Explaining Attitudes: A Practical Approach to the Mind
Baker (Lynne Rudder)
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


Cover Blurb

  1. Explaining Attitudes offers an important challenge to the dominant conception of belief found in the work of such philosophers as Fred Dretske and Jerry Fodor. According to this dominant view beliefs, if they exist at all, are constituted by states of the brain.
  2. Lynne Rudder Baker rejects this view and replaces it with a quite different approach: Practical Realism. Seen from the perspective of Practical Realism, any argument that interprets beliefs as either brain states or (states of) immaterial souls rests on a false dichotomy. Practical Realism takes beliefs to be states of the whole person, rather like states of health. What a person believes is determined by what that person would do, say, and think in various circumstances. Thus beliefs and other attitudes are interwoven into an integrated, common-sense conception of reality.
  3. Among the topics discussed in detail are intentional explanations, causal explanations, the project of naturalizing Intentionality the importance of relational properties, the use of counterfactuals to underwrite belief, the nature of objectivity the philosophical import of the idea of "mind independence," and the relation of common sense to science.
  4. This book will prove valuable to professional philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists.

    Preface – ix
    1. Two conceptions of the attitudes – 3
      → The Standard View – 7
      → An alternative conception: Practical Realism – 19
      → Belief explanations – 24
      → An overview – 29
    2. Content and causation1 – 32
      → Syntax and the problem of the parameter – 33
      → The dead end of narrow content – 42
      → Beliefs as structuring causes – 56
      → Relational properties – 63
      → Conclusion – 66
    3. The myth of folk psychology – 67
      → What's the problem? – 69
      → Assessment of arguments for "folk psychology" – 77
      → Metaphysical motivation for the "theory" view of common sense – 85
      → Conclusion – 90
    1. On standards of explanatory adequacy – 93
      → Proposed standards of adequacy – 94
      → Non-psychological causal explanations – 98
      → Application of proposed standards to examples – 108
      → A verdict – 118
    2. How beliefs explain – 121
      → A test for explanatory adequacy – 121
      → The autonomy of intentional explanations – 126
      → Motivation for the Standard View undermined – 136
      → How beliefs do not explain: the Standard View – 144
      → Conclusion – 149
    1. Belief without reification – 153
      → What are beliefs? – 153
      → Can counterfactuals underwrite belief? – 158
      → Contrasts with the Standard View – 171
      → Language and the inner life – 187
      → Conclusion – 191
    2. Mind and metaphysics – 193
      → Need intentionality be "naturalized"? – 193
      → Unreified belief and scientific psychology – 209
      → Materialism – 213
      → The reality of belief – 217
      → Conclusion – 219
    3. Practical Realism writ large – 220
      → The common-sense conception – 221
      → The idea of mind independence – 228
      → Objectivity – 232
      → The overall argument – 236
      → Conclusion – 238

    Index – 243


Cambridge University Press; First Edition edition (22 Feb. 2010)

"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Explaining Attitudes: A Practical Approach to the Mind"

Source: Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Explaining Attitudes: A Practical Approach to the Mind

  1. For the past couple of decades, issues concerning the nature of the mind have held center stage in philosophy. Traditional philosophers of mind, philosophers of psychology, cognitive scientists, and metaphysicians have approached the mind with the conviction that the mind is the brain: Whatever mental states there are ultimately should be understood as states of an individual's brain. Typically, philosophers have seen their task as one of working out the details of this conception.
  2. In this book, I propose an alternative approach to the mind - one compatible both with scientific study of the mind and with the assumption of materialism. Several years ago, I published a critique of the dominant assumptions about the mind, ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Saving Belief: A Critique of Physicalism", 1987). Here I try to deepen the critique and to offer a constructive proposal that, I hope, will contribute to a different way of conceiving of the mind.

Baker cites the following works in which “earlier versions of several of the arguments presented here appear”:-

In-Page Footnotes ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Explaining Attitudes: A Practical Approach to the Mind")

Footnote 1: Opening couple of paragraphs, plus cited earlier works.

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 - Oct 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