PHLA10H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Behaviorism, Psychological Types, Testability

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3 Feb 2013

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PHLA10 Lecture 14 Notes November 20th and 22nd, 2012
The Philosophy of Mind: Part 2
Chapters 20 - 23
There are three non-dualist/materialist theories of mind
1. Behaviourism
Stands out because it denies mentalism
o Mentalism: The idea that mental states are inner states which cause
behaviour and are the effects of physical stimuli. Generally
unobservable mental states.
2. Mind/Bind Identity Theory
3. Functionalism
Logical Behaviourism
Theory that asserts the meaning of the words we use to try and describe mental state is the
behaviour that ‘reveals them’
o When we attribute a belief, for example, to someone, we are not saying that he or she is
in a particular internal state or condition. Instead, we are characterizing the person in
terms of what he or she might do in particular situations or environmental interactions.
Ryle argued the ‘ghost in the machine’ problem: If mentalism is true, this means that nobody
knows if anybody else has any mental states then since they are unobservable mental states.
The ‘problem of other minds’: We don’t observe what others think, we only observe how they
How does logical behaviourism solve the problem of other minds?
o Behaviour is observable
o Are dispositions to behave observable?
Examples: Solubility and brittleness
Mental states:
(1) In my own case, I notice that when I produce behavior B, I usually am in mental state M.
(2) I observe that another individual (O) is now producing behavior B.
So, O is now in mental state M.
1. Circularity problem
o Suppose we define (in part) ‘S believes it is raining’ as ‘If S goes out, S will take
an umbrella’
Of course, we need many more clauses in the definition and we need to
make it more precise
But there is a deep problem here: what if S wants to get wet and
believes it is raining?
All mental state terms seem to have this codependenceamongst
2. Irrelevance problem
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