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PHIL 112 Week 8 Notes: 10/10/16-10/14/16

by: Hadley Ashford

PHIL 112 Week 8 Notes: 10/10/16-10/14/16 PHIL 112

Marketplace > University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill > Philosophy > PHIL 112 > PHIL 112 Week 8 Notes 10 10 16 10 14 16
Hadley Ashford
GPA 3.776

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About this Document

These notes cover the Elisabeth Correspondence, Armstrong, and Chalmer
Making Sense of Ourselves
Martin Glazier
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hadley Ashford on Friday October 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 112 at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill taught by Martin Glazier in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 11 views. For similar materials see Making Sense of Ourselves in Philosophy at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.


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Date Created: 10/14/16
PHIL 112 Week 8 Notes: 10/10/16-10/14/16 10/10/16 Interaction of body and mind: - Elisabeth asks: how can immaterial affect the material if there is no extension or contact? o Movement happens from pushing on a surface- immaterial things don’t have surface - Descartes response: there are primitive notions that can’t be explained by other terms (ex. Number, being, duration, etc.) o Interaction/union of body and soul is one of these notions o Will make mistakes/be wrong if try to explain these notions o Immaterial affects material like weight affects material things  No physical force upon a surface that makes object go towards ground - Elisabeth objection: points out that Descartes uses an example that he doesn’t actually believe o Possible response: Elisabeth only wants to say that she can’t conceptualize immaterial exerting physical force on material- Descartes’ example only shows that with weight, it is possible to at least conceptualize idea of movement without pushing - Class objection: Descartes still doesn’t explain how immaterial forces material to do things o Gravity works by transfer of energy, but does soul? o Other forces without pushing include mass and positive and negative charges, but soul doesn’t really have these qualities - Objection by causal closure: things that happen in physical world are caused by things in physical world o How does soul fit into this? - Elisabeth objection: if body and soul are two separate things, how do both body and soul lose consciousness when body passes out o Soul has quality of reason- shouldn’t it still be able to exist/be conscious when body isn’t? Dualism alternate argument: 1. If you can imagine something without contradiction, then it is possible for it to exist a. Ex. Can imagine a unicorn (horse with horn), so possible that it once existed or will exist b. Ex. Can’t imagine a round square because contradicts definition of a square 2. Can imagine self as just a thinking thing, with no body 3. Can imagine body as just a non-thinking thing, without inhabitation 4. It must be possible for me and my body to be separated 5. So, people are really distinct from bodies and it is possible to exist without body - Objection: “possible” doesn’t mean it’s actually true- could exist, but doesn’t - 2 definitions of “possible”: o Epistemic possibility: means “for all I know”, has to do with knowledge, something can’t be ruled out by current knowledge o Metaphysical possibility: means something could have happened- it didn’t happen, but in this world it could have been different  This is the definition that he uses in dualism argument - Can be divided into physically possible and logically possible 10/12/16 Cartesian dualism review: - Brain and mind are distinct things - Brain is physical/material - Mind is immaterial - Brain states are states of material brain - Mental states are state of immaterial mind - Brain and mind affect each other in some way o Could pose problems because difficult to determine how material affects immaterial Armstrong Reading - Body and brain governed by physical principles - Brain state determines consciousness and mental states - Identity theory: o Mental states are the same as brain states- involve physical properties o Objection/contradicting thought: sensory perceptions/emotions must be in a different category than workings of central nervous system, so how can they be identical - Guiding question: How is it possible that mental states are physical states of the brain? - Causal theory of mind: o Concept of mental state causes certain things and is the effect of other causes o Ex. Poison: concept of poison defined in causal terms, or by what it does- poison causes organism to get sick or die  Able to scientifically identify poisons- determine what substances are poisonous and why they are considered poisonous  Same with mental states o Mental states: effects of mental states are behaviors, causes of mental states are objects/events in environment  Ex. Desire for food: defined as a brain state/mental state that causes someone to go get food, caused by a lack of food  Doesn’t always cause food-seeking behavior, could be certain barriers to food-seeking/food-consuming  Does causal definition work for all mental states?  Pain: causes avoidance of pain (uses pain in definition) and caused by lots of things (difficult to find unified definition) o Must do it without appealing to pain itself in the definition o Mental states include beliefs, imagination, thoughts, etc.  Armstrong asserts that all of these are caused by external stimuli - Causal theory without identity: o Certain mental states are states that have certain causes and certain effects o Do different states have the ability to produce same effects or be produced by the same causes  Ex. Stress and hunger: stress can cause food-seeking behavior and so can hunger, but caused by different things - Understanding languages: o Can language be defined in causal terms?  Speaking Spanish caused by others speaking Spanish to you and causes contextually correct responses o Just because someone speaks Spanish and you respond correctly doesn’t mean you actually understand the language  Possible that you just know the series of sounds to make in response to another certain series of sounds, but don’t actually know what the sounds mean 10/14/16 - Brain from an objective viewpoint: physical processing of experiences- all bodily processes - Brain from subjective viewpoint: experiences are part of private mental life- emotions and thoughts - Objective and subjective make up consciousness - Easy problems of consciousness: all focused on objective mechanisms o Reaction to stimuli o Integration of information from different sources by brain o Subjects verbalize internal mental states - Hard problem of consciousness: o How physical brain processes cause subjective experiences - Thought experiment: o Mary is leading neuroscience expert on color processing o Spent entire life in black and white room so never experienced color o Knows everything possible about objective physical processes o Mary does not know what it’s like to experience colors  Therefore, there are facts about conscious experience that cannot come from knowing facts about physical brain processes o Supports Chalmer’s view of the difference between easy and hard problems and objective and subjective o Barrier between knowing and experiencing - Explanatory gap: there is a missing bridge of explanation between physical processes and experience o Why do people experience color when have physical processing of certain wavelengths - Fundamental component of consciousness o Cannot be reduced/explained by other things o Physical laws: explain behavior of physical systems o Psychophysical laws: how physical systems are associated with conscious experience o Must just be accepted as fundamental fact that conscious experience happens with certain physical processes  No way to explain why this happens- it just does - Psychophysical laws will not interfere with physical laws o Physical laws as closed system: things that happen in physical world have physical causes o Psychophysical laws bridge experience and underlying physical processes  Closes explanatory gap o Epiphenomenalism: idea that consciousness rides on top of physical processes, doesn’t affect anything in physical world - Potential laws: o Awareness: consciousness can be explained by awareness of self and experiences/memories; awareness can also mean the global availability of information in brain o Information:  Information can be transmitted along pathways in physical world  Information provided by experiences shape consciousness  Learn about different colors by experience  Problem with information: information is everywhere- thermostat has information, but is it conscious?  Response 1: could say that only some information has both physical and conscious aspects  Response 2: could say that all information has conscious component, just to different degrees- thermostat would have basic experiences and people would have complex experiences


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