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Philosophy of mind A

HANDBOOK: Pete Mandik, Philosophy of Mind Wiley-Blackwell 2015.
More complete:
-Frank Jackson, Philosophy of mind and cognition
-Introduction to the philosophy of mind
TEXTS= syllabus + Philosophy of mind Wiley-Blackwell 2015.
Recap 1st lesson:
4 main problems of philosophy of mind
1-mind body problem
2-relationship of the mind with the brain and the role of the brain
3-question of the interaction of the philosophy of mind with the sciences of cognition and
4-the problem of consciousness (there could be qualia that are inverted in our perception) -> The
general problem of consciousness is articulated in different problems: i.e. how can the mind cause
events in the real world?/what are emotions?/are there differences in the way in which we perceive
Qualia are non physical particulars that are instantiates in our perception.
This grid is related to natural kind terms.
1- A priori: knowledge obtained by thinking alone.
Necessary: Universal or true in every possible world
Analytic: what is true on virtue of meaning alone
2- The opposite
Synthetic: something that goes beyond what is defined on the basis of meaning alone
Kant claimed that there are synthetic a priori truths (2+2=4 is synthetic a priori for kant)
Kuhn’s importance of revolutions.
Two: theory of relativity, quantum theory. They showed that Newton’s theory was wrong for 2
reasons: theory of relativity proved that the law of gravitation and the dynamics of spacetime are
different from Newton. The other reason is that the principle of causality was almost denied by
quantum mechanics.
What was discovered was that not only newton’s laws were in no sense necessary, but they were
wrong. There was a sort of return of philosophy to Hume. There was an abandonment of the idea of
synthetic a priori principles. So Hume was right and Kant was wrong.
What is dominated today is the thesis of
identity theory: mental particulars are identical with physical particulars
physical particulars are basically brain events
behaviourism (Chomsky is against it and considers it as a form of dualism -> mind/brain)
Krypke said that there are necessary empirical truths. (metaphysical truths). A problem is for
metaphysical intuitions. We have no intuition of any necessity according to which what we see as
physical events are the same as mental events. Our intuitions go into the other direction.
Chomsky says that we can investigate the mind with scientific methods but not with the ones of
physical science or neurophysiology, because language and thinking through physics and
neurophysiology is to remove a ??? . We should use cognitive science.
Linguistic proofs against the most agreed theory: ???
Heisenberg’s indetermination principle
6th chapter: MIND AS BRAIN
Behaviourism is an idea which comes close to the identity theory. Mental states are defined by
behaviourism in terms or alter behaviour and social interations and this points to the same direction
of the identity theory.
Chomsky doesn’t agree with physicalism or behaviourism.
What physicalists will say is “mental states are identical with and reducible to physical brain states.
The only way in which we can detect a trace of what we call mental states is to follow the way in which
we speak and communicate about our emotions and thoughts. But these communications are not that
important. Physicalists would say that there is a first class world view of the sciences and a second
class world view which is that of the speech, social interaction, communication. The second class world
view is called Folk psychology.
The adversary to the Folk Psychology is the Neurophilosophy.
If we follow the identity theory we should proceed by starting from atoms, molecules and neurons
and explain languages in that way. Chomsky calls this a dualist prejudice against language. So this is a
problem about methodology.
Neurophilosphy (linguistic behaviourism, Quine): in order to understand language we should reject
folk psychology, but we should focus on the physicalistic mechanism of the brain. And Chomsky calls
this a prejudice.
Chomsky says that it’s a prejudice that we cannot start doing science by investigating judgements
about language. As a matter of fact, cognitive science has been done successfully since the beginning
by investigating how people speak and the judgements they give about grammatical and non
grammatical judgements. RIVEDERE DALL’INIZIO
Chomsky says that we cannot fulfil the identity theory because we don’t have a sufficiently good
theory of the brain, we don’t have a sufficiently good neurophysiology. He says that a revolution is
Identity theory and dualism.
The identity theory accords to our scientific common sense, even though there are reasons to suspect
that our sensations are not completely right.
A problem is to find the interaction between res extensa and cogitans.
The contrary of dualism is monism. So the identity theory can be considered a kind of monism.
3 types of monism:
Material monism
Mental monism
Neutral monism: the stuff that constitutes reality is made up by neutral elements, neither mental nor
Pampsychism (everything is mental)
We can see dualism in two senses:
Spinoza (property dualism): he said that there is only one substance, nature. And it has both mental
and physical properties.
There are also those who claim that the mind/body problem or the mind brain interaction are
problems that are forever beyond the human capacity to solve problems. They are call Neomysterianists (Colin Mc Finn)
Behaviourists study only stimulus and reactions, without taking the judgements of the speakers.
Chomsky says that language is something that belongs to human beings.
Difference between behaviourism and identity theory: they go in the same direction, but behaviourists
reduce folk theory to simple linguistic behaviour and don’t try to go further. The materialists try to go
further, but in the same direction. According to linguistic behaviourism, desires, thoughts, emotions
are just out of behaviour. And according to materialism, they are something inner.
Dualism is a form of Idealism that doesn’t happen with the identity theory, because it’s a realist theory.
Identity theory assumes that real stuff, material stuff exists, and that there is no problem of
interaction, because it would be between different parts of the world (i.e. physical objects and mind
Identity theory: a difficulty is related to reduction, but it’s also an advantage.
Kripke thinks that object names are distinguished in 3 kind of names:
Proper names
Names of substances (Gold, H2O)
Names of natural kinds (Tiger, cats, etc.)
Kripke’s thesis was that proper names are equivalent to definite descriptions (descriptivism). In
Naming and Necessity, Kripke demolishes these theories. He remarks that in many cases we don’t
know a description of a proper names for example. So what he says is that proper names, substance
names and natural kind terms are not definite descriptions or clusters of definite description, nor do
they refer through definite descriptions. This means that it seems intuitively that even should
description turn out to be wrong, we would be able to refer by a proper name. It seems intuitively
that the name Nixon refers to Nixon, and he says that it happens in all metaphysically possible worlds.
This means that these 3 type of names do not refer by descriptions, but directly. They work as rigid
designator. A rigid designator refers to the same entity in every possible world.
Identity theory (by Kripke):
Kripke speaks about pain counterposed to firing of c-fibers (mind/Brain identity thesis). The fibers are
not in the brain, they’re spread in the peripherical nervous system. He criticizes the identity theory in
general. There are possible worlds in which there is the firing of fibers and there is no pain, in example.
As a matter of fact, we must keep separate the firing of the fibers from pain. Pain and c-fibers are rigid
designators, they pick out the same entities in all possible worlds, but there is no reason to say that
they are the same thing, so it seems there is no identity. And the point by kripke is that a necessary
identity should be proved, but we don’t have the means to prove it in this case. So it’s impossible to
prove that pain and the firing of fibres are the same thing.
A modern dualist which thinks that qualia exist is David J Chalmers.
The key concept behind the cognitive science is to consider the brain as something that computes
symbols. Analogy between the mind and computers.
John Searle’s argument is relevant: Chinese Room Argument.
Qualia: what is it like particulars <-> mental, non purely physical experience
Th. Nagel: What is it like to be a bat?
Qualia are mental particulars.
Solipsism: philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist.
PAG. 33
The problem about qualia is the problem about the existence of the self.
Properties: parts of the self
Properties of the self and of consciousness
Is there an experience as autonomous?
The realm of abstract entities or of mathematical entities is to be taken apart in this whole course.
We usually say that there are abstract entities which are not probably physical entities. When we say
that a class of entities is real it’s called naturalizing the. The most difficult category to naturalize is
the mathematical entities. Many would say that they are true by convention, beyond the physical
but don’t say in a sense anything about the physical.
Is naturalization of the mind possible? If we think it as computational we can do it, for example. It is
not clear whether this remark is related to qualia.
The problem is: when I say that I have experience and a computer doesn’t at all, am I just using
words in a way which is “folk” or am I saying something physical?
In the case of qualia it’s different. Qualia are possible, so there’s something which distinguishes
worlds in which there are zombies and worlds in which there are conscious beings. And this
something seems to be the set of non physical entities.
If qualia are possible, then consciousness is autonomous.
If qualia are not possible (only conceivable) or if they are epyphenomen (explained away eliminating
in terms of behaviour) you can claim that there is actually the possibility of the reduction of the mind
to the body.
2 readings suggested: what is it like to be a bat / A very short introduction to philosophy.
1st argument for existence of qualia: what Is it like to be a bat?
2nd argument : Mary’s argument (Frank Jackson)
Purdue University Mary didn’t know PDF
Basic intuition
BI: You can know what an experience is only if you have already experienced it.
Jackson was concerned with making clear that the argument about Mary doesn’t depend on the
intentionality of knowledge.
Jackson avoids the problem of solipsism. He says that these facts are not facts about mary, but about
other people.
can we solve the mind body problem mc ginn article
Davidson’s anomalous