PHI101_71013_Lecture09_Sep29

PHI101_71013_Lecture09_Sep29 - PHI 101 (71013) Dr. Tuomas...

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Unformatted text preview: PHI 101 (71013) Dr. Tuomas Manninen ASU-West Philosophy of Mind: A Brief Introduction Philosophy September 29, 2009 Metaphysics Metaphysics • Are there principles that apply to everything that is real? • What is the nature of the ultimate reality of the world? • What is the nature of persons? Philosophy of Mind Philosophy • What is the structure of the mind? • • • • Is the mind of different substance than the body? Or are the two of the same kind? What is the relation between the mind and the body? What kinds of creatures have minds? Philosophy of Mind Philosophy • The content of the mind • What is consciousness? • What is it to be conscious of something? • Can we give an objective account of the world such that it includes consciousness? • Is consciousness something intractably subjective? Leibniz’s Law Leibniz’s (x) (y) (F) [x = y] ≡ [Fx = Fy] • If x and y are one and the same thing, then they must have all the same properties. • If there is a property that y has but x doesn't, then x and y are not the same thing. Minds and bodies, material and mental Minds • Two different types of reality, material and mental. • Material bodies are extended three­dimensional entities, publicly observable, capable of interacting with other bodies. • None of these characteristics seem to apply to mental entities: they lack shape, size, location – in short, all physical properties. The mind-body problem problem • Even if the material and the mental are distinct, they still need to interact. • Why do we think this? • Problem: How is it that the two interact? Dualist Solutions Dualist • Dualism: mental and physical are two distinct substances. • Variants: • Interactionism • Epiphenomenalism • Parallelism Interactionism Interactionism • Thesis: mental states (beliefs, desires, etc.) causally interact with physical states. • Proponents: Plato, Descartes, Locke; J.P. Moreland, Karl Popper • Descartes’ argument: the mind can be known more clearly than the body. By Leibniz’s Law, the two are not the same. Epiphenomenalism Epiphenomenalism • Mental phenomena exist, but are causally inefficacious • Physical events can cause other physical events and physical events can cause mental events, but mental events cannot cause anything, since they are just causally inert by­products (i.e. epiphenomena) of the physical world. • Proponents: Frank Jackson Parallelism Parallelism • Mind and body are two distinct kinds of entities, but there are no causal interactions between them. • They each run their parallel course, and only seem to influence one another. • Illustration: streaming video (where the picture and sound go in sync). • Proponents: Leibniz. Monist Solutions Monist • Monism: there is only one kind of substance. • Ideal monism • Material monism • • • • Metaphysical behaviorism Reductive materialism (a.k.a. identity theory) Functionalism Eliminative materialism Ideal monism Ideal • There is only one substance, the mind. • The body and everything physical is just a perception (illusion?) generated by the mind. • Proponent: George Berkeley (see Pojman, pp. 89­111) (Metaphysical/Logical) Behaviorism Behaviorism • Either denies the existence of mental events, or denies their importance in understanding behavior. • Mental states are just descriptions of behavior and/or dispositions to behave. • Proponents: B. F. Skinner; Gilbert Ryle • The big mistakes in behaviorism: (1) Denies the inner (qualitative) feelings of mental states. Being in pain feels bad; it is more than just the disposition to withdraw oneself from whatever is causing the pain and to wince. (2) The explanations are too unwieldy to be useful. For instance, consider all the different responses one could Reductive materialism Reductive • If mental states are something material, but not behavior, then mental states are probably identical to internal states of the brain. • A crude version: a mental state M is nothing other than brain state B. The mental state "desire for a cup of coffee" would thus be nothing more than the "firing of certain neurons in certain brain regions". • Proponents: J. J. C. Smart, Ullin Place • Problem: multiple realizability. The thesis makes mental states dependant on having a specific physiology, contradicting empirical evidence. Functionalism (1) Functionalism • Given the problems with reductive materialism, functionalism claims that mental states are essentially characterized by their causal relations with other mental states and with sensory inputs and behavioral outputs. • Functionalism abstracts away from the details of the physical implementation of a mental state by characterizing it in terms of non­mental functional properties. • For example, a kidney is characterized scientifically by its functional role in filtering blood and maintaining certain chemical balances. From this point of view, it does not really matter whether the kidney be made up of organic tissue, or of artificial materials (it is the role that it plays and its relations to other organs that define it as a kidney). Functionalism (2) Functionalism • Proponents: Hilary Putnam, Jerry Fodor, D. M. Armstrong, David Lewis, Wilfrid Sellars, Gilbert Harman. • Example: Finding a route from ASU­West to downtown Phoenix. • One can take many different routes; all that matters is that one gets from point A to point B. • Similarly for functionalism: it does not matter how a mental state is implemented, only how it functions. Eliminative materialism (1) Eliminative • Eliminative materialists maintain that mental states are fictitious entities introduced by everyday "folk psychology". • Should "folk psychology“ or “common sense” be proven wrong by the development of neurosciences, we must also abolish all of the entities that common sense has posited. Eliminative materialism (2) Eliminative • Proponents: Richard Rorty, Paul Churchland, Patricia Churchland. • Example: the belief in witchcraft as a cause of people's problems turned out to be wrong. As a consequence, most people no longer believe in the existence of witches. Witchcraft is not explained in terms of some other phenomenon, but rather eliminated from the discourse. Philosophy of mind in a perspective Philosophy • “The brain is the mind is the brain. One hundred billion nerve cells, give or take, none of which individually has the capacity to feel or to reason, yet together generating consciousness. For about 400 years, following the ideas of French philosopher René Descartes, those who thought about its nature considered the mind related to the body, but separate from it. In this model—often called "dualism" or the mind­ body problem—the mind was "immaterial," not anchored in anything physical. Today neuroscientists are finding abundant evidence of an idea that even Freud played with more than 100 years ago, that separating mind from brain makes no sense. Nobel Prize­winning psychiatrist­neuroscientist Eric Kandel stated it directly in a watershed paperpublished in 1998: "All mental processes, even the most complex psychological processes, derive from operations of the brain.” • Source: http://www.newsweek.com/id/158754 Rene Descartes Rene Descartes Interactive Dualism (excerpts from Discourse on Method (1637) and Passions of the Soul (1649) Recall: Descartes’ argument in Meditations Meditations • One of Descartes’ goals in Meditations was to demonstrate that the mind and the body are two distinct substances. • How was this accomplished? • • • Step 1: proving the existence of mind Step 2: proving the existence of body Step 3: concluding that the two are different Cartesian dualism - overview Cartesian • Descartes’ theory is called substance dualism: the mind and the body are two distinct substances that somehow interact. • The person is identical to the mind substance rather than the bodily substance. • Again, this is because, Descartes argues, we can conceive of ourselves as existing without our bodies, but not without our minds. Argument for dualism (in Discourse) Discourse • “’I’, that is to say, the mind by which I am what I am, is wholly distinct from the body, and is even more easily known than the [body], and is such, that although the [body] were not, [my mind] would still continue to be all that it is…” (287) Argument for Cartesian dualism Argument P1 If A and B are one and the same thing, then they have to have all the same properties. (from Leibniz’s Law). P2 The mind and the body do not have all the same properties. 2a 2b 2c 2d mind independent of material things, body isn’t mind not in space, body is in space mind more easily known than the body is … Descartes on the body Descartes • The body akin to an intricately built machine, an automaton. • One could imagine such machines, built to resemble apes “or any other irrational being”, and we could not tell the difference between a real ape, and the machine. • But one could tell apart a human replica and a real human being. Why is this? Minding the body Minding • Even if there were “machines bearing the image of our bodies,” they would fail to be persons. • There are two tests we can use to show that such machines are still not persons. Minding the body (2) Minding • The language test: “they could never use words or other signs arranged in such a manner as is competent to us in order to declare our thoughts to others” (288) • The action test: “such machines might execute things with equal … perfection than any of us, they would … fail in certain others, from which it could be discovered that they did not act from knowledge but solely from the disposition of their organs” (288) Bodies without minds Bodies • Bodies without minds are like machines. As such, they could react only in a limited number of situations. • “It must be morally impossible that there should exist in any machine a diversity of organs sufficient to enable it to act in all the occurrences of life, in the way in which our reason enables us to act” (288) A problem for Descartes problem • Given the language test and the action test for distinguishing humans from animals (and machines), is it clear that all humans would pass the test? • Can you think of cases where humans may not succeed in the two tests? Of brutes Of • Difference between humans and animals is not only that the latter have less reason than the former. • Animals have no reason at all; they are solely guided by passions(instincts). • The soul of animals must be of different nature from the human soul. • “After the error of those who deny the existence of God […] there is none that is more powerful in leading feeble minds astray from the straight path of virtue than the supposition that the soul of brutes is of the same nature with our own” (289) Of brutes (2) Of • Once we understand how different animals really are from us, we come to understand the nature of the soul, and how it is different from the body. • The similarity between animals and humans is limited just to physiology. Contra Descartes: Alex the parrot Descartes: Alex the parrot (2) Alex Alex, the world renowned African Grey parrot made famous by the ground­breaking cognition and communication research conducted by Irene Pepperberg, Ph.D., died at the age of 31 on September 6, 2007. Dr. Pepperberg’s pioneering research resulted in Alex learning elements of English speech to identify 50 different objects, 7 colors, 5 shapes, quantities up to and including 6 and a zero­like concept. He used phrases such as “I want X” and “Wanna go Y”, where X and Y were appropriate object and location labels. He acquired concepts of categories, bigger and smaller, same­different, and absence. Alex combined his labels to identify, request, refuse, and categorize more than 100 different items demonstrating a level and scope of cognitive abilities never expected in an avian species. Pepperberg says that Alex showed the emotional equivalent of a 2 year­old child and intellectual equivalent of a 5 year­old. Her research with Alex shattered the generally held notion that parrots are only capable of mindless vocal mimicry. Koko the gorilla Koko • Koko, a female lowland gorilla born in 1971, and Michael, a male lowland gorilla born in 1973, use sign language and understand spoken English… • Koko has advanced further with language than any other non­human. Koko has a working vocabulary of over 1000 signs. Koko understands approximately 2,000 words of spoken English. Koko initiates the majority of conversations with her human companions and typically constructs statements averaging three to six words. Koko has a tested IQ of between 70 and 95 on a human scale, where Mirror self-recognition test Mirror • First devised by Gordon Gallup in 1970s. • Pass : Great apes except gorillas (e.g. chimpanzees, orangutans, bonobos) • Pass : Humans by 18 months. • Pass? : (2001) Bottlenose dolphins • Pass (2006) Elephant. • Fail : Monkeys, fish, dogs, cats, parrots ­­ Source: http://www3.hku.hk/philodep/joelau/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Main.SelfRecognitio Mirror self-recognition test (2) (2) • What is the significance of this test? • The test subject engages the mirror­image either in other­directed manner, or in self­directed manner. • To engage the image in self­directed manner entails that the subject realizes that it is its own reflection. • This requires the ability to understand the concept of self. Mind-body relations Mind-body • Descartes’ theory is called substance dualism, or interactionist dualism. • The mind and the body are two distinct substances that somehow interact. • The person is identical to the mind substance rather than the bodily substance. • The relation is not like that of a sailor to a ship; rather, the connection is much closer than that (289). Problems with substance dualism Problems How can a purely immaterial object (the mind) causally interact with a purely material object (the body)? Descartes claims that there is a two­ way interaction here: that the mind causes sensations in the body and the body causes sensations in the mind. But how is this possible? One possibility: action over distance (e.g. gravity; electromagnetic forces) Spinoza’s Criticism of Descartes Descartes • Why does Descartes rule out the possibility that the mental features and the physical features are two sides of one and the same thing? • Consider: • • • The essence of a husband is being a married man. The essence of a father is to have offspring. Yet one and the same individual can have both these essential properties. Descartes’ argument criticized criticized • Mind is the subject of consciousness. • The mind is an entity separate from the body: • The essence of the body is occupying space • The essence of the mind is completely different • But does this entail that the two are distinct entities? Mind-body connections Mind-body • Descartes returns to the topic of dualism in Passion of the Soul, where he argues that the brain and the soul (mind) are connected in the pineal gland. Descartes on the pineal gland Descartes • Why situate the soul in the pineal gland? • Pineal gland appears to be unique, in that it has no duplicate in the brain; in general, the brain is divided into two hemispheres. • “The reason which persuades me that the soul cannot have any other seat in all the body than this gland … is that I reflect that the other parts of our brain are all of them double” (289­90). Pineal gland (2) Pineal 1 2 3 4 5 We have two of each of the sense organs (eyes, ears, etc.) Our thoughts are “solitary and simple” i.e. unified. Before proceeding to the soul, the impressions conveyed by the senses must be brought together. The pineal gland is the only unified part of the brain. Thus, there is no other place in the body in which sensations can be united. Problem with Descartes’ argument Problem • Although the pineal gland doesn’t seem to consist of two halves like the rest of the brain, this is true only on the macroscopic level. • When viewed under a microscope, the pineal gland (just like the rest of the brain) shows a dual structure. The mind-body connections The • Assuming Descartes was right about the role of the pineal gland, how does this help to explain the mind­body relations? • The body is like an intricate machine, containing “animal spirits, nerves, and blood” (290). • Stimulating the nerves moves the animal spirits around, which produces motion in the body. • In a like manner, the soul (via the pineal gland) can cause such stimulation. ...
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This note was uploaded on 11/11/2010 for the course PHI PHI 101 taught by Professor Delvin during the Fall '10 term at ASU.

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