What is the correspondence between mental and physical states?
What is the causal relationship between physical and mental states?
survival of the soul
existence of qualia
existence of consciousness (zombie vs human)
Physical states occur before the corresponding mental states. (Libet experiments)
Physical states can cause mental states; we know this experimentally (electrical stimulation).
In general, psychophysics makes mental processes accessible to experimentation.
substance = "ectoplasm" - why? evidence?
substance = "consciousness" - so what happens when we are "unconscious"?
substance = "unknowable" - kind of avoiding the question
mental states are grounded in their functional role
there is no separate "substance" (no dualism)
it is different from physicalism or behaviorism
hardware = body
software = mind
physical state = electrons in memory cells
mental state = variable assignments
physical states "cause" mental states
mental states "cause" physical states
recall: causality = change in response to intervention
Neither physical nor mental state descriptions are "complete"; for a complete description, we need the entire classical and quantum states. Both are just abstractions we use to talk about classes of systems.
Physical and mental states seem to "cause" each other because they are really just different descriptions of the same process.
Generally, we expect qualia to be independent of the hardware: a sort algorithm that could also talk about itself wouldn't know how it was implemented.
only mental substance ("software") has properties like morality
mental substance could survive death of the physical substance (but probably doesn't for humans right now, due to lack of mechanism)
however, software doesn't choose its embodiment; there are many ways it could get associated with physical objects
preprogrammming vs evolution
Mind and matter interact causally.
Mental states cause physical states AND physical states cause mental states.
Mental and physical states interact in complicated ways.
Physical states cause mental states, but not the other way around.
Physical and mental states change in parallel as if there was a causal relationship, but there actually is not. (also: "occasionalism", "pre-established harmony")
"causality" is itself usually defined in terms of experimental interventions
if mental processes are not subject to experimental interventions, the notion of of "causality" itself may not make much sense
Note that the older views are hard to understand from a modern point of view, since we simply don't share the same understanding of the world. People are prone to misinterpreting old philosophy in light of current conceptualizations of the world.
Plato (400 BCE), Physical bodies are imperfect versions of ideals or concepts ("Platonic forms" "Platonic ideals"), "Multiple souls": nutritive souls (all living things), perceptive souls (animals), reason (unique to people)
Aristotle (350 BCE), Ideals or concepts are defined by physical forms. The "soul" is just something associated with a physical body. "Idealism"
al Ash'ari (1100), The only causation that exists is divine causation; all the appearance of other causal interactions in the world are merely consequences of the original divine causation. ("Occasionalism")
Aquinas (1250), Mind is a substance that is part of the human body; the body can be "amputated" from the mind, but the mind is very incomplete without the body. At death, the mind part survives.
Descartes (1650), There are two separate "substances": mind and matter. Matter is governed by mechanics, mind thinks. Mind influences the operation of matter and vice versa. Your body is like a "space probe" sent to the material world by your mind. ("Substance dualism", "Cartesian dualism")
Leibnitz (1700), God set everything in motion in such a way that mental states and physical states appear to be related, but it's just an illusion, like clocks running in synchrony.
pre-Rennaissance, dualism served an explanatory role, afterwards it become a philosophical issue
Hume (1770), Any "object" is just defined by the bundle of properties we ascribe to it. The mind is just something with particular properties and behaviors; it isn't necessarily different from anything else, but could be.
Ryle (1949), Cartesian dualism is a "category error": minds and bodies are in different categories, they aren't both "substances". E.g., after visiting Oxford colleges, a visitor might ask "but where is Oxford university?" Leads to "eliminative materialism": many mental states like "belief" and "desire" etc. don't correspond to specific physical states because they aren't well defined.
Huxley (1950), The mind is just an epiphenomenon: the physical operation of the brain is all that matters, but the mind is along for the ride. Qualia don't cause the body to act in particular ways, they just occur as consequences of physical action.
Searle (1960), Mind and body are just different levels of descriptions, much like macro- and microeconomics. There is no separate "mental substance".
Psychological predicates are essential for a full description of the world and can't be reduced to predicates about the physical world.
I.e., words we use to describe psychological states or predicates ("love", "war", etc.) have many physical realizations.
fully compatible with AI
incompatible with common religions
We define things by their properties. Mind is a separate thing in as much as it is described differently from matter, but that doesn't mean it is a separate substance.
compatible with both AI and religion, in that it doesn't exclude any of the other possibilities
Anything that involves psychology involves a special property of matter, a property that is otherwise not needed for physical processes.
Think of it as a kind of "mental force" or "life force".
probably incompatible with common religions
"The stuff that thinks" is a different substance from regular matter.
Human beings are composed both of mental substances ("soul") and of physical substances ("body"); the two are linked somehow.
Mental substances have properties that physical substances never have, such as the ability to behave morally, show compassion, love, etc.
AI?, an intelligent embodiment only occurs when a mind wills it into existence, so the process of mechanically assembling parts is not sufficient; AI is not possible, a machine becomes a container for mind, just like a human body; understanding the container doesn't help us understand the contained; minds choose containers; so you are building a machine that's intelligent, but not because you built it to be intelligent, mind is separate from matter but generally associated with it, so if you build a machine out of the right stuff, you get enough mental matter with it
standard position of many religions, life after death through separation of mental substance from physical substance
also, in essence, part of the "simulation hypothesis", but if that's true, does the distinction matter?
mental state, I'm thinking of a pink elephant
physical state, particular firing pattern of neurons