Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind
Crane (Tim)
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
Colour-ConventionsDisclaimerBooks / Papers Citing this BookNotes Citing this Book

Authors Citing this Book: Crane (Tim)


BOOK ABSTRACT:

Back Cover Blurb

  1. What are mental phenomena? What do all mental things have in common? In answering questions such as these, this book introduces and explores the main problems and current debates in contemporary philosophy of mind.
  2. The central theme is that intentionality, or the mind's direction upon its objects - sometimes described as the mind's power to represent or be 'about' things - is the essential feature of all mental phenomena. Tim Crane opposes those currently popular conceptions of the mind which divide mental phenomena into two very different kinds - the intentional and the qualitative - proposing instead a unified theory of all the phenomena of mind. He gives a lucid account of the central debates about the mind-body problem, the problem of consciousness, the problem of perception, and the problem of intentionality itself.
  3. This book provides a fresh and engaging introduction to the philosophy of mind for all students of the subject.
  4. Tim Crane (then was) Reader in Philosophy at University College London, and Director of the Philosophy Programme at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Preface (Full Text, truncated)
  1. In this book I attempt to give an account of what I see to be the main problems of the philosophy of mind: the mind-body problem, the problem of intentionality (or mental representation), the problem of consciousness, and the problem of perception. I also attempt to give solutions to these problems. I do not, of course, pretend that these solutions are without problems of their own but it seems to me that a book with an opinionated approach to philosophical problems tends to be more interesting than a bland survey. Nor do I pretend, when talking about 'the' main problems of philosophy of mind, that these are the only problems, or that there is only one 'mind-body problem' or "problem of consciousness'. On the contrary, in my discussion of these problems I will often distinguish a number of things falling under these names, although some of them I do not discuss in any detail. Nonetheless, it seems to me that the traditional names for the problems provide, so to speak, the coordinates of a useful map of this field of study, and it is thus that I intend to use them.
  2. The central theme of the book is that intentionality, the mind's direction upon its objects, sometimes called the mind's power to represent or be "about' things, is the essential feature of all mental phenomena. This is Brentano's thesis, named in honour of Franz Brentano, the German philosopher and founder of the phenomenological movement. Although I take the name and the inspiration for the thesis from Brentano, the book is not in any sense a book about Brentano or the movement he founded, nor does it defend the thesis in the sense in which he meant it. I explain what I mean by intentionality in Chapter 1, and I give accounts of the intentionality of consciousness, thought, and perception in Chapters 3, 4, and 5. Chapter 2 takes up a subsidiary theme: the mind-body problem, and the extent to which a physicalist reductive account of mental phenomena is possible, or even necessary. One conclusion of Chapter 2 is that much of what is interesting about the mind is left open when the question of physicalism is settled. At its simplest, the point can be put like this:
    • Suppose physicalism is true, and mental properties are identical to physical properties. We still need to know which physical properties these are, what are the general characteristics of these properties, how we know about them, and so on.
    • Alternatively, suppose the sort of 'emergentism' I favour is true: mental properties are causally efficacious 'emergent' properties of human beings and other creatures. We still need to know which emergent properties these are, what are the general characteristics of these properties, and how we know about them.
  3. In general, my attitude to physicalism as an overall metaphysical thesis is a sceptical one; and I have a similar attitude towards physicalist explanations of consciousness and intentionality. I do not say that there is anything in principle wrong with the idea of a reductive explanation of mental phenomena; indeed, in Chapter 2, I argue that we should welcome such reduction when we can find it. But the accounts of consciousness and intentionality that have been offered in recent years have failed to command general agreement, and features of the accounts suggest that attention may be better spent looking elsewhere. What we need, I believe, is an understanding of the issues which is neutral on the question of reduction, in the sense that it explores the questions about these aspects of the mind without assuming that a reduction will or will not succeed. This assumes that such an understanding can be achieved, that there is more to the philosophy of mind than sketching reductive projects. I believe this, and I also think that some traditional questions in the philosophy of mind have been neglected through an over-concentration on the question of reduction. Here I have some sympathy with Hilary Putnam's complaint that 'the idea that science leaves no room for an independent philosophical enterprise has reached the point at which leading practitioners sometimes suggest that all that is left for philosophy is to try to anticipate what the presumed scientific solutions to all metaphysical problems will eventually look like' (Renewing Philosophy, p. x). The kind of project described here by Putnam is not one discussed in much detail in this book. I do discuss aspects of the reductive projects in my earlier introductory book, The Mechanical Mind. (The present book also corrects inadequacies in the description of intentionality given in that book.) Another thing missing from this book is anything by way of detailed discussion of many of the different varieties of physicalist and functionalist theories of mind. I recognize that there is much more to say about these matters than I say here; readers new to the philosophy of mind who are interested in functionalism and the varieties of physicalism may wish to consult "Kim (Jaegwon) - Philosophy of Mind", or "Braddon-Mitchell (David) & Jackson (Frank) - Philosophy of Mind and Cognition", each of which gives an excellent account of these matters.
  4. The idea for this book goes back to 1993, when Frank Jackson invited me to write "Crane (Tim) - Intentionality", the entry on intentionality for the new Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (under the general editorship of Edward Craig). While writing this piece, I became persuaded that many contemporary discussions of intentionality were incomplete or misguided in certain ways, and that Brentano's thesis was the way to repair the damage. Though he may not agree with what emerged, I am very grateful to Frank for setting me on this track.

BOOK COMMENT:

Oxford University Press, 2001



"Crane (Tim) - Mind"

Source: Crane - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, 2001, Chapter 1
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Sections
  1. Philosophy Of Mind And The Study Of Mental Phenomena – 1
  2. Perspectives And Points Of View – 4
  3. Perspectives And Their Objects – 6
  4. The Origin Of The Concepts Of Intentionality And Intension – 8
  5. Directedness And Intentional Objects – 13
  6. Aspectual Shape And Intentional Content – 18
  7. The Problem Of Intentionality – 22
  8. The Structure Of Intentionality – 28

Section Summaries
  1. Note2 – Philosophy of mind and the study of mental phenomena: We have a scientific view of ourselves and a non-scientific view; philosophy has preoccupied itself with the question of if (and how) these views are compatible; but there is a prior question: what is the content of the non-scientific view we have of ourselves?
  2. Note3 – Perspectives and points of view: The idea that having a mind is having a perspective on things, or on the world, introduced; the distinction between those creatures with a perspective and those without is vague, but it matches the vagueness in the concept of a mind.
  3. Note4 – Perspectives and their objects: Two features of a perspective introduced: objects are presented within perspectives, and perspectives are partial, they let in some things and leave out others. These correspond to the two defining features of intentionality: 'directedness' and 'aspectual shape'.
  4. Note5 – The origin of the concepts of intentionality and intension: The origin of the term 'intentionality' explained; intentionality as a mental feature should be distinguished from the logical feature, intensionality; the connection and difference between these ideas explained.
  5. Note6 – Directedness and intentional objects: All intentional phenomena have two essential features: directedness upon an object and aspectual shape; the idea of an intentional object introduced; intentional objects are not a kind of thing; an intentional object is what is thought about.
  6. Note7 – Aspectual shape and intentional content: Aspectual shape is the way in which something is apprehended in an intentional state or act; connections and differences are described between the idea of aspectual shape and Frege's idea of sense; for a state to have intentional content is for it to have an intentional object and a certain aspectual shape.
  7. Note8 – The problem of intentionality: Various things are called the problem of intentionality: the problem discussed here is the problem of how intentional states can concern things that do not exist; the best solution is to deny that intentional states are relations to genuinely existing objects; internalism and externalism introduced.
  8. Note9 – The structure of intentionality: All intentional states have intentional objects (something they are about) but they are not relations to these objects; rather, intentional states are relations to intentional contents; intentional contents need not be propositional; intentional modes introduced; the relational structure of an intentional state is subject—mode—content.


COMMENT: For a précis and analysis of the whole Book, see this Note10.

Write-up11 (as at 12/02/2015 16:48:00): Crane - Philosophy of Mind and the Study of Mental Phenomena

This is a review of Section 1 of "Crane (Tim) - Mind", from "Crane (Tim) - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind".

Crane’s Abstract
    We have a scientific view of ourselves and a non-scientific view; philosophy has preoccupied itself with the question of if (and how) these views are compatible; but there is a prior question: what is the content of the non-scientific view we have of ourselves?

My Notes
  • We have a view of ourselves which is not strictly scientific, and which includes concepts of mental phenomena, maybe vague and confused but common to all societies. We view ourselves as conscious, rational beings with a perspective on the world, and with needs, commitments, emotions and values.
  • By denying that this knowledge is scientific, all Crane means is that it is not specialist knowledge, but something we all learn as we mature in society. Some philosophers refer to this body of knowledge as Folk Psychology, a term with pejorative connotations Crane dislikes and will therefore avoid, though the referent of the term exists.
  • We also have a truly scientific understanding of our place in the world, which requires specialist knowledge that’s not common to all societies, though most of its assertions are. Crane’s list of scientific factors relates to our biological instantiation and evolutionary history, but with no specific mention of neuroscience (or of physics).
  • What’s the relation between these two ways of thinking? To what extent is what we think we know about ourselves compatible with what science tells us? To what extent could science correct these beliefs – could it say that there was no such thing as thought, and if it did how should we think of ourselves?
  • One of the traditional concerns of the philosophy of mind is to analyse what we mean by our non-scientific self-concepts. To what do we commit ourselves by claiming to be rational creatures, etc.? This is an essential prerequisite for answering questions relating this conception to the scientific one.
  • Crane disagrees with Rorty’s view that our concept of the mind is a disorderly collection of ideas, claiming unity to be supplied by the concept of intentionality, the mind’s directedness on its objects and the distinctive mark of all and only12 mental phenomena. Though it has its origins in Aristotle and mediaeval philosophy, Crane will refer to intentionality as Brentano’s thesis, without thereby accepting his philosophy as a whole or his detailed account of intentionality.
  • Brentano’s thesis is currently, in Crane’s view, mistakenly rejected because it cannot account for consciousness; Crane thinks the objectors have the wrong view of consciousness (see Chapter 3 – "Crane (Tim) - Consciousness" – for a corrective).
  • Don’t we need to compare mental with intentional things and discover that they are identical? Without an understanding of the mental independent of the concept of intentionality, this comparison is either vacuous (because “mental” means “intentional”) or impossible (since we’ve no idea what the mental is).
  • Crane defends himself against this view that Brentano’s thesis is vacuous without an independent understanding of the mental. He says that the objection presupposes that we don’t have a rough-and-ready understanding of what a mind is, one that can be sharpened by applying the concept of intentionality. It’s as though we had to start our theorising about the mark of the mental completely in the dark about what we mean by “mind”, “mental” and such-like, with the mark of the mental given by an explicit definition of the term “mind”. This isn’t so, for if it were, we wouldn’t be able to recognise whether or not a definition of mind were true. We have a rough conception of our subject matter, and what we’re after is not explicit definition but a sufficiently clear and detailed description of mental phenomena for us to recognise them as the descriptions of the thing we have this approximate conception of.
  • Crane gives the example due to Dennett of the analogy between Brentano’s and Church’s theses. The latter says that every effective procedure or algorithm can be performed by a Turing machine. It reduces the fuzzy-but-useful mathematical notion of an effective procedure to a more precise notion of a Turing machine, one of equivalent scope but greater power.
  • We can’t hope for quite such a success as Church’s, as the idea of intentionality is vague or intractable in places, but not all vague ideas can be sharpened to the same degree. Our scope must be guided by the phenomena.
The Note for the next Section is here13.




In-Page Footnotes ("Crane (Tim) - Mind")

Footnote 11:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (12/02/2015 16:48:00).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 12: This seems to commit Crane to allowing that computers and thermostats have mental phenomena (but we’ll have to see what he says about Dennett).



"Crane (Tim) - Body"

Source: Crane - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, 2001, Chapter 2
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Sections
  1. Interaction Between Mind and Body – 34
  2. Substance, Property, Event – 35
  3. The ‘Intelligibility’ Of Mental Causation2 – 40
  4. Physics And Physicalism – 43
  5. The Problem Of Mental Causation3 For Dualists – 48
  6. The Identity Theory – 51
  7. Reductionism4 – 54
  8. Against The Identity Theory : Anti-Reductionism5 – 55
  9. The Problem Of Mental Causation6 For Non-Reductive7 Physicalism – 59
  10. Emergence – 62
  11. Physicalism As The Source Of The Mind-Body Problem – 66
  12. What Does A Solution Of The Mind-Body Problem Tell Us About The Mind? – 68

Section Summaries
  1. Note8 – Interaction between mind and body: Descartes's view that he is not lodged in his body like a pilot in a ship endorsed; the mind and the body do interact causally; this is taken as a starting point for debate, not something which is in need of defence.
  2. Note9 – Substance, property, event: Some basic metaphysical categories introduced; substance distinguished from attribute or property; a state is a thing having a property at a time; states are distinguished from events on the grounds that events are particulars with temporal parts; mental phenomena comprise both mental states and mental events (or 'acts').
  3. Note10 – The 'intelligibility' of mental causation11: Mental-physical causation12 may be considered problematic because of something about causation13 or something about the mental, or something about the physical; the first two of these dismissed; the problem of mental causation14 is a result of 'physicalist' assumptions about the physical world.
  4. Note15 – Physics and physicalism: Physicalism distinguished from monism in general and from materialism; physicalism gives a special role to physics; the 'generality of physics' distinguished from the 'completeness of physics' and the 'explanatory adequacy of physics'.
  5. Note16 – The problem of mental causation17 for dualists: The problem arises from the apparent conflict between mental causation18 and the completeness of physics; overdetermination of mental and physical causes ruled out.
  6. Note19 – The identity theory: The identity theory solves the problem of mental causation20 by identifying mental and physical causes; which version of the identity theory is accepted depends on what the relata of causation21 are (events or properties).
  7. Note22Reductionism23: The identity theory is an ontologically reductionist theory; ontological reduction distinguished from explanatory reduction, a relation between theories; the two types of reduction are independent.
  8. Note24 – Against the identity theory; anti-reductionism25: The identity theory is implausible because of Putnam's variable or multiple realization argument; ontological reduction should therefore be rejected.
  9. Note26 – The problem of mental causation27 for non-reductive28 physicalism: If ontological reduction is denied, then the problem of mental causation29 returns for non-reductive physicalism; the non-reductive physicalist response is to hold that the mental is necessarily determined by the physical; the difficulties with this view discussed.
  10. Note30 – Emergence: An alternative non-physicalist position introduced: mental properties are 'emergent' properties with their own causal powers; this position denies the completeness of physics.
  11. Note31 – Physicalism as the source of the mind-body problem: Some see physicalism as the source of the mind-body problem, not its solution; the problem here is how to explain the place of consciousness in the physical world; the contemporary mind-body problem as a dilemma: if the mind is not physical, then how can it have physical effects? But if the mind is physical, how can we understand consciousness?
  12. Note32 – What does a solution to the mind-body problem tell us about the mind?: Whether the identity theory, non-reductive physicalism, or emergentism are true does not tell us much of interest about the nature of mental properties themselves.


COMMENT: For a précis and analysis of the whole Book, see this Note33.

Write-up34 (as at 12/02/2015 16:48:00): Crane - Interaction Between Mind and Body

This is a review of Section 9 of "Crane (Tim) - Body", from "Crane (Tim) - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind". For the previous Section (the last Section of Chapter 1 – "Crane (Tim) - Mind"), see this Note35.

Crane’s Abstract
    Descartes's view that he is not lodged in his body like a pilot in a ship endorsed; the mind and the body do interact causally; this is taken as a starting point for debate, not something which is in need of defence.

My Notes
  • Few things are more obvious than that we are embodied beings. Crane quotes36 "Descartes (Rene) - Sixth Meditation", to the effect that the mind is not like a pilot of a ship, intellectually noticing problems, but is intermingled with the body.
  • Our relationship with our bodies is immediate and intimate. We have faculties of proprioception and kinesthesia so that we can sense our body’s position and changes in motion without having to look, though brain damage can cause these faculties to be lost.
  • Despite Descartes’ insight about the intimate connection between mind and body, he is more famous for espousing dualism; that minds and bodies are separate entities that causally interact. This tension shows up in his thought – I am joined to my body, mind and body are mingled, yet mind and body form a single whole. The dualism denies the relationship that the phenomenological insight of bodily awareness asserts.
  • How do mind and body interact? The first answer is “causally”, ie. mental states and events cause physical states and events in the brain, body and external world37. This gives a problem for dualism, though to understand the problem we need to understand better what dualism is.
  • Descartes’ dualism was substance dualism. A substance is distinct from its properties, of which it is the bearer. Additionally, a substance is capable of independent existence38.
The Note for the next Section is here39.




In-Page Footnotes ("Crane (Tim) - Body")

Footnote 34:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (12/02/2015 16:48:00).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 36: Add to cross-reference list, and review Descartes.

Footnote 37: And, similarly, physical events cause mental events.

Footnote 38: Independent of what?



"Crane (Tim) - Consciousness"

Source: Crane - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, 2001, Chapter 3
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Sections
  1. The Conscious And The Unconscious – 70
  2. The Distinction Between The Intentional And The Qualitative – 74
  3. Qualia – 76
  4. The Intentionality Of Bodily Sensation – 78
  5. Strong Intentionalism And Weak Intentionalism – 83
  6. Physicalism, Consciousness And Qualia – 88
  7. The Explanatory Gap – 91
  8. The Knowledge Argument Examined – 93
  9. Zombies – 99
  10. The Prospects For Explaining Consciousness – 101

Section Summaries
  1. Note2 – The conscious and the unconscious: Different senses of 'conscious' and 'unconscious' distinguished; Block's distinction between phenomenal and access consciousness discussed; our concern is with phenomenal consciousness; a state is phenomenally conscious when there is something it is like to be in that state.
  2. Note3 – The distinction between the intentional and the qualitative: Mental phenomena are often divided into intentional and qualitative phenomena; this distinction is not very clear; many intentional states are phenomenally conscious; qualitative states are a variety of phenomenally conscious states, those having a sensory character.
  3. Note4 – Qualia: The term 'qualia' defined: qualia are non-intentional conscious mental properties; it is a substantial thesis that qualitative character is explicable in terms of qualia.
  4. Note5 – The intentionality of bodily sensation: Bodily sensation examined as the apparently best case for a non-intentionalist view of the mind; a proper conception of bodily sensation shows it to be intentional in the sense of §8; bodily sensations are ways of being aware of one's body.
  5. Note6 – Strong intentionallsm and weak intentionallsm: Intentionalists believe that all mental states or acts are intentional; weak intentionalists hold that some intentional states or acts also have qualia which account for their phenomenal character; strong intentionalists deny this; strong intentionalism defended.
  6. Note7 – Physicalism, consciousness, and qualia: The problems of consciousness for physicalism revisited; these problems do not depend on the existence of qualia; three arguments distinguished: the explanatory gap, the knowledge argument, and the zombie argument.
  7. Note8 – The explanatory gap: The explanatory gap argument claims that consciousness remains beyond the explanatory reach of physicalism; this argument is shown to rest either on excessively strong understandings of physicalism and explanation, or on the zombie hypothesis.
  8. Note9 – The knowledge argument examined: The knowledge argument is a sound argument against the view that all facts are physical facts; but physicalism should not define itself in that way.
  9. Note10 – Zombies: The zombie argument is effective against the forms of physicalism discussed in §§14 and 17; if it is accepted, it provides a further motivation for emergence.
  10. Note11 – The prospects for explaining consciousness: The prospects for a reductive account of consciousness summarized.


COMMENT: For a précis and analysis of the whole Book, see this Note12.

Write-up13 (as at 12/02/2015 16:48:00): Crane - The Conscious and the Unconscious

This is a review of Section 21, the first Section of "Crane (Tim) - Consciousness", from "Crane (Tim) - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind". For the previous Section (the last Section of Chapter 2 – "Crane (Tim) - Body"), see this Note14.

Crane’s Abstract
    Different senses of 'conscious' and 'unconscious' distinguished; Block's distinction between phenomenal and access consciousness discussed; our concern is with phenomenal consciousness; a state is phenomenally conscious when there is something it is like to be in that state.

My Notes
  • Crane starts with some orientation. Crane’s intentionalist account of the mental stresses the subject’s perspective, so conscious points of view seem central. However, there are two forms of unconscious perspectives.
    1. Beliefs and such-like, of which we are not currently consciously aware, but which can be brought to consciousness by asking what we believe or think about x.
    2. Deeply unconscious desires which can only be brought to consciousness by therapy such as that developed by Freud.
  • Crane will discuss thought and perception in the next couple of chapters. In this one he focuses on:
    1. the nature and explanation of consciousness, and
    2. how consciousness fits in with his intentionalist account of the mental, in particular on those aspects of consciousness that are deemed problematical for it; namely, the qualitative conscious properties or qualia.
  • Definitions of consciousness are unenlightening, but we do need a taxonomy of kinds of conscious states and events.
  • Crane’s first distinction is between consciousness as awareness of the world and self-consciousness (awareness of oneself being aware of the world). Kant had thought the latter a prerequisite for the former, but some modern philosophers think certain animals are conscious of the world without being self-conscious. Crane remains neutral.
  • The second distinction is between:
    • α. Transitive consciousness – consciousness of something or that something is the case, and
    • β.Intransitive consciousness – consciousness simpliciter (predicated of individuals – “the patient is conscious” – or of states – “pain is necessarily conscious”).
    Sartre thought (from Husserl) that transitive consciousness was the more fundamental, but others disagree.
  • Ned Block distinguishes between access consciousness and phenomenal consciousness. His definition of phenomenal consciousness (P-consciousness) is broad in encompassing experience in the wide sense of thought, wants and emotions as well as sense-experience. P-consciousness is “what it is like”. Nagel famously claimed that an organism has conscious mental states iff there is something it is like to be that organism (notoriously, a bat). Crane is sure that goats and bats are conscious, and that rocks and daffodils aren’t.
  • Crane thinks it would be perverse to suggest intentional states are not P-conscious (since intentionality was introduced from the subject’s perspective). The question is whether there are non-intentional P-conscious states.
  • Crane turns briefly to Block’s A-conscious states, but he will not be greatly concerned with them because it is P-conscious states that are most likely to raise problems for intentionalism. A representation is Access conscious if it is “poised” for use in reasoning and for direct rational control of action and speech. A phenomenon (such as a belief) is access-conscious when it is accessible for use by a subject. Being A-conscious depends not just on the state, but on the state’s relation to the accessing mechanism15. However, with P-consciousness, the situation is more clear cut; states either are, or are not, P-conscious. The A/P distinction is not the same as the transitive/intransitive one, since P-conscious states such as perceptions are consciousness of something.
  • Crane isn’t concerned with Block’s claim that there can be A-conscious states of which we’re not P-conscious, and vice versa. While he’s happy with Block’s distinction, his concern is not with A-consciousness, since these are by definition intentional (all A-conscious states are representations, and paradigm cases are propositional attitudes like beliefs and desires). Crane’s question is whether there can be P-conscious states that are non-intentional.
  • Crane thinks Block’s A-conscious states arise naturally from the phenomenon of becoming conscious of something. A-consciousness should be distinguished from the notion of higher-order thought (HOT). Some philosophers think HOT is the most basic form of consciousness – a state is conscious when it is the subject of higher-order thought. Thoughts or sensations are conscious when they are being thought about. A state subject to HOT isn’t necessarily A-conscious because it (for instance a sensation) may not be poised for use in reasoning. One could correctly mean by saying that one is conscious of one’s sensations or perceptions that one is thinking about them16.
The Note for the next Section is here17.




In-Page Footnotes ("Crane (Tim) - Consciousness")

Footnote 13:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (12/02/2015 16:48:00).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 15: So, presumably, knowledge that has been mislaid is not A-conscious until it’s capable of retrieval.

Footnote 16: This requires more thought. Are we not conscious of sensations we’re not thinking about, or just not A-conscious of them?



"Crane (Tim) - Thought"

Source: Crane - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, 2001, Chapter 4
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Sections
  1. Thoughts And Beliefs – 102
  2. Consciousness And Belief – 105
  3. Propositional Attitudes – 108
  4. The Propositional Attitude Thesis – 112
  5. De Re And De Dicto Attitudes – 114
  6. Internalism And Externalism – 117
  7. The Argument For Externalism – 121
  8. Demonstrative Thought – 126
  9. The Prospects For Explaining Thought – 128

Section Summaries
  1. Note2 – Thoughts and beliefs: The term 'thought' will be used for a kind of mental state or act, not for the content of such states or acts.
  2. Note3 – Consciousness and belief: Belief, properly so-called, is never conscious; belief is a mental state, not a mental act; what philosophers call 'conscious belief is really the event of becoming conscious of what one believes.
  3. Note4 – Propositional attitudes: Russell's term 'propositional attitude' picks out those intentional states whose intentional content is evaluable as true or false; the nature of propositional content discussed; Fregean and neo-Russellian accounts compared.
  4. Note5 – The propositional attitude thesis: The thesis that all intentional states are propositional attitudes introduced and rejected; the thesis is unmotivated and it has obvious counter-examples.
  5. Note6 – De re and de dicto attitudes: Thoughts and attitudes can be described in a 'de re' or relational style as well as in the more usual 'de dicto' style; the fact that there are such de re ascriptions does not imply that there is a category of de re thoughts or attitudes; the nature of intentional states can be separated from the conditions for their ascription.
  6. Note7 – Internalism and externalism: Externalists about intentionality believe that some intentional states or acts constitutively depend on the existence of their objects, while the strongest form of internalism denies this; it is argued that internalist intentionality is coherent, and that there is no prima facie intuitive case in favour of externalism.
  7. Note8 – The argument for externalism: Externalists employ the influential 'Twin Earth' argument in favour of their position; internalists may challenge this argument in two ways; the most plausible way is to deny the externalist's claim that content determines reference; no positive argument for internalism is provided, though.
  8. Note9 – Demonstrative thought: Demonstrative thoughts ('that F is G') have been claimed to be another source of externalist arguments; much of what externalists claim about demonstrative thought can be accepted by internalists.
  9. Note10 – The prospects for explaining thought: The prospects for a reductive account of thought or intentionality briefly considered.


COMMENT: For a précis and analysis of the whole Book, see this Note11.

Write-up12 (as at 12/02/2015 16:48:00): Crane - Thoughts and Beliefs

This is a review of Section 31 of "Crane (Tim) - Thought", from "Crane (Tim) - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind". For the previous Section, (the last Section of Chapter 3 – "Crane (Tim) - Consciousness") see this Note13.

Crane’s Abstract
    The term 'thought' will be used for a kind of mental state or act, not for the content of such states or acts.

My Notes
  • Crane firstly introduces some terminology by distinguishing between thoughts as acts (that is, thoughts proper) and thoughts as the intentional contents of such acts (that is, ideas).
  • Crane notes that much recent philosophy has been interested in propositional attitudes: belief, desire, hope, etc. He rejects the Propositional Attitude Thesis that all intentional states are propositional attitudes, since neither all conscious states, nor all thoughts (ideas), are propositional attitudes.
  • Not all thoughts involve the same intentional modes – wondering, imagining and considering are kinds or ways of thinking. Thinking is a determinable concept, of which wondering, imagining and considering are determinates. Crane draws an analogy with another determinable concept – being coloured. Being red is a way of being coloured, which requires being a particular colour and a particular shade, but these are not extras to being coloured.
  • The second distinction is between thoughts and beliefs. While “I think that …” can be used as synonymous with “I believe that …”, this doesn’t mean that thoughts and beliefs are identical, since wondering, imagining or considering are not ways of believing. Thoughts and beliefs belong to different metaphysical categories since thoughts are mental acts (and therefore events) while beliefs are dispositions (and therefore states). Crane now defends an important but unorthodox thesis about belief – that there is no such thing as a conscious belief.
  • To establish this thesis, Crane discusses belief, which is a state – a property instantiated by a believer. Beliefs aren’t events that happen or have temporal parts. It is the paradigmatic propositional attitude. Beliefs are of the form “belief that p”, where the proposition p is true or false. Beliefs are distinctive in that the attitude – the intentional mode – of belief entails a commitment to the truth of the proposition believed. Belief’s relation to truth – holding something to be true – is central to its concept.
  • Belief is related to judgement and assertion. Not all beliefs are formed as a result of judgement – perception, unconscious inference and innateness are alternatives. Belief ←→ Judgement as Intention ←→ Decision. Assertion is the linguistic expression of belief.
  • Moore’s paradox is the form “I believe that p, but not-p” (ie. the holding of false beliefs). This is not paradoxical in itself – we all hold beliefs that, unbeknownst to us, are false – but we’d never rationally make such a statement. Assertion is the expression of belief, so asserting that not-p is to express my believe that not-p, so it would be irrational simultaneously to assert not-p and my belief that p.
  • This isn’t the case with the other attitudes. “I want that p, but not-p” isn’t irrational – indeed it would be irrational if p.
  • What agents do depends on what they believe, want and intend. Rational agents take account of how they believe the world is. They avoid goals they are unlikely to achieve because the world is against them. Hence, an agent’s beliefs impact both what their goals are and which they try to achieve.
  • Beliefs have actual and potential consequences – but don’t have any particular consequences, but only those given other states of mind, especially desires.
  • The functionalist theory of mind claims that mental states are individuated by their causal roles – the distinctive pattern of their relations to other mental states and to actions. Crane’s ideas are similar to, but independent of, functionalism which:
    1. Typically gives a reductive definition of the mental, and
    2. Sees the mind as a causal mechanism.
    That people act on beliefs and desires is independent of functionalism.
  • It is obvious that not all your beliefs need be in your stream of consciousness in order to have actual or potential consequences, not even those that are currently guiding your action. Beliefs need not be conscious at all in order to guide action. So, is there a valid distinction between dispositional and occurrent beliefs? If so, since occurrences are events, the conscious (occurrent) beliefs would have to be acts or events, while the non-conscious ones (dispositional) would be mental states. Crane doesn’t doubt belief-states, but denies that there are conscious belief- events14.
The Note for the next Section is here15.




In-Page Footnotes ("Crane (Tim) - Thought")

Footnote 12:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (12/02/2015 16:48:00).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 14: What about coming to believe, or forming a belief?



"Crane (Tim) - Perception"

Source: Crane - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, 2001, Chapter 5
Write-up Note1 (Full Text reproduced below).

Sections
  1. The Problem Of Perception – 130
  2. The Argument From Illusion – 132
  3. Perception As A Form Of Intentionality – 137
  4. The Phenomenal Character Of Perceptual Experience – 140
  5. Inverted Spectrum, Inverted Earth – 145
  6. Perception As Non-Conceptual – 150

Section Summaries
  1. Note2 – The problem of perception: The phenomenological problem of perception distinguished from the epistemological and psychological problems; the phenomenological problem is a result of the conflict between the immediacy of perception and the 'Phenomenal Principle', once one allows the possibility of perfect hallucination.
  2. Note3 – The argument from Illusion: The argument outlined, and its most plausible version defended; the argument is shown to rest on the 'Phenomenal Principle'.
  3. Note4 – Perception as a form of intentionality: The way to solve the problem of perception is to give a correct account of the intentionality of perception; the 'Phenomenal Principle' rejected; the nature of perceptual contents and modes examined.
  4. Note5 – The phenomenal character of perceptual experience: It is sometimes said that an intentionalist view of perception cannot account for the phenomenal character of perception; two kinds of evidence for this claim considered: introspective evidence and inverted spectrum/earth thought-experiments6; introspective evidence shown to be inconclusive, once we understand intentionality in the proper way.
  5. Note7 – Inverted spectrum, Inverted Earth: The inverted spectrum possibility (if it is one) presents no knock-down argument against intentionalism; Inverted Earth only presents a problem for a purely externalist version of intentionalism; if narrow perceptual content is coherent, then the inverted earth argument is unsuccessful.
  6. Note8 – Perception as non-conceptual: A further aspect of the phenomenal character of perception introduced: its distinctness from belief and judgement; this is expressed by saying that perceptions have non-conceptual contents; this idea is clarified, motivated, and defended against its critics.


COMMENT: For a précis and analysis of the whole Book, see this Note9.

Write-up10 (as at 12/02/2015 16:48:00): Crane - The Problem of Perception

This is a review of Section 40 of "Crane (Tim) - Perception", from "Crane (Tim) - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind". For the previous Section (the last Section of Chapter 4 – "Crane (Tim) - Thought"), see this Note11.

Crane’s Abstract
    The phenomenological problem of perception distinguished from the epistemological and psychological problems; the phenomenological problem is a result of the conflict between the immediacy of perception and the 'Phenomenal Principle', once one allows the possibility of perfect hallucination.

My Notes
  • Crane says that this chapter is about the intentionality of perception, and not about either:
    1. The psychology of perception: the mechanism whereby the different senses convey information about the perceived environment to the brain.
    2. The epistemology of perception: how perception gives knowledge of the world, eg. giving us reasons for beliefs.
  • An intentionalist theory of mind needs to say something about how the various states of mind are differentiated or are similar, for instance perception versus belief and sensation. We also need to investigate and seek to understand the phenomenal character of perception. This philosophical study isn’t in conflict with the psychological investigation of mechanisms, but focuses on the characteristics required of anything labelled perception, a harder task than might be expected. Crane claims that the problems are phenomenological – relating to our perceptual experience – and independent of psychological and epistemological questions.
  • Crane focuses on visual perception and finds a conflict between two plausible intuitions:
    1. Immediacy: when aware of a material object in the world, we are immediately aware – our awareness isn’t mediated by awareness of something else12 that is not a material object. Here, visual experience differs from the other sensory modalities. A smell may well be physical, but it is not obviously an object (says Crane), even though what it is a smell of, and which the smell makes us aware of, is a physical object. Smells (and sounds) are intentional objects, but a physical thing that is an intentional object need not be a physical object. While we can coherently say that we smell by smelling a smell, or hear by hearing a sound, we don’t see by seeing a look. Catching a glimpse isn’t seeing a glimpse13. Seeing is unmediated (Crane deals with the “television” counterexample by saying that in that case one is immediately aware of the television14).
    2. The Phenomenal Principle: when one experiences something as F, there is something F that one is experiencing, whether this be “something red” or “a goldfinch” or such-like.
  • The conflict between these two principles arises when we consider hallucinations, giving rise to the argument from illusion against the intentionality of perception, covered in the next section. A theory of the intentionality of perception also needs to address the difference between perception and belief, which Crane looks at in the last section of the book.
The Note for the next Section is here15.




In-Page Footnotes ("Crane (Tim) - Perception")

Footnote 10:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (12/02/2015 16:48:00).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 12: Presumably Crane has no place for sense-data. This theory is discussed later.

Footnote 13: This sounds like a quote from Wittgenstein.

Footnote 14: I have residual questions about illusions and holograms.



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



© Theo Todman, June 2007 - Nov 2019. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page