ML - 02 - Philosophy of Mind (1)

ML - 02 - Philosophy of Mind (1) - Chapter 2 Philosophy of...

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Chapter 2 Philosophy of Mind Introduction B ecause thinking about the nature of human nature, specifically of the human mind, has long been the prerogative of philosophy, it will serve us well to look at this issue from the view point of this discipline, which is, after all, the oldest discipline, and was once, in fact, the only discipline. Since its inception, philosophy has “lost” many of its subjects to what we now call chemistry, physics, biology, geography, psychology, anthropology, political science, linguistics, and so on. However, despite the emergence of all these disciplines, philosophers have not stopped thinking about the deeper issues about which the modern sciences still have very little to say or which lurk at the very foundations of these disciplines. Central among these are questions like: What kinds of human endeavors can be called science (as opposed to, for example, religion)? By what methods do scientists arrive at reliable knowledge, i.e., hypotheses that have withstood the test of time and that have proven useful in raising new lines of inquiry? How do ordinary people, as opposed to scientists, come to know what they know? As will be clear, these kinds of questions that regard the human mind and as such belong to a branch of philosophy that is called philosophy of mind , transcend the specific questions that psychologists, anthropologists or linguists ask. Indeed, philosophers of mind think about a wide variety of subjects. They like to call most of these subjects “problems” because otherwise they wouldn’t need to worry about them. Here are some more specific examples of questions or problems that they worry about: - What is this thing we call “mind” and how does it relate to the body ( the mind- body problem )? - If I see a mountain, how do I know there actually is one ( the problem of perception )? And does it really matter? - Although we know the content of our own mind (at least the conscious part of it), can we know what is going on the mind of others ( the other mind problem )? - Do other organisms than humans have minds too ( the problem of animal minds )?
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Part I: The Never Ending Debate Chapter 2: Philosophy of Mind - How can mental phenomena (thoughts, etc.) cause things to happen in the world and vice versa ( the problem of mental causation )? - How is it that we feel that mental phenomena, or at least many of them, are about things in the world ( the problem of intentionality )? - What does it mean to say that one has free will ( the problem of free will )? Is this an illusion? - What does it mean to say that I am the same person as I was 20 years ago, whereas very few cells that make up my body now are the same ones that made up my body then ( the problem of self and personal identity )? Problems of this sort are all somehow related to the broad question regarding the nature
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ML - 02 - Philosophy of Mind (1) - Chapter 2 Philosophy of...

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