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Philosophical theories of mind

Tim_Spin
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7/2/2011 1:43:10 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
No one has posted in the philosophy forum for a day and that makes me sad. So I figured I'd start a thread on the different philosophical theories of mind. This thread will be for just discussing different theories(reductive materialism, functionalism, exc.).

Personally, I feel as though I would be more aligned with the type physicalist theory of mind. It's the theory that the mind is physical and that mental events such as thought, emotions, ideas, exc. are all different "types" of physical activities in the brain.

An example I've seen a lot while reading the literature is mental pains. A type physicalist theory of mental pains would say that mental pains are caused by C-fiber firings and all mental pains can be grouped into this type. Now of course I'm pretty new to the philosophy of mind so forgive me if I'm not making any sense.
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Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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7/2/2011 2:11:59 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I'll be the first to admit that I don't really have a super well-developed philosophy of mind (with respect to the basics). I'm probably a non-reductive physicalist and an epiphenomenalist.

As far as theories of self, I subscribe to narrative theories of self a la Velleman (who built on Dennett) and Hofstadter (who sort of framed it differently, but said the same sort of thing--you'll want to read I Am a Strange Loop).
Tiel
Posts: 1,500
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7/2/2011 2:24:05 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
My Philosophy of the Mind: Substance Dualism.

Short explanation: Substance dualism is a type of dualism most famously defended by Descartes, which states that there are two fundamental kinds of substance; mental and material. According to his philosophy, which is specifically called Cartesian dualism, the mental does not have extension in space, and the material cannot think. Substance dualism is important historically for having given rise to much thought regarding the famous mind-body problem. Substance dualism is a philosophical position compatible with most theologies which claim that immortal souls occupy an independent "realm" of existence distinct from that of the physical world.
"Only the inner force of curiosity and wonder about the unknown, or an outer force upon your free will, can brake the shackles of your current perception."
Tim_Spin
Posts: 446
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7/2/2011 5:01:18 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/2/2011 2:24:05 PM, Tiel wrote:
My Philosophy of the Mind: Substance Dualism.

Short explanation: Substance dualism is a type of dualism most famously defended by Descartes, which states that there are two fundamental kinds of substance; mental and material. According to his philosophy, which is specifically called Cartesian dualism, the mental does not have extension in space, and the material cannot think. Substance dualism is important historically for having given rise to much thought regarding the famous mind-body problem. Substance dualism is a philosophical position compatible with most theologies which claim that immortal souls occupy an independent "realm" of existence distinct from that of the physical world.

Why do you believe that mental phenomenon are on a different plane than physical?
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Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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7/2/2011 5:12:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I wouldn't go much further than to cut out dualism with occam's razor. There's so much that's unknown about how brains work that "it's some kind of biological computer" is all I would commit myself to.
Tim_Spin
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7/2/2011 7:10:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/2/2011 5:12:33 PM, Kinesis wrote:
I wouldn't go much further than to cut out dualism with occam's razor. There's so much that's unknown about how brains work that "it's some kind of biological computer" is all I would commit myself to.

Kinesis agnostic as ever,
Astonished, the talent agent asks the man what him and his family call their act.The man responds, "The Aristocrats!"
Cliff.Stamp
Posts: 2,169
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7/2/2011 7:29:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/2/2011 5:12:33 PM, Kinesis wrote:
I wouldn't go much further than to cut out dualism with occam's razor. There's so much that's unknown about how brains work that "it's some kind of biological computer" is all I would commit myself to.

The same can be said about most things. For example why would you not conclude similar about gravity?
Tiel
Posts: 1,500
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7/2/2011 7:34:10 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/2/2011 5:01:18 PM, Tim_Spin wrote:
At 7/2/2011 2:24:05 PM, Tiel wrote:
My Philosophy of the Mind: Substance Dualism.

Short explanation: Substance dualism is a type of dualism most famously defended by Descartes, which states that there are two fundamental kinds of substance; mental and material. According to his philosophy, which is specifically called Cartesian dualism, the mental does not have extension in space, and the material cannot think. Substance dualism is important historically for having given rise to much thought regarding the famous mind-body problem. Substance dualism is a philosophical position compatible with most theologies which claim that immortal souls occupy an independent "realm" of existence distinct from that of the physical world.

Why do you believe that mental phenomenon are on a different plane than physical?

Reply: I don't think that your words are an accurate representation of my beliefs.

Questions: Can you be more specific please? What do you mean by mental phenomena and "plane"? Do you mean consciousness?

Final Thought: I will be happy to elaborate my perspective if you can please make your question more clear.
"Only the inner force of curiosity and wonder about the unknown, or an outer force upon your free will, can brake the shackles of your current perception."
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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7/3/2011 11:18:22 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/2/2011 7:10:53 PM, Tim_Spin wrote:
Kinesis agnostic as ever,

My views are just beginning to become more robust, but there's still so much to learn about everything: the philosophy/science of mind isn't even close to an exception - and it's not like there's any consensus to rely on anyway. On the face of it though, I doubt I'll end up committing to epiphenominalism.

At 7/2/2011 7:29:01 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
The same can be said about most things. For example why would you not conclude similar about gravity?

Agnosticism about the nature of gravity? Hell yes.
Cliff.Stamp
Posts: 2,169
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7/3/2011 11:29:26 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/3/2011 11:18:22 AM, Kinesis wrote:

At 7/2/2011 7:29:01 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
The same can be said about most things. For example why would you not conclude similar about gravity?

Agnosticism about the nature of gravity? Hell yes.

We don't know or it can't be known?
Kinesis
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7/3/2011 11:31:09 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/3/2011 11:29:26 AM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
We don't know or it can't be known?

We don't know. Isn't that what physicists are trying to figure out with the theory of everything?
Kinesis
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7/3/2011 11:36:22 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/2/2011 7:34:10 PM, Tiel wrote:
Reply: I don't think that your words are an accurate representation of my beliefs.

Questions: Can you be more specific please? What do you mean by mental phenomena and "plane"? Do you mean consciousness?

Final Thought: I will be happy to elaborate my perspective if you can please make your question more clear.

I'm pretty sure he's just asking why you think that mental and physical things are distinct - i.e. why you think that mental phenomena (for example, qualitative experiences like the 'redness' of red or the 'roundness' of a circle) are not reducible (explainable in terms of) physical things.
Cliff.Stamp
Posts: 2,169
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7/3/2011 11:42:47 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/3/2011 11:31:09 AM, Kinesis wrote:
At 7/3/2011 11:29:26 AM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
We don't know or it can't be known?

We don't know. Isn't that what physicists are trying to figure out with the theory of everything?

Yes, but they are not agnostic, they all exactly believe they are right and the rest are absolutely wrong, in particular string theorists get attacked fairly brutally at times for not evening being scientists (it is only very weakly falsifiable).

It is like Jesus vs Krishna, but the background stories are less entertaining in general, aside from Feynman whose books and autobiographies are every bit as entertaining to read as the Ramayana, even though he never road a chariot.
belle
Posts: 4,113
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7/3/2011 2:45:12 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/2/2011 2:11:59 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I'll be the first to admit that I don't really have a super well-developed philosophy of mind (with respect to the basics). I'm probably a non-reductive physicalist and an epiphenomenalist.

As far as theories of self, I subscribe to narrative theories of self a la Velleman (who built on Dennett) and Hofstadter (who sort of framed it differently, but said the same sort of thing--you'll want to read I Am a Strange Loop).

http://xkcd.com...

forreals though, i am very strongly drawn to theories such as dennett's which emphasize the constructed nature of the self, but when it comes down to the type physicalism vs functionalism vs biological naturalism vs naturalistic dualism vs whatever i tend to get totally lost in the debate. all the theories are plausable on their face, and all of them have pretty serious flaws. so at this point i think its just a clusterf*ck. i'd rather study neuroscience :P
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
belle
Posts: 4,113
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7/3/2011 2:47:46 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
also note that i am not impugning philosophy of mind as a discipline at all... i am just saying that i find it extremely frustrating in many ways and that neuroscience is almost as interesting without the same level of frustration.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
eball45
Posts: 125
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7/3/2011 3:47:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
A solid argument contending a mind/body dualism comes from the book "Irreducible Mind," an excellent read on this matter.
The argument involves clinical observations of placebo's and stigmatta just to name a couple.
There is reliable inductive evidence (control studies and surgeries) that if given a placebo in place of the medication the patient believes will heal them, then some patients recover in higher numbers than patients given the actual intended medication.
There are none that have been able to locate an origin for thought in the brain, and most agree no one ever will. Hence, the recovery from thought alone must occur outside of the brain.
I believe, using Occam's razor, the simpler explanation would actually be that thought originates outside of the brain, as this gives us a simpler explanation for these types of phenomenon.
Tiel
Posts: 1,500
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7/3/2011 4:49:39 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/3/2011 3:47:01 PM, eball45 wrote:
A solid argument contending a mind/body dualism comes from the book "Irreducible Mind," an excellent read on this matter.
The argument involves clinical observations of placebo's and stigmatta just to name a couple.
There is reliable inductive evidence (control studies and surgeries) that if given a placebo in place of the medication the patient believes will heal them, then some patients recover in higher numbers than patients given the actual intended medication.
There are none that have been able to locate an origin for thought in the brain, and most agree no one ever will. Hence, the recovery from thought alone must occur outside of the brain.
I believe, using Occam's razor, the simpler explanation would actually be that thought originates outside of the brain, as this gives us a simpler explanation for these types of phenomenon.

Reply: Very interesting. Thank you for the knowledge I may gain from that book.
"Only the inner force of curiosity and wonder about the unknown, or an outer force upon your free will, can brake the shackles of your current perception."
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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7/4/2011 6:45:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/2/2011 1:43:10 AM, Tim_Spin wrote:

An example I've seen a lot while reading the literature is mental pains. A type physicalist theory of mental pains would say that mental pains are caused by C-fiber firings and all mental pains can be grouped into this type. Now of course I'm pretty new to the philosophy of mind so forgive me if I'm not making any sense.

Multiple realizability, bro.

At 7/2/2011 2:11:59 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I'll be the first to admit that I don't really have a super well-developed philosophy of mind (with respect to the basics). I'm probably a non-reductive physicalist and an epiphenomenalist.


Yeah, just so you're aware - ephiphenomenalism literally entails that you never do anything for the reasons you think you do. What you are saying is that mental properties/states/events have no causal influence on the physical world. What you are saying is that some mental property like "being in pain" literally has nothing to do with you pulling your hand off of the stove because it can't cause anything. What you are saying is that you think that you wrote that post in order to state your position, but really, that mental state didn't cause you to do it. All of those arguments you think you have for anarchism and moral nihilism? They literally had nothing to do with you being an anarchist or moral nihilist, they are just harmless by-products of physical states of affairs like the shadow of a car as it drives on the highway. On epiphenomenalism, you never do anything for reasons, so all those concerns with being rational should just be thrown out the window. It's hard to even see how could verbally discuss your mental states because they can't cause anything in anything in you (your body) for you to talk about them. Good luck with that.

At 7/2/2011 5:01:18 PM, Tim_Spin wrote:

Why do you believe that mental phenomenon are on a different plane than physical?

Why do you believe they aren't?

At 7/2/2011 5:12:33 PM, Kinesis wrote:
I wouldn't go much further than to cut out dualism with occam's razor. There's so much that's unknown about how brains work that "it's some kind of biological computer" is all I would commit myself to.

If we don't know so much about the brain then why are you committed to something like computationalism? And, Occam's razor predicated on "everything else being equal" - how did you decide that everything else is equal enough for you to cut out dualism? Are you talking about property dualism as well?
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popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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7/4/2011 6:56:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
As for me, currently, I favor William Hasker or Timothy O'Connor type emergent substance dualism.
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popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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7/4/2011 7:15:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/2/2011 2:24:05 PM, Tiel wrote:
My Philosophy of the Mind: Substance Dualism.

Short explanation: Substance dualism is a type of dualism most famously defended by Descartes, which states that there are two fundamental kinds of substance; mental and material. According to his philosophy, which is specifically called Cartesian dualism, the mental does not have extension in space, and the material cannot think. Substance dualism is important historically for having given rise to much thought regarding the famous mind-body problem. Substance dualism is a philosophical position compatible with most theologies which claim that immortal souls occupy an independent "realm" of existence distinct from that of the physical world.

Oooh, do you want to debate me on Cartesian dualism? I'll be Con.
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Tim_Spin
Posts: 446
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7/5/2011 12:55:47 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/2/2011 7:34:10 PM, Tiel wrote:
At 7/2/2011 5:01:18 PM, Tim_Spin wrote:
At 7/2/2011 2:24:05 PM, Tiel wrote:
My Philosophy of the Mind: Substance Dualism.

Short explanation: Substance dualism is a type of dualism most famously defended by Descartes, which states that there are two fundamental kinds of substance; mental and material. According to his philosophy, which is specifically called Cartesian dualism, the mental does not have extension in space, and the material cannot think. Substance dualism is important historically for having given rise to much thought regarding the famous mind-body problem. Substance dualism is a philosophical position compatible with most theologies which claim that immortal souls occupy an independent "realm" of existence distinct from that of the physical world.

Why do you believe that mental phenomenon are on a different plane than physical?

Reply: I don't think that your words are an accurate representation of my beliefs.

Which words? Being on a different plane means being totally opposed in terms of qualitiesm e.g. spiritual, physical. Mental phenomenon would be what is commonly believed to be thoughts, dreams, "soul". Physical is anything that can be reduced to physical properties.
Astonished, the talent agent asks the man what him and his family call their act.The man responds, "The Aristocrats!"
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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7/5/2011 1:25:29 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/4/2011 6:45:40 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
If we don't know so much about the brain then why are you committed to something like computationalism?

I'm not sure what else I could commit to without adding some extra 'mental' stuff. Bear in mind that I'm just using 'some kind of biological computer' to group all physicalist theories of mind. I'm not committing to computationalism specifically.

And, Occam's razor predicated on "everything else being equal" - how did you decide that everything else is equal enough for you to cut out dualism?

I take the 'all else held' equal to be epistemological. As far as I know, there aren't any compelling arguments either for or against a purely physicalist or a dualist theory of mind - i.e. the ones I know of aren't very convincing to me.

Are you talking about property dualism as well?

Eh...I'm not sure. It isn't as obvious to me that property dualism fall foul of occam's razor, but I'm pretty sure substance dualism does.
popculturepooka
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7/6/2011 8:48:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/5/2011 1:25:29 PM, Kinesis wrote:
At 7/4/2011 6:45:40 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
If we don't know so much about the brain then why are you committed to something like computationalism?

I'm not sure what else I could commit to without adding some extra 'mental' stuff. Bear in mind that I'm just using 'some kind of biological computer' to group all physicalist theories of mind. I'm not committing to computationalism specifically.


Okay. I was just a bit "alarmed" because saying you're committed to bring being some type of biological computer implies certain things to me. For instance, a computer works purely through syntactical and formal/deductive processes and I have my doubts about the mind wholly working that way. :P Not all physicalist theories look the mind/brain that way in any case.

And, Occam's razor predicated on "everything else being equal" - how did you decide that everything else is equal enough for you to cut out dualism?

I take the 'all else held' equal to be epistemological. As far as I know, there aren't any compelling arguments either for or against a purely physicalist or a dualist theory of mind - i.e. the ones I know of aren't very convincing to me.


Hmm.... ;)

Are you talking about property dualism as well?

Eh...I'm not sure. It isn't as obvious to me that property dualism fall foul of occam's razor, but I'm pretty sure substance dualism does.

Hmm... ;)
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