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Philosophy Exam.doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Jim John

Philosophy Exam Quote Identification Ryle • Proto-behaviourist • Anti-dualist Claims • Dubs substance dualism the myth of the “ghost in the machine”. He thinks Descartes view is that he thinks the theory faces two insuperable problems: The problem of other minds-If Descartes is right; it is difficult to see what justifies our beliefs about others’ mental states. The problem of mental causation-Descartes view, mind is spiritual and body is material= difficult to see how mind and body could causally interact • Ryle also thinks Descartes’ theory rests on intellectual error, a “category mistake” (university, division, and cricket examples). • Says Descartes treats talk of “having a mind” as talk of there being special substances, minds, which we have, instead he thinks we should treat such talk as nothing more than a special way of describing some of our bodies’ behaviours • Ryle’s says “it will follow that both idealism and materialism are answers to an improper question”, even if a mistake is being made, all that follows is that substantivalism is false • “knowledge-how” isn’t analyzable in terms of “knowledge-that” Smart • Identity theorists for conscious states • Argument theory based on “Occam’s Razor” and desire to avoid “nomological dangers” • Objection 1: Someone ignorant of modern science (even of the existence of the brain) can know a lot about his after images. So sensations cannot be identical with brain processes. Reply: The same could be said of the (true) identity “lightening is atmospheric electrical discharge”. This rests on an inappropriate appeal to Leibniz’s law. • Objection 2: Suppose sensations are brain processes. But doesn’t the fact that sensations have distinctive mental properties whereby we identify them “from the inside” show that these mental properties of sensations are not themselves physical? Reply: All that follows from the meaning of our mental concepts is “topic-neutral” and hence takes no stand on the metaphysical status of sensations or any of their properties. • Objection 3: My after image is greenish and not in physical space. My brain processes are not greenish but they are in physical space. So sensations cannot be brain processes. Reply: This objections rests on a mistake, one which Place called the “phenomenological fallacy”. Identity theorists claim that the experience of being aware of a greenish after image is identical with a brain process, not that the after image itself is identical with a brain process. • Experience and brain process do not have the same meaning Nagel • Believes science cannot explain phenomenal consciousness • “An organism has conscious mental states if and only if there is something it is like to be that organism-something it is like for the organism. Then we may call this the subjective character of experience” • Nagel’s target is P consciousness • The “phenomenological features of experience” suggest his view is that there is something it is like to have mental states-perceptual experiences, bodily sensations, occurrent thoughts and moods-and that differences in “what it’s like” to have these states are differences in the state’s “subjective character” • What it’s like to be a bat • Only sharers of similar experiential “points of view” can conceive of another’s experiences’ subjective characters • Natural sciences seek objective explanations (point of view) • When we do science, we describe lightening “not in terms of the impressions it makes on our senses, but in terms of its more general effects and of properties detectable by means other than the human senses” • No scientific account of consciousness is possible • Points of view, senses, psychophysical reduction, species-specific Lewis (knowledge Argument) • Think about materialism in supervenience terms • If materialism is true, then a priori materialism is the way to go • Lewis rejects the knowledge argument, P3- Mary learns a something, she learns a fact • C1 follows P1-Mary knows all the facts before her release (physicalism is true) • If minimal supervenience is true, then the minimal physical facts about the world entail all of the facts about the world. Is this entailment a priori? Materialists who say “yes” (like Lewis) are a priori materialists and insist C1 follows from P1 • “currency inflation” or “pain” are really just functional concepts and give functional roles • Know (empirically) what physical stuff plays functional roles given by concepts, you can deduce a priori whether concepts apply • Mary learns ability knowledge • “Hypothesis of phenomenal information”, which leads to epiphenomenality of phenomenal conscious prefer ability hypothesis Loar • Loar thinks Mary learns a fact (P3) • C1 does not follow from P1 (Mary does not know all physical facts before release • Endorses a “phenomenal concepts hypothesis”, defends a posterior materialism • Still possible for Mary to gain new factual knowledge • Physicalist; Identity theorist • New way of thinking about a fact already known under an old way of thinking • Thinks subjective character of red is one and the same as a neural property, say brain state B123 • One thing a brain state/subjective character and two ways of conceptualizing it • Concept is simply a way of thinking about something • One’s concept of a property is something distinct from the property itself McGinn • Thinks consciousness is a mystery because the way we are epistemologically related to it • Theory ladenness of observation • Epistemological mysterianism-the mystery of consciousness is inherent in our conceptual limitations (McGinn believes). • We cannot form concepts of the relevant brain properties • This should be a normal view and it is indefensible hubris to believe other wise • Introspection and perception Multiple Choice • The definitions of essential and accidental properties and of intrinsic and extrinsic properties An essential property of an object is a property that it must have while an accidental property of an object is one that happens to have but that it could lack. Accident is a property which has no necessary connection to the essence of the thing being describes. Essential property is necessary to the essence of something. Eg. Bachelors are unmarried=necessary property to what it means to be a bachelor. An intrinsic property is a property that an object or a thing has of itself, independent of other things including its context An extrinsic property (relational) is a property that depends on a things relationship with other things • The problem of mental causation for interactionist dualism The problem of mental causation: Given Descartes view that mind is spiritual and body is material, it is difficult to see how mind and body could causally interact • The difference between role state and realize state fuctionanalism Role state functionalism –Mental states are identical with second –order properties of having first-order properties that realize certain functional roles Eg. P
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