PHI2010 Week 4 Notes
PHI2010 Week 4 Notes PHI2010
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lauren Carstens on Friday October 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHI2010 at Florida State University taught by Dr. Clarke in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views.
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Date Created: 10/07/16
The Philosophy of Mind/ The Identity Thesis Into the the philosophy of mind o We are thinking creatures: we have minds For example, we can think about intellectual matters such as the existence of God o We also have a rich conscious experience of the world When I am conscious, I see things, hear things, feel things, imagine things o What, then, are minds? Are they material or immaterial? What is the relation, if any, between mind and brain? Connection to the immaterial mind and the material brain Can a computer have a mind? Mind/brain identity o One possibility is that the mind is identical to the brain Might seem obvious, might seem not Identical to the physical processes in the brain o But not a thesis about the meaning of linguistic expressions An argument for the identity thesis o Why should we think that the mind-brain identity thesis is true? We think that some mental states are causally necessary for occurrence of physical ones Mental events play a role in getting us to do bodily things o Why is this significant? In other words, it seems like we will always be able to explain physical events in terms of physical factors We don’t need non-physical explanation Whenever there is a physical event and you try to explain it, it is unlikely you will have to appeal to a non physical aspect o We have two beliefs: Some mental events are causally necessary for certain physical ones Thinking about juice in the fridge and then going and getting it It is unnecessary to appeal to anything other than physical events in providing causal explanations of other physical events We can hold both of these beliefs if some mental events are physical ones Otherwise, non physical factors would be required for explanation of some physical events o The argument formalized 1. Some conscious states and events are causally necessary for the occurrence of some physical ones 2. In a completed neuro-physiological science, there will be no need to advent to anything other than physical-physical causality 3. So some conscious states and events are (are identical with) physical (brain) states and events o The argument is valid, so in order to avoid the conclusion we need to show that at least one of the premises is false o While the argument only established that the conscious states and events are identical with physical states and events, we could easily strengthen the argument to include all conscious states and events Consider the first premise: o How could this claim be false? How could I walk across the room to get a drink if I am unaware that a drink is there (or potentially there)? This is taken as obvious, so there is no luck in determining it to be false The second premise o Causation between physical things (not leaving the physical view) o Forms an important part of our scientific world view o Given the success of current science, with everything being explained by a physical cause It’s hard to think about a physical cause all of a sudden being explained by a non physical factor “This would just be weird” Carruthers is really confident we can explain everything in physical terms The Argument Continued o If the two premises are true, then the conclusion must be true because the argument is valid Complete Knowledge Objection o We could know all the physical facts about the brain without knowing what it si like to have experiences 1. Complete Knowledge of physical states would not imply knowledge of what experiences feel like 2. If experiences were physical states, then complete knowledge of the physical would imply complete knowledge of experiences C. So experiences are not physical states We can know all of the facts about how the brain processes color without knowing what it like to see color Knowing what goes on in the brain during a roller coaster doesn’t mean that you know what it is like to ride a roller coaster o Carruthers says both premises are true but the argument is invalid A valid argument is one that has proper form, while a sound argument is one that has proper from and true premises Valid, but unsound 1. If Tallahassee is in Maryland then Miami is in Virginia 2. Tallahassee is in Maryland 3. Therefor, Miami is in Virginia Invalid Argument 1. If Tallahassee is in Maryland, then Miami is in Virginia 2. Miami is in Virginia 3. Therefore, Tallahassee is in Maryland o There can be problems in the logistic structure of an argument independently of what the argument talks about o Carruthers grants that both premises of the Complete Knowledge Objection are true, but he claims that there is something wrong with the logical structure of the argument Premise 1: Factual knowledge doesn’t guarantee practical knowledge No factual knowledge about the brain will guarantee practical knowledge about how it works Factual knowledge does not imply recognition knowledge Premise 2: This is only true if restricted to factual knowledge Having complete factual knowledge of the physical would not imply that you have recognition knowledge of experiences Complete factual knowledge implies complete factual knowledge o Main point of Carruthers’s response to the objection Once we recognize the two different types of knowledge, the problem disappears We can know all the facts about the brain and its processes Imagine that scientists studying the brains of people when people feel pain find the following o In one group of people, when and only when they feel pain, neurons of type N are firing in portion P o Whereas in a second group of people, when and only when they felt pain, neurons of type M are firing in pattern Q o Suppose, further, that neurons of type N are physical different then type M and firing pattern P is physically different from firing pattern Q So, we have two groups of people in states that are physically different, but in states that are mentally the same-they are all feeling pain What makes it the case that all these states are mentally alike-what makes it the case they all count as states of pain? Functionalism Functionalism: States of individuals are mentally alike just in case they are functionally alike o What makes some mental state of you a mental state of a certain kind is its association with a certain functional role o The functional role of a mental state can be defined in terms of The environmental stimuli that tend to cause it The mental states of other kinds that tend to causally interact with it The behavior it tends to cause (perhaps together with other mental states) o Consider the state of pain What are its usual causes and its usual effects? Typically: getting pinched, cut, hit, etc Things that the feeling of pain typically causes Anxiety Withdrawal of the injured part Rubbing that part of one’s body (If one understands English, saying “that hurts” (If one understands Spanish, saying “me duele” o Functionalism says To be in pain is to be in state that tends to be caused by those first things, and that tends to cause those second things To identify a kind of state in this way is to define it in terms of a functional role A functional role is a place within a system of typical causes and effects It is not only mental states that may be defined by their association with functional roles Consider: what is it for something to be a gene? o A gene is a structure in a parent cell… o To define a gene this way is to define it in terms of the functional role of transmitting traits o Analogously, in philosophy of mind, some theorists say that mental states of this or that kind are to be defined in terms of functional roles One type of Functionalist Theory identifies each instance of pain with whatever physical state pays the relevant functional role in the individual on that occasion That state of your brain is the state of pain So, in our imagined groups of people, when an individual form the first group is in pain, her state of pain is (is identical to) the firing of neurons of type N in pattern P in her That physical state is identical with that person’s state of pain Whereas, when an individual from the second group is in pain, her state of pain (is identical to) the firing of neurons of type M in pattern Q in her Suppose these two neural patterns play the functional role of pain Each of these states of pain is a physical state of the individuals in question o This kind of Functionalism view is a version of Physicalism about the mind Each mental state is a physical state o The two states of pain are physically different What makes them both states of pain, both mentally alike, is that they both play the pain functional role Each is a state that tends to be caused by things that tend to cause pain and that tends to cause the things that pain tends to cause Qualities of Experience (Qualia) o The conscious, subjective qualities that certain experiences have, the what-it’s like to have such an experience Pinch yourself so that you feel a minor pain There is something that it is like for you to be in that state of pain o Objection to functionalism: it leaves out this aspect of mental states Granted, pain has certain typical causes and certain typical effects But that is not all there is to it To characterize it only in terms of a functional role is to leave out an essential aspect of it- what it feels like to be in a state of pain o A further objection concerning qualia: The Possibility of Inverted Qualia When you have the conscious experience of seeing something red, there is something that it’s like for you to have that experience Likewise, when you have the conscious experience of seeing something green, there is something that it’s like for you to have that experience What it’s like for you to have the experience of seeing something red is distinctly different from what it’s like for you to have the experience of seeing something green o Different qualia We also have bodies o We are beings who think, experience, and feel; and have minds o We know that some of the things we do are physical things You don’t have to be anything more than a physical being capable of physical being, capable only of physical activity If thinking… Some philosophers say yes These philosophers tend to be Physicalists, holding that all tings, activities and states of things are physical Physicalism is a kind of monism o Physicalism holds that that every substance is a physical substance, and every state or activity of a substance is a physical state or activity It is monistic about substances and the physical activities substances engage in Both the Identity Thesis and Functionalism hold that each of our thoughts, experiences and feelings is a physical state or event Each is consistent with the view that we are entirely physical things, having only physical states and capable of only physical activities Caruthers’ Argument in favor of the Identity Thesis: There are some physical states that would not be there without mental states o 1. Some conscious states and events are causally necessary for the occurrence of some physical ones o 2. In a completed neuro-physiological science there will be no need to advert to anything other them physical-physical causality o 3. So some conscious states and events are (are identical with) physical states and events Roughly, it is a state that tends to be caused by such things as smelling a hamburger, and that tends to cause such things as asking fro a hamburger (provided you aren’t a committed vegetarian) What hinges on whether it is true that we are entirely physical beings? If we are entirely physical beings, is it possible that we nevertheless have free will? If our decisions are physical occurrences in our brains, then it seems they are caused by prior physical occurrences, which are caused by yet earlier physical occurrences, and so on, back to things that occurred before we were born o If this is true, can it still be true that in making our decisions, we are exercising our free will? If we are entirely physical beings, is it possible that we survive our deaths? o It certainty seems that our bodies don’t survive our deaths o If we are entirely physical beings, can it still be the case that we go on existing, thinking, perceiving and feeling, after our deaths? If all our thoughts, experiences and feelings are physical states or events, might some non-living physical thing, such as a sophisticated computer, be capable of thinking, perceiving and feeling? o Note that Functionalism in particular is friendly to the idea that even non-living physical things, if sufficiently sophisticated, might be capable of thought o If we manage to build a compute that is sometimes in states that play, in that computer, the same functional roles that some of your beliefs and desires and thoughts play within you, then (the Functionalist says) that computer will have the same kinds of beliefs and desires that you have Some philosophers reject the idea that all of our states and activities are physical (Physicalists) These philosophers are dualists about states: There are two different kinds of states that things can be in, physical states and mental states The Knowledge Argument: in support of this view o 1. Complete Knowledge of physical states would not imply knowledge of what experiences feel like o 2. If experiences were physical states, then complete knowledge of the physical would imply complete knowledge of experiences o C. So experiences are not physical states o
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