Enlightenment - European Enlightenment The Unified Self...

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Unformatted text preview: European Enlightenment The Unified Self Rene Descartes (1596-1650) Method of doubt Skeptical arguments (illusion, dreams) --> doubt of senses Descartes's Contribution Evil deceiver --> doubt of logic and mathematics Foundations Is there anything we can't doubt? Foundation for the rest of knowledge Cogito, ergo sum "I think, I am" True every time they are thought or uttered Conclusions I am a thing that thinks I am essentially a thing that thinks I can know my own mind more securely than I can know anything else Mind and Body I am a thing that thinks I also have a body How does my mind relate to my body? How is their "union and apparent intermingling" possible? Mind/Body Problem Body --> mind: sensation Mind --> body: mental causation Mind-Body Problem Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia (1619-1680): "I ask you to tell me how man's soul, being only a thinking substance, can determine animal spirits so as to cause voluntary actions." Mental causation How can a mental act cause bodily motion? We have a theory about what causes bodily motions Causes must be extended in space, contact object moved But mental acts aren't extended in space Descartes's answer We perceive the interaction of mind and body Union of mind and body "known very clearly by the senses" Doesn't this miss the point? Dualism Dualism: mind and body are distinct Problem: interaction Sensation Mental causation Alternatives to Dualism Physicalism: mind = body Reduction Supervenience Functionalism Causal role functionalism Idealism: body = mind Reduction Talk of the mental can be translated, in a truthpreserving way, into talk of physical objects M P `I am in pain' --> `C-fibers are stimulated' `I am thinking of Vienna' --> ? Supervenience Truths about the mental are determined by truths about physical objects M P* P*: allows infinitely long statements (multiple realizability): many brain states would count as thinking about Vienna Functionalism Mental entities are functions of (roles played by) physical objects John Locke (1632-1704) Self is unified by consciousness Consciousness is unified by connections between mental states Memory Personal Identity What makes me the same person I was yesterday, last week, last year? What makes me me? Dan Bonevac? Relative Identity What makes something the same F? It depends what F is Criteria for Same _________ Lump of matter: continuity of substance Machine: continuity of structure Animal (including human being): bodily continuity Human Being & Person Same person same human being `Person' has moral significance People have rights People have responsibilities We may hold A responsible for what B has done only if A and B are the same person Same Person Same human being: just a matter of being the same animal But we are essentially things that think Same person: continuity of consciousness Puzzles Socrates reincarnated as Caesar Borgia Heliogabalus reincarnated as a hog Frog prince? One person in two bodies? Two people in one body? Life after death? ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course PHL 301 taught by Professor Bonevac during the Fall '08 term at University of Texas.

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