CURRENT CONTROVERSIES about the Mind-Body Identity Theory form a case-study for the investigation of the methods practiced by linguistic philosophers. Recent criticisms of these methods question that philosophers can discern lines of demarcation between "categories" of entities, and thereby diagnose "conceptual confusions" in "reductionist" philosophical theories. Such doubts arise once we see that it is very difficult, and perhaps impossible, to draw a firm line between the "conceptual" and the "empirical," and thus to differentiate between a statement embodying (...) a conceptual confusion and one that expresses a surprising empirical result. The proponent of the Identity Theory are identical with certain brain-processes) holds that his opponents' arguments to the effect that empirical inquiry could not identify brain-processes and sensations are admirable illustrations of this difficulty. For, he argues, the classifications of linguistic expressions that are the ground of his opponents' criticism are classifications of a language which is as it is because it is the language spoken at a given stage of empirical inquiry. But the sort of empirical results that would show brain processes and sensations to be identical would also bring about changes in our ways of speaking. These changes would make these classifications out of date. To argue against the Identity Theory on the basis of the way we talk now is like arguing against an assertion that supernatural phenomena are identical with certain natural phenomena on the basis of the way in which superstitious people talk. There is simply no such thing as a method of classifying linguistic expressions that has results guaranteed to remain intact despite the results of future empirical inquiry. Thus in this area there is no method which will have the sort of magisterial neutrality of which linguistic philosophers fondly dream. (shrink)
The turn of the millennium has been marked by new developments in the study of early modern philosophy. In particular, the philosophy of René Descartes has been reinterpreted in a number of important and exciting ways, specifically concerning his work on the mind-body union, the connection between objective and formal reality, and his status as a moral philosopher. These fresh interpretations have coincided with a renewed interest in overlooked parts of the Cartesian corpus and a sustained focus on (...) the similarities between Descartes' thought and the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. Mind, Body, and Moralityconsists of fifteen chapters written by scholars who have contributed significantly to the new turn in Descartes and Spinoza scholarship. The volume is divided into three parts. The first group of chapters examines different metaphysical and epistemological problems raised by the Cartesian mind-body union. Part II investigates Descartes' and Spinoza's understanding of the relations between ideas, knowledge, and reality. Special emphasis is put on Spinoza's conception of the relation between activity and passivity. Finally, the last part explores different aspects of Descartes' moral philosophy, connecting his views to important predecessors, Augustine and Abelard, and comparing them to Spinoza. nd Spinoza's understanding of the relations between ideas, knowledge, and reality. Special emphasis is put on Spinoza's conception of the relation between activity and passivity. Finally, the last part explores different aspects of Descartes' moral philosophy, connecting his views to important predecessors, Augustine and Abelard, and comparing them to Spinoza. (shrink)
Chinese philosophy has long recognized the importance of the body and emotions in extensive and diverse self-cultivation traditions. Philosophical debates about the relationship between mind and body are often described in terms of mind-body dualism and its opposite, monism or some kind of "holism." Monist or holist views agree on the unity of mind and body, but with much debate about what kind, whereas mind-body dualists take body and mind (...) to be metaphysically distinct entities. The question is important for several reasons. Several humanistic and scientific disciplines recognize embodiment as an important dimension of the human condition. One version, the problem of mind-body dualism, is central to the history of both philosophy and religion. Some account of relations between body and mind, spirit or soul is also central to any understanding of the self. Recent work in cognitive and neuroscience underscores the importance of our somatic experience for how we think and feel. (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.
In the 19th century, "Psychophysical Parallelism" was the most popular solution of the mind-body problem 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)
It was about half a century ago that the mind–body problem, 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 for Epiphenomenalism [I]: (A) Mental event-tokens are identical with physical event-tokens. (B) The causal powers of a physical event are determined only by its physical properties; and (C) mental properties are not reducible to physical properties.
My primary aim in this chapter is to explain in what the traditional mind–body problem 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–body problem. 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–body problem, 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–body problem 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)
Mind-body problemet analyseras i ett reduktionistiskt perspektiv. Genom att kombinera emergensbegreppet med algoritmisk informationsteori visas i ett tankeexperiment att ett starkt epistemiskt emergent system kan konstrueras utifrån en relativt enkel, ickelinjär process. En jämförelse med hjärnans avsevärt mer komplexa neurala nätverk visar att även medvetandet kan karakteriseras som starkt epistemiskt emergent. Därmed är reduktionistisk förståelse av medvetandet inte möjlig; mind-body problemet har alltså inte en reduktionistisk lösning. Medvetandets ontologiskt emergenta karaktär kan därefter konstateras utifrån en kombinatorisk (...) analys; det är därmed principiellt oreducerbart till lägre-nivå-fenomen. I perspektivet av en modifierad definition av fri vilja diskuteras den fysiska växelverkan som äger rum i hjärnans neurala system. Trots att enskilda neurala lägre-nivå-processer är deterministiska, kan globala processer visas vara icke- deterministiska i ontologisk mening. Vi argumenterar för att detta leder till viljans frihet. (shrink)
The mind-body problem is the problem of explaining how our mental states, events and processes—like beliefs, actions and thinking—are related to the physical states, events and processes in our bodies. A question of the form, ‘how is A related to B?’ does not by itself pose a philosophical problem. To pose such a problem, there has to be something about A and B which makes the relation between them seem problematic. Many features of mind and body (...) have been cited as responsible for our sense of the problem. Here I will concentrate on two: the fact that mind and body seem to interact causally, and the distinctive features of consciousness. A long tradition in philosophy has held, with René Descartes, that the mind must be a non-bodily entity: a soul or mental substance. This thesis is called ‘substance dualism’ (or ‘Cartesian dualism’) because it says that there are two kinds of substance in the world, mental and physical or material. One reason for believing this is the belief that the soul, unlike the body, is immortal. Another reason for believing it is that we have free will, and this seems to require that the mind is a non-physical thing, since all physical things are subject to the laws of nature. (shrink)
One of the major reasons underlying the widespread rejection of the theory that the mind is an immaterial substance distinct from the body, But which nevertheless acts on the body, Is that it is felt that such a theory commits one to denying the principle of the conservation of energy. My aim in this article is to assess the strength of this objection. My thesis is that the usual replies are inadequate, But--Strong as this objection appears--Some important (...) logical distinctions have been overlooked and when these are taken into account its force vanishes. (shrink)
The idea that mind and body are distinct entities that interact is often claimed to be incompatible with physics. The aim of this paper is to disprove this claim. To this end, we construct a broad mathematical framework that describes theories with mind-body interaction (MBI) as an extension of current physical theories. We employ histories theory, i.e., a formulation of physical theories in which a physical system is described in terms of (i) a set of propositions (...) about possible evolutions of the system and (ii) a probability assignment to such propositions. The notion of dynamics is incorporated into the probability rule. As this formulation emphasises logical and probabilistic concepts, it is ontologically neutral. It can be used to describe mental `degrees of freedom' in addition to physical ones. This results into a mathematical framework for psycho-physical interaction (ΨΦI formalism). Interestingly, a class of ΨΦI theories turns out to be compatible with energy conservation. (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-Body Problem] [7. Beyond the Mind-Body Problem: Self and Subjectivity]. (shrink)
Robert Hanna and Evan Thompson offer a solution to the Mind-Body-Body Problem. The solution, in a nutshell, is that the living and lived body is metaphysically and conceptually basic, in the sense that one’s consciousness, on the one hand, and one’s corporeal being, on the other, are nothing but dual aspects of one’s lived body. One’s living and lived body can be equated with one’s being as an animal; therefore, this solution to the (...) class='Hi'>Mind-Body-Body Problem amounts to an “animalist” version of the dual aspect theory. (shrink)
Most scholars who presently deal with the Mind-Body problem 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)
The mindbody problem 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)
The mind-body problem arises because of our status as double agents apparently en rapport both with the mental and with the physical. We think, desire, decide, plan, suffer passions, fall into moods, are subject to sensory experiences, ostensibly perceive, intend, reason, make believe, and so on. We also move, have a certain geographical position, a certain height and weight, and we are sometimes hit or cut or burned. In other words, human beings have both minds and bodies. What (...) is the relation between these? Religion often tells us that we are really embodied souls released at death from our bodily prisons. Could this be right? (shrink)
I attempt to rebut Dean Zimmerman's novel argument (2010), which he presents in support of substance dualism, for the conclusion that, in spite of its popularity, the combination of property dualism with substance materialism represents a precarious position in the philosophy of mind. I take issue with Zimmerman's contention that the vagueness of 'garden variety' material objects such as brains or bodies makes them unsuitable candidates for the possession of phenomenal properties. I also argue that the 'speculative materialism' that (...) is available to a substance materialist property dualist who abandons the identification of persons with such garden variety objects is significantly more attractive than Zimmerman allows. Although I do not attempt to refute its substance dualist rival, I conclude that the combination of property dualism with substance materialism can withstand Zimmerman's objections. (shrink)
Human beings pose a problem for Descartes’ metaphysics. They seem to be more than a mere sum of their mental and bodily parts; human beings, Descartes insists, are unions of mind and body. But what does that union amount to? In the first, negative, part of this paper I argue that, by Descartes’ own lights, there is no way for us to answer this question if we are looking for a proper metaphysics of the union. Metaphysics is the (...) job of the intellect; it involves understanding. On Descartes’ considered view, we don’t understand the union; we feel it through the internal senses. In the second, positive, part of the paper I argue that, while Descartes does not give a properly metaphysical account of the union, he does provide a rich phenomenology of it that is of both theoretical and practical interest. Along the way, I suggest a phenomenological reading of a number of important passages that scholars have interpreted as Descartes’ attempt to provide a metaphysics of the union. (shrink)
Building on contemporary research in embodied cognition, enactivism, and the extended mind, this book explores how social institutions in contemporary neoliberal nation-states systematically affect our thoughts, feelings, and agency. Human beings are, necessarily, social animals who create and belong to social institutions. But social institutions take on a life of their own, and literally shape the minds of all those who belong to them, for better or worse, usually without their being self-consciously aware of it. Indeed, in contemporary neoliberal (...) societies, it is generally for the worse. In The Mind-Body Politic, Michelle Maiese and Robert Hanna work out a new critique of contemporary social institutions by deploying the special standpoint of the philosophy of mind—in particular, the special standpoint of the philosophy of what they call essentially embodied minds—and make a set of concrete, positive proposals for radically changing both these social institutions and also our essentially embodied lives for the better. (shrink)
The materialist thesis that there is a type-type identity between certain mental phenomena and certain physical phenomena has encountered serious criticisms. This paper is to propose a revised form of mind-body identity theory which moves forward from the token identity theory and can stand the major criticism made against the type-type identity theory. In the first part of the paper, through a very brief review of the issue I show what needs to be done; in the second part, (...) I show how my solution avoids the difficulties that have troubled the type-type identity theory. (shrink)
In this paper I analyze Descartes's puzzling claim that the mind is whole in the whole body and whole in its parts, what Henry More called "holenmerism". I explain its historical background, in particular in scholasticism. I argue that like his predecessors, Descartes uses the idea for two purposes, for mind-body interaction and for the union of body and mind.
This innovative work takes a new approach to a fundamental dilemma of physiology, psychology, and philosophy: the subjectively perceived split between body and mind. Examining the subjective and objective aspects of movement and their relationship to our perception of mind-body separation, the author takes issue with conventional philosophical views on human duality and develops an integrative theory of interaction that suggests a basis for genuine mind-body harmony.
? We gratefully acknowledge the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson, which provided a grant for the support of this work. E.T. is also supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the McDonnell Project in Philosophy and the Neurosciences. 1 See David Woodruff Smith.
Descartes with his sharp separation of the mental and the physical set the stage for the philosophy of mind for the next 350 years. Philosopher Patrick T. Mackenzie finds in the later writings of Wittgenstein the suggestion that Descartes got off on the wrong foot. Following Wittgenstein's lead, Mackenzie argues that instead of analyzing our human nature as a composite of mind and body, we should view ourselves as whole persons. One of the dividends of this approach (...) to the mind-body problem is that it provides us with a resolution to the problem of human freedom—i.e., how can a human being be free if his or her body (including the brain) belongs to a deterministic world? Mackenzie here argues that the person is largely free even though the movements of the body are determined by neurophysiological events. He takes the same approach to the philosophy of mind as that taken by M.R.Bennett and P.M.S.Hacker in their recent and controversial book, The Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience. Mackenzie's approach is, however, much more accessible. Students of philosophy and philosophers interested in the problem of human freedom will welcome Mackenzie's fresh approach, especially those disenchanted by the present list of mind-body "isms.". (shrink)
The argument of this paper is that the modern brain-consciousness debate has left out one important element: the question of a transpersonal or spirit-like element of consciousness. Thus the problem really is not a mind-body-problem or brain-consciousness problem, but a mind-body-spirit or brain-consciousness-soul problem. Looking at the history of the debate it can be seen that, explicitly or implicitly, this aspect has always been part of the philosophical debate. Most notably, this can be seen in the (...) Aristotelian concept of the soul, which held that form and matter were both together necessary to constitute a unity. But on top of that, a Platonic strand of teaching existed in Aristotle, which was lost. This tradition stipulated an aspect of the soul, the active intellect, that was separate and separable. This idea has inspired other and later writers into postulating an immortal part of the soul. In the modern debate this tradition has been lost and was frequently amalgamated with dualist positions. Phenomenological descriptions of mystical experiences, as well as other unusual (or exceptional)mind-matter anomalies suggest that this aspect of the problem needs reconsideration. For this purpose a transcendental kind of monism is suggested which does not violate the consensus that only a monist description of the world is scientifically viable. Such a position would, in addition, provide the option to incorporate the transpersonal side of the debate. (shrink)
The mind-body problem in philosophy is typically understood as a discourse concerning the relation of mental states to physical states, and the experience of sensation. On this level it seems to transcend issues of race and racism, but Another Mind-Body Problem demonstrates that racial distinctions have been an integral part of the discourse since the Modern period in philosophy. Reading figures such as Descartes, Leibniz, and Kant in their historical contexts, John Harfouch uncovers discussions of (...) class='Hi'>mind and body that engaged closely with philosophical and scientific notions of race in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, in particular in understanding how the mind unites with the body at birth and is then passed on through sexual reproduction. Kant argued that a person’s exterior body and interior psyche are bound together, that non-White people lacked reason, and that this lack of reason was carried on through reproduction such that non-Whites were an example of a union of mind and body without full being. Charting the development of this phenomenon from sixteenth-century medical literature to modern-day race discourse, Harfouch argues for new understandings of Descartes’s mind-body problem, Fanon’s experience of being ‘not-yet human,’ and the place of racism in relation to one of philosophy’s most enduring and canonical problems. -/- “Harfouch has written an important book on the intersection of race and the Western construction of the mind-body problem … This book is a significant resource for theorists dealing with race and decolonization issues, but it is more significant for the critique of philosophy itself and the continued teaching of mind-body issues. Readers will need some knowledge of philosophy, but the volume is in general accessible. It should be required reading for scholars of philosophy. Harfouch establishes a logically strong argument and makes a unique contribution to the field.” — CHOICE. (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.
The aim of this paper is to assess the relationship between anti-physicalist arguments in the philosophy of mind and anti-naturalist arguments in metaethics, and to show how the literature on the mind-body problem can inform metaethics. Among the questions we will consider are: (1) whether a moral parallel of the knowledge argument can be constructed to create trouble for naturalists, (2) the relationship between such a "Moral Knowledge Argument" and the familiar Open Question Argument, and (3) how (...) naturalists can respond to the Moral Twin Earth argument. We will give particular attention to recent arguments in the philosophy of mind that aim to show that anti-physicalist arguments can be defused by acknowledging a distinctive kind of conceptual dualism between the phenomenal and the physical. This tactic for evading anti-physicalist arguments has come to be known as the Phenomenal Concept Strategy. We will propose a metaethical version of this strategy, which we shall call the `Moral Concept Strategy'. We suggest that the Moral Concept Strategy offers the most promising way out of these anti-naturalist arguments, though significant challenges remain. (shrink)
In this paper we analyse some misleading theses concerning the oldcontroversy over the relation between mind and body presented incontemporary medical literature. We undertake an epistemologicalclarification of the axiomatic structure of medical methods. Thisclarification, in turn, requires a precise philosophical explanation ofthe presupposed concepts. This analysis will establish two results: (1)that the mind-body dualism cannot be understood as a kind of biologicalvariation of the subject-object dichotomy in physics, and (2) that thethesis of the incompatibility between somatic (...) and psychosomatic medicineheld by naturalists and others lacks solid epistemologicalfoundation. (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)
An elementary mathematical proof is offered that mental states cannot be either intensionally or extensionally identical with brain states. the proof consists in taking a subset of mental states, namely, possible thoughts of integers and showing that this set has the cardinal number aleph null; then taking the largest physically possible set of brain states k and the number of subsets of k which is 2 to the power k, and which, no matter how large, is necessarily finite. it follows (...) that these two sets cannot correspond one to one from which it then follows that they cannot have identical elements. i conclude with answers to likely objections and with a denial that my argument supports traditional dualism. (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)