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Lecture 20

PHLA10H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Electric Light, Realizability, Hans Driesch

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William Seager

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015
PHLA10 Lecture 20 – The Philosophy of Mind II (Continued)
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Non-Dualist Approaches to Mind
Mind/Brain Identity Theory (IT)
Accept that there are mental states in a being
o The mental states/interior states of the brain explain behaviour
IT is an a posteriori theory
oThere is a purely philosophical arguments for it, unlike dualism and behaviourism
IT asserts that science has (or will) show that the best explanation of the nature of the mind is
that mind is identical to (a working) brain
Our understanding of mind will follow a path similar to many other previous mysteries
oChemicals and atomic theory
oLife and chemistry
The most common early belief was that life involves something beyond the
material world, many people nowadays consider the possibility that all that life
is is some complicated chemical process
Contrast modern account with vitalism
Compare vitalism/life with dualism/mind
Vitalism and the Mystery of Life
There once seemed a huge gap between simple ‘dead’ matter and living beings
oNehemiah Grew (1701): And although we add the Auditory nerves to the Ear, the Brain
to the Nerves ... yet is it still but adding Body to Body ... which, howsoever Curious, and
Many; can never bring Life out of themselves, nor make one another to be Vital
Hans Driesch and the magic machine
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