The Philosophy of Mind
Glover (Jonathan), Ed.
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

BOOK ABSTRACT: None.


BOOK COMMENT:

Oxford University Press (Jan 1977)



"Cohen (Gerald A.) - Beliefs and Roles"

Source: Glover (Jonathan) - The Philosophy of Mind



"Davidson (Donald) - Psychology as Philosophy"

Source: Davidson - Essays on Actions and Events, Chapter 12
COMMENT:



"Deutsch (J.A.) - The Structural Basis of Behaviour"

Source: Glover (Jonathan) - The Philosophy of Mind



"Farrell (B.A.) - The Criteria for a Psycho-analytic Interpretation"

Source: Gustafson - Essays in Philosophical Psychology
COMMENT: Also in "Glover (Jonathan), Ed. - The Philosophy of Mind".



"Gardiner (Patrick) - Error, Faith, and Self-Deception"

Source: Glover (Jonathan) - The Philosophy of Mind



"Glover (Jonathan) - The Philosophy of Mind: Introduction"

Source: Glover (Jonathan) - The Philosophy of Mind


Introduction
  • The problems about the mind that are called philosophical concern the general framework of our thinking about particular mental phenomena. These problems arise when we think, in the context of everyday relationships, about the thoughts, feelings, and actions of other people. They also arise, in a scientific context, when we think about the relationship between states of consciousness and the psychological or neurophysiological models advanced as explanations of behaviour.
  • Any attempt to classify philosophical questions about the mind under a few simple headings is bound to have some degree of arbitrariness, if only because of the extent to which these questions are interrelated. But one reasonably plausible way of dividing up the problems is under these headings:
    1. Interpretations: problems of justifying the interpretations we place upon the conduct and mental states of other people, and of ourselves.
    2. Problems of the description and classification of the phenomena of mental states and behaviour.
    3. Models: problems raised by models of the mind, or of particular kinds of mental activity, whether proposed by psychologists, or unreflectively presupposed by ordinary people in their thinking about the mind.
    4. The mind-body problem: the question of the relationship between conscious experiences and either behaviour or states of the brain.
    5. Problems of personal identity: the question of what, if anything, justifies the view that, despite physical and mental changes, I remain the same person over a period of time; the related question of what kind of alterations in someone would make it no longer reasonable to regard him as the same person; the question of what the unity of a mind at any one time consists in.
  • Sections
    1. Interpretations
      … "Farrell (B.A.) - The Criteria for a Psycho-analytic Interpretation" (fairly negative1)
    2. Problems of description and classification
      … Appreciation of the precision supplied by Gilbert Ryle, J.L. Austin and Hart2.
      … "Gardiner (Patrick) - Error, Faith, and Self-Deception" (positively reviewed)
    3. Models of the mind
    4. The mind-body problem
    5. Problems of personal identity
    6. Concluding note




In-Page Footnotes ("Glover (Jonathan) - The Philosophy of Mind: Introduction")

Footnote 1: Farrell sees to argue that psychoanalysis doesn’t aim at truth or falsehood in its interpretations, but at cures. Glover thinks it (and psychology generally) might do both.

Footnote 2: Who? Maybe W.D. Hart? I could find nothing in the bibliography.



"Hampshire (Stuart) - Feeling and Expression"

Source: Glover (Jonathan) - The Philosophy of Mind



"Nagel (Thomas) - Brain Bisection and the Unity of Consciousness"

Source: Nagel (Thomas) - Mortal Questions


Introduction (Full Text)
  1. There has been considerable optimism recently, among philosophers and neuroscientists, concerning the prospect for major discoveries about the neurophysiological basis of mind. The support for this optimism has been extremely abstract and general. I wish to present some grounds for pessimism. That type of self-understanding may encounter limits which have not been generally foreseen: the personal, mentalist idea of human beings may resist the sort of coordination with an understanding of humans as physical systems, that would be necessary to yield anything describable as an understanding of the physical basis of mind. I shall not consider what alternatives will be open to us if we should encounter such limits. I shall try to present grounds for believing that the limits may exist - grounds derived from extensive data now available about the interaction between the two halves of the cerebral cortex, and about what happens when they are disconnected. The feature of the mentalist conception of persons which may be recalcitrant to integration with these data is not a trivial or peripheral one, that might easily be abandoned. It is the idea of a single person, a single subject of experience and action, that is in difficulties. The difficulties may be surmountable in ways I have not foreseen. On the other hand, this may be only the first of many dead ends that will emerge as we seek a physiological understanding of the mind.
  2. To seek the physical basis or realization of features of the phenomenal world is in many areas a profitable first line of inquiry, and it is the line encouraged, for the case of mental phenomena, by those who look forward to some variety of empirical reduction of mind to brain, through an identity theory, a functionalist theory, or some other device. When physical reductionism is attempted for a phenomenal feature of the external world, the results are sometimes very successful, and can be pushed to deeper and deeper levels. If, on the other hand, they are not entirely successful, and certain features of the phenomenal picture remain unexplained by a physical reduction, then we can set those features aside as purely phenomenal, and postpone our understanding of them to the time when our knowledge of the physical basis of mind and perception will have advanced sufficiently to supply it. (An example of this might be the moon illusion, or other sensory illusions which have no discoverable basis in the objects perceived.) However, if we encounter the same kind of difficulty in exploring the physical basis of the phenomena of the mind itself, we cannot adopt the same line of retreat. That is, if a phenomenal feature of mind is left unaccounted for by the physical theory, we cannot postpone the understanding of it to the time when we study the mind itself - for that is exactly what we are supposed to be doing. To defer to an understanding of the basis of mind which lies beyond the study of the physical realization of certain aspects of it is to admit the irreducibility of the mental to the physical. A clearcut version of this admission would be some kind of dualism. But if one is reluctant to take such a route, then it is not clear what one should do about central features of the mentalistic idea of persons which resist assimilation to an understanding of human beings as physical system. It may be true of some of these features that we can neither find an objective basis for them, nor give them up. It may be impossible for us to abandon certain ways of conceiving and representing ourselves, no matter how little support they get from scientific research. This, I suspect, is true of the idea of the unity of a person: an idea whose validity may be called into question with the help of recent discoveries about the functional duality of the cerebral cortex. It will be useful to present those results here in outline.


COMMENT:



"Parfit (Derek) - Personal Identity"

Source: Perry - Personal Identity


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. Some people believe that the identity of a person through time is, in its nature, all-or-nothing. This belief makes them assume that, in the so-called 'problem cases', the question "would it still be me?" must have, both a definite answer, and great importance.
  2. I deny these assumptions. I try to show that the identity of a person through time is only, in its logic, all-or-nothing. In its nature, it is a matter of degree.
  3. I then propose a way of thinking in which this would be recognized.

Author’s Introduction
  1. We can, I think, describe cases in which, though we know the answer to every other question, we have no idea how to answer a question about personal identity. These cases are not covered by the criteria of personal identity that we actually use.
  2. Do they present a problem?
  3. It might be thought that they do not, because they could never occur. I suspect that some of them could. (Some, for instance, might become scientifically possible.) But I shall claim that even if they did they would present no problem.
  4. My targets are two beliefs: one about the nature of personal identity, the other about its importance.
  5. The first is that in these cases the question about identity must have an answer.
  6. No one thinks this about, say, nations or machines. Our criteria for the identity of these do not cover certain cases. No one thinks that in these cases the questions "Is it the same nation?" or "Is it the same machine ?" must have answers.
  7. Some people believe that in this respect they are different. They agree that our criteria of personal identity do not cover certain cases, but they believe that the nature of their own identity through time is, somehow, such as to guarantee that in these cases questions about their identity must have answers. This belief might be expressed as follows: "Whatever happens between now and any future time, either I shall still exist, or I shall not. Any future experience will either be my experience, or it will not."
  8. This first belief – in the special nature of personal identity – has, I think, certain effects. It makes people assume that the principle of self-interest is more rationally compelling than any moral principle. And it makes them more depressed by the thought of aging and of death.
  9. I cannot see how to disprove this first belief. I shall describe a problem case. But this can only make it seem implausible.
  10. Another approach might be this. We might suggest that one cause of the belief is the projection of our emotions. When we imagine ourselves in a problem case, we do feel that the question "Would it be me ?" must have an answer. But what we take to be a bafflement about a further fact may be only the bafflement of our concern.
  11. I shall not pursue this suggestion here. But one cause of our concern is the belief which is my second target. This is that unless the question about identity has an answer, we cannot answer certain important questions (questions about such matters as survival, memory, and responsibility).
  12. Against this second belief my claim will be this. Certain important questions do presuppose a question about personal identity. But they can be freed of this presupposition. And when they are, the question about identity has no importance.


COMMENT: For Notes, see "Funkhouser (Eric) - Notes on Parfit, “Personal Identity”".



"Putnam (Hilary) - The Mental Life of Some Machines"

Source: Putnam - Philosophical Papers 2 - Mind, Language and Reality

COMMENT: Also in "Glover (Jonathan), Ed. - The Philosophy of Mind".



"Williams (Bernard) - The Self and the Future"

Source: Williams - Problems of the Self
Write-up Note1
  • For a précis and discussion, click File Note (PDF), now replaced by this Note2.
  • This text appeared in Commensal (Mensa) and in Aitia (Birkbeck).


COMMENT:
  1. Also published in:-
  2. Printout filed in "Various - Papers on Identity Boxes: Vol 19 (W)",
  3. See "Funkhouser (Eric) - Notes on Williams, 'The Self and the Future'" for Notes,
  4. Originally in The Philosophical Review, Vol. 79, Issue 2 (Apr., 1970), 161-180).



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



© Theo Todman, June 2007 - Oct 2018. 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