161 results found (0.046 seconds)

  • https://www.newdualism.org
    • PDF
    • Suggested

    CrossMark ←click for updates Is the Soul the Form of the Body? John Haldane Abstract. The idea of the soul, though once common in discussions of human nature, is rarely considered in contemporary philosophy. This reflects a general physicalist turn; but besides commitment to various forms of materialism there is the objection that the very idea of the soul is incoherent. The notion of soul con- sidered here is a broadly Aristotelian-Thomistic one according to which it is both the form of a living human being and something subsistent on its own account. Having discussed the conceptual issues of how the soul may be conceived of, and set aside certain neo-Cartesian lines of response to materialism, an argument to the existence of a non-material principle is presented. Certain implications are then explored leading to the conclusion that it is possible for the intellectual soul to survive the death of the body. I. A nyone writing philosophically in the twenty-first century about the soul should feel difficulties arising from the predominance of broadly naturalistic styles of thought. By 'naturalism' I mean sci- entific materialism in its various forms conceived of as a general account of the nature of reality (exempting, perhaps, numbers, possibilia, and other abstract objects). Even in earlier times, however, when belief in spiritual beings was com- mon among educated thinkers, philosophers and theologians often struggled with the idea of the human soul. This was for good reason, for believers in souls have generally wanted to view them as autonomous substantial entities, basic subjects of ontological predication; but the conceptual model for subjects in this sense is that of material objects. Souls in this way of thinking are like objects such as trees except that (a) they have a subjective nature, as centres of thought and perhaps action; and (b) they are immaterial. Someone versed in recent philosophy of mind may immediately take up the question of how something that is an object can also be a subject; but while there may be an issue here, the move is too quick in supposing that 'object' in material object implies being objective in a way that is at odds with also being 2013, American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 87, No. 3 doi: 10.5840/acpq201387334 pp. 481-493 AMERICAN CATHOLIC PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY a subject. At this point one can observe simply that as 'object' was introduced it was not meant to preclude any possibility, and besides it was suggested as being the model for the idea of souls, not asserting that souls are material objects. More likely to be unambiguously problematic is the idea that souls are immaterial. In fact I think that a commonly felt difficulty attends to both (a) and (b), for the first thing that comes to mind in thinking of an object is a more or less clearly bounded material item of the middle-sized dry goods sort. If someone were to say "but remember this is also a subject," one might accept that point but still struggle with the notion of an immaterial thing. Some sense of progress might come with loosening the boundaries, thinking of a forest or a cloud, then of a region, and next perhaps of a field defined in terms of some numerical value(s) holding at all points within it. Clearly, however, all of these are still physical: occupying space and expending or absorbing energy. In that respect a region or field is a sort of spread out material object. 482 So the difficulty of thinking of souls as objects is related to that of thinking of them as immaterial, and being told that they are not objects in any subjectivity- excluding sense does not help, for one is still looking for a model that will allow one to think of immaterial subjects. There is, of course, a contemporary way of introducing the idea of "things" that might seem promising in not being tied to the paradigm of material objects, which is via semantics. Consider the funda- mental categories of entities that might be represented linguistically, these being identified via certain logically distinguishable classes of expressions: properties as the semantic values of one-place predicates, relations as those of multi-place predicates, truth-values as those of well-formed indicative sentences—and for singular terms? Objects. Here the idea of an object is simply that of a potential referent of a proper name, a demonstrative pronoun, or a uniquely-referring definite description; and one can get a sense of what the range of objects could be, therefore, by thinking of the variety of singular terms. The trouble now, however, is that 'object' in this usage is not any kind of sortal; its meaning is given by its logical-cum-semantic character; namely that while properties and relations are incomplete, e.g., 'is red,' 'is larger than,' etc., await semantic bearers, objects are referentially complete in themselves. Whatever its role in seman- tics this says nothing ontologically speaking about the kind of thing that an object is. It is an illusion, therefore, to suppose we have given some definite general sense to thinking about souls by saying that they are the referents of certain true statements. For one thing, this does not tell us that souls exist or even that they can exist, for the term 'soul' may actually or necessarily lack reference. More to the point, however, it really does nothing to advance the effort to understand what souls are or might be. It only distracts from the earlier problem momen- tarily, for if someone asks whether souls might be per se referents of numerical IS THE SOUL THE FORM OF THE BODY? 483 expressions it is pretty clear that we shall immediately reply that numbers are entirely different being abstract and non-actual, whereas souls are like living things, only immaterial. II. Here is where it might seem helpful to turn to the idea that the human soul is the form of the living human body. In Aristotle's famous definition: the soul is the first actuality [state] of a natural body that has life potentially (De Anima 412a15). This makes an intrinsic connection with life indicating that the soul is in one way or another the source of the life of an animate substance, making it to be just that. What gives life can be said to be a principle or source of life and perhaps to be itself alive. Were it not, a regress would ensue, but it is surely contingent that there is more than one principia anima, therefore a principle of life should itself be possessed of that which it provides to another; hence the soul is itself alive though its mode of existing may be non-organic. It might be added, however, that 'alive' applies analogically to a principia anima and to what it animates in as much as the former is the cause of the life of a living thing. On the other hand a principle of life' particularly as this arises from Aristotle's immediately preceding discussion sounds somewhat abstract, so perhaps it is after all possible to say that while souls cannot be likened to numbers, they can be likened to a sort of ordering or structure which is certainly some kind of reality. Aristotle writes that it is natural bodies especially that are thought to be substances, and substances are composites of form and matter: principles of actuality and of potentiality, respectively. So the life of a living thing must be due to its form, hence this form is an animating principle. Just as this cannot be matter (for that is the source of potentiality), nor can it be a body, for a body is a substance and this principle is the form of a substance. This gives us the idea of the kind of thing a soul might be, namely a principle of organization and activity, and a sense in which it is necessarily non-material, as being the counterpart of matter. But does this help get us closer to the original idea that a soul is an im- material subject of thought and action, and nearer to making sense of that idea? Straight off there seems to be an equivocation in the claim that the soul is not material, between (a) Aristotle's abstract sense of its being necessarily a non- substantial compositional complement of matter, and (b) the concrete spiritual sense of its being an immaterial entity. Additionally in the Aristotelian scheme any form is non-material, even that of an inanimate material substance. How, if at all, then, might the gap be narrowed if not closed? It needs to be shown that a form as such can be a kind of existing thing that could be the subject of its own activity, and it needs also to be shown that 484 AMERICAN CATHOLIC PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY among the activities of a human being are some that are not attributable to the living body. Given Aristotelian hylomorphism, every human activity is due to the soul, but clearly not every human activity is immaterial in the relevant sense, so it is yet possible that every activity is exercised wholly and exclusively through the human body. Breathing, digesting, and scratching are due to the soul, but all are entirely bodily, so why suppose that there is anything we do that is not corporeal? Or, to put it another way, why think there is any activity that is attributable to the soul alone as its proper and exclusive agent? Putting the question in the latter form is not intended to exclude the possibility that such activities might also be expressed through bodily activity, as in the case of vocal utterance understood not as a physiological operation but as intrinsically intelligible speech. Many contemporary non-materialists are very taken with sensory con- sciousness as providing proof of the immateriality of mind and therefore, either by definition or by linking argument, that of the soul. I am doubtful about this, however, in part because the phenomenological structure of consciousness seems closely isomorphic with the dynamic structure of the sense-environment complex, which suggests that consciousness may be an organic function. Addi- tionally, the intentional objects of consciousness seem to be empirical particulars (be they extra- or intra-bodily ones), and this suggests that they are related to bodily activities.¹ Related to these points is the general fact that the terms used to describe the operations and contents of consciousness seem to be conceptually connected to spatiality, to receptivity to the impact of the material environment, and to bodily conditions. Thus, states of consciousness may be described as be- ing “bright” or “dark,” “saturated” or “spectral,” “warm” or “cold,” “muffled” or "distinct," "unfocussed” or “clear," as changing "slowly" or "rapidly," as being “exhilarating” or “exhausting,” “releasing” or “confining,” and so on. In writing about intentionality Husserl and Sartre emphasize the exterior orientation of consciousness, but even states that might be thought to have an interior orienta- tion deploy similar language: 'light' or 'gloom,' 'stillness' or 'torment,' 'accretion' or 'separation,' etc. While it might be suggested that this is due to the fact that consciousness as we experience it is embodied, this begs the question why should there not be acquaintance with aspects of pure non-dependent consciousness. In seeking a candidate for this, or with the intent of advancing a further argument, someone might claim that states of consciousness are referred to a unitary and indivisible subject: the self, and that there is no material entity that might be a candidate for this, either the human body as a whole or some special ¹For further discussion of this and related matters, see John Haldane, “Kenny and Aquinas on the Metaphysics of Mind," in Mind, Method, and Morality: Essays in Honour of Anthony Kenny, ed. John Cottingham and Peter Hacker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). 485 part of it. As it happens, however, some who have been impressed by the idea that we are aware of an indivisible unitary subject of consciousness have revived (knowingly or not) the idea proposed by some ancient authors that this might in fact be a thinking atom located somewhere in the brain.² “Atom” here is not the proton-neutron-electron aggregate of contemporary physics but an atom in the original sense of an indivisible material particle. Independently of wondering what might be made of that explanation we should, however, be cautious about the claim that we are acquainted with a unitary subject of consciousness. 'Acquainted' is the operative word here, since the position I am considering is not one which holds this is inferred, inductively or deductively, or grasped by some rational insight, but that it is given to con- sciousness. Set against it is Hume's observation in the Treatise: IS THE SOUL THE FORM OF THE BODY? For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception. ... I never can observe anything but the perception.³ So far as this may be advanced to show that there is no mental subject, it is circumventable in various ways, for example by showing, as Frederick Ferrier sought to do, that the concept of knowledge presupposes a knower as well as a known; or by arguing, as for example does Locke, from an account of minded- ness as essentially involving mental activity to the conclusion that there must be a mental agent. Writing to Bishop Stillingfleet Locke observes: First, we experiment [experience] in ourselves thinking. The idea of this action or mode of thinking is inconsistent with the idea of self-subsistence, and therefore has a necessary connection with a support or subject of inhesion: the idea of that support is what we call substance, and so from thinking experimented in us, we have a proof of a thinking substance in us, which is my sense of spirit.5 2See Roderick Chisholm, “On the Simplicity of the Soul," Philosophical Perspectives 5 (1991): 157-81. ³David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature, ed. L. A. Selby-Bigge (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1958), bk. I, pt. iv, sec. vi. 4See James F. Ferrier, Institutes of Metaphysics (Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1875), sec. I, prop. IX “The Ego Per Se.” The text is reproduced with an introduction in the Hume on Mind and Causality issue of The Journal of Scottish Philosophy 5 (2007): 1–13. 5 'The Works of John Locke, vol. 3 (London: Rivington, 1824), 33. By 'spirit' Locke simply means thinking thing, and while believing it more likely that this is immaterial than that it is material, he remains neutral on the issue.

  • https://www.pdcnet.org
    • Suggested

    This essay draws upon observations made by Elizabeth Anscombe regarding, respectively, the mutual need of scientific theory and philosophical analysis, the manner in which human rationality may show itself as a principle of bodily action, and the fulfilment in the New Testament of the central promise of Hebrew scripture. It examines something of the nature of material organization and the incorporation and subsumption of that into living systems, among which emerges the human, rational form of life. Noting the distinctness of the human soul as a principle of thought, reflection, and free choice, certain aspects of scripture are identified and explored to suggest what Anscombe may, or might well, have had in mind in speaking of a “royal road.”

  • Why You Can't Reverse Engineer Human Beings: The Metaphysics of the Soul

    This talk explores the topic of reverse engineering human beings and the metaphysics of the soul. It traces the historical development of the idea and examines how advancements in AI and neuroscience have blurred the line between human and machine intelligence. The speaker argues that there are philosophical reasons to believe that human beings cannot be truly reverse engineered and that classical philosophers would not find the idea intelligible.

  • https://libertiesjournal.com

    Liberties is a publication of the Liberties Journal Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonpartisan organization based in Washington, D.C. devoted to educating the general public about the history, current trends, and possibilities of culture and politics.

  • https://www.youtube.com
    Importance of the Study of the Soul

    Recorded in 1998. This course provides an introduction to the thought of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas on the topic of human nature. In this course, we will seek to recover one of the most important and most satisfying accounts of human nature in the history of philosophy. In order to underscore the distinctive features of that account and to test its veracity, we will examine texts not only from Aristotle and Aquinas but also from rival philosophers like Descartes, Hobbes, and Kant.

  • http://www.vatican.va
    • faith

    Video Message of the Holy Father to the Fifth International Conference on the theme: Exploring the Mind, Body & Soul. How Innovation and Novel Delivery Systems Improve Human Health [6-8 May, webinar], 8 May 2021

  • http://alexanderpruss.com

    Comments on John Haldane�s �The Soul�   Alexander R. Pruss   [email protected]   ���������� Yea, and amen.� I am inclined to think everything John said is true, when interpreted appropriately.� So what I am going to do is two things.� First, I will critically comment on the third of the arguments for the immateriality of the soul.� Second, I will give a different argument for the immateriality of the soul that at the same time should somewhat clarify what alternative to dualism and materialism that John and I find plausible. ���������� Argument 3.� Premise 3: �No materially instantiated property is universal.�� This is ambiguous.� One could read it as: �No property that has a material instantiation is universal.�� But then this is false.� After all, the instantiation of a property is just something falling under it!� Horseness has a material instantiation, namely Bucephalus, and yet horseness is a universal. ���������� Alternately, one might read it as follows: �No material instantiation of a property is universal.�� But, again, the instantiation of a property is just something that falls under it.� Moreover, every material thing falls under some property.� Thus, on this reading, the premise is true if and only if: �No material thing is universal.�� This, no doubt, is true.� Dogs, tables and photons are not universals.� Though, parenthetically, we might wonder why not? ���������� Does the argument work on this reading?� (1) Thinking is essentially constituted by the exercise of concepts.� (2) Concepts are universal things.� (3a) No material thing is universal.� (4a) Therefore, concepts are immaterial.� (4.5) Hence, thinking is essentially constituted by the exercise of immaterial things. �So far we�ve got a valid argument.� Moreover, premises (2) and (3a) seem quite plausible.� We have two questions now.� First, whether (1) is true.� Second, whether it follows from (4.5) that thinking is non-material. ���������� Note that I�ve replaced Haldane�s �thought� by the less ambiguous �thinking�.� One might, after all, think that �thought� is just a proposition (which one thinks) but then the conclusion wouldn�t be that interesting. ���������� Somewhere in this neighborhood (4) becomes relevant, but I don�t understand (4).� On my reading of �material instantiation�, all I get from (4) is that the occurrence of concepts in thinking cannot involve the material things that fall under them, so that the occurrence of the concept horse does not involve any material horse.� This is a truism, and I don�t see it as helping to get to the final conclusion.� But maybe what I am going to say will be a way of getting around this. ���������� Premise (1) is unclear.� What is the exercise of a concept?� One might think that the exercise of a concept is just the causal effect of a concept�s activity.� Thus, thinking involves the causal impingement of concepts on our minds or something like that.� Now, if this is the account, then the conclusion (4.5) is only that thinking is constituted by the effects of immaterial things on our minds.� But it does not follow that thinking is non-material, since immaterial causes could have material effects�a dualist cannot deny this!� Admittedly it�s sort of strange to think of a concept as having a causal role, but it is not obvious this is absurd.� For instance, Leibniz thinking that concepts were thinkings in the mind of God and were causally efficacious through influencing God�s decisions. ���������� But actually we don�t want to say that thinking is just constituted by the effects of concepts.� The thinking had better represent the concept, and not all effects represent their causes. �The problem here is analogous to the problem of thinking that perception is just constituted by the effects of things upon the senses�not all effects are representative, and as the history of modern philosophy shows, the concept of representation is a deeply suspect one.� Thus, and this is certainly in a medieval spirit, we might just want to say that the mental exercise of a concept just is that concept. �If so, then our argument is that thinking is essentially constituted by concepts, concepts are immaterial, and hence thinking is essentially constituted by immaterial things.� It certainly now follows that thinking is non-material.� But now our conclusion becomes ambiguous.� What does it mean to say that �thinking is non-material�?� This could mean that thinking is not a material substance, some kind of a fluid in the brain perhaps.� But nobody seriously thinks that!� Rather, the materialist thinks that the connection of thinking with material substances is subtler.� Perhaps thinking is a material event. �This could be understood in two ways.� Either thinking is a token or a type of a material event.� If it�s a token, this does not help the materialist: we can take �material� in the argument�s premises widely enough to include material events and surely no material event token is a universal.� Suppose now that thinking is a type of material event.� Now, types are abstract entities.� We�ve got a problem here.� For we think that my mind causes my thinking.� But even if our metaphysical liberality lets us consider abstract entities to be causes, it is really dubious to think of them as caused. Or perhaps the thinking is not an event, but a certain functional arrangement of a material thing, viz. my brain?� But again we can ask: Are we talking of a type or a token?� If a type, then thinking is an abstract entity, and hence I can�t cause it.� So it�s a token.� But what is a token of a functional arrangement?� Is it not just the functionally arranged substance qua functionally arranged?� If so, then we�ve gone back to the already dismissed view that thought is a material thing.� Or is the token of a functional arrangement something like a special kind of trope?� But now we have a problem.� For no trope is a universal, and plausibly no part of a trope is a universal�if it should make any sense at all to talk of �parts� of tropes. So there is indeed a problem, at least on several ways of spelling out the materiality of thought.� No doubt after hearing this, the materialist will just deny the initial premise as I read it: Thinking is not constituted by the occurrence of concepts.� Rather, it is some kind of a presence of concepts that constitutes thinking, but the concepts are not themselves constitutive of thinking.� This view has the advantage that we tend to think of the thinking as a particular and we might think that a particular cannot have universal parts.� Thus, concepts cannot be parts of thinking.� But actually there is nothing that absurd about a particular having universal parts.� Assume mereology.� Consider the mereological sum of redness and the concept of the Empire State Building.� This mereological sum, plausibly, is a particular: at least, it�s not a universal.� The mereological sum of two concepts is not a concept, just as the mereological sum of two humans is not a human.� But yet its parts are universal.� So there need be nothing absurd about the view articulated earlier on which concepts themselves enter into the constitution of thinking. But let�s consider the idea of the presence of concepts.� Concepts are not spatiotemporal entities.� Thus, they�re not present in a straightforward sense.� Nor are they present here by being instantiated.� There is, alas, no chest of gold in me when I think of a chest of gold.� Nor are they merely present causally�we�ve already discussed this.� It seems that they must be present through being in some way represented.� But we all know the troubles that representation theories lead to. Enough of that.� A touchstone of Richard Gale�s philosophical oeuvre is that our ontology should not be bifurcated from what matters for leading our lives.� We do not want to see ourselves as metaphysically such as to undercut what matters to our lives.� Ethics, broadly construed, and metaphysics go together.� This is Richard�s humane pragmatism.� I am now going to sketch an argument for the immateriality of the soul in this humane spirit.� What is particularly interesting about this argument is that it is simultaneously an argument against materialism and against substance dualism.� Thus, it should clarify the Thomistic via media that John Haldane and I are both attracted to. If substance dualism is true, then it is plausible that I just am a mind.� Why?� Well, the alternative is that my mind and body are both parts of me.� But this is implausible given substance dualism.� For openers, I am one thing, not two.� Secondly, surely my mind thinks and surely I think.� But if I am not a mind, then there are two things that think, one of which is a part of me, and they both think the same thoughts. �It is, however, deeply implausible to suppose that a part of me thinks the thoughts I do: then it seems like in me there is another thinker.� It means, too, that should we ever find ourselves in a democracy that involves immaterial beings, I should get two votes, because there are two thinkers here and they both think alike, whereas the immaterial beings get only one.� Furthermore, if I think, I think in virtue of a part of me.� But then thinking is not something that is primarily my activity, but it is primarily the activity of something other than me.� Moreover, if my body were to perish while the soul substance were to continue existing, surely I would survive.� But if my soul substance is but a part of me, then of the two thinkers here, me and my mind, only one would survive, viz. my soul.� Or else two thinkers would end up merging, which also seems weird. In any case, there is a pull, and I think a rational one, towards thinking I am my mind, or stuff physically close to the mind, if dualism is true.� For similar reasons, there is a pull towards thinking that if materialism is true, then I am my brain, or a part of it, or a pattern of activity of it, or in some other way bound up with it.� Surely my brain is capable of thought and actually thinks.� And yet so do I.� Are there two thinkers?� Does a brain a vat deserve exactly half of the voice in a democratic society that I deserve?� If my body, apart from my brain, dies, do the two thinkers merge into one thinker?� Or do I perish?� Surely not: if I were made a brain in a vat, it would be me. In any case, both dualism and materialism pull one towards the view that most of my body is not a part of me.� A psychologist I know uses the word �dualism� to include anybody who thinks of the mind and the body as significantly different.� It does not matter here whether the duality is of ego and body, or brain and rest of body.� Both dualities lead to an unfortunate attitude towards the body, at least below the neck.� Our relation to our bodies is apt to be seen as a relation of one entity to another.� We own our bodies: they are not a part of us.� Yet that is not how we see things.� When a man kisses a woman on the hand, he does not just kiss her hand: he kisses her on the hand.� Rape is not just a property crime.� The battle cry of abortion supporters �This is my body� would be empty of much of its rhetorical force and all of its argumentative force (not that I think it has much) if it were seen as analogous to �This is my house.�� The law considers battery to be a deliberate physical contact with the body of another person who does not desire such a contact�it does not matter whether the contact causes any harm or pain. All of this suggests that our practical attitudes towards ourselves are that our bodies are very closely united to us.� If we think of our personhood as closely tied to mind, and if we think of the body as closely tied to us as persons, then we are going to see this.� In fact, we feel as if we were everywhere in our bodies.� And yet, as the intuitions about materialism and substance dualism suggest, we are primarily in our minds.� All this suggests the following as a metaphysical description of how we would have to be for our attitudes to ourselves to be appropriate: (A) Our minds are present throughout our bodies. But: ���������� (B) No materially constituted object is present throughout our bodies. Therefore: ���������� (C) Our minds are not materially constituted objects. Both the substance dualist and the materialist are unable to do justice to the intuition that we are precisely where we are throughout our bodies. ���������� But what a strange view (A) is.� It may be what our value-laden intuitions require, but it seems bizarre.� Perhaps we should instead go for: ���������� (A*) We are our bodies. But that doesn�t do justice to our intuition that there is some special way in which we are minds.� We are both minds and bodies.� Our minds are not just parts of us.� In one sense, they are who we are.� And yet in another sense we are our bodies.� Moreover, if we just in the most straightforward way are our bodies, then since what we are is persons, then as a person I am diminished when I lose weight. ���������� Is there any view, then, which makes sense of (A)?� I think so.� Consider.� Our bodies are all made of material things.� But we can make a distinction between a material entity, say an electron, as such, and that in virtue of which the material entity has the patterns of behavior that it does.� It was fashionable in the 20th century to say that that in virtue of which the electron has the patterns of behavior it does is the laws of nature.� It used to be fashionable to say that it was the electron�s essence.� But on both views, the parts of our bodies have an identity independent of us or at least our minds: this identity comes from their essences or from the laws.� And then each part of the body considered as just constituted of material things has its own identity independent of our minds.� This is a dualism, and a way of the mind not being present everywhere. ���������� The radical Aristotelian solution is to say that all the patterns of behavior of our parts are due not to the laws of nature or to the essences of the particles making up the parts, but due to our souls.� My soul is that entity which gives all the electrons in my body their identity, their characteristic patterns of behavior.� If you think this is bizarre, note that it does not seem any more bizarre than thinking of global laws of nature in a realist sense.� For it is in virtue of there being such laws, it is said, that all the electrons in the universe behave as they do.� On the Aristotelian solution, the laws are just more local: one thing enforces the laws in my body and another in yours, though as it happens (perhaps by divine providence) these laws are at least roughly the same in type.� Thus, my body parts are in no way independent of my soul or mind.� My soul or mind is that in virtue of which they are constituted as the objects they are and hence it can be reasonably said to be present where they all are.� And hence when I look at Richard, I see Richard, someone with a united mind and body, and not just Richard�s body.

  • https://www.rep.routledge.com

    Share Cite Cite close Loading content We were unable to load the content Print Contents Article Summary 1 Functionalism and the computational theory of mind 2 Mind and meaning 3 Alternatives to functionalism 4 Issues in empirical psychology 5 Philosophy of action Bibliography Overview Mind, philosophy of By Jackson, Frank Rey, Georges DOI 10.4324/9780415249126-V038-1 DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-V038-1 Version: v1,  Published online: 1998 Retrieved June 06, 2023, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/overview/mind-philosophy-of/v-1 Article Summary ‘Philosophy of mind’, and ‘philosophy of psychology’ are two terms for the same general area of philosophical inquiry: the nature of mental phenomena and their connection with behaviour and, in more recent discussions, the brain. Much work in this area reflects a revolution in psychology that began mid-century. Before then, largely in reaction to traditional claims about the mind being non-physical (see Dualism; Descartes), many thought that a scientific psychology should avoid talk of ‘private’ mental states. Investigation of such states had seemed to be based on unreliable introspection (see Introspection, psychology of), not subject to independent checking (see Private language argument), and to invite dubious ideas of telepathy (see Parapsychology). Consequently, psychologists like B.F. Skinner and J.B. Watson, and philosophers like W.V. Quine and Gilbert Ryle argued that scientific psychology should confine itself to studying publicly observable relations between stimuli and responses (see Behaviourism, methodological and scientific; Behaviourism, analytic). However, in the late 1950s, several developments began to change all this: (i) The experiments behaviourists themselves ran on animals tended to refute behaviouristic hypotheses, suggesting that the behaviour of even rats had to be understood in terms of mental states (see Learning; Animal language and thought). (ii) The linguist Noam Chomsky drew attention to the surprising complexity of the natural languages that children effortlessly learn, and proposed ways of explaining this complexity in terms of largely unconscious mental phenomena. (iii) The revolutionary work of Alan Turing (see Turing machines) led to the development of the modern digital computer. This seemed to offer the prospect of creating Artificial intelligence, and also of providing empirically testable models of intelligent processes in both humans and animals. (iv) Philosophers came to appreciate the virtues of realism, as opposed to instrumentalism, about theoretical entities in general. Share Cite Cite close Loading content We were unable to load the content Print Citing this article: Jackson, Frank and Georges Rey. Mind, philosophy of, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-V038-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/overview/mind-philosophy-of/v-1. Copyright © 1998-2023 Routledge. Related Searches Topics Philosophy of mind and psychology Related Articles Akan philosophical psychology By Wiredu, Kwasi Awareness in Indian thought By Phillips, Stephen H. Emotions, nature of By Solomon, Robert C. Imagination By Kind, Amy Jung, Carl Gustav (1875–1961) By Hogenson, George B. Materialism in the philosophy of mind By Robinson, Howard Mind, Indian philosophy of By Laine, Joy Neutral monism By Griffin, Nicholas Nous By Long, A.A. Pleasure By Marshall, Graeme Psychology, theories of By Wetherick, N.E. Secondary qualities By McGinn, Colin Self-deception By Mele, Alfred R. Vygotskii, Lev Semënovich (1896–1934) By Joravsky, David