Philosophy of Mind: An Overview for Cognitive Science

Philosophy of Mind: An Overview for Cognitive Science

Philosophy of Mind: An Overview for Cognitive Science

Philosophy of Mind: An Overview for Cognitive Science

Synopsis

Specifically designed to make the philosophy of mind intelligible to those not trained in philosophy, this book provides a concise overview for students and researchers in the cognitive sciences. Emphasizing the relevance of philosophical work to investigations in other cognitive sciences, this unique text examines such issues as the meaning of language, the mind-body problem, the functionalist theories of cognition, and intentionality. As he explores the philosophical issues, Bechtel draws connections between philosophical views and theoretical and experimental work in such disciplines as cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, neuroscience, and anthropology.

Excerpt

As one of the several contributing disciplines to cognitive science, philosophy offers two sorts of contributions. On the one hand, philosophy of science provides a metatheoretical perspective on the endeavors of any scientific enterprise, analyzing such things as the goals of scientific investigation and the strategies employed in reaching those goals. Philosophy of science thus proposes a perspective from which we can examine and potentially evaluate the endeavors of cognitive science. On the other hand, philosophy of mind offers substantive theses about the nature of mind and of mental activity. Although these theses typically have not resulted from empirical investigation, they have often subsequently figured in actual empirical investigations in cognitive science, or its predecessors. Because the two roles philosophy plays in cognitive science are quite different, they are introduced in separate volumes. This one focuses on philosophy of mind, whereas issues in philosophy of science are explored in Philosophy of Science: An Overview for Cognitive Science.

The goal of this book is to provide a broad overview of the central issues in philosophy of mind and an introduction to the professional literature. Philosophers have adopted a variety of different positions on the issues I discuss and I have tried to describe as simply as possible some of the most prominent positions. I have also endeavored to cite a broad range of philosophical papers and books that the reader is encouraged to consult in order to develop a more thorough understanding of the various positions philosophers have taken.

I begin with a chapter that both discusses the methodology of philosophical inquiry and offers an overview of major figures from the history of philosophy whose ideas have been influential in philosophy of mind and cogni-

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