Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Guide to the Philosophy of Mind

David Chalmers has a new blog, and from it I learned of his new "Guide to the Philosophy of Mind," which contains all of the philosophy of mind entries to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, as well as some other entries that are related to PoM.

All this reminds me that I've been meaning to post about one of Chalmers' papers that's not really about philosophy of mind (I've never really been a fan of his work in that area), titled "The Nature of Epistemic Space." I saw him give a talk on it a couple years ago, and occasionally some of the empirical issues it raises have creeped into my head. If you haven't read the paper (which is unpublished), I recommend it, even if you have absolutely no desire to read anything I have to say about it.


Anonymous said...

Off Topic, I've just started a book I found at my local library, "The First Idea: how symbols, language, and intelligence evolved from our primate ancestors to modern humans" by Stanley Greenspan and Stuart Shanker, respectively a child psychiatrist and a philosopher and psychologist. Does anyone have any comments on these two or their previous work? Is the book likely to be solid or is it a waste of time? 

Posted by wmr

Anonymous said...

Another off topic comment.

Chris, the content of this blog is excellent, in my opinion. Since I haven't seen many comments to that effect, I figured I'd throw one in. Maybe here was the wrong place.

Anyways, what is it about Chalmers writing that irks you? The way I see it, Chalmers seems a little arbitrary with his semantic fixations. He likes to draw distinctions between a lot of interesting concepts ... and quite a few not so interesting or important ones, in my opinion. Seems like a lot of linguistic analysis without too much empirical evidence.

Personally, I think neuro-science and cognitive psychology have a little more substance than philosophy of mind. Wait, maybe a lot more. Now Dennett, someone you (Chris) don't seem too positve towards, seems to have his theories more straight. But, I still have a lot to learn. 

Posted by Concerned US Citizen

Anonymous said...

C.U.C., thanks for the compliment

The short answer to the question about Chalmers is that I don't like any qualia arguments (I think they're too Cartesian), and I hate zombie arguments in particular, because they rest on some tricky semantics and they've always seemed to me to be a bit self-refutin. The long answer will have to wait (by the way, I do like Chalmers, just not the phil of mind/consciuosness stuff). The long answer would probably have to take the form of a post. I haven't really posted on phil of mind yet, so maybe I should. I'll have to think of how to approach it.  

Posted by Chris

Anonymous said...

I agree completely with you Chris. Even when philosophers of mind aren't spouting dualism, it often seems like the way Descartes oriented the discussion still holds far too much sway.

I went off on a tangent on this commenting on your link over on my blog today. I confess I'm very, very rusty on philosophy of mind but always was partial to Davidson, even if everyone attacks his view. I tend to think their attacks only make sense in terms of a particular way of approaching the problem. (I may well be completely wrong in this, but I invoke Peirce to try to explain my views)

Anyway, the whole time I was writing it I was wondering to your own sort of pet position in the philosophy of mind choice of positions. 

Posted by Clark

Anonymous said...

I am not an academic and it is gratifying to see that someone on the inside has a problem with zombie arguments. For me, there are too many "unknown unknowns" in the basic idea of the zombie.  

Posted by wmr

Anonymous said...

This might be a little late to start this thread up, but what Chalmer's category do you guys place yourselves in? I suppose I lean most towards his Type-C materialism, although he claims my views collapse into Type-F monism. I don't mind being called a monist, but I naively suspect that "subjective conciousness" can be explained with upcoming advances in "physical" theory. Afterall, the concept of "physical" has grown larger and larger to encompass everything science can explain. Whether or not the explanations for "subjective conciousness" and their conceptual consequences can even be fathomed at the moment, I personally doubt.

Anyone think the cybernetic model might offer chances for that conceptual leap? Currently, I'm partial to those models, but I am quite new to all this.

But, I also recognize this is largely pure speculation. Fearing a chant of "please state something less obvious," I add: I think the scientists, rather than the philosophers, will push us closer to any answers. 

Posted by C.U.C.