What's Wrong with the Philosophy of Mind?
Searle (John)
Source: Searle - The Rediscovery of the Mind, 1992, Chapter 1
Paper - Abstract

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Sections / TT Summary

  1. The Solution to the Mind-Body Problem and Why Many Prefer the Problem to the Solution
  2. Six Unlikely Theories of Mind
    • 1. Eliminative Materialism1
    • 2. Complete Rejection of Folk Psychology
    • 3. There is nothing specifically mental about the so-called mental states
    • 4. Strong Artificial Intelligence2 or Computer Functionalism
    • 5. The use of commonsense mental vocabulary is just adopting an “intentional stance” towards a system.
    • 6. Phenomenal consciousness does not exist
  3. The Foundations of Modern Materialism3
    • 1. Consciousness is unimportant in the scientific study of the mind, which can proceed as if there were no such thing.
    • 2. Science is objective … because reality is objective.
    • 3. Cognitive science therefore has to be studied from a third-person, behaviourist perspective.
    • 4. The only way we can know whether a system has mental properties is by its behaviour.
    • 5. Intelligent behaviour and causal relations to intelligent behaviour are in some way the essence of the mental.
    • 6. Because all reality is physical, all reality is in principle knowable by us.
    • 7. The only things that exist are physical - as the physical is traditionally conceived - ie. as opposed to the mental.
  4. Historical Origins of the Foundations
    • The terror of Cartesian Dualism
    • The inheritance of a constraining vocabulary of apparent opposites: ‘physical’ vs ‘mental’; …; ‘matter’ vs ‘spirit’; …; ‘materialism’4 vs ‘immaterialism’.
    • The persistent objectifying tendency in modern science, philosophy, life, …; third person.
    • We aren’t content with humble and obvious truths about the mind; we want something deeper.
  5. Undermining the Foundations
    • Consciousness does matter
    • Not all of reality is objective; some of it is subjective
    • Because it is a mistake to suppose that the ontology of the mental is objective, it is a mistake to suppose that the methodology of a science of the mind must concern itself only with objectively observable behaviour
    • It is a mistake to suppose that we know of the existence of mental phenomena in others only by observing their behaviour
    • Behaviour or causal relations to behaviour are not essential to the existence of mental phenomena
    • It is inconsistent with what we in fact know about the universe and our place in it to suppose that everything is knowable by us

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  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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