The Mind, the Brain and the Face
Cockburn (David)
Source: Philosophy, Vol. 60, No. 234 (Oct., 1985), pp. 477-493
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. 'Only of a living human being and what resembles (behaves like) a living human being can one say: it has sensations; it sees; is blind; hears, is deaf; is conscious or unconscious.' (L. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, Section 281.)
  2. 'The human body is the best picture of the human soul.'
  3. Anyone who believes that Wittgenstein's remarks here embody important truths has quite a bit of explaining to do. What needs to be explained is why it is that enormous numbers of people, people who have never had the chance to be corrupted by reading Descartes or Dennett, are willing, with only the slightest prompting, to speak in ways which appear to conflict dramatically with Wittgenstein's thought.
  4. Many people appear to find no difficulty at all in the idea that we could ascribe thoughts, sensations, emotions and so on to things which in no way resemble or behave like a living human being – for example to disembodied1 'minds' or 'souls' or disembodied brains floating in tanks. And with a little more pressing many will agree that it is never to the living human being that these states are, strictly speaking, correctly ascribed; but, rather, to one part of the living human being – the brain, for example.
  5. Now if this incredibly widespread tendency is the expression of confusion then we need an explanation of its existence. We need this partly because without it it will be difficult to undermine the tendency; and partly because we might expect that such a widespread tendency is a distortion of some truth.

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