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Chapter 1

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHIL 2240
Professor
Brandon Fenton
Semester
Fall

Description
MASLIN Pages: 1-29 The Mind/Boy Problem 1.1 Introduction:  Human being: conscious, experiencing subject, possessing a variety of mental states  Other living creatures have mental lives, though underdeveloped and rudimentary, many of their minds are  Talking about the mind, describes the sorts of states, or events that make it up  These states comprise the stuff of your experience, and mental life, without which you, would not exist as a person  We have a better grasp of physical occurrences taking place, rather than mental events  Also have an understanding of what further kinds of detail that need to be discovered and how to do so (physical occurrences)  Experiences provide no insight regarding the nature of what takes place within us when we think or when a part of our body is injured  What kind of medium do they take place in?  This leads to, and constitutes the mind/body problem  What is the nature of the mind, mental states, and events?  What is their mode of being?  Philosophers call this, the ontological question about the status of the mind  Ontology – Ontia ‘things that exist’  What constitutes mental states?  Physical vs. immaterial  It seems they must exist as someone’s, or some being’s, experiences  What is the nature of the possessor of mental states whose mental states comprise mental phenomena?  Should they be conceived as existing over and above the experiences themselves or constituted out of them (as a jigsaw is nothing over and above the pieces that make it up)  If subjects of experiences are different in kind from experiences themselves, and are not reducible to them, are they non-physical or physical?  Can mental phenomena exist independently of physical phenomena or do they depend upon them for existence?  Do physical states give rise to mental states, and if so how, since they seem so different?  Leibniz (1646-1716), machine enlarged to size of a mill  Dualism– the machinery of the brain can never explain the existence of mental states. Instead, each of us has to be thought of as a non-physical entity, whose immaterial states comprise our mental lives  Capable of existing in complete independence of anything else  In life it is somehow attached to the body, affecting, and being affected by it, and will separate at death  René Descartes (1596-1650) gave new, original powerful arguments in its favour  Referred to as ‘Cartesian dualism’  Materialism- dismiss the notion of a non-physical entity  The mind is nothing but the functioning brain  Mental states do not exist over and above physical processes  They are physical processes, only  Explaining brain processes, explains consciousness, because they are identical  The mind is one aspect or subset of material events  Mind/brain identity theory  Behaviourism - aforementioned theories are equally wrong  The mind is not a immaterial thing, nor the material brain  It is a pattern of actual and possible behaviour exhibited by humans and animals  Workings of person’s mind are not hidden behind their behaviour, but their embodiment within  Functionalism – the mind is neither strictly mental or physical  It should be conceived more abstractly as a function, run on the hardware of the brain, which transforms sensory inputs into behaviour outputs  Non-reductive monism – materialism is correct in rejecting the mind as non-physical, but wrong in its refusal to acknowledge consciousness as a feature of reality that cannot be reduced to purely physical processes  Aristotelians – humans are psycho-physical unities  Mental states are capacities whose vessels are neurological processes that make them, and restore their causative powers  How can the mind, so different in nature from the body, affect it?  How can a non-physical thought affect the body’s response?  Do we have knowledge of the existence and nature of our own mental states, which we lack in the case of others?  Can we ever know of the existence of mental states other than our own?  What makes someone in the present the same as someone in the past, despite changes occurring to them?  What cannot be changed for the identity of the person to be preserved?  What causes this? 1.2 Approaching the mind/body problem:  What theory, if any, is correct? 1.3 Characteristics of Mental States:  What are the features of mental states?  Are mental Phenomena all alike or are there crucial differences between them?  Is it possible to spell out the essential features of various types of mental states?  List mental phenomena or states  Group them  Example below)  Sensations – pains  Cognitions – believing  Emotions – fear  Perceptions – seeing  Quasi-perceptual states – dreaming  Conative states – acting 1.3.1 Bodily Location:  Sensations have more or less bodily locations - Pain in your thumb  All the other states do not – Jealousy in your stomach  Bodily location of sensations cannot be understood the same we when speaking about physical objects  If we open up a thumb because someone felt pain, we will not find a thing  Sensations have a location only in the sense that they are whatever the person who feels them truthfully report as being 1.3.2 Sensations and Awareness:  Pains and other sensations exist only when you are aware of them  Consciousness or Awareness of them is integral to their existence  Coins in your pocket exist whether you are aware of them or not  Would be self-contradictory to say that pain was in your foot, but you couldn`t feel anything unpleasant going on in that part of your body 1.3.3: Non-sensational Sates and Awareness:  Examples of non-sensational states are provided by cognitive states  Have to do with understanding and thinking, and conative states (Latin Conatus – effort or endeavour), which directly or indirectly concern acting, willing, trying, wanting, and intending  Contrasting with sensations, it is possible to have beliefs, knowledge, and understanding as well as desires and intentions of which you are not conscious at a given instant  Ex. I intend to visit Romania, but I did not have the intention at the forefront of my mind  Beliefs, and knowledge are dispositional, rather than courante, as is the case with sensations  Many beliefs and knowledge not aware of at the moment  To be attributed to me, I should bring them to mind if, and when needed  A sensation exists if and only when we aware of it  Emotions and moods are tricky  You must be conscious of your anger and aware of your feelings, but it is possible to be angry with someone without constantly being aware that you are, and if continuing for days your anger exists even during sleep  Emotions are dispositional 1.3.4 Qualia and Mental States:  Phenomenology of sensations, the way things seem to the experiencing subject  Each type of sensation having a distinctive qualitative feel  Philosophers invented a special technical expression to describe sensations as possessing ‘Qualia’ or ‘raw feelings’  No distinctive phenomenology associated with beliefs and other cognitive states such as understanding and thinking  A belief the Royal Festival Hall is on the South Bank of Thames has no particular qualitative look, and when affirming this belief, associated memories from visits stray into the mind  However, they are incidental to the belief and play no part in constituting it  Emotions are usually accompanied by feelings, they have distinctive phenomenology of their own  Some cognitive states appear to have phenomenology associated 1.3.5 About ‘Aboutness’  Distinction between mental states that seem to be ‘about’, or directed upon, other states of affairs, and those not  Sensations do not represent other possible states of affairs  Must be content to belief, something it concerns, whether or not anything actually corresponds to that conte
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