Paper 2 - Philosophical Behaviorism

Paper 2 - Philosophical Behaviorism - Jennifer Chinn Intro...

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Jennifer Chinn Intro to Philosophy 1 T.A. Tim Lewis Section: Wednesday, 2:00pm What’s going on in your Head? How the mind processes thoughts and affects our behaviors is possibly the most complex and inexplicable phenomenon, yet many have posited theories that bring us closer to understanding. Cartesian Dualism, Philosophical Behaviorism, and Materialism are a few theories that have lasted throughout the years. Though none is flawless, some hold up better to contradiction. It is impossible to prove without dispute that the mind’s numerous mental states are our behaviors, or that its mental states cause our behaviors; this is because these states of mind are not accessible to all points of view, but are rather only observable through self-experience. Because of this observational problem, it is extremely difficult to justify a theory based on speculation. The Interaction Problem involves the perplexing question of how a non-material substance (the mind) and material substances (the body and brain) are able to interact. Gilbert Ryle’s theory of Behaviorism succeeds in addressing the interaction problem by suggesting that the mind and body are of completely different realms of existence and that mental states are just our dispositions to engage in a certain behavior. The behaviorist’s argument is rather weak, in that it fails to address the underlying cause of behavior, and is questioned by one opposition, which theorizes that mental states cause both behavior and our dispositions to behave in these manners. According to Philosophy professor Jason Newman, Philosophical Behaviorism states, “having a mind consists in the exhibiting of overt behavior or the possession of dispositions to exhibit such behavior,” rather than the mind causally interacting with our behaviors. Ryle believes that Cartesian Dualism rests on a category-mistake by assuming that the mind is
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simply a thing and that it is above and beyond our nature to behave. He also believes that Materialism, the belief that the mind is a physical substance within the brain and mental states are just brain states, along with Dualism, is a foolish category-mistake. A category- mistake is the confusion that an object is able to possess a property that belongs to an
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Paper 2 - Philosophical Behaviorism - Jennifer Chinn Intro...

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