The Mind-Body Problem

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The Mind-Body Problem by Mind Map: The Mind-Body Problem

1. 4. Neuroscientific Progress

1.1. Science is making impressive progress in explaining the nature of the relationship between mind and brain

1.1.1. Proof: History of science - World is flat but now it's round

2. define mental states in terms of functional role they play , rather then the physical form

3. Substance Dualism

3.1. The mind and body are fundamentally different sorts of things (substances)

3.2. Advocates: Socrates, Descartes


3.3.1. Physical: material, extended in space, physics, incapable of thought/feeling

3.3.2. Mental: immaterial, not extended in space or governed by laws of physics, capable of thought/feeling

3.4. +ve 1. Introspection & Self

3.4.1. Introspection matches up our ways of thinking about minds and our identities

3.4.2. Descartes: introspection reveals that the introspecting person is a thinking substance and nothing else - see only thoughts

3.4.3. Religions: concepts that identify the self as something separate from body and capable of existence separate from it

3.5. +ve 2. Complexity & Computation

3.5.1. Impossible for purely physical system to exhibit C&C abilities of the human mind Mathematics & Language - beyond reach of purely physical systems

3.6. -ve 2. C&C

3.6.1. Argument from Irreducibility Modern computers M&L abilities exceed the human mind

3.7. +ve. 3 Availability: Physical states are publicly available while mental states are private

3.8. +ve 4. Fallibility: Can be wrong about physical facts but will always be correct about your own mental states

3.8.1. Related: Epistemological Problem What about the skinny girl who thinks she's not skinny? Or the posessed girl who thinks she's on fire when she is physically fine

4. Property Dualism

4.1. Rejects the idea that there is a non-physical substance that is the basis for minds/mental states - rejects Substance Dualism

4.2. There is only physical substance but certain objects like the brain possess non-physical properties that no non-thinking physical objects possess

4.2.1. e.g. sensation of pain, having a sensation of red, thinking that P

4.3. Only the properties cannot be reduced or explained in terms of physical sciences (because subjective)

5. Epiphenomenalism

5.1. Spark: Substance Dualism cannot explain how mental states have causal effects on the physical

5.2. A type property dualism

5.3. Claims that mental properties are not part of the physical causal matrix that determines our thoughts and behaviour

5.4. Mental properties are side effects of physical systems that reach a certain level of complexity

5.4.1. Mental caused by brain. But mental does not affect brain. One  way street. Famous version - Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia to Descartes

6. Objections to Dualism

6.1. 1. Interaction Problem

6.1.1. A. If the mind and body are separate, how do they causally interact with one another? Difficult to explain

6.2. 2. Unnecessarily Complex

6.2.1. Posits the existence of a second type of thing - immaterial substance - that has no role except to support tht ephenomena in question

6.2.2. Metaphysical Occam's Razor: Don't multiply entities beyond the minimum necessary to explain the phenomenon

6.3. 3. Explanatory Power

6.3.1. Having mind as a separate substance does not help us understand complex mental  phenomena like reasoning, consciousness, qualia We know what it's not..but not what it is

7. Mind-Brain Identity Theory - reductive materialism

7.1. Inter-Theoretic Reduction

7.1.1. show that higher level entities/phenomena are in fact instances of lower-level entities/phenomena Famous instances of reduction - science: heat,sound, colour

7.1.2. mental states can be identified with brain states

7.2. Identity: Mapping between mental and brain states

7.2.1. TYPE - TYPE a particular type of mental state is identical to a particular type of brain state may be too restrictive - human brains only

7.2.2. TOKEN- TOKEN for any given mental state there is some physical state to which it is identical not restricted BUT there's not much explanatory power - why study neuroscience then? If everyone is different but just have a certain type of state Mental states are related to physical events but NOT IDENTICAL TO EACH OTHER - random

7.3. 1. Humans are purely physical in origin

7.3.1. Science can explain the origins of human biology developmentally and evolutionarily

7.3.2. Mental can be reduced to physical: ontological parsimony - no mystical mind origin

7.4. 3. Neural Dependence

8. Anti-Identity Theory

8.1. 1. Introspection

8.1.1. Introspection doesnt support the idea of mental being just brains - argue dualism

8.1.2. Reply: our senses don't reveal fundamental physical character of things..light, sound, heat

8.2. 2. Meaning and Identity

8.2.1. Semantics: There seems to be statements, and properties that are true of mental states but not brain states and vice versa mental not equal to brain states

8.2.2. Reply: We are using commonsense for now and they are bound to our incomplete knowledge of the world

8.3. 3. Qualia

8.3.1. Purely physical explanations cannot account or the subjective character of experience

8.3.2. Complete reduction is not possible since some aspects of mental experience are not reducible to physical SO Identity theory is false/incomplete

8.4. 4. Multiple Realizability

8.4.1. here may be indefinitely many types of brain states that physically realise a particular type of mental state (e.g belief)

8.5. 5. Ruling out Other Species' Brains

9. Nagel's Bat

9.1. Thomas Nagel 1974

9.2. Bats use echolocation to navigate - different experience from human (sight)

9.3. Even if can describe physically to the smallest bit, we will still not be able to experience it - cannot explain mind

10. Jackson's Mary

10.1. Frank Jackson

10.2. Mary the neuroscientist who has been raised in an entirely monochromatic room - she knows everything about neuroscience of vision and mind/brain

10.3. But when she goes out into the real world and sees red, she will have a whole new experience.

10.3.1. Physical facts alone do not exhaust what can be known about the mind

11. Chalmer's Zombies

11.1. David Chalmer's philosophical zombies

11.2. Imagine a world identical to ours - physically - but the people cannot experience qualia

11.3. Possible response of materialist: - Qualia

11.3.1. 1. Deny the intuitions or the coherence of the cases

11.3.2. 2. Deny intuitions' validity as reflections of the fundamental nature of the world - history of science is instructive

11.3.3. 3. Appeal to different types of knowledge - especially Jackson/Nagel

11.4. The fact that we can conceive such an idea shows that intrinsic features of our conscious experience are distinct from physical features of the sort appealed to by various forms of materialism.

11.5. Anti identity theory AND functionalism

12. Eliminative Materialism

12.1. acknowledge that a reduction from FP to neuroscience is unlikely

12.2. Problem is not with neuroscience but with folk psychology - misleading us

12.2.1. Neuroscience will trump over folk psychology - powerful framework ELIMINATION VS REDUCTION

12.2.2. Churchland's examples: thoery of hear, stars and astronomy - the old frameworks were abandoned entirely 1. FP is systematically unable to explain major and behavioural pheomena 2. Dubious record of folk wisdom 3. Dependence on language for both its entities is sturcture. - cannot readily explain non linuguistic/pre-linguistics cognition

12.2.3. Anti-Churchland 1. Introspection begs the questions - may change as we reconceptualise our experience 2. Exaggerration of FP's inadequacies some aspects of FP might be retained and we shouldn't be shackled by it 3. Neurosciencetific understanding is still of relative infancy

13. Functionalism - token physicalists

13.1. Functional role = causal relations it bears to environment, body and other mental states

13.2. Popular in cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence

13.2.1. Suggests that we can study the mind as a computational system - can study without bothering about neuroscience

13.3. vs. Behaviorism

13.3.1. Similar > focus on causal relations

13.3.2. diff > the functional definitions involve reference to other mental states


13.4.1. Cannot account for qualia

13.4.2. Inverted thought experiment: functional roles are identical but phenomenal character is very different

13.4.3. Block's China Brain a society of people mimicking the functional organization of the human brain functionalist: system would be a mind since it instantiates the functional roles of human brain All mental phenomena we know of are systematically dependent on brain phenomena - brain activity > mental Absent qualia - not a mind Thus, there is more to mentality than functional roles - reductio ad absurdum

13.4.4. Functional definition implies disciplinary/methodological autonomy Churchland's temperature example

13.4.5. Folk Psychology There is no easy way to link psychological states to phsycical states - dims prospects fora tidy edutcion of Folk psychology to neuroscience

14. Behaviourism

14.1. John Watson, B.F. Skinner

14.1.1. Originates in skepticism about whether mental states like thoughts and feelings are truly scientific and objective enough to be the basis for psychology

14.1.2. B.F. Skinner

14.2. Theories and explanations entirely in terms of publically observable behaviour

14.2.1. B's explanations take the form of laws connecting the particular physical stimuli to particular physical responses.

14.3. Analytical/Philosophical behaviourism: analyses mental states in terms of behaviour

14.4. DENY

14.4.1. Subjective experiences are inherent/essential to thought

14.4.2. Nor do they have a place in scientific study of mind (methodological behaviorism

14.5. ACCEPT

14.5.1. That we have internal/subjective experiences


14.6.1. 1. Thoughts and perceptions that don't lead to behaviour e.g. daydreaming

14.6.2. 2. Mental states that can't be clearly described in terms of actual behaviours or dispositions to behave - enjoying a certain music

14.6.3. 3. Possibility of the same behaviour but different mental states - inverted spectrum problem

15. Folk Psychology

15.1. Commonsense body of explanations and "theories" or understanding of our own and other's thoughts/actions by appeal to notions like belief, desire, intention.

15.2. Shortcomings > need philosophy & psychology

16. Biggest Problem: Qualia

16.1. the subjective character of experience

16.1.1. vivid nature of qualia is not easily explained

16.1.2. popular objection to purely physical accounts of the mind (materialist theories of mind)