Theories of the Mind
Priest (Stephen)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Cover Blurb

  1. Many of the world's leading thinkers — Hobbes and Hegel, Spinoza and Sartre, Berkeley, Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell — have been haunted by the same great philosophical puzzle: what is the exact relationship between the body and the mind?
  2. For Plato, Descartes and the Dualists minds and physical objects (including bodies and brains) are utterly distinct in nature. Double Aspect Theorists, by contrast, claim that they are just different aspects of one reality. Idealists believe only minds exist; Materialists think everything is physical; while other schools stress our inner experience, our outward behaviour or the function of mental events. In his brilliant exposition of these conflicting theories Stephen Priest provides a critical analysis of the main contributions to the debate and shows where they clash and where they fit together. The result is a definitive survey of the mind-body problem; the conclusion offers a compelling new solution.
  3. 'A readable guide to all the main philosophical theories of the mind, both materialist ones and the alternatives ... his own solution to the mind-body problem is both elegantly explained and quite plausible'
    — Anthony Gottlieb in The New York Times Book Review
Contents
    Preface – xi
  1. Dualism – 1
    Plato – 8
    … The Cyclical Argument – 8
    … The Recollection Argument – 9
    … The Soul and the Forms – 10
    … The Affinity Argument – 11
    … The Argument from Opposites – 15
    Descartes – 15
    … Existence and Essence – 17
    … Two Substances – 21
    … Identity and Difference – 23
    … Clear and Distinct Ideas – 28
    … Interaction – 31
    … Union – 33
  2. Logical Behaviourism – 35
    Hempel – 37
    … The Vienna Circle – 37
    … The Translation Project – 39
    … A Pseudo-Problem – 41
    Ryle – 43
    … The Ghost in the Machine – 44
    … Category Mistakes – 45
    … Dispositions – 47
    … Occurrences – 50
    … Introspection – 50
    … One World – 52
    Wittgenstein – 56
    … The Private Language Argument and the Philosophy of Mind – 57
    … Is Experience Private? – 59
    … Is Meaning Private? – 61
  3. Idealism – 65
    Berkeley – 71
    … Matter in Question – 71
    … Qualities – 75
    … Esse Est Percipi (To be is to be Perceived) – 77
    … Minds – 78
    Hegel – 80
    … The Critique of Dualism – 81
    … Dialectic – 83
    … Universal and Particular – 85
    Self-Consciousness1 – 91
    … Master and Slave – 92
    … Absolute Idealism – 95
  4. Materialism – 98
    Place – 102
    … A Scientific Hypothesis – 102
    … Contingent Identities – 105
    … Verifying Materialism – 111
    … The Phenomenological Problem – 112
    … Type—Type or Token—Token? – 113
    Davidson – 115
    … Three Principles – 115
    … Anomalous Monism – 116
    … The Holism of the Mental – 119
    … Materialism and Freedom – 121
    Honderich – 122
    … Psychoneural Nomic Correlation – 124
    … The Causation2 of Psychoneural Pairs – 126
    … The Causation3 of Actions – 128
    … Neuroscience and Quantum Mechanics4 – 129
    … Life Hopes – 131
  5. Functionalism – 133
    Putnam – 137
    … Brain States and Pain States – 137
    … Turing Machines – 139
    … Functional States – 141
    Lewis – 145
    … The Madman and the Martian – 146
    … Causal Roles – 147
    … Materialist Functionalism – 148
  6. Double Aspect Theory – 150
    Spinoza – 154
    … One Substance – 154
    … Individuals – 156
    … God or Nature – 156
    … Finitude – 159
    Russell 161
    … Neutral Monism – 161
    … Matter – 162
    … Mind – 166
    … Sense Data – 169
    Strawson – 170
    … Material Particulars – 171
    … Three Theories of the Self – 173
    … Persons – 175
    … Two Kinds of Predicate – 179
    … How is Dualism Thinkable? – 181
  7. The Phenomenological View – 182
    Brentano – 186
    … Mental and Physical Phenomena – 187
    … Presentations – 188
    … Outside Space – 191
    … Intentionality – 193
    … Inner Consciousness – 197
    … Knowledge, Privacy and Time – 199
    Husserl – 201
    … Intentionality – 202
    … Act and Object – 205
    … Consciousness and the Ego – 207
  8. Conclusion: How To Solve The Mind-Body Problem – 210
    … What are Minds? – 210
    … What are Mental and Physical? – 212
    … What is Thinking? – 213
    … What is Consciousness? – 216
    … What is Subjectivity? – 218
    … What is Individuality? – 220
    … What is the Self? – 221
    … What is Matter? – 222
    Further Reading – 223
    Index – 227

BOOK COMMENT:

Penguin Books Ltd; Reissue edition (27 Jun 1991)



"Priest (Stephen) - Theories of the Mind"

Source: Priest (Stephen) - Theories of the Mind


Preface
  1. Are you just a complicated physical object? If not, are you a mind? If so, what are minds? What exactly is the relationship between the mind and the body? Are you a mind with a body or a body with a mind? You are looking out of your body now. Does that mean you are your body or does it mean you are inside your body, or neither? Could we be immaterial souls which survive our bodily death, or has that been ruled out by modern science? Are you your brain? How, if at all, is grey matter connected to our innermost thoughts and emotions?
  2. It is one of our peculiarities that we do not know what we are1. The most fundamental problem we face in finding out what we are2 is the mind—body problem: the problem of stating correctly what the relation is between mental and physical, or between the mind and the body. Philosophy is the attempt to solve philosophical problems and this book is about what certain outstanding philosophers of the Western intellectual tradition have said in order to try to solve the mind—body problem.
  3. The book is divided into eight chapters, each dealing with a different solution to the mind—body problem. Some philosophers think that you and I are just complicated physical objects. Some philosophers think you and I are immortal souls. Some think we have both mental and physical characteristics. Others again think we are fundamentally neither mental nor physical. Some philosophers are inspired by religion, others by the natural sciences, others again by sheer puzzlement about ourselves and the universe.
  4. Necessarily, a book of this kind is selective. I have set aside issues in philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, cognitive science and artificial intelligence which do not bear directly on the mind—body problem. Instead I concentrate on the attempts of philosophers to solve the metaphysical question of whether human beings, such as you and I, are just highly complicated physical objects or something more. Also, if space had permitted I would have discussed the views of many more philosophers than those presented here. However, all the main solutions to the mind-body problem in the Western philosophical tradition are portrayed and in the last chapter I offer a new one.
  5. The word 'theories' in the title of the book is used broadly, to benote any answer to the questions of the nature of the mind and its relation to the body that may be sustained by argument. While I may suggest criticisms of the theories as I explain them, I mainly reserve judgement until the final chapter. I shall be well satisfied if the reader finds plausibility in theories that are incompatible with his or her own assumptions. Part of the value of philosophy lies in the discovery that world-pictures radically different from one's own are eminently plausible.
  6. I am grateful to my colleagues in the Department of Philosophy, in the University of Edinburgh for providing such an intellectually stimulating work-place, and I thank in particular Willie Charlton, Vincent Hope, Peter Lewis, Geoffrey Madell and Stig Rasmussen for useful conversations. Versions of the last chapter were read to philosophical audiences at the University of Edinburgh and at Fort Lewis College, Colorado. I thank them for their responses. I have discussed the mind—body problem with many people in Scotland and the United States but I thank in particular Graham Bird, William Coe, Dugald Owen, Reyes Garcia, Byron Dare, Joanna Swanson and John Thomas. None of them is necessarily to be taken as agreeing with the theses of this book.
    [… snip … ]
    Stephen Priest, October 1990



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