PHLB81 FINAL EXAM STUDY SHEET
Ryle: Descartes’ Myth
Ryle is a logical behaviourist.
Refers to substance dualism as the myth of the “Ghost in the Machine”
Thinks Descartes view faces two problems:
of Other Minds (what justifies our belief about others’ mental states)
Of Mental Causation (how could two substances so different interact)
Thinks Descartes made a category mistake (reasons about items of one kind as if they really belonged to
Ryle believes Descartes treats having minds as a special substance, instead we should treat such
talk as a special way of describing out bodies’ behaviours
Smart: Sensations and Brain Processes
Smart is an identity theorist only for conscious states; argument based on Occam’s Razor and desire to
avoid nomological danglers.
Identity theory is that every mental property is numerically identical with a physical property
Objection1: Someone ignorant of modern science knows a lot about his after image.
Reply: The same could be said of lightning being atmospheric discharge.
Objection 3: Suppose sensations are brain processes. Doesn’t the fact they have distinctive mental
properties we identify from the inside show these mental properties of sensations are not physical?
Reply: All that follows from our meaning of mental concepts is topic neutral and does not take a
stand on the metaphysical status of the sensations or their properties.
Objection 4: After image is green and not in physical space, brain is not green and is in physical space;
they can’t be the same
Reply: The mistake of the objection is on the phenomenological fallacy; identity theorists claim
the experience of being aware of a green after image is identical to the brain process, not the
after image itself.
Objection 7: Can conceive of sensations without brain processes
Reply: Same as to objection 1.
Nagel: What is it Like to be a Bat
An organism has conscious states if and only if there is something that it is like to be that organism
Nagel thinks there is something that it is like to undergo certain mental states (perceptual experience,
Differences in “what it’s like” are differences in the states’ subjective characters
If Physicalism defended, must have physical account for phenomenological features, but when we
examine their subjective character, it seems impossible, every subjective phenomenon is connected
with a single point of view, which an objective physical theory will abandon
Suppose bats have conscious experience, we would never be able to describe what it is like to be a bat
Lewis: What Experience Teaches PHLB81 FINAL EXAM STUDY SHEET
Lewis believes in a priori materialism (minimal physical facts about world entail (a priori) all of the facts
about the world.
The ability hypothesis is from Lewis, he thinks that when Mary leaves the room she acquires new
knowledge, but it is knowledge how (ability knowledge) NOT knowledge that (propositional knowledge)
that she learns. This is to say that Mary learns how to remember and how to imagine of red.
Lewis thinks only other possibility is “hypothesis of phenomenal information” which leads to
epiphenomenalism so his view is better
Loar: Phenomenal States
Loar is a materialist who rejects Jackson’s argument and a priori materialism. He endorses a
phenomenal concepts hypothesis and defends a posteriori materialism
Loars thinks that it does not follow from physicalism and Mary’s knowledge of all physical facts that she
knows all facts
Loar is an identity theorist and thinks that Mary learns a new concept of the same property (Example,
PHEN (this is what it is to see red) and PHYS (Brain state 123 is me seeing red)
McGinn: Can We Solve the Mind-Body Problem?
Thinks there is a materialist solution to the mind-body problem, but we’ll never understand it
Let P be the property of which our brain generates consciousness through; only two ways to identify it:
Introspection or perception, neither work, and thus it is cognitively closed to us
Consciousness is real, and must be material otherwise pain would not cause us to reach for aspirin, so
epistemological mysterianism is true.
The definitions of essential and accidental properties and of intrinsic and extrinsic properties.
A property P is an essential property of x iff it is impossible for x to exist without instantiating P.
A property is accidental iff it is not essential.
A property P is an intrinsic property iff: if an object X instantiates P, then any perfect duplicate of X
instantiates P too.
A property P is an extrinsic property iff it is not intrinsic.
Property of having mass 3lbs. Is intrinsic to the textbook, but not essential.
Property of being the son of my parents is essential, but not intrinsic.
The problem of mental causation for interactionist dualism.
There are three problems of mental causation for the interactionist dualist:
-Where in the brain do we causally meet? Descartes thought the pineal gland, but this has been refuted.
-Princess Elizabeth objection – How can non-ex