Animal Minds #1 Nov.23
Background cautions and questions:
1. are we talking about all animals or only some animals?
2. is the distinction between a system being conscious and that system having
mental states that are conscious a useful one?
3. what kind o
Materialism #1 Jan.19
What are mental states,
according to materialism?
materialism is a version of monism: only one
kind of thing exists, and it is a material
(physical) kind of thing
according to materialism,
Func%onalism #1 Feb.23
What were func%onalists reac0g to?
func%onalists approved of the behaviourists
explana%ons of behaviour in terms of s%mulus
and response, but they thought that the
internal states of a system
Func%onalism #2 Feb.25
What is a mental state, according to
being in a mental state is being in a func%onal state, a state
that can be picked out by its causal rela%ons to inputs,
other states, an
Dierent stances we can adopt
we can take several dierent stances towards
things whose behaviour we want to explain:
on Personal Iden/ty Jan.26
Criteria of iden/ty for plants
Something is one plant if it has an
organiza/on of parts in one cohering body
partaking of one common life, and it
con/nues to be the same plan
Dualism #1 Jan.12
Some common sense reasons for
believing in dualism:
(1. religious reasons)
2. we think of ourselves as free, as not (always)
bound by the laws of nature
3. mental things seem to have dierent k
on personal iden/ty Jan.28
Empiricists hold that all our knowledge comes
Hume was an empiricist: all our ideas are
based on antecedent sense impressions
Dualism #2 Jan.14
If minds and brains are separate
substances, how to explain the causal
interac?on between minds and
Princess Elizabeth raised this objec?on very
early on, and Descartes tried to respond t
Varie&es of Consciousness #1
One set of dis&nc&ons
phenomenal consciousness (or P-
consciousness): how an experience seems to
if we are in a P-consci
Varie&es of Consciousness #2
Review of Block
mental states can be phenomenally conscious
P-conscious mental states feel a certain way
to us: there is something-it-is-like for us to be
On Animal Minds: Emotions, Autonomy, and Morals
In this paper, I will be arguing that non-human animals have minds, experience
emotions, and are autonomous. All animals have their own individual interests and are therefore
deserving of our moral considera
Varieties of consciousness #2 Nov.18
Rosenthal insists (contra Descartes and Locke) on the methodological principle that we
should not view consciousness itself as the identifying feature of mental states. Instead,
we should try to explain mental states i
Animal Minds #2 Nov.25
Carruthers, appealing to a dispositional version of a HOT theory of consciousness,
argues that much (all?) animal experience is non-conscious.
According to Carruthers, animals can have lots of first-order mental states (including
The Explanatory Gap
How can brain states account for the two kinds of properties we find in mental states?
Intentionality (how can neurons firing refer to something in the world?
How can brain states cause phenomenological properties? (What it is like
Varieties of consciousness #1 Nov.16
What is consciousness?
Is it the state we are in when we are alive? awake? alert? attending to something?
aware of something?
Are you conscious when you are asleep? dreaming? under anaesthetic?
Must you be conscious of
Minds and Machines: Connectionism Nov.11
Note: connectionist networks are also sometimes referred to as neural networks or as
parallel distributed processing systems.
Connectionist research uses models of networks of artificial neurons that process
We can take several different stances towards things whose behaviour we want to
treat the object whose behaviour is to be predicted as a
Two types of behaviorism
philosophical or metaphysical behaviorism
Philosophical or metaphysical
a thesis about the meanings of our mental
Jackson and the Knowledge Argument
Jacksons Knowledge Argument is intended to show that physicalism must be false,
because it cannot tell us about the phenomenological properties of our mental states.
[Jackson also offered two other arguments to show that
Materialism #2 Sept.24
mental states are necessarily brain states
what we think of as mental states are really brain states; just as, what we think of
as lightning is really atmospheric electrical discharge
we do not mean the same thing by
Locke on personal identity
The philosophical problem of person identity amounts to looking for criteria that will
determine what makes you you over time. Or, more generally, what makes person A at
time t1 the same person as person A at time t2?
Dualism #2 Sept.17
A major problem for substance dualism is how to explain the interactions between
minds and brains.
Princess Elizabeth raised this objection very early on, and Descartes tried to respond to
it in his Passions of the Soul.
What needs expl
Hume on Personal Identity
Empiricists hold that all our knowledge comes through experience
Hume was an empiricist: all our ideas are based on antecedent sense
Rationalists hold that we can have some ideas and acquir
Materialism #1 Sept.22
materialism is a version of monism: only one kind of thing exists, and it is a material
(physical) kind of thing
according to materialism, mental states just are physical states of the brain
materialist positions throughout history: