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Summer 2011 Wednesday, 07/06. Mental vs. Physical Items Write down 3 examples of mental items (anything that you consider to be a part of the mind) and.

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Presentation on theme: "Summer 2011 Wednesday, 07/06. Mental vs. Physical Items Write down 3 examples of mental items (anything that you consider to be a part of the mind) and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Summer 2011 Wednesday, 07/06

2 Mental vs. Physical Items Write down 3 examples of mental items (anything that you consider to be a part of the mind) and 3 examples of physical items (anything that you consider to be a part of the physical world).

3 Mental vs. Physical Items Some distinctions: Types vs. Tokens. Overall Mental State (of an Individual) vs. Specific Mental States. Dispositional States, Qualitative States, Propositional Attitudes.

4 What is Behavior? Whatever people or organisms do that is publicly observable.

5 Examples of Behavior 1. Physiological Reactions and Responses, e.g. drooling, sweating, coughing, increase in pulse rate, rising blood pressure. 2. Bodily Movements, e.g. walking, running, raising a hand, opening a door, throwing a baseball, a cat scratching at the door, a rat turning left in a T-maze.

6 1. Actions involving bodily motions, e.g. greeting a friend, writing an , going shopping, writing a check, attending a concert. 1. Mental acts, e.g. judging, reasoning, guessing, calculating, deciding, intending. These actions don’t count as behavior because they involve “inner” events that are not publicly observable. (Still, these actions may have behavioral interpretations.) Actions that don’t count as Behavior

7 Scientific Behaviorism The only way to study the mind is indirectly: by studying behavior. Psychology = Behavioral Science. Two restrictions: (1) on data, (2) on terms appealed to in explanation. Reaction against introspective psychology. One (famous) cause for the downfall of introspective psychology: “imageless thought” controversy.

8 Philosophical Behaviorism The view that behavior is constitutive of mentality (rather than just a sign or indication that a mind is present). Having a mind just is a matter of exhibiting, or having a propensity or capacity to exhibit, appropriate patterns of behavior. This is the view we’ll focus on here (I’ll refer to it simply as Behaviorism).

9 1. Logical Behaviorism: All talk about mental events is translatable into talk about actual or potential overt behavior. When we talk about mental states, we mean (or “have in mind”) patterns of behavior. Two Behaviorist Theses

10 2.Ontological Behaviorism: Mental states are (necessarily) identical to behavioral states. Though the exact relationship between 1 and 2 is complex, we can think of Behaviorism as the conjunction of these two claims.

11 Arguments for Behaviorism 1. The (Cartesian) dualist thinks of the mind as a soul: a ghostly engine, animating the body. But it’s mysterious how this ghostly engine can causally affect the body. Behaviorism is a materialist theory. So there is no mystery of how to account for mental causation.

12 Arguments for Behaviorism 2. We think we know a lot about other people’s mental lives. The dualist has trouble explaining how this could be (e.g. “Beetle-in- the-box” case). But the behaviorist can explain it more easily: To know what other people are thinking or feeling, you just have to figure out how they are disposed to behave.

13 Arguments against Behaviorism Last time we briefly looked at two arguments: 1.Infinity. 2.Circularity. But there are others…

14 Arguments against Behaviorism 3. The Behaviorist can explain how we know other people’s mental states. But he tells us the wrong story about how we know our own mental states. E.g. we don’t need to observe our behavior to know that we (ourselves) are in pain or having a “reddish” visual experience.

15 Arguments against Behaviorism 4.Putnam’s Super-Spartans. Feel pain but don’t exhibit pain-behavior. If Super-Spartans are possible, then it is possible to have pain without pain-behavior. So pain-behavior ≠ pain. But: Super-Spartans still say that they are in pain and such reports may count as behavior.

16 Arguments against Behaviorism 5.Putnam’s X-Worlders: Super-Spartans that never even report that they are in pain (though they may still think that they are in pain). Q: Can’t the Behaviorist account for Putnam’s cases in the same way that she accounts for certain cases of paralysis?

17 Arguments against Behaviorism 6.We normally think of our mental states as causing behavior (and patterns of behavior). But given that something cannot cause itself, the behaviorist is not in a position to accommodate this intuition.

18 For Tomorrow We’ll talk about the Mind-Brain Identity Theory. Read Place’s Article “Is Consciousness a Brain Process” (in the Blue Book).


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