Philosophy of Mind: An Introduction
The Mind-Body Problem:
Five Philosophical Observations:
1) You have a mind and a body
2) These normally work together
3) Your body is physical and, thus, publicly observable
4) Your mental life is essentially private; no one else can feel your pain, or experience the images you do; and unlike the physical realm the mental realm is not publicly observable, therefore, 5) You have privileged access to the contents of your own mind 2
Consciousness studies- What is Consciousness?
I can taste you
I can feel you
I can see you
I can smell you
I can hear you.
Do we have other senses?
Proprioception – yes
Arguably the most central and distinguishable aspect of consciousness is experience, at least according to the putative understanding we have thus far. What we know or can say with any measure of assuredness is that consciousness, at least the identifiable features, are those that involve ‘perception’ in the various modalities (sight, taste, etc.), ‘thoughts’ (mental content), ‘feelings’ (emotions), and particularly ‘awareness’. To this list we might add, intentional states, dispositional states, to have beliefs, and a whole myriad of other identifiable experiential states. Experience, is central to a subjective viewpoint, however, for the objectivist it is somewhat more problematic. Since one can provide a descriptive account which may entail how ‘fields, waves, and particles in the spatiotemporal manifold interact’ and eventually evolve to produce complex systems such as brains but what is not included in this description is how qualia arise. This is then ‘the explanatory gap’ Proprioception — from Latin proprius, = "one's own," and perception, is one of the human senses. It is debatable just how many senses humans have and depending on which research you ask the answer is between 9 and 21 different senses. Proprioception is the sense of the orientation of one's limbs in space as an internal feedback mechanism. Proprioception though integrated with the sense of balance which derives from the fluids in the inner ear, and is called equilibrioception, it is nonetheless distinct. When police stop a car driver for suspected drunkenness they often test the driver’s proprioceptive ability. Proprioception is so important that without it, you would struggle to walk and need to keep an eye on yourfeet in order to get the appropriate feedback you were upright. Proprioception we know is not derived from any specific organ but from the nervous system as a whole. The input comes from sensory receptors distinct from tactile receptors — nerves from inside the body rather than on the surface.
Problems of Consciousness
* The Descriptive Question: What is consciousness? What are its principal features? And by what means can they be best discovered, described and modelled? * The Explanatory Question: How does consciousness of the relevant sort come to exist? Is it a primitive aspect of reality, and if not how does (or could) consciousness in the relevant respect arise from or be caused by nonconscious entities or processes? * The Functional Question: Why does consciousness of the relevant sort exist? Does it have a function, and if so what is it? Does it act causally and if so with what sorts of effects? Does it make a difference to the operation of systems in which it is present, and if so why and how? * The Functional question: Mental causation is the view that mental events or states, e.g. desires and beliefs, contribute causally to the bodily movements involved in action. Descartes held that mental states are non-material and suggested that the point of interaction was the pineal gland. * Major problem: how can something that is immaterial (mind) causally interact with something that is material (body)? Nowadays the notion of a non-physical interference is incoherent or at the very least the discussion seems not fruitful in terms of our...
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