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  1. MIND April 30, 2011 Phil 233

  2. Central Question • A chief feature of the mind is consciousness. • And a central philosophical question concerning the mind concerns consciousness in a scientific context: how are physical processes in the brain related to consciousness? The world can be explained in terms of atoms, forces, waves etc. Where does consciousness fit in? • Today’s lecture will provide a sketchy survey of the main accounts of consciounesss

  3. What is consciousness? • Examples • The problem: there is something essentially subjective about conscious mental states. So how can an objective, scientific story of brain processes give a satisfactory account of them? • To understand this fully, it is important to get clear on the subjective/objective distinction. Nagel’s “What is it like to be a bat?”

  4. Accounts of the Mind • Dualism: is the view that there are two kinds of substance in the world, non-physical soul or mind and matter. Prior to the 20th century, it was taken for granted that reality consists of minds separate from the material realm. For example,Rene Descartes ( 1596- 1650) was a proponent of this view.

  5. The main problem for substance dualism concerns the interaction between the two substances. Physical events cause mental effects and mental causes can produce physical effects. How do such different substances interact given causal completeness? Descartes had a response to it but it wasn’t satisfactory.

  6. Idealism • George Berkeley (1685 – 1753) A very different account of the relation between mind and body. • All mental experiences are just as they are but there are no external world objects responsible for bringing them about. • Reality is nothing except mental experiences.

  7. Idealist slogan: “To be is to be perceived.” • Problem about mind-matter interaction is thus dissolved since there IS no external matter to interact with. • Instead, reality is built out of consiouness.

  8. Materialism • Mind-Brain Identity theory: mental processes and states are identical to brain states and processes. • Identity theory does NOT deny that there are conscious mental states but claims that they are no different from brain states. Analogy: (say) temperature = mean kinetic energy.

  9. Problems for M-D Identity theory • Kripke’s challenge from the possibility of zombies. • Frank Jackson’s thought-experiment involving Mary.