AQA A2 Detailed notes on new Philosophy Spec.

Complete notes for new exam board on..



Virtue Ethics

Ethical Language 

Applied Ethics.

Substance Dualism

Property Dualism

Materialism (Inc Behaviourism, Type Identity Theory, Functionalism & Eliminative Materialism). 

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01 September 2015 13:03
The mind­body problem: What is the relationship between the mental and the physical?
Dualism: the mind is distinct from the physical
The indivisibility argument for substance dualism (Descartes)
Issues, including:
· the mental is divisible in some sense
· not everything thought of as physical is divisible.
The conceivability argument for substance dualism: the logical possibility of mental substance
existing without the physical (Descartes).
Issues, including:
· mind without body is not conceivable
· what is conceivable may not be possible
· what is logically possible tells us nothing about reality.
The issues of causal interaction for versions of dualism:
· the problems facing interactionist dualism, including conceptual and empirical causation issues
· the problems facing epiphenomenalist dualism, including the causal redundancy of the mental,
the argument from introspection and issues relating to free will and responsibility.
The problem of other minds for dualism:
· some forms of dualism make it impossible to know other minds
· threat of solipsism.
· Response: the argument from analogy (eg Mill).
Philosophy of Mind - Dualism Page 1

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07 September 2015 19:22
What is the Mind ?
How does it relate to the Body ?
What is the relationship between the mental and the physical ?
Substance is an entity with ontological independence, it doesn't not depend upon another entity
for its continued existence.
Dualism - The mind is distinct from the physical. there are two kinds of substance, mental and
physical. The mind's existence does not depend upon the body's.…read more

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Talking about the mind is just talking about the body's
ability to do certain things, if you use the example of a smile - we all know and understand the
concept of a smile, however, it isn't something that is directly part of the physical make up of the
body. This therefore doesn't a smile has it's own sort of external existence and it relates with the
body in some way, talk of a smile is simply talk of the body's ability to smile.…read more

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Descartes Substance Dualism
01 September 2015 16:14
Descartes Dualism in short.
Descartes began from his cogito argument of doubting everything but his ability to doubt which helped
him establish the existence of his mind. He then follows on from Leibniz's law of indiscernibles 'if two
things are exactly identical then they must be the same thing, and if they don't they must be separate".…read more

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Indivisibility Argument
01 September 2015 16:14
In the sixth mediation, Descartes begins by differentiating between his conceptions of imagination
and understanding. Imagination is not a property of 'I' or the thinking being as he can think of 'I'
existing without imagination. He has the faculty of imagination but believes it depends on something
other than himself.
· When he understands he reflects on ideas in his mind (introspection)
· When he imagines he's required to look outside of himself.…read more

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Conceivability Argument
01 September 2015 16:15
The Conceivability Argument
1. I have a clear and distinct idea of myself as something that thinks and isn't extended
2. I have a clear and distinct idea of body as something that is extended and does not think
3. If I have a clear and distinct though of something, God can create it in a way that corresponds
to my thought
4.…read more

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Criticisms of Substance Dualism Summary
08 October 2015 18:15
Descartes Substance Dualism Critiques
1. What is conceivable isn't necessarily possible ; masked man fallacy
2. Descartes does not clearly explain the relationship between the mind and body
3. Materialism is also logically possible and therefore also can be true, Descartes doesn't
provide strong enough evidence to show that it isn't
4. 'I think therefore I am' doesn't prove the existence of a continued 'I' (counter; Leibniz's theory
of apperception)
5.…read more

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The empirical evidence is not against dualism, or for dualism.
Perhaps they are incompatible.
Epiphenomenalist Dualism
We could accept that the objections above show that mental causation is impossible. But this
doesn't undermine substance dualism if we accept epiphenomenalism, the view that the mind has
no causal powers. (An `epiphenomenon' is a by-product, something that is an effect of some
process, but with no causal influence.) On this view, the mind does not cause any physical events.…read more

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The argument from analogy claims that we can use the behaviour of other people to infer that they
have minds too. It was first presented by John Stuart Mill. (The first form is often attributed to Mill,
but the second form is a better interpretation.)
1. I have a mind.
2. I know from experience that my mental states cause my behaviour.
3. Other people have bodies similar to mine and behave similarly to me in similar situations.
4.…read more

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So we have to attribute mental properties to something that
also has physical properties. Mental and physical properties have to be attributed to the same thing
for us to attribute mental characteristics to anything at all. This threatens the claim that the mind is
a separate substance from the body.
4. It raises a challenge to the substance dualist's concept of mind. We don't know what a mind is
unless we already know what a person ­ an `embodied mind' ­ is.…read more


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