METAPHYSICS PART II: Philosophy of Mind

Introduction to Philosophy of Mind

  1. Three Basic Questions in the Philosophy of Mind -

    1. What is the relationship between minds and bodies?

    2. What makes a person that person (personal identity)?

    3. Does consciousness exist before/after death?

  2. The Mind/Body Problem

    1. Common Sense Says: "I am distinct from my body"

      1. Bodies - physical, material (i.e., extended in space)

      2. Minds (or, soul, spirit, consciousness) - non-physical, immaterial (i.e., not extended in space)

    2. The Problem - If minds and bodies are composed of different substances (stuff), how do they causally interact?


      Note: There are two distinct kinds of Dualism -

      • Substance Dualism - there are two distinct substances (i.e., kinds of "stuff") in the universe: Matter and Minds
        Plato - World of Ideas and World of Matter
        Descartes - Thinking things (i.e., minds) and bodies

      • Property Dualism - there may be only one substance (i.e.,matter) in the universe, but it can have peculiar properties we call "mental"

        Elemental Properties
        Emergant Properties

    3. Four Traditional Dualist Theories of Mind/Body Interaction

      1. Interactionism - Minds interact with Bodies, and Bodies interact with Minds

      2. Epiphenomenalism - Bodies interact with Minds, but Minds do not interact with Bodies

      3. Parallelism/Occasionalism - Minds do not interact with Bodies, and Bodies do not interact with Minds

    4. History of Neuroscience: Poking around in the brain - "Hey, is consciousness just a physical state after all?"

    5. Some Responses to Dualism: "Do we really need 'minds' after all?" (Materialism)

      1. Reductivism - Minds are equal to brain states

      2. Eliminativism - Mind-talk is non-sense and should be eliminated from our language

      3. Behaviorism - Mind-talk is just a description of our behavior

      4. Functionalism - There is not a one-to-one correlation between mental events and brain events


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