Philosophy of mind
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Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness, and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain.
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- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- In a sense... the philosophy of mind originated together with philosophy itself. Beginning with Plato's reflection on the immortality of the soul, themes that are relevant to what we today call “philosophy of mind” have never faded from philosophical debate. Aristotle's reflections, developed in candid contrast to the doctrines defended by Plato, concentrated on the analysis of the various mental faculties according to an approach that has persevered over the years, throughout the Middle Ages and even the Modern Era. Cartesian dualism — one of the fundamental themes discussed from the beginning of the seventeenth century — proves to be one of the most powerful thematizations of the mind/body relationship in the history of philosophy.
- Tiziana Andina (2014), Bridging the Analytical Continental Divide.
- An opportunity for cybernetics to change the course of the philosophy of mind was missed when intentionality was misinterpreted as "the providing of coded knowledge".
- Igor Aleksander (2001) in: New scientist. Vol. 169. p. 56 cited in: Jacques Vallée (2003) The Heart of the Internet. p. 8.
- The term philosophy of mind came into currency in the English-speaking world in the 1950's, largely as a description of the debates initiated by Gilbert Ryle's pioneering book The Concept of Mind, published in 1949. Ryle's book was a polemic against the Cartesian idea that mental states are states of an immaterial substance. This polemic, and the ensuing discussion, turned on the question of the reducibility of mental events to behavioral dispositions. Ryle's central argument was that we had misconceived the "logic" of such words as "belief," "sensation," "conscious," etc. He thought that the traditional, Cartesian theory of mind, had "misconstrued the type-distinction between disposition and exercise into its mythical bifurcation of unwitnessable mental causes and their witnessable physical effects" (pg 32). Ryle's attempt to do philosophy of mind as conceptual analysis was founded on the pre-Quinean idea that philosophical puzzles arose out of misunderstandings of the logic of our language.
- Scott M. Christensen, Dale R. Turner (2013), Folk Psychology and the Philosophy of Mind. p. 388
- Seeing our common-sense conceptual framework for mental phenomena as a theory brings a simple and unifying organization to most of the major topics in the philosophy of mind,
- Paul Churchland, "Eliminative materialism and the propositional attitudes." The Journal of Philosophy (1981): p. 68: About "Why folk Psychology is a theory."
G - L
- We have all along spoken of that which thinks, or mind, as so remarkably different, in its properties, from matter, as to present a ground of distinction quite sufficient for all the common purposes of life. We may even go further, and remark, that the philosophy of mind might be substantially conducted apart from any opinions as to the nature of mind itself; for this philosophy chiefly consists in the observation, the registry, the arrangement, the succession, and so far as it can be carried, the analysis of its various faculties, states, or phenomena.
- John Hoppus (1830), On the study of the philosophy of the mind and logic. An introductory lecture, etc. p. 11
M - R
- Spinoza’s philosophy of mind is, in many ways, the richest and most challenging part of his metaphysical system. Here, perhaps, more than anywhere else, Spinoza is ahead of his time.
- Michael Della Rocca, Spinoza (2008)
- The most fundamental question in the philosophy of mind, for Spinoza, is this: What is it for a thought or idea to represent, to be about, a particular object?
- Michael Della Rocca, Spinoza (2008)
S - Z
- There is probably no more abused a term in the history of philosophy than “representation,” and my use of this term differs both from its use in traditional philosophy and from its use in contemporary cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence.... The sense of “representation” in question is meant to be entirely exhausted by the analogy with speech acts: the sense of “represent” in which a belief represents its conditions of satisfaction is the same sense in which a statement represents its conditions of satisfaction. To say that a belief is a representation is simply to say that it has a propositional content and a psychological mode.
- John Searle (1983) Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind. p. 12
- Among the various subjects of the inquiry, however, which, inconsequence of the vague use of language, are comprehended under the general title of metaphysics, there are some, which are essentially distinguished from the rest, both by the degree of evidence which accompanies their principles, and by the relation which they bear to the useful sciences and arts: and it has unfortunately happened, that these have shared in that general discredit, into which the other branches of metaphysics have fallen. To this circumstance is probably to be ascribed, the little progress which has hitherto been made in the PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN MIND; a science, so interesting in its nature, and so important in its applications, that it could scarcely have failed, in these inquisitive and enlightened times, to have excited a very general attention, if it had not accidentally been classed, in the public opinion with the vain and unprofitable disquisitions of the schoolmen.
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