mechanics, implying that consciousness is fundamentally irreducible to low-level phenomena. (shrink)
A Bell-type strategy of decision for the long-standing question of the nature of psychophysical correlations has been previously presented in a recent article published in Mind and Matter. This strategy of decision is here applied to experimental data on psychophysiological correlations, namely, correlations between cardiovascular and emotional variables that have been reported in several independent publications. This statistical analysis shows that a substantial majority of these correlations cannot be interpreted as an exchange of signals or a mere “interaction”, whatever (...) its form, but that these correlations could a priori be explained classically, as the result of a common preparation during the evolution process. A discussion on the scope and the limitations of this result will then be provided. In particular, alternative explanations of the psychophysical correlations that do not appeal to a notion of signalling will be discussed. (shrink)
Though most contemporary philosophers and scientists accept a physicalist view of mind, the recent surge of interest in the problem of consciousness has put the mind /bodyproblem back into play. The physicalists' lack of success in dispelling the air of residual mystery that surrounds the question of how consciousness might be physically explained has led to a proliferation of options. Some offer alternative formulations of physicalism, but others forgo physicalism in favour of views that (...) are more dualistic or that bring in mentalistic features at the ground- floor level of reality as in pan-proto-psychism. My aim here is to give an overview of the recent philosophic discussion to serve as a map in locating issues and options. I will not offer a comprehensive survey of the debate or mark every important variant to be found in the recent literature. I will mark the principal features of the philosophic landscape that one might use as general orientation points in navigating the terrain. I will focus in particular on three central and interrelated ideas: those of emergence, reduction, and nonreductive physicalism. The third of these, which has emerged as more or less the majority view among current philosophers of mind, combines a pluralist view about the diversity of what needs to be explained by science with an underlying metaphysical commitment to the physical as the ultimate basis of all that is real. The view has been challenged from both left and right, on one side from dualists and on the other from hard core reductive materialists. Despite their differences, those critics agree in finding nonreductive physicalism an unacceptable and perhaps even incoherent position. They agree as well in treating reducibility as the essential criterion for physicality; they differ only about whether the criterion can be met. Reductive physicalists argue that it can, and dualists deny it. (shrink)