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Philosophy of Mind (Final Review)

Philosophy of Mind (Final Review) - Said Saillant...

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Said Saillant 05/13/09 Philosophy of Mind Professor Brian P. McLaughlin Final Exam Explain what Gilbert Ryle means by “a category mistake” and how the notion of a category mistake is supposed to be relevant to the mind body problem. For Ryle, a category mistake is Rudolf Carnap claims that “all sentences of psychology describe physical occurrences, namely, the physical behavior of humans and other animals.” Under the heading of ‘behavior’ he means to include not only actual behavior, but also dispositions to behave. Carnap is espousing the theory of logical behaviorism. Using the example “Mary believes that the Earth is round,” explain the difficulties that face the attempt to translate this sentence into a sentence that is only about how Mary behaves or is disposed to behave. The problems with the claim that “all sentences of psychology describe physical occurrences, namely, the physical behavior of humans and other animals” are that beliefs, desires, hopes, and intentions cannot be translated into physical occurrences. For instance, the statement “Mary believes that the Earth is round” cannot be quantified in terms behavior, because beliefs entail none. The only way propositional attitudes can cause physical occurrences is via other mental states. For example, Mary could only behaviorally manifest her belief by first deciding to express it. The decision to express the belief is the disposition to behave; the belief itself is not. Statements with mentalistic terms, such as “believes” in the example, cannot be satisfactorily translated into a behavioristic statement because such a translation can just as easily describe the absence of the mentalistic component of that sentence of psychology. For instance, a behavioristic rendition of the example would be: “Mary exhibits round Earth behavior.” This rendition does not entail Mary believes the Earth is round. Suppose Mary is told to act as if the Earth is round, here the translation is satisfied—Mary exhibits the specified behavior—yet Mary does not believe the Earth is round. One other problem is that the behavioristic translation neglects the qualitative aspects of the sentences of psychology. No behavioristic statement can differentiate round Earth from square Earth behaviors because the qualitative aspects of mental states cannot be expressed through behavior. For instance, if Mary saw something square every time she actually saw something round and vice versa, her behavior would be indistinguishable. Explain J.J.C. Smart’s Reply to Objection 1 to his type materialism for sensations (/type physicalism for states of phenomenal consciousness/type physicalism for qualia). First of all, Smart’s type physicalism for states of phenomenal consciousness says that a certain type of state of phenomenal consciousness is identical to a
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certain type of neuroscientific state. In other words, Smart believes that, for every type of state of phenomenal consciousness C, there is a type of neuroscientific state N such that C = N. Objection 1 argues that Smart’s type physicalism is
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