January 9 , 2014
• Hebbian Framework: neurons that fire together, wire together
• Apriori: Descartes, Plato – rationalism – “I think, therefore I am”
o Truth vs. truth
• Aposteriori: Locke, Hume – empiricism – blank slate
o Learning through experience
What gives rise to experience?
• Does the brain cause experience?
o Generally, people think it does
o Ex. Phineas Gage - survived of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven
completely through his head, destroying much of his brain's left frontal lobe.
Injury's reported effects on his personality and behavior over his remaining life
o Must be something more, however
Primary vs. Secondary Qualities
• Primary qualities:
o Are thought to be properties of objects that are independent of any observer
o Ie. Solidity, extension, motion, number and figure.
o These characteristics convey facts
o They exist in the thing itself, can be determined with certainty, and do not rely on
o Eg. If a ball is round, no one can reasonably argue that it is a triangle.
• Secondary qualities:
o Are thought to be properties that produce sensations in observers
o Ie. Color, taste, smell, and sound.
o They can be described as the effect things have on certain people. Knowledge
that comes from secondary qualities does not provide objective facts about
o Eg. The colour grey
• Primary qualities are measurable aspects of physical reality. Secondary qualities are
• Reductionists: mind can be reduced to the brain (innate knowledge)
• Physicalists: the ontological thesis that "everything is physical", or that there is "nothing
over and above" the physical.
o Two questions immediately arise.
First, what is meant by "the physical"? Second, what is it for non-physical properties to be "nothing over and
above" the physical?
o Physicalism is closely related to materialism.
o Only you can experience the experiences you experience
o Using FMRI to observe areas of the brain, but not consciousness
• Dualism: view that minds and brain are completely separate
1. Mind – A,B,C
2. Body – X,Y,Z
• } work together
o Pineal gland – mediating factor
How do we know we are experiencing reality correctly?
• Brain in the vat
o If the mind is the brain and it is physical, where is it?