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Chapter 9 (Barrett) & Appendix 1 (Clark)

PSYCH 1102 Chapter 9 (Barrett) & Appendix 1 (Clark): Readings for 4/25

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Cornell University
PSYCH 1102
Khena Swallow

4.25.17 APPENDIX 1 (CLARK): DUALISM, BEHAVIORISM, FUNCTIONALISM DUALISM ● Beliefs and thoughts may be powerful, but not physical in nature; the mind is therefore distinct from the physical world ● Dualism tells us what the mind is not, but doesn’t say much about what it is ○ Parallelism: the mind and body are distinct, causally isolated - neither can affect the other, though synchronization seems to explain the seemingly causal roles: ie, two clocks for physical and mental running at the same time without interacting ● Issue: who set the “clocks”? ○ Epiphenomenalism: physical and mental are causally isolated. Physical can cause mental, but mental can’t cause physical - beliefs and thoughts accompany and are caused by brain activity, but don’t case the body to actually act ● Issue: it seems more like it should be the other way around - ie the desire to have something encourages you to go get it ○ Interactionism: mental and physical are distinct but causally related. Cartesian dualism - mind is a totally non-physical substance that acts on the body, and body influences the mind ● Issue: how are such distinct things parts of the same causal network? How could nonphysical affect physical? ● Why give up dualism? Mind is now taken to be grounded in the physical body so that issues of interaction don’t arise. Factors leading to downfall: ○ Obvious dependence of mental on physical - brain damage affects mental capacity, drugs affecting the physical body also affect the mind; Materialism (there is just one kind of substance, physical, with many properties) ○ The arguments for dualism are weak ● “How could” argument: how could something capable of doing __ be only a physical system? Debunked by AIs and other machines capable of calculation, reasoning, etc ● Argument from introspection: we just know that a belief is not a state of the brain or body. We can “feel” that it is not. Introspection is weak science, though BEHAVIORISM ● Grew out of the “linguistic turn” - dualism failed to acknowledge the importance of the mental talk in language ● Descartes’ myth: idea of mind as an inner sanctum known only by introspection, philosophers tried to connect the inner sanctum to the public / physical world - but failing to see the significance of mental talk ● Ryle: the mind is not something more than all of its public behavioral manifestations - mind-talk is just a way of talking about the organization of the behavior itself ○ Mental talk picks out behavioral dispositions 4.25.17 ● Three worries with behaviorism: ○ The dispositional analysis looks either infinite or circular ○ The dispositional account seems to rule out the inner sanctum ○ The explanation is shallow IDENTITY THEORY ● Mind-brain identity theory was part of studying schemas and whatnot ○ Mental states are brain processes ○ Task: decide whether this theory schema is one that is even possibly true? ● Reasons to doubt: ○ Leibniz’s law: if one thing equals another, then they must be identical ● Spatial location (brain is located somewhere, mental processes are not) ● Truth value (beliefs can be false) ● Sensational content (can a mental state be sharp/tingly?) ● Authority (no authority over brain status, yes over mental states) ● HOWEVER, can argue that such analysis relies on beliefs about things and not reality of things, ergo identity theory can survive this challenge ○ Species-chauvinism: if we type being in pain with this specific mental process that occurs only in humans, what about animals in pain? MACHINE FUNCTIONALISM ● Example: my anger, dog’s anger, alien’s anger - there is no way of connecting them all to some physical state, other than to say that what they have in common is being anger states ● Functionalism: scientific theory of the mind; the mind is to the body/brain what the program is to the physical machine ○ Extreme functionalist: the mind is a program with the brain supporting its behavior (machine functionalism) ELIMINATIVISM ● Trying to decide which theory assumes that we know mental phenomenas to be real; ie assuming that beliefs, desires, etc are all real ● Science: to challenge whether or not the commo
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