PHIL 1F91 Chapter Notes -Eliminative Materialism, Mental Property, Occasionalism
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Thinking About Philosophy
Nils Ch. Rauhut
The Mind/Body Problem
–described through physical properties
–Observable and therefore public
–described through mental states
–based on first-person perspective, not observable, and therefore private
•Physicalism: the physical states of the body are more fundamental than the mental
states of the mind.
•Dualism: the mind and body are two different and equally real substances.
•Idealism: the mental states of the mind are more fundamental than the physical
states of the body.
•The body is a physical substance, located in time and space and subject to the laws
•The mind is a nonextended thinking substance, which is not subject to the laws of
Arguments for Substance Dualism
•The Conceivability Argument
– Leibniz’s Law
Arguments Against Substance Dualism
•The Problem of Interaction
•A Category Mistake
Varieties of Physicalism
•Behaviorism: mental states are dispositions to behave.
•Identity Theory: mental states are brain states.
•Functionalism: mental states are functional states that causally relate inner states
with behavioral effects.
•Eliminative Materialism: mental states do not exist.
The study of human behavior in order to understand the mind.
Mental states are brain states.
–Assumes that no brain = no mind
–Ignores the mental states of animals, because they have brains that are different
Mental states are functional states.
The mind can be realized in different physical materials outside the brain.
•The Proposed Experiment
–Have a human being ask a computer questions without knowing whether the
computer itself or some unseen person is actually answering back.
–If the human can be led to believe that another human is answering when the
answers actually come from the computer, then the computer has a “mind.”
Arguments Against Functionalism
•The Chinese Room Argument
•Problems with Qualia
–Qualia: the phenomenal aspect of mental states.
Mental states do not really exist. They are illusions.
•Combines physicalism and dualism
•Rejects substance dualism and asserts that our minds have a purely physical
•Not all mental properties can be reduced to physical processes (ex. Qualia)