• An Honest Ghost?

      Ayer, A. J.; Oxford University (1970-01-01)
      Gilbert Ryle’s The Concept of Mind purports to exorcise “the ghost in the machine” by translating all talk about the mind into talk about behavior, and sometimes Ryle asserts that he has succeeded in this endeavor. However, on closer inspection, there is still a residue of our private, mental lives left in Ryle’s account. So the ghost remains. But perhaps it is a more honest ghost, and that is still quite an achievement.
    • Animal Minds

      Dretske, Fred; Stanford University (2001-01-01)
      One particular form of the problem of other minds is the problem of animal, non-human minds. Do dogs feel pride? Are cats ever embarrassed? Do ants feel anything when you step on them? In order to answer these questions, we must first ask and answer the question of what minds are supposed to do. Only then can we answer the question of animal minds.
    • Ethical and Epistemic Dilemmas of Behaviorism and the Identity Thesis

      Stack, George J.; The College at Brockport (1971-01-01)
      Jerome Shaffer’s argument against behaviorism and the identity theory assume that the wrongness of causing pain is constituted entirely by that effect. However, the intrinsic wrongness of such actions lies in the intentions of the agent, not in the physical responses of the victim.
    • How Can My Mind Move My Limbs? Mental Causation from Descartes to Contemporary Physicalism

      Kim, Jaegwon; Brown University (2000-01-01)
      Mental events enter into causal relations with bodily events. The philosophical task is to explain how this is possible. Descartes’ dualism of mental and material substances ultimately founders on the impossibility of pairing mental events with physical events as causes and effects. This is what I have called “the pairing problem.” Many contemporary views also fail to explain mental causation. In the end, we are left with a dilemma. If mental phenomena are irreducible to physical phenomena, then mental phenomena lose their causal efficacy. However, if mental phenomena are reducible to physical phenomena, then casts doubt on the very existence of mental phenomena.
    • Mind and Brain in the 17th Century

      Bennett, Jonathan (1994-01-01)
      The 17th century saw an enormous amount of energy dedicated to the question of whether matter can think. This paper follows certain strands of this debate in Descartes, Locke, Leibniz and Spinoza. These strands of the debate are still relevant today.
    • On Being in the Mind

      Firth, Roderick; Harvard University (1971-01-01)
      There is exactly one good reason to prefer dualism to the identity theory, and it is is this: whereas brain events occur in a particular spatial location inside the head, it is nonsensical to say that mental events occur in any particular location. Professor Shaffer’s other objections to the identity theory are either parasitic on this one, or else unsuccessful.
    • Professor Ayer’s Honest Ghost

      Hartnack, Justus; The College at Brockport (1970-01-01)
      Professor Ayer is right that Ryle’s strongest thesis is incorrect. However, I do not agree with all of Ayer’s arguments for that conclusion. I also wish that Professor Ayer had examined some other mental concepts, which also seem to resist any kind of behaviorist reduction.
    • Re-Humanizing Descartes

      Simmons, Alison; Harvard University (2011-07-31)
      Descartes’ mind-body dualism and his quest for objective knowledge can appear de-humanizing. My aim in this paper is to re-humanize Descartes. When we take a closer look at what Descartes actually says about human beings, it casts his entire thought in a much different light.
    • Response to Professor A. J. Ayer

      Taylor, Richard; University of Rochester (1970-01-01)
      Professor Ryle does not deny the common distinction between inner and outer, nor that between public and private. What he denies is that either of these distinctions entail a third distinction – between minds and bodies. As far as I can tell, Professor Ayer has not shown that Ryle is mistaken about that.
    • The Emergence of Consciousness

      Seager, William; University of Toronto at Scarborough (2006-01-01)
      According to the mainstream view in philosophy today, the world is a purely physical system, in which consciousness emerged as a product of increasing biological complexity, from non-conscious precursors composed of non-conscious components. The mainstream view is a beautiful, grand vision of the universe. However, it leaves no real place for consciousness. This paper explains why.
    • The Philosophy of Mind and Some Ethical Implications

      Shaffer, Jerome A.; University of Connecticut (1971-01-01)
      Materialism is the view that the only things in existence are material – matter in motion. Materialists hold that mental events are either identical to bodily events, or that mental events are particular kinds of behavior exhibited by particular material objects. These theories face several serious problems, involving spatial location, privileged access, and other phenomena. Moreover, these theories cannot explain why it is wrong to cause pain in another person. It is not obvious why it is wrong to cause another person to exhibit pain behavior, nor is it obviously wrong to cause physical events to occur in another person’s brain. These ethical implications of behaviorism and the identity theory constitute serious disadvantages for those theories. Consequently, what we have here is an argument for dualism.
    • The Plurality of Consciousness

      Lycan, William G.; University of North Carolina (2002-01-01)
      There are many, distinct phenomena that have gone under the name “consciousness,” and there are many corresponding problems that have all been labeled “the problem of consciousness.” This paper distinguishes several of these distinct problems of consciousness, and proposes solutions to each of them.
    • The Scope of Motivation and the Basis of Practical Reason

      Audi, Robert; University of Nebraska, Lincoln (1999-01-01)
      This paper explores the relationship between motivation, desire, pleasure and value. I argue that the motivational grounds of action are the kinds of desires that tend, in rational persons, to be produced both by experience of the good, and by beliefs that something one can do would be good.
    • The Search for the Semantic Grail

      Perry, John; Stanford University (2003-01-01)
      One factor that has engendered skepticism about semantic content is the idea that there can be content only if there is exactly one thing that performs all the functions that have been associated with content. This paper argues that there is no such thing as content in this unified sense. Rather, what exists is a structure of related contents. Instead of a single grail, there is more of a semantic tea service.
    • Unconscious Actions Emanating From the Human Cerebral Cortex

      Eccles, John C.; The College at Brockport (1972-01-01)
      This paper presents some recent work of Roger Sperry and his associates on “split-brain cases.” The remarkable finding is that, after surgery, the actions that are programmed from one side of the cerebral cortex are not recognized by the other side of the cerebral cortex as belonging to the subject.