Matters of Mind: Consciousness, Reason and Nature

Matters of Mind: Consciousness, Reason and Nature

Matters of Mind: Consciousness, Reason and Nature

Matters of Mind: Consciousness, Reason and Nature

Synopsis

Matters of Mind examines the mind-body problem. It offers a chapter by chapter analysis of debates surrounding the problem, including visual experience, consciousness and the problem of Zombies and Ghosts. It will prove invaluable for those interested in epistemology, philosophy of mind and cognitive science.

Excerpt

There are striking parallels between theories of mental content and theories of epistemic warrant. This chapter is prompted by one of them. Namely:

Two varieties of thought experiment dominate the theory of mental content. One derives from Hilary Putnam and the other from Tyler Burge. Putnam-style thought experiments suggest content is fixed—at least in part—by the external world. Burge-style thought experiments suggest content is fixed—at least in part—by social reality. Both encourage ‘two factor’ approaches to content. On such an approach, content is generated by internal and external factors. The former spring from ‘within the head’. The latter spring from one’s social and non-social environment.

Similarly, two varieties of thought experiment dominate the theory of epistemic warrant. One derives from Edmund Gettier and the other from Ernest Sosa. Gettier-style thought experiments suggest warrant is fixed—at least in part—by the external world. Sosa-style thought experiments suggest warrant is fixed—at least in part—by social reality. Both encourage ‘two factor’ approaches to warrant. On such an approach, warrant is generated by internal and external factors. The former spring from ‘within the head’. The latter spring from one’s social and non-social environment. (See the appendix.)

Despite residing within distinct branches of philosophy, two rich literatures display similar theoretical pressures, undergo similar theoretical modifications, and, in the end, relax into the same structural position.

Why is that?

I argue it’s because we bring certain pre-theoretic commitments to philosophy of mind and epistemology. I expose those commitments and show

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