Philosophy of Mind

What is The Assumption? (Bilgrami, 1992)
The tendency to assume that our mental terms get their meanings from us relating them to our own experiences
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What did Clark (1986) show?
That people who suffer from panic attacks often experience their emotion as a heart attack
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Do we know our own mental states in a similar way to how we know the mental states of others?
No - Malcolm (1964), you do not know that you have a headache by noticing that you are holding your head
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What does Wisdom (1964) think we can know about another person's mental state?
The 'symptoms' of that mental state
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What does Austin (1946) call these 'symptoms'?
Expressions of that mental state
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What does Scheler (1954) say about these symptoms?
We treat their bodies as a field of expression for their experiences
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What is inference to the best explanation?
The idea that it is rational to believe the hypothesis that provides the best available explanation of a particular phenomenon at a given time
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What does Pargetter (1984) say?
Other explanations for other's behaviour are implausible
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Why does Melnyk (1994) object to inference to the best explanation?
He thinks that behavioural evidence is insufficient for belief in other minds without the additional reference to what one knows in one's own case
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What are the two distinctive features of self-knowledge according to Boyle (2009)?
1) Immediacy (one is able to know about her own mental states without the same kind of evidence one would need to know about another's mental state. 2) Authority (not normally wrong about our own mental states and normally know most about our mind
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What is agentialism about self-knowledge?
The view that in centrally significant cases, knowledge of one's own attitudes is epistemically based in an entailment that derives from one's rational agency relative to one's attitudes that is irreducible to empirical justification or warrant
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Does agentialism apply to all self-knowledge?
No - doesn't apply to knowledge of bodily sensations, appetites and 'recalcitrant attitudes' (Boyle, 2009)
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What is the important kind of self-knowledge according to agentialists?
Knowledge of these active states of normative commitment is distinctive because when one believes on the basis of reasons, these attitudes are more profoundly one's own than states (like itches) that merely occur to one
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What is Burge's (1996) first premise in his argument for agentialism about self-knowledge?
Our rational agency gives us certain obligations with regards to our beliefs. We are obligated to try to satisfy certain rational norms.
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What is Burge's second premise and conclusion?
In order to satisfy these rational norms, we must rely on judgements as to which beliefs we have. So, our responsibility to satisfy rational norms epistemically entitles us to those judgements about our attitudes, crucial for satisfying these norms
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What is the empirical theory of self-knowledge?
The idea that self-knowledge stems from empirical justification
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What does Armstrong (1968) believe?
He is an inner sense theorist and thinks that self-knowledge involves a self-scanning process that takes mental states as input and representations of these states as output
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What are the benefits of the empirical theory?
By assimilating introspection to perception, inner sense accounts construe mentality as epistemically continuous with the non-mental and thus allow a single, overarching epistemology to apply to both self-knowledge and knowledge of the external world
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What is Shoemaker's (1994) criticism of empirical theory?
Self-blindness argument - self-knowledge is not a contingent feature of rational creatures like sight, therefore rational creatures must be capable of self knowledge and self-knowledge is fundamentally different to other kinds of perception
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What is physicalism?
The view that everything is physical or supervenes on the physical
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What makes a property physical?
A property is physical iff it is the sort of property that physical theory tells us about or supervenes on the sort of property that physics tells us about
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According to Crane (2001), what two principles does a physicalist believe in?
1) The generality of physics and 2) the causal closure of the physical
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What is the generality of physics?
The idea that all objects and events in space-time have physical properties and the laws of physics govern or describe the behaviour of all objects and events in space-time
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What is the causal closure of the physical?
The idea that every physical event has a physical cause that is enough to bring it about
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Why is mental causation thought to be a problem for the physicalist?
Mental phenomena have an effect on the physical world which seems to contradict the causal closure of the physical
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Why is rejecting the causal closure of the physical problematic?
Argument from methodological naturalism: it is rational to be guided in one's metaphysical commitments by the methods of natural science; science thinks that the physical is caus
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What is type identity theory?
The view that mental causes are identical with physical causes; mental states are just brain states
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What is Papineau's (2009) criticism of identity theory?
Seems strange to think that thinking about the square root of two is identical to some physical brain state
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What is Putnam's (1967) objection to identity theory?
Doesn't accommodate multiple realisation. Identity theory says that any two creatures in the same mental state must also have their physical states in common. Seems unlikely that all sentient creatures will have their physical states in common
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What does it mean for the physical to metaphysically necessitate the mental?
One property F necessitates another property G, just in case, necessarily, if F is instantiated, G must be instantiated
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How does this solve the problem?
Allows mental and physical causes to act in harmony and since it is a necessary relation, does not allow the mental to 'float free' of the physical
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What is Crane's (2001) criticism?
He questions how there can be a necessity relation between two distinct phenomena. We know why identity is a necessary relation but not sure how dependencies could be necessary relations. Also, rules out Zombies
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What is the hard problem of consciousness?
Explaining the relationship between physical phenomena and experience: how and why do physical processes give rise to experience?
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What is Crane's (2001) response to the knowledge argument?
Some new pieces of knowledge require one to have a certain position in the world but this is compatible with every object and property involved being physical
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What is Lewis' (1983) response to the knowledge argument?
Ability Hypothesis - Mary does not acquire any new propositional knowledge but only a bundle of abilities (like ability to imagine, recognise)
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What is the first premise of Shoemaker's (1975) argument against absent qualia argument?
P1. If cases of absent qualia are possible, then I can't know if my own mental states have qualia or not
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What is the second premise and the conclusion of Shoemaker's (1975) argument against absent qualia?
P2. I am in a position to know that my sensory experiences have qualia. C. Cases of absent qualia are not possible
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What is the physicalist response to the hard problem?
Once one has explained all the various cognitive, behavioural functions, then one will have fully explained consciousness (Dennett, 1991 - vitalist analogy)
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What is the dualist response to the hard problem?
There are ontologically fundamental features of the universe over and above those characterised by physical theory. Solves problem of consciousness - experience is caused by fundamental phenomenal properties distinct from physical properties
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What are some criticisms of the dualist theory?
Leads to rejection of causal closure of the physical; Churchland (1984): Argument from evolutionary history: The standard evolutionary story is that the human species and all its features are the wholly physical outcome of a wholly physical process
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What is the panpsychist response?
Consciousness is constituted by the intrinsic properties of fundamental physical entities; some kinds of micro-level entities have mentality
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What is the combination problem?
James (1890): How can a large number of individual microphysical entities, each with their own phenomenal properties make up our unified human consciousness?
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What is functionalism?
Functionalist theories take the identity of a mental state to be determined by its causal relations to sensory stimulations, other mental states and behaviour
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Why is functionalism an improvement on behaviourism?
No mental state by itself can plausibly be assumed to give rise to any particular behaviour unless one also assumes that the subject possesses additional mental states of various types (Anne). Functionalism accounts for causal roles of mental states
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Why is functionalism an improvement on identity theory?
Functionalism is supported by multiple realisability of mental states whereas type identity is incompatible with it (Putnam, 1967)
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What is Block's (1978) homunculi head objection?
Tiny men act in the same way as neurons in the homunculi head. According to functionalism, the head would be able to realise the same mental states as you. Seems that functionalism falls prey to liberalism
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What is the absent qualia objection to functionalism?
Functionalism cannot account for qualia. Someone could be functional identical to me but not have any qualia
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What is Searle's (1980) Chinese Room objection?
Person who only speaks English in a room with Chinese characters in baskets and a rule book in English for moving the symbols around. It would be absurd to say that the person in room knows Chinese simply based on these syntactic processes
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What is the Systems Reply?
Dennett (1991): the man inside the room doesn't know Chinese but the man is just a park of a larger system. The system as a whole understands Chinese
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How can functionalism fall prey to chauvinism?
For pain, if the relevant input is tissue damage and the output is saying ow then this restricts what organisms can feel but. But, if anything that is functionally isomorphic to minded creature has a mind then could fall prey to liberalism
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What is the James-Lange theory of emotion?
James (1884): our feeling of bodily changes as they occur is the emotion
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Name some empirical evidence that supports the feeling theory
Levenson et al (1990): there are measurable changes in the autonomic response when emotions occur. Damasio et al (2000): neuroimaging studies show that brain areas associated with the body are active when people experience emotion
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What is Taylor's (1975) criticism of the feeling theory?
It doesn't yield insight into emotion's role in our life as rational thinkers. If emotions were merely feelings, it would be difficult to explain how they can be justified in light of reasons unlike other sensory experiences
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What is propositional attitude theory of emotion?
Emotions are attitudes to propositions. Kenny (1963): emotions are cognitive evaluations of some kind
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What is a response from a judegmentalist to the claim that judgementalism cannot account for the phenomenology of emotion?
What distinguishes emotions from cool judgements is that thinking about danger in an emotional way captures my attention and leads me to focus perseveratively on certain features of my situation.
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What is a criticism of this attention reply to the criticism?
It is possible to have an attention-demanding series of thoughts without having an emotion e.g. woman not in love example
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Why might critics think that cognition is not necessary for emotion?
Emotions can arise without any thoughts, conceptualisations or judgements e.g. trip and feel surprise. Deigh (1994): animals and infants seem to experience emotion but lack capacity of assenting to propositions
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Card 2


What did Clark (1986) show?


That people who suffer from panic attacks often experience their emotion as a heart attack

Card 3


Do we know our own mental states in a similar way to how we know the mental states of others?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What does Wisdom (1964) think we can know about another person's mental state?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What does Austin (1946) call these 'symptoms'?


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