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Lecture 4

CGSC 1001 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Property Dualism, Tacit Assumption, Epiphenomenon

Cognitive Science
Course Code
CGSC 1001
Jim Davies

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Lecture 4 - Mind and Matter
February 2, 2017
5:26 PM
January 18th, 2017
The Cognitive Revolution
Recap: skinner vs. chomsky on lang acquisition
Miller (2003): "the grammatical rules that govern phrases and sentences are not behaviour. They
are mentalistic hypotheses about the cognitive processes responsible for the verbal behaviours we
What is the nature of these cog processes?
o "the mind-body problem"
If we make this shift, confronted with: what is the nature of mental processes?
Dualism -> mind and body
o Start there bc has longest history
We are commonsense dualists (bloom 2014)
Official reports of professional bodies: " we have both corporeal and noncorporeal aspets. We are
embodied spirits and inspiritied bodies (or, if you will, embodied minds and minded bodies)
Embedded in many religious doctrines : theories that "consider the spirit as emerging from the
forces of living matter, or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter, are incompatible with the
truth about man
Reflected in pop culture "body swappling" movie (freaky Friday, 13 going on 30, big, the change-
up, all of me
Reflected in how people think about moral questions (e.g., the moral status of fetuses, non-
human animals, stem cells)
Tacit assumption that the brain is involved in only some kinds of cognitive processes but not
others (e.g., think about religion, morality, etc.)
The view that the mind is essentially nonphysical and so cannot be explained by science
o Substance dualism -> mental states and activities belong to a nonphysical substance whose
identity is independent of any physical substance with which it might casually interact
o Property dualism ->
Arguments for substance dualism
Arguet fro itrospetio: whe we itrospet, we do’t see to e aware of ay physical
o Reply: the same goes for our other senses, and these make us awake of physical properties
e.g., when we hear the sound of a trumpet it does not seem like we are aware of a
series of compression waves travelling through the air, and yet that is what is going on
Argument from irreducibility: it is difficult to see how mental phenomena like reasoning, lang use,
consciousness and emotion can be given a purely physical explanation
o Reply:
We have made significant progress in building physical systems that are capable of
many of these very same processes
This is more of a stand-off than a "win" for the dualist
Problems with substance dualism
The problem of mental causation: problem of explaining how it is that a nonphysical substance
can casually interactw ith a physical substance
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