Class notes on the mind-body problem

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Oct 30, 2013 (3 years and 1 month ago)

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1

Class notes on

the mind
-
body problem

(my copy)



A. Introduction to the mind
-
body problem

{
SU

2004
: 15}

{F2004: <20 + 28 video =
<50}

{SU2005: 55 w/ video}




What are the 4 steps of the philosophical methodology we discussed at the
start of the term (an
alogy with detective work)?


1)
clarify

the
key concepts

involved

(define them and see how they
relate to other concepts)


2)
formulate

hypotheses

(
come up with various
possible

responses that
respond
to the question)


3)
test

hypotheses
(rule out some

responses
as
falling prey to
counterexamples or as
otherwise implausible)


4) make a
judgment

(decide on the most plausible response, recognizing
that absolute certainty may not be attainable and that reasonable people
may sometimes still disagree)





goi
ng to apply this general
procedure

to issue of

mind
-
body

problem



1
. The mind
-
body problem





in
everyday life

typically make a
distinction

between what we call
mental

phenomena & what we call
physical

phenomena


o

If I say I have a
good idea

you don't ask
how
tall

is or how much
weighs

o

If I say I bought a
new car

you don't ask how
witty

it is


o

understand distinction between being attracted someone's
mind

and to his or her
body



o

all recognize that
certain properties

pertain to the
physical

but not
the
menta
l

and
vice versa


o

What
sorts of features would you say are
physical properties
?

[
BOARD
]



size, shape, mass, electric charge, radioactivity




2

o

What are some examples of
mental states
?

[
BOARD
]



beliefs, emotions, sensations, perceptions, fantasies,
self
-
awar
eness, unconscious states



o

Do the
physical

properties we listed seem applicable to
minds

or to these various
mental states
?



o

In terms of what kinds of
properties

would you characterize such
mental

states?



duration, intensity, logical relations, intention
ality




Is there any
single

common feature

that all such states
share

in
virtue of which we call them all
mental states
? [FT 137
-
8]



consciousness?



intentionality?



accessible only from 1
st

person perspective?



all properties of a mind?



o

1) our
commonsense
m
akes
radical

distinction

between the
mental

and the
physical
, between the kinds of
properties

we
attribute to
minds

and
mental

states on the one hand and
those we ascribe to
bodies

and
physical

states

on the
other





2)
commonsense
also

says 2
completely d
ifferent

things can't
interact


o

How

could something

that itself has
no

location

interact

with
something

that
does
?




i
f 2 things are in physical
contact
, we can
understand

their
interaction
, how

the movement of
one

object can cause
movement in
another





si
nce days of
Newton

can even understand action
-
at
-
a
-
distance, how
a

body exerts gravitational
pull

on all
others
,
even those very
far away




but if something has
no

physical location at all,
how

can it
causally
affect

or be
affected

by things in particular p
laces in
space?



3



3)
but of course commonsense
also

tells us that the
mental

&
physical

do

interact


o

What's an example in which something
mental

seems to cause
something
physical
?



feeling
nervous

for a
test



sweating


o

What's an example in which something

physical

seems to
cause something
mental
?



seeing

fresh
-
baked
chocolate chip cookie



desire

to
eat

it





h
ere we’re left with a bit of a
quandary
:
c
ommonsense

seems to
support
3 views
that can't
all

be consistently
accepted
.
1


1. The mental and the physic
al are radically different sorts of

phenomena
.

2.
Radically different
sorts of
phenomena can't causally interact
with one another.

3. The mental and the physical causally interact with one another.





philosophy

often

comes into
play

when
tension

involved

in network
of
commonsense conceptions

o

once bother to
reflect

on commonsense intuitions realize their
inconsistency

o

psychologically

can

continue to hav
e
inconsistent

sets of beliefs

o

but can't
rationally

do so



if want to have
consistent
,
rational

set of bel
iefs
something

has to
give





thus arises the traditional
mind
-
body problem

o

the
difficulty of understanding just how the

mental and the physical
aspects of ourselves
relate, given at once their great apparent
difference and their apparent intimate connectio
n





1

Lawhead

(
PJ

274) 4
comm
onsense

views
:

1. The
body

is a
physical

thing.

2. The
mind

is a
non
-
physical

thing.

3. The
mind

and
body

interact

and causally
affect

one another.

4.
Non
-
physical

things
cannot

causally interact with
physical

things.



4




FT p. 139

[
HW
]

[ON OWN]





at
this

point
w
hich

of the 3
commonsense
intuitions
above
would you
be
most

tempted to
give up

and
why
?

{S2002 kc: even split} {S2002 mc: many confused; > ¾ dualists}


#1: may lean toward some kind of
physicalism


#2:

may

lean toward
Descartes’

particular kind of
dualism

#3:

may lean toward

other

breeds of dualism not so popular today (
parallelism
)




2
.
Overview of
responses to the mind
-
body problem




See
Overview of responses to the mind
-
body problem chart





Mind
-
body v
ideo [28]






5

B.
I
nteractionist substance dualism

(Cartesian dualism)

{
SU

2004
: 40 just D’s position, no other kinds of dualism or arguments for D or near death or video}

{SU2005: 60 through D’s arguments}


1. Interactionist substance dualism

{S2002 mc
: quickly <10 w/o video}

{
SU

2004
: 40 just D’s
position, no other kinds of dualism or arguments for D or near death or video}

{F2004: 30 incl assess but no args}




See EXTRA: Varieties of substance dualism





What was Descartes'
cogito ergo sum

(“I
think
.
Therefore, I
am
.”)
argument all about?


o

could
doubt

all
sorts

of things about existence of
apparent

physical

world around him



could be
dreaming
,
hallucinating
, deceived by evil
demon


o

1
thing
couldn't

doubt was
own

existence as a
thinking thing

& content
s
of own
consciousness



even if were deceived by
evil demon

about
everything

he
thought he saw around him, even to be
deceived

he would have
to
exist


-
["thinks" = “doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wills, refuses,…
imagines and senses” (AW 31)]

o

have
im
mediate
,
unmistakable

awareness of
contents

of own
mind

o

beliefs about
external

world (physical
objects
, including
own

body)
simply
inferred

on basis of direct
inner

awareness





coming
out

of

this
approach is

Descartes’
substance dualism



o

view

of sharp
dis
tinction

between 2
realms
:
t
hat of
mind

& that of
body




immediate

contents of
consciousness



inferred

external
world




minds
:
thinking
,
unextended
,
indivisible

substances; essence is
thought



bodies
:
non
-
thinking
,
extended
,
divisible

parts of
corporeal

subst
ance; essence is
extension


6


o

we

are
composites

of these 2 substances



you most
truly

are your
mind
, but
intimately conjoined

with
particular
body

-
not

like
pilot

in a ship but one
conscious

of pleasure/pains
etc. of own body


o

completely
different

sorts of s
tuff but
do

interact



pineal gland

in brain
[BOARD]





Cartesian compromise

[
BOARD
]

o

way of doing
justice

to both
science

&
religion





physical

realm
is
domain of
deterministic
,
causal

laws that could
be investigated in
science




separate

mental

realm
is
dom
ain of
free will
, of issues relating to
morality

&
religion

-
special

domain of rational creatures independent from
determinism

of physical laws



-
[“
substance
” notion borrowed from scholastic philosophy with some modifications

-
for him basically means
some
thing

[subject of
predication
]
independent

capable
of undergoing
change

while yet staying the
same

-
[can be “
in
” something else so
weaker

than
Aristotle's

view]

-
strictest

sense only
God

substance because only
God

fully independent

-
but in
derivative

sense

are 2
created

kinds of
finite

substance with
independent

existence:
minds

&
bodies

-
particular
thoughts
, particular
shapes

various
properties

[
modes
]

not

independent; must exist
in

something

-
what they inhere
in

are
substances

(
minds

or
bodies
)
]









7

2. Evaluation of Descartes’ arguments for his view

{S2002 kc: 45

just D’s
} {S2002 mc: 40

just D’s}

{Summer 2004: DIDN’T DO}

{F2004: 35

bkgd &
just 1
st

arg}


a. Background principles





[
qualitative

identity

-
X and Y are
qualitatively

identical just i
n case they
look

alike

(are the same
sort of thing)
, although they are
different individuals

-
Your brand new copy of a
textbook

is
qualitatively

identical to your
classmate’s

copy.

-
Identical twins

have
qualitative

identity.




numerical

identity

-
X and Y ar
e
numerically

identical just in case they are really the same exact

individual

or
thing

-
The philosopher who wrote
Discourse on Method

is
numerically

identical to
the one who wrote
Meditations

on First Philosophy
. (In both cases it was
Descartes
.)

-
The
pe
n

that I used to edit my lecture is
numerically

identical to the one I
have in my
hand
.
]





Leibniz

Law (
Principle of the
Identity

of
Indiscernibles
)

(1646
-
1716)

-
If X and Y share
all

the same properties, then they are
[numerically]

identical
.


-
If
X and Y

are
indiscernible

that is, if you can't
discern

(
detect
,
distinguish
) any different properties, then X & Y are

really the exact
same thing


-
Clark Kent

&
Superman





Principle of the
Nonidentity

of
Discernibles


-
If
X and Y

don’t

share
all

the same proper
ties, then they
aren't

[numerically]

identical.


-
If X
and Y are
discernable

that is
distinguishable
, if X
has

some
property that Y
lacks

(or
vice versa
), then X and Y are
not

the
same
thing


-
the

person selected for the job has 5 years
experience

-
Jones

h
as
no

experience

-
Jones

is
not

the person selected for the job



8




general
strategy

in
many

of Descartes' arguments

o

body

has some property
mind

lacks

o

or
mind

has some property
body

lacks

o

so
can't

at bottom be
same thing

o

must be 2 different sorts of
stuff
;
2 different
substances




b.
Descartes’ Conceivability Argument


1.
T
he existence of my body

is doubtable
.

2.
T
he existence of my
mind is not doubtable
.

3. If two things don’t share all the same properties, then they aren't
identical.
(Principle of the

Nonidentity of Discernibles)

_____________________________________________________

4. Therefore, my mind is not identical to my body.




What are the
2 criteria

of a
good argument
?



GROUPS
:

{F2004: did as full class}

o

Is this argument any
good
? Why or wh
y not?

o

If extra time, evaluate the other Cartesian arguments






Who wrote
Huckeberry Finn
?

[BOARD]

-
XXX
doubts that

Samuel Clemens

is the author of
Huckleberry
Finn

-
XXX
doesn’t doubt that

Mark Twain

is the author of
Huckleberry
Finn





If we used the
Pri
nciple of the
Nonidentity

of
Discernibles

here,
what would it say about whether or not
Mark Twain

and
Samuel
Clemens

are
identical
?

-
would say they have
different

properties so
not

identical

-
but
nonsense
; really are
same person
; just
pen name


9



What’s
goin
g on

here
?




important
restriction

on legitimate
application

of
either

of these
principle
s


-
fine principles but valid
only

in certain
contexts

-
like dinner
coupon

only valid
Mon
-
Thurs
; doesn’t
work

on
weekends

-
like Hartnell ID: works
fine

for checking out

Hartnell

library books,
but
not valid

for taking out books from the city of
Monterey

library




apply
only

when dealing with
intrinsic

properties, not
extrinsic

ones

[BOARD]




What’s the
difference

between an
intrinsic

and an
extrinsic

property?


-
intrinsic

property

-
feature belonging to object
itself
;
in

it


-
extrinsic property

-
feature characterizing
not

object
itself

but
perceiver’s

attitude
toward

it or relation
to

it

-
[other possible ways of being extrinsic; Cambridge change etc.]

-
[don't apply in
refe
rentially opaque

contexts: intentional or
modal ones]


o

If I say this table is
ugly
, what kind of property is
that
?

extrinsic


o

If I say this table is
4 feet long
, what kind of property is
that
?

intrinsic



o

Is being
doubted

as the author of
Huckleberry Fi
nn

an
intrinsic

or
extrinsic

property?

extrinsic





illustration

of fact that these principles
can’t

legitimately be
applied in case of
extrinsic

properties


10




when talking about
intrinsic

properties, properties of object
itself
,
makes
sense

that if there a
re 2
incompatible properties

can’t be
same

object

-
if
I
say table
I’m

talking about is
4 feet long


-
and
you

say table
you’re

talking about
not

4 feet long

-
can’t

be
same

table we're talking about


-
if
serial killer

is 6’ tall

-
Smith

is 4’5”

-
Smith
can’t

b
e serial killer




but when talking about
extrinsic

properties, properties expressing
just an
observer’s

view of it, then 2 incompatible properties
can

pertain to
same

object

-
if
I
say table
I’m

talking about is
ugly


-
and
you

say table
you’re

talking about
not ugly

-
still
can

be talking about
same

table

-
ugliness

or
lack

of it feature of observer’s
perspective
, not object
itself




good
,
useful

principles for determining
identity

or
nonidentity

but
must be careful to
apply

only in
appropriate context





FULL CL
ASS
:

o

Is this argument
valid
?


o

Is it
sound
?

-
P3
true

only

in context in which
intrinsic properties

of object
at issue, but
here

being

conceivable
not

intrinsic property

-
faulty
use

of principle of
Nonidentity of Discernibes

-
plug in
Samuel Clemens
/
Mark Tw
ain

for
body
/
mind


-
[to be
fair
, Descartes himself
does

seem to recognize
limitation

of
current argument;
Meditation

2 argument only accepting as true what
can know as
necessarily

true; from this perspective can say only he
is a
thinking thing
; but leaves
open possibility such thinking might
ultimately be grounded in body; not until
Meditation

6 does he truly
present
real distinction

of mind & body, i.e. capacity to exist
independently

of one another (not merely lack
of

identity)]

-
P1 debatable


o

Have we the
reby shown
Cartesian
dualism

to be
false
?
Why
not
?




11

Meditation

2

-
begins investigation of his
nature
, investigation of the
essence

of the I whose existence is
assured by the
cogito

-
knowledge

of his existence (which is
certain
) doesn't depend on the
kno
wledge

of anything
doubtful

(such as the existence of his
body


-
from
restricted

perspective of accepting only what's
necessarily true
, considers himself merely a
thinking thing

-
but here
acknowledges

might

turn out that as a matter of fact his existence
d
oes

depend
on his body's existence: "But is it perhaps the case that these very things which I take to
be nothing, because they are unknown to me, nevertheless are in fact no different from
that me that I know? This I do not know, and I will not quarrel
about now. I can make a
judgment only about things that are known to me."
2

(31)


Meditation

6

-
show
real distinction

between minds & bodies, thereby establishing his
dualist

system

-
real distinction = distinction between
substances

-
not

just that
not i
dentical

but further that 1 can exist
without

other


-
& prove
existence

of external world

-
thus
finishing

his return from radical doubt, his building up of a unified system from the
cogito

to knowledge of the
self
,
God
, then
bodies

-
though world gets
back

not
exactly

same one began with before doubting



Conceivability Argument

(for the
real distinction

between mind & body)

1. Whatever I can clearly & distinctly conceive can be made by God to exist just as I conceive it.

2. Whatever I can clearly & dist
inctly conceive of without another can be made by God to exist
without the other. [from 1]

3. Two things are really distinct just in case one can exist without the another. [definition of real
distinctness]

4. I can clearly & distinctly conceive of m
yself (my mind) as a thinking substance without its being
extended.

5. I can clearly & distinctly conceive of body as an extended substance without its thinking.

6. I (my mind) can exist as a thinking, unextended substance. [from 2, 4]

7. My body can ex
ist as an extended, non
-
thinking substance. [from 2, 5]

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8. I am (my mind is) really distinct from my body. [from 3, 6, 7]


[real distinction = distincti
on between substances]

[distinction of reason = distinction between substance & attribute]

[modal distinction = distinction between attribute & mode]


-
possible
problems

with argument:

-
P1/P2: move from
conceivability

to
possibility

-
how do we know that wh
at we can
conceive

of is really
possible
?

-
P6: just because we can’t
conceive

of dependency doesn’t mean
isn’t

one

-
P1: depends on having proved existence of God


Divisibility Argument

[53]




2

Ariew, Roger and Eric Watkins,
eds.

Modern Philosophy: An Anthology of Primary Sources
.
(Indianapolis: Hackett, 1998) 31.


12

c.
Argument from divisibility
3

{F2004: ON OWN}


1. The body

is divisible.

2. The mind is indivisible.

3. If two things do not have exactly identical properties, then they cannot
be identical.

___________________________________________________________

4. Therefore, the mind and body are not identical.





Does

this

argument
have the same problem as the
last

one?

no






What do you think of
this

argument?


P2: Is the mind really indivisible? What about apparent mental

conflicts?


Lawhead
Stop & Think 284

-
What's an example of the time in which you felt
apparent

conflicts

or
divisions

in your mind?


-
Do such apparent mental conflicts count
against

Descartes' premise that the mind is
indivisible
?


-
What do you think Descartes would
say

about such
mental conflicts?



d.
Argument from consciousness

{F2004: ON OWN}


1. The body can't have consciousness.

2. The mind does have consciousness.

3. If two things do not have exactly identical properties, then they cannot
be identical.

__________________________________________________________

4. Therefore, the mind and

body are not identical.



-
leave it to you to consider this one
on your own




Does it simply
beg the question

against the physicalist?




3

Lawhead 283
-
4.


13



Are there any
intrinsic

features of minds and bodies that you
think would ground a
good argument

with the same basic
s
tructure

as the ones we considered?


body






mind


-
takes up
space
;
extended



-
doesn't take up
space
;
non
-
extended

-
has determinate
mass



-
doesn't have determinate
mass


-
operates by
physical laws



-
doesn't operate by
physical laws

-
publicly observab
le




-
only
private access

-
doesn't think, have
consciousness


-
thinks; has
consciousness

-
divisible





-
indivisible

-
existence can be
doubted



-
existence
can't

be
doubted




3. Non
-
Cartesian argument from near
-
death experiences

{
SU

2004: DIDN’T DO}


{
F2004: 20+}

{SU2005: 45}


-
video: Near death experiences selections

(17) [#13]



-
GROUPS
:

{F2004: full class only}

-
Using the video on near
-
death experiences as a springboard,
evaluate

the argument on p. 143 of your text.

[
FT p. 145

HW
]


Rauhut
,
Ultima
te Questions

p. 143

1. Some people report that they had experiences while being
outside of their bodies.

2. The best explanation for these reports is that minds can indeed
exist without bodies.

3. Therefore, minds probably can exist independently from b
odies.


-
FULL CLASS:




Is this a
good argument
?
Why

or
why not
?

-
P2 seriously questionable: better explanation in terms of
experience of oxygen deprivation in the brain




Are there
further

reasons someone could cite in
support

of the
claim that the mind can

leave the body?





What sorts of
experiments

would be good ones to test the
scientific

explanation
in terms of
oxygen deprivation
?


-
test to see if can read writing on ceiling if really rose above one's
body


14


4
.
Assessment


-
See:
Assessment of various r
esponses to the mind
-
body problem


{S2002
kc: 20} {S2002 mc: 15} {F2004: 20; included in timing listed above}


{SU2005: 30}




What are some
attractive

features of Cartesian substance dualism?

[BOARD]




What are the most serious
potential problems

with it
?

[BOARD]




15

C
. Physicalism

{relation of elimiativism to token
-
token identity theory?} {Double’s
Beginning Philosophy

puts
behaviorism & eliminative materialism under eliminativism}


1. Introductory remarks on physicalism


{F2004:
<5
}

{SU2005: <5}




las
t

time explored in some depth Descartes'
interactionist

version

of
substance dualism

o

still quite
popular

position in America
these

days

o

so
much

so that
many

folks who
haven't

studied

philosophy don't
imagine any
alternatives




but saw are significant
proble
ms

not only with Descartes'
arguments

for
his position but also with position
itself

o

leaves
unresolved

vexing problem of
how

interaction

is to take place

o

seems to
violate

fundamental
conservation

laws of
physics

o

doesn't explain how to
reconcile

claims abou
t
physical

objects
(including
human body
) being fully
causally determined

in a
closed

physical system with claims about
minds

having a
free will

that initiates
uncaused

actions in one's own
body

o

doesn’t seem to do justice to
correlations

between
mental

&
p
hysical




now

would like to start looking at
different

kind of approach to the mind
-
body problem, a
monistic

one


o

See
Overview of responses to the mind
-
body problem chart





monism
: doctrine that
ultimately

reality

consists of only
1 thing

or type of
stuff

-
mono= 1, as in monotheism




various
types

of
monism


o

idealism
:
doctrine

that
ultimate reality

is entirely
mental

-
[Bishop Berkley (1685
-
1753),
Advaita Vedanta

Hinduism
]


o

materialism
:
doctrine that
ultimate reality

is entirely
material/physical


o

neutral mo
nism

-
doctrine that reality
ultimately

some
neutral

substance more
fundamental

than either
mind

or
matter

-
[Spinoza (1632
-
1677),
William James

(1842
-
1910]


16




won't

have opportunity to explore
all

these options in this
introductory

course




but
will

have chan
ce to explore monist
version

most influential in the
West
today
:
physicalism


o

terms "
physicalism
" and "
materialism
" sometimes used
interchangeably


o

though strictly speaking “
materialism
” should probably be reserved for
more
general

metaphysical thesis that

all of reality is a function of
matter

o

while “
physicalism
” should be used in
specific

context of
mind
-
body
problem

for thesis that
mental

phenomena ultimately function of

physical
properties



17

1. Logical behaviorism

{S2002 mc: <30} {S2002 kc: 20}


{
SU

2004
: 20}

{F2004:
<35 split over 2
days so some review}

{SU2005: 30}

{logical vs. metaphysical?}


a. Definition




developed from 1930s
-

early 1960s

-
[logical behaviorism: ‘30’s
-

early '60s; Ryle, Carnap;]




psychologists
particularly in
1950s

suspicious

of talk of
private
,
inner

realm

o

interested in making psychology into a
science

o

and for
science

need publicly
observable
,
measurable

data

o

can't
get

that kind of precision dealing with fuzzy,
mysterious

realm
revealed by
introspection

o

but outward
behavior

i
s

observable,
measurable
,
testable


o

some

less

radical folks took focus on behavior just as
methodological tool
,
way of approaching research



not

that nothing
more

to mental life than behavioral
tendencies

behave




just

that only interested in
studying

latter



only
that

could be brought under scope of
scientific psychology




Gilbert Ryle

(1900
-
1976)


o

talk of ‘mind’ a
category mistake

if think designates
separate object

any more than ‘
university’

designates something in
addition

to
various buildings


o

no
need

to p
osit existence of

ghost

in the
machine


[BOARD]



what he disparagingly called the notion of
Cartesian soul

floating about in the
brain



nothing

really
inner




logical behaviorism
:
physicalist theory that
we should understand all
references to mental events

as just shorthand for talk about
tendencies to act
in certain ways


o

example
: “Joan believes it's going to rain.”
i
s just an abbreviation
for
habits of behavior:
Joan is likely to take her umbrella, look for
her raincoat, avoid wearing her new shoes, etc
.

Although the
sentence seems to be speaking about a mental state (a belief), it's
really just about dispositions to behave in certain ways.


o

in saying José
feeling pain

in his head really
mean

tends to
complain

about it, rub his
temples
, dig out the
aspi
rin


o

FT p. 156

[
HW
]

{F2004: DIDN’T DO}


18

Assessment


-
See:
Assessment of various responses to the mind
-
body problem





FT p. 157

HW

(examples of behavior not corresponding to
feelings/thoughts)




Is there anything
attractive
,
appealing

about such a view?

[BOARD]




Can you think of any
objections

to this as an account of what talk of
mental phenomena

all about?

[BOARD]





not many card
-
carrying
behaviorists

around these days

o

but was
influential

theory for awhile

o

and
does

point to important
connection

between

certain mental
states & outward
behavior

o

will have
echoes

in most
popular

theory of mind held by
philosophers

today



theory of
functionalism

(
soon
)




19

2. Identity theory

(also known as reductionism)

{S2002 mc: <35} S2002 kc: 30}

{Summer
2004: 30}

{F2004
: <25}


-
[Hobbes (1588
-
1679): all reality except God material; J.J.C. Smart (1920
-

); Colin McGinn]


-
[introduced in 1950s by Herbert Feigl; mental terms have different meanings metaphysical terms
but have same referent, like Morning Star = Evening Star
= Venus

-
late '50s
-
'60s J. J. C. Smart & U.T. Place identity theory: types of sensations = types of brain
states; contingent identity; pain = C
-
fiber firing (not true)

-
late '60s
-
early '70s DM Armstrong: central state materialism; counts as early kind of
f
unctionalism, too, since says mental states = brain states with tendency to yield certain behavior

-
Kripke: problems with speaking of metaphysical necessities known a posteriori

-
nonreductive materialism (token physicalism, not type physicalism

-
CD Broad:
emergent materialism; mental states not reducible to but emergent from
physical ones

-
Davidson's anomalous monism: mental states governed by laws of rationality
inapplicable to physical states [cf Kant]]


a. Definition




1950s
-
1960s

o

proponent: J.J.C. Smar
t (1920
-

)




like
behaviorists
, proponents of
identity

theory

(
reductionism
)
interested in making
psychology

a genuine
science


o

wanted
publically observable
,
measurable
,
repeatable

hard data




rather than looking at external
behavior
, turned to focus on
br
ain states


o

brain activities
not

publicly observable
in sense that in
everyday life

can just
look

at Jones and
see

exactly what his brain is doing


o

but
are

publicly observable in the sense that are
measurable

from
3
rd

person perspective

(
PET

scan,
MRI

mach
ines,
electrodes

on the
scalp)


o

such measurements
repeatable
; don't depend on
who

happens to
be setting up
instrument
;
objective

data





identity theory

(reductionism)

-
physicalist theory that types of mental events are really identical to types
of brain
events

o

doctrine that
reduces

mental

phenomena to
physical

phenomena



or that insists on underlying
identity

of the two


o

pain

just is
C
-
fiber firing

in the
brain


20




certainly
admit

that often
appear

differently and that in
ordinary
language

use different sets

of
vocabulary

when speaking from the
perspective of
psychotherapist

and from the perspective of
neuroscientist




nevertheless
, insist that at the
end

of the
day

really
amount

to
same
thing

o

even if use label “
Mark Twain
” when writing
English

essay and

Samu
el Clemens
” when doing
census

report, really just are
same
person




consider an
analogy
:
water

really
just is

H
2
0

o

in
everyday life

we
identify

it
not

in terms of molecular configurations of
hydrogen

and
oxygen

atoms but as that
clear
,
wet

stuff they make a

fortune selling in
plastic bottles

these days

o

nevertheless
, the
chemical formula

expresses what water
really is


o

lightening

really
just is

electromagnetic atmospheric
discharge

o

in ordinary course of
events

don't run around saying “
Gee
, I think we
ought to

turn the
sailboat

around. It looks as if a
storm

is brewing, and
we don't want to get hit by any electromagnetic atmospheric
discharge
."

o

nonetheless

that's what lightening really
is





so,
too
, the theory
goes
: we talk about having
beliefs
,
desires
,
pains
,
and all sorts of other
mental phenomena




but properly
understood

these really amount to types of
brain event

-
[
emergent

properties can arise from parts
without

such features; neither hydrogen nor
oxygen
wet
; individual
neurons

not
conscious
, but consciou
sness
emergent property

of
combination

of neurons]




how would a behaviorist & identity theorist differ in recommendations?
[FT pp. 159
-
160]

[HW]


b
.
Assessment


-
See:
Assessment of various responses to the mind
-
body problem





What
advantages
/
good

featur
es do you see in the
theory
?

[
BOARD
]




potential
problems
,
worries

about the theory?

[
BOARD
]




21

3. Functionalism
{S2002 mc: <40} {S2002 kc: 35}

{Summer 2004: 30 functionalism, 35 AI}

{F2004:
30 funct, 30+ AI & Searle}


a.
Multiple realizability




most
p
opular

among Anglo
-
American philosophers of
mind

today


-
[Fodor, Putnam; influenced by Aristotle?]




arose in ‘60s & ‘70s with developments of computers and artificial
intelligence (AI) research

o

proponent: Hilary
Putnam




new
model

for thinking about the
mi
nd

o

model of a
computer program
, computer
software



set of
instructions

capable of running on
variety

of
hardware

-
Microsoft Word

on
IBM

or
iMac


o

just
so
, can attribute
mental

states (
pains
,
desires
,
beliefs
) to
variety

of sorts of
creatures

(
humans
,
dogs
,
M
artians
) with quite
different

physiology, different bodily
hardware




against

reductionists who said

-
pain

= C
-
fiber stimulation

-
so no creature
lacking

C
-
fibers can be said to have
pain




functionalists

among others who press
chauvinism

objection
against re
ductionists

-
brain of a
Martian

or a
dog

or even another
human being

may be wired differently from
your own

but can still make
sense to attribute to them
mental states




The central idea in functionalism is that of
multiple realizability
, the
notion that yo
u can accomplish the same thing using different material.



o

example
s
:



A mousetrap is anything whose function is to catch mice. There
isn't a particular kind of stuff it has to be made of.



You can run the same Microsoft Word program whether you're
using

a PC or a Mac.



Chair, knife




The mental/physical relation is like the relation between computer
software

and
hardware
.


o

Anything

that expresses the function of a mental state
counts

as being
in such a state no matter what
stuff

it's made of (
human

brain
material,
dog

brain material,
silicon

chips, etc.).



22


o

pain in general
not

identical

to activity of certain kind of
material

(C
-
fiber stimulation in human
cortical

tissue)


o

pain =
whatever

it is in an organism (C
-
fiber stimulation,
D
-
fiber
stimulation, sili
con
-
chip sizzling, Cartesian soul stretching) that plays
the
causal role

of what we call pain


o

What is the
function
, the
causal role

of pain?



typically results from some kind of damaging
input


-
sense perception; environmenal & hereditary

factors



typically

results in certain outward
behavior



has causal connection to
other

mental states

(
beliefs
,
desires
)



Human pain



input:








output:

tissue damage







jump back, cry out

from stepping on






avoid in future

sharp object




Dog, Martian, et
c. pain



input:








output:

tissue damage







jump back, cry out

from stepping on






avoid in future


sharp object




o

Here since the
causal systems

of inputs/outputs are the
same
, the
functionalist can say the
dog
,
Martian
, etc. is in
pain

as well as the
human
, even if the
stuff

(C
-
fibers vs. D
-
fibers) is
different
.





physicalist theory

that types of mental phenomena are
causal systems
of
inputs/outputs

(including sense perception, relation to other mental states, and behavior)

that can be

made of
various

types of stuff

C
-
fiber firings


desire for


belief that

pain to go away


shouldn’t do




that again



D
-
fiber firings


desire for


belief that

pain to go away


shouldn’t do




that again




23


-
[1) Turing machine (machine state) functionalism: computational theory; mental
states = Turing machine table states; cashed out in terms of counterfactuals
specifying purely formal states

-
early '60s Putnam


2) causal th
eory of mind functionalism: philosophers tell from conceptual analysis of
ordinary language platitudes what mental states are (what causal roles played) &
scientists discover what physical states play such causal roles; being in certain type
of mental stat
e = being in type of physical state playing certain causal role

-
most common type of functionalism

-
late '60s David Lewis’ analytical functionalism


3) teleological/homuncular functionalism

-
human being like a corporation made of various departments come a
t each with
own input/output functions

-
Lycan, Dennett]





most

functionalists these days
are

physicalists


o

theoretically

such
causal functions

could

be
instantiated

in all
sorts

of stuff (Cartesian
soul

stuff,
Brahman
, physical
brain

matter,
neutral

stuff)


o

as a matter of historical
fact
, however, though
not

of logical
necessity
, most functionalists these days are
physicalists



think is only
1

fundamental stuff in the universe:
matter




don't
define

mental states
in general

in terms of
our

specific
brain stat
es



but
do

think way mental functions
instantiated

in
us

is
through various
brain states



and
do

think way mental functions could be instantiated in
other

beings would be through various
different

physical
configurations

-
different sorts of
brains
,
chemical

systems,
silicon

chips, etc.



-
See:
Assessment of various responses to the mind
-
body problem




What do you find
attractive

about functionalism?

[
BOARD
]




Is there anything you find still
problematic

about it?

[
BOARD
]




24

b
.
The Turing Test and strong AI

{S2002 mc: <25} {S2002 kc: 20?}




want to turn to 1 further issue relating to
functionalism
:
question of
artificial intelligence

(AI)




seems
computer programs

capable of performing
many

tasks typically
viewed as
mental functions

o

performing
mathematical

ca
lculations

o

problem solving

o

game

playing

o

parsing
sentences
, drawing
inferences

from stories




question
arises

whether
computer programs

simply
simulating

thought
or whether suitably complex programs could be said to be
really
thinking





often

make use of
mod
els

that are just
tools

to help us
understand

things,
models

that are never confused with the
real thing


o

doctor
: plastic model of the
heart

to show you
parts
, what's
wrong



no one actually thinks
this

heart pumps blood; just
stimulation


o

architects

make ca
rdboard
models

of
building layout

before
construction



no one actually thinks anyone could
live

in such buildings



just
model
,
stimulation




but what about
computer programs

and the
mind
?

o

are computer programs that play
chess

just
modeling
,
simulating

what
go
es on in the mind the way
a

doctor’s plastic
heart

or the architect's
cardboard
buildings

are
models
,
simulations
?


o

or are they really
thinking
? Is it the
real thing
?


o

if mental states are just defined by certain
input
-
output relations
, then
why couldn't
a computer program be said to be really
thinking

and
playing chess
?


-
proponents of
weak AI


-
think computers just
simulate

mental activity

-
useful
tools

for studying human mind but nothing
more


-
proponents of strong AI

-
suitably complex programs would
r
eally

have
mental states

-
walks

like a duck,
squawks

like a duck, it’s a
duck

-
[certain kind of functionalism: Turing machine functionalism; purely
formal, computational notion of mental states]


25




FT pp. 163
-
4 on arguments for computers not having minds

[HW
]





in 1950 Alan
Turing
, known for cracking the
enigma

code in WWII
propsed a
test

having to do with
computers

and the issue of
artificial
intelligence




Turing Test
: strong AI
gauge by which to determine whether or not a
computer program could be said to
be really thinking (not just simulating it)


o

If a questioner (who could ask
anything
) couldn’t
tell

which was the
computer and which the human, we’d have to say
the computer
was
really thinking
.








questioner



o

Suppose we could build a comput
er that could pass the Turing
test. Would you say then that the computer was really thinking?
Why or why not?




c
.
Searle’s Chinese Room objection to strong AI

{S2002 mc: 30} {S2002 kc: 20?}

-
if time: video: Searle Philosophy of mind excerpt

from en
d lecture 3 [20 min; use 1
st

14 up to
‘think decisive’, before objections & responses]

[better just bit in earlier mind
-
body video]




Even if a computer passed the Turing test, this wouldn't mean it was really
thinking or understanding.









que
stioner

asking questions in Chinese

computer

human

Searle &
rulebook

Native
C
hinese
speaker


26




How does Searle’s objection go?


-
could get so that questioner couldn't tell
difference

between responses
from
Searle

& those from

Chinese speaker


-
could
pass

Turing test

-
but still wouldn't
really

be
thinking
,
under
standing

Chinese

-
so
neither

would a
computer program


-
both
Searle

&
computer program

just
rote

manipulation of
meaningless symbols

-
no genuine
understanding

or
thinking

going on





What's
missing

from the computer program's activity that leads us to
say i
t's not really
thinking/understanding
?


-
meanings

of words (
semantics
)
, real connection to
world

-
[not denying
robots

could think insofar as have
physical

causal connection to
world; focus here on
computer

inasmuch as this defined purely
formally
,
mathemat
ically
, not as
physical

silicon chip system]


-
strength

of computer programs lies in fact that simply manipulate
formal

symbols

(
syntax
)

-
take
input
, perform purely formal
manipulation
, provide
output

-
doesn't
matter

how system physically
realized

as long
as same
formal functions

expressed

-
[0 & 1; up & down; Y/N
--

works because symbols don't
mean

anything to
it; can be manipulated in definite, mechanical way]


-
but mental states involve
content
, not simply formal
functions


-
have
intentionality
;
about

obje
cts

-
real understanding

requires
semantics
, not just
syntax

-
involves
meanings

& states
directed

at real world


-
can't have
meaning
,
intentionality
,
understanding
,
consciousness

without actual
causal relations

to
real world

-
can't
get

in system defined com
pletely
formally

-
need something like a
brain

or some other actual
physical system

relating to world rather than purely
abstract
,
formal

level


-
[mental phenomena
emergent properties

caused

by special causal features of
the brain; biological process such a
s
digestion

-
[insofar as
computer program

instantiated

in
physical

being such as
robot

could

possibly think

-
but wouldn't be thinking
solely

in virtue of
formal
,
computational

features
of the
program

itself

-
but in virtue of the physical, causal connection

to the world]


27



What about
qualia
? Could computers (simply as formal systems)
have
feelings
?


o

What
connection

(if any) do you think there is between
thinking

and having
qualia
?






Do you think
Searle’s

objection

is decisive? Why or why not?







28

Wrap
-
up
on the mind/body problem

{Summer 2004: DIDN’T DO}

{F2004: DIDN’T DO}




as hopefully
fun

way to see central
differences

between various theories
we've considered want to raise
question
:

Could a
robot

have a mind?





2 video clips

involving different sorts of

robotic beings





will ask you to consider what
Descartes
, a metaphysical
behaviorist
, an
identity theorist
, a
functionalist
, and
you

would say about each case





preview
:


-
Robocop

-
human

police officer
Murphy

shot

&
dies

-
preserve much of his
brain
, but
give him a prosthetic
body
, wipe
his
memories

clean, and give him prime directives as a
robotic
policeman

-
treated as a
thing
, not as a self with
rights

-
does have
some

sparks of
memory

but not
much

-
does

have a sense of
self

at the end


-
Terminator

2

-
in
the future machines have
taken over

& tried to
wipe out

human
beings

-
human
resistors

sent back in time a
Terminator robot

(
Schwarzenegger
) to protect
John Conner

(young
boy
), who would
lead the
resistance

to stop the machine takeover

-
Terminator
entirely
artificial

(
no

human brain used as in Robocop)

-
see the Terminator
befriending

the boy

-
at the end they must
destroy

all the special computer chips that
made possible the future machine uprising,
including

the chip in the
Terminator




video: excerpts from
Robocop

and
Terminator 2

[20 min.]




29

1) What would the
various theorists

we've considered
say

about whether
or not these robots have
minds

at all on a par with ours?



Cartesian interactionist substance
dualist
: likely no since no soul



behaviorist
: maybe b
oth because outward behavior sufficiently
intelligent



identity theorist

(reductionist
): might consider Robocop to have one
since still has human brain, but not Terminator 2



functionalist
: maybe both



2) Do
you

see a big difference between the cases of
Ro
bocop

(still with a
physical
human brain
) and Terminator 2 (
entirely artificial
)?

-
does the
stuff

of which you're made matter to who you essentially
are
?

-
or is it just some
pattern of experience

that might be realized in
different
ways
?



3)

I
s Robocop
r
eally Murphy

after all?


-
personal identity
: what makes you the
same person

over
time

[
BOARD
]


-
On what grounds do
you

think someone is
same person

over
time?

-
psychological states criterion (Locke): memories

-
soul criterion (even without memories)

-
body
criterion

-
brain criterion?


-
is Robocop
really Murphy

after all?


-
What if Robocop had recaptured all the
memories

of Murphy's life?
Then would he
be

Murphy?


-
Could you achieve
personal life after death

by having all your
thoughts stored in a computer?



4) Why would it
matter

whether or not we considered robots to have
minds?

-
implications for their
moral standing


-
Is it morally ok to treat Murphy as a
thing

with no rights?


-
Does it make sense to say Terminator 2 acted
nobly

at the
end?


30



5) What is

it about
human beings

that gives them a
special moral
standing
?

-
having a
soul
? having a
human genetic code
)? having the potential to feel
suffering
? having the potential to
think
?


-
robots may or may not be
far
-
fetched

-
but
reflection

on them can help cl
arify our ideas to see why we stand
where we do on
gray areas

(
fetus
,
coma
,
insane
,
animals
)



6)
At this point which position on the mind
-
body problem seems most
plausible to
you
? Has your view
changed
, become
clearer
, or become
fuzzier

since the start
of this chapter?























{Does functionalism violate Principle of the Nonidentity of Discernibles?

Chinese room objection really just to computational versions of functionalism (AI)}



31

EXTRA
:
eliminativism


one further
variety

of physicalism
:
eliminativism


-
See
Overview of responses to the mind
-
body problem chart


-
in
recent

times
some

have
extended

reductionist model to argue that
eventually

we'll be in a position to
dispense

with psychological terminology
altogether

-
eliminitivists
: Paul

& Patricia
Churchland

(U. San Diego)


-
say
folk psychology

(
commonsense

accounts in terms of
behavior

in
terms of
beliefs

&
desires
) must ultimately be
discarded

just as
witchcraft

theory was

-
don't

simply say
nowadays

have more
precise

understanding of
w
itches

-
say recognize really
aren't

such
types

of things

-
though perhaps
understandable

why in scientifically
unsophisticated

age
people should have
believed

in them


-
similarly
, Churchlands argue, folk psychological categorizations in terms
of
types

of me
ntal states (
beliefs
,
desires
)
don't

neatly
match up

with
types

of
brain configurations
, even though any given
particular

mental event

really
is

nothing more than a specific
brain event


-
foresee ultimately
changing

very
language

we use to
describe

&
inter
pret

our behavior to one another

-
in terms of electric
-
chemical
impulses

in various segments of the
brain


-
thinks will make
mutual understanding

much
better
,
reduce

human misery
grounded in
outdated

ways of
conceptualizing

human situation

-
[now see
schizo
phrenia

as
brain disease

rather than possession by
evil demon
; physical
basis for
homosexuality

decreases tendency to view as
sin
]


-
How
different

do you think life would
be

if we
abandoned

folk
psychological explanations and used instead accounts appealin
g to
neurological

states?


-
How would it
change

the way you view
other people

and
yourself
?




32

-
not all
physicalists

have accepted
eliminativist

path

-
in fact most
haven't

-
most still believe ordinary
folk psychological

explanations in terms of mental
type
s such as
beliefs

&
desires

will
continue

to have important place in
everyday
life

-
even if
don't

believe in some
distinct

non
-
physical

substance called the
mind
, as
Descartes

did


-
are still plenty of
reductionists

(
identity theorists
) who insist
mental

p
henomena
really are at bottom
physical

but that talk of the mental
useful
, convenient
shortcut



-
in
fact
, though,
most

philosophers of mind
these days

subscribe to still
another

very sophisticated theory of mind:
functionalism



33

EXTRA: Varieties of subst
ance dualism


-

dualism
” term used in
variety

of philosophical contexts to refer to
positions that see reality as fundamentally divided into
2 categories]

-
[
Advaita

Vedanta

Hinduism
nondualist

since asserts
only

reality is
Brahman
;
Dvaita

view
dualist

sinc
e asserts
world

(including
individual
souls
)
distinct

from
Brahman
]




in context we're
currently

exploring (
philosophy of mind
) label
refers to philosophical position that
reality

is composed of
2

different
substances
:
mind

&
matter

o

in the world there are
2

sorts of basic
stuffs/things
:
minds
,
bodies

o

both
ontologically basic



neither one
reducible

to the other




seeing

world in this
twofold

way invites
question
: what's the
relationship

between them?



what's the
relation

between
mind

&
body
?




actually a
variet
y

of possibilities within
dualist

framework



a)
interactionism

-
position that mind & body fundamentally
different

sorts of
stuff

but
nevertheless
interact

in
both directions

-
mental

events can cause
physical

ones

-
and
physical

events can cause
mental

ones


M


M


M



P


P


P


P


P


-
position taken by
Plato

(c. 428 BC
-
348 BCE),
Descartes

(1596
-
1650)

-
[actually Descartes didn't think physical events could strictly speaking
cause mental ones? Much of perception still treated as physi
ological
issue?]


-
most
popular

of dualist positions

-
probably “
common

sense
” view in our general culture today, though
not

most popular position among
philosophers of mind



34


b)
parallelism

&
occasionalism

-
are significant
worries

about the
intelligibilit
y

of supposed
causal
interaction

between such apparently
different

things

-
will turn to
soon


-
such worries led
some

who wanted to
maintain

dualist stance
to picture a
different

relationship between
mind

&
body


-
17
th

c
:
Leibniz

(1646
-
1716) &
Geulincx

(1
624
-
1669)

-
physical

events cause only other
physical

events

-
mental

events cause other
mental

events

-
but these 2 causal sequences are
parallel streams

established by
divine

system of
preestablished harmony


M


M


M


M


M


P


P


P


P


P


-
analogous

to God having set up
2 clocks

-
picture digital
alarm

clock &
grandfather

clock


-
to a
Martian

unfamiliar with our timepieces might well
look

as if
one

causes activity of the
other

-
when
alarm

clock # ends in “
00
” grandfather clock
chimes


-
when
grandfather clock has hands on 6 and 12 in the
morning, digital
alarm

clock buzzes


-
but
really

just in perfect
sync

with each other


-
can
look

as if mental & physical
interacting


-
but
really

just 2
independent

series
designed

from the
start

to be
coordin
ated

with each other


-
Leibniz'
parallelism

is position that mind & body fundamentally
different

sorts of
stuff

that
can't

interact

but that have
coordinated

causal sequences that are the result of a divine
preestablished
harmony

-
God
ever
-
present

and can
serve as
bridge

to connect 2
otherwise completely
different

series of events



35

-
[slight
variation

on this approach one taken by
Malebranche

(1638
-
1715)

-
proposed that such
parallelism

wasn't simply all set up in
advance

(as in the 2
clock analogy
)

-
but tha
t on each
occasion

in which coordination is
called for
,
God directly brings about the
other

sort of event

-
when make
mental

decision (say, to raise one's
hand
) God
then
intervenes

to make sure the corresponding
physical

event happens

-
when certain
physical

event occurs (say, fingers touching
hot
stove
) God then causes appropriate
mental

state (
pain
)
in you


-
not
preestablished

parallelism but
occasionalism

-
God keeps 2 in
sync

on
each occasion

in which it's called
for]


c)
epiphenomenalism

-
intermediate

kin
d of dualist position according to which
mental

events simply
byproduct

of
physical

events, something that just
goes along for the
ride

as it were, like
froth

on the
waves

-
physical

can cause the
mental

-
[
waves

responsible for the
froth
]

-
but
mental

has
no

causal power

to affect the
physical

-
[act of will really just recognition of what body's
starting to do, not some mysterious faculty]


M


M


M


M


M



P


P


P


P


P


-
occasionally hear of
today

but
mostly

explored in
19
th

c

-
Thomas Henr
y
Huxley

(1825
-
1895)

-
better known as early
defender

&
popularizer

of
Darwin's

theory of
evolution





36


Assessment of var
ious responses to the mind
-
body problem


advantages

potential problems

interactionist
substance dualism




1
)
does justice to
commonsense distinction
between mental & physical


2) Cartesian c
ompromise


3) makes belief in afterlife
intelligible


4) helps explain fundamental
distinction from other animals



5) acknowledges qualia


6) follows Principle of
Nonidentity of Discernibles


1) interaction mysterious


2) presupposes violation of princi
ple
of conservation of energy?


3) doesn’t really reconcile science &
morality/religion

-
how can minds be free & yet
bodies be determined

4) doesn't account for mind
-
brain
correlations


5) violates principle of Ockham's
razor


logical behaviorism




1) n
o mysterious interaction


2) talk of mental scientific


3) follows Ockham's razor


1) qualia objection


2) superspartan objection


3) misses role of mental states in
causing behavior


4) can't ever spell out dispositions
since can involve infinitely many
p
ossibilities


identity theory
(reductionism)



1) no mysterious interaction


2) talk of mental scientific


3) accounts for mind
-
brain
correlations


-
brain damage & mental
impairment

-
complexity similar in both


4) allows role of mental states
in causing
behavior


5) no superspartan problem


6) follows Ockham's razor


1) qualia objection


2) violates Principle of the
Nonidentity of Discernibles?


3)
correlation better explained by
causal connection than identity
?


4) chauvinism objection


37











functionalism



1) no mysterious interaction


2) talk of mental scientific


3) no superspartan problem


4) allows for role of mental
states in causing behavior,
brain states, and other mental
states


5) accounts fo
r mind
-
brain
correlations better than
reductionism b/c of causal
story


6) avoids chauvinism
objection

1) qualia objection

-
absent qualia

-
inverted spectrum


2) Searle’s Chinese Room
objection to AI & computational
versions of functionalism


38

EXTR
A on assessment:



-
“That all the heavens should obey fixed, immutable laws and that a little creature
5 feet tall should do as it chooses solely according to his own caprice is simply
unimaginable.” (Voltaire)


-
[
physics

of Descartes’ day
(1596
-
1650)
not

quite so fully
developed

-
he believed in law of conservation of
motion

-
thought that mind
couldn't

inject
new

energy into system

-
but thought
could

change
direction

of
animal spirits

in bloodstream in
pineal gland

-
later

physicists recognized even changin
g
direction

of particles violates conservation laws]


-
[
Copernicus (1473
-
1543), Bacon (1561
-
1626), Kepler (1571
-
1630), Galileo (1564
-
1642),
Newton

(1642
-
1727)]



doesn't account for
qualia


-
like
every

approach that views reality
solely

in terms of what ca
n be grasped by
a
3
rd
-
person

perspective,
functionalism

seems open to objection that simply
leaves out

1
st
-
person

perspective

-
that irreducibly
subjective
, purely
private

experience of how things
feel

from the inside


-
[“There are things about the world an
d life and ourselves that cannot be adequately
understood from a maximally objective standpoint, however much it may extend our
understanding beyond the point from which we started. A great deal is essentially
connected to a particular point of view..., a
nd the attempt to give a complete account of
the world in objective terms detached from these perspectives inevitably leads to false
reductions or to outright denials that certain patently real phenomena exist at all."
4
]


-
[individuates mental states accor
ding to relations, but sensations have
nonrelational intrinsic quality]


-
a)
Mary
,
neuroscientist

blind

from
birth

(Frank Jackson)

-
could understand
everything

is to
know

about brain processes
relating to
visual cortex

and all

-
but would still be
missing

something

-
namely,
subjective

feeling of what it's
like

to
look

at something, to
have
conscious awareness

of
colors


-
b) can't distinguish cases where qualia
present

&
absent


-
can
imagine

being with all the right
causal

inputs & outputs
but that was a
zom
bie

-
didn't have that conscious
awareness
, that phenomenal
feel

of what it's
like

to feel
pain
, taste a
pineapple
, or smell a
rose




4

Thomas Nagel,
A View from Nowhere

(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986) 7.


39


-
could be something
functionally equivalent

to mind in
terms of
inputs/outputs

(ropes, pulleys, marbles) but
without any sub
jective sense of
what it's like


-
c) can't recognize possibility of
inverted spectrum




-
can we really attribute
all

the
same

intrinsic properties to
mental

phenomena and brain states?

-
does it make sense to speak of a physical
location
,
mass
, electrical
voltage of a
thought
?
[Norman Malcolm (1911
-

)]

-
does it make sense to speak of a
brain event

as being
witty
,
disturbing
,
having a certain
subjective
, irreducibly
private

qualitative

feel?
















last updated:
2/28/05