Imagine it is the year 3023. Over the last thousand years, startling advances have been made in nanotechnology. A company called Supramentis is the largest publicly traded company devoted to implantin

Imagine it is the year 3023. Over the last thousand years, startling advances have been made in nanotechnology. A company called Supramentis is the largest publicly traded company devoted to implanting cognitive prostheses into human brains. A new service offered by Supramentis is the “comprehensive mind-replacement package”. Through a series of several surgeries, all parts of the human brain are gradually replaced with neuro-prostheses, ultimately culminating in the “i-Mind”.  The i-Mind allows minds to upload, process, store, and retrieve 20 times more data than a natural human brain.Initial Post:With reference to specific arguments from either the Descartes or Locke readings in Module 3, answer the following questions:(a) Do the users of i-Mind have minds? Be sure to explain how Descartes’ or Locke’s arguments about the nature of consciousness are relevant to answering this question.(b) Are the users of the i-Mind distinct from i-Mind itself? Be sure to explain how Descartes’ or Locke’s arguments about the nature of consciousness are relevant to answering this question.Peer Response:Select a classmate’s initial post, and explain the extent to which it is consistent with Hume’s analysis of the idea of the self.

Imagine it is the year 3023. Over the last thousand years, startling advances have been made in nanotechnology. A company called Supramentis is the largest publicly traded company devoted to implantin
1 David Hume A Treatise of Human Nature (1740) BOOK I, SECT. VI. OF PERSONAL IDENTITY There are some philosophers who imagine we are every moment intimately conscious of what we call our SELF; that we feel its existence and its continuance in existence; and are certain, beyond the evidence of a demonstration, both o f its perfect identity and simplicity. The strongest sensation, the most violent passion, say they, instead of distracting us from this view, only fix it the more intensely, and make us consider their influence on self either by their pain or pleasure. To attempt a farther proof of this were to weaken its evidence; since no proof can be derived from any fact, of which we are so intimately conscious; nor is there any thing, of which we can be certain, if we doubt of this. Unluckily all these positive assertions are contrary to that very experience, which is pleaded for them, nor have we any idea of self, after the manner it is here explained. For from what impression coued this idea be derived? This question it is impossible to answer without a manifest contradiction and absurdity; and yet it is a question, which must necessarily be answered, if we would have the idea of self pass for clear and intelligible, It must be some one impressio n, that gives rise to every real idea. But self or person is not any one impression, but that to which our several impressions and ideas are supposed to have a reference. If any impression gives rise to the idea of self, that impression must continue invar iably the same, through the whole course of our lives; since self is supposed to exist after that manner. But there is no impression constant and invariable. Pain and pleasure, grief and joy, passions and sensations succeed each other, and never all exist at the same time. It cannot, therefore, be from any of these impressions, or from any other, that the idea of self is derived; and consequently there is no such idea. But farther, what must become of all our particular perceptions upon this hypothesis? All these are different, and distinguishable, and separable from each other, and may be separately considered, and may exist separately, and have no Deed of tiny thing to support their existence. After what manner, therefore, do they belong to self; and how a re they connected with it? For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time w ithout a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception. When my perceptions are removed for any time, as by sound sleep; so long am I insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist. And were all my perceptions removed by death, a nd coued I neither think, nor feel, nor see, nor love, nor hate after the dissolution of my body, I should be entirely annihilated, nor do I conceive what is farther requisite to make me a perfect non -entity. If any one, upon serious and unprejudiced refle ction thinks he has a different notion of himself, I must confess I call reason no longer with him. All I can allow him is, that he may be in the right as well as I, and that we are essentially different in this particular. He may, perhaps, perceive someth ing simple and continued, which he calls himself; though I am certain there is no such principle in me. But setting aside some metaphysicians of this kind, I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed 2 each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement. Our eyes cannot turn in their sockets without varying our perceptions. Our thought is still more variable than our sight; and all our other senses and faculties contribute to this change; nor is there any single power of the soul, which remains unalterably the same, perhaps for one moment. The mind is a kind of theatre, where several perceptions successively make their appearance; pass, re-pass, glide away, and mingle in an infinite variety of postures and situations. There is properly no simplicity in it at one time, nor identity in different; whatever natural propension we may have to imagine that simplicity and identity. The comparison of the theatre must not mislead us. They are the successive perceptions only, that constitute the mind; nor have we the most distant notion of the place, where these scenes are represented, or of the materials, of which it is composed. What then gives us so great a propension to ascribe an identity to these successive perceptions, and to suppose ourselves possest of an invariable and uninterrupted existence through the whole course of our lives? In order to answer this question, we must distinguish betwixt personal identity, as it regards our thought or imagination, and as it regards our passions or the concern we take in ourselves. The first is our present subject; and to explain it perfectly we must take the matter pretty deep, and account for that identi ty, which we attribute to plants and animals; there being a great analogy betwixt it, and the identity of a self or person. We have a distinct idea of an object, that remains invariable and uninterrupted through a supposed variation of time; and this idea we call that of identity or sameness. We have also a distinct idea of several different objects existing in succession, and connected together by a close relation; and this to an accurate view affords as perfect a notion of diversity, as if there was no ma nner of relation among the objects. But though these two ideas of identity, and a succession of related objects be in themselves perfectly distinct, and even contrary, yet it is certain, that in our common way of thinking they are generally confounded with each other. That action of the imagination, by which we consider the uninterrupted and invariable object, and that by which we reflect on the succession of related objects, are almost the same to the feeling, nor is there much more effort of thought requi red in the latter case than in the former. The relation facilitates the transition of the mind from one object to another, and renders its passage as smooth as if it contemplated one continued object. This resemblance is the cause of the confusion and mist ake, and makes us substitute the notion of identity, instead of that of related objects. However at one instant we may consider the related succession as variable or interrupted, we are sure the next to ascribe to it a perfect identity, and regard it as en viable and uninterrupted. Our propensity to this mistake is so great from the resemblance above -mentioned, that we fall into it before we are aware; and though we incessantly correct ourselves by reflection, and return to a more accurate method of thinking , yet we cannot long sustain our philosophy, or take off this biass from the imagination. Our last resource is to yield to it, and boldly assert that these different related objects are in effect the same, however interrupted and variable. In order to just ify to ourselves this absurdity, we often feign some new and unintelligible principle, that connects the objects together, and prevents their interruption or variation. Thus we feign the continued existence of the perceptions of our senses, to remove the i nterruption: and run into the notion of a soul, and self, and substance, to disguise the variation. But we may farther observe, that where we do not give rise to such a fiction, our propension to confound identity with relation is so great, that we are apt to imagine [FN 10] something unknown and mysterious, connecting the parts, beside their relation; and this I take to be the case with regard to the identity we ascribe to plants and vegetables. And even when this does not take place, we still feel a prope nsity to confound these ideas, though we a -re not able fully 3 to satisfy ourselves in that particular, nor find any thing invariable and uninterrupted to justify our notion of identity. [FN 10 If the reader is desirous to see how a great genius may be influencd by these seemingly trivial principles of the imagination, as well as the mere vulgar, let him read my Lord SHAFTSBURYS reasonings concerning the uniting principle of the universe, and the identity of plants and animals. See his MORALISTS: or, PHILOSOPHICAL RHAPSODY.] Thus the controversy concerning identity is not merely a dispute of words. For when we attribute identity, in an improper sense, to variable or interrupted objects, our mistake is not confin ed to the expression, but is commonly attended with a fiction, either of something invariable and uninterrupted, or of something mysterious and inexplicable, or at least with a propensity to such fictions. What will suffice to prove this hypothesis to the satisfaction of every fair enquirer, is to shew from daily experience and observation, that the objects, which are variable or interrupted, and yet are supposed to continue the same, are such only as consist of a succession of parts, connected together by resemblance, contiguity, or causation. For as such a succession answers evidently to our notion of diversity, it can only be by mistake we ascribe to it an identity; and as the relation of parts, which leads us into this mistake, is really nothing but a qu ality, which produces an association of ideas, and an easy transition of the imagination from one to another, it can only be from the resemblance, which this act of the mind bears to that, by which we contemplate one continued object, that the error arises . Our chief business, then, must be to prove, that all objects, to which we ascribe identity, without observing their invariableness and uninterruptedness, are such as consist of a succession of related objects. In order to this, suppose any mass of matter , of which the parts are contiguous and connected, to be placed before us; it is plain we must attribute a perfect identity to this mass, provided all the parts continue uninterruptedly and invariably the same, whatever motion or change of place we may obs erve either in the whole or in any of the parts. But supposing some very small or inconsiderable part to be added to the mass, or subtracted from it; though this absolutely destroys the identity of the whole, strictly speaking; yet as we seldom think so ac curately, we scruple not to pronounce a mass of matter the same, where we find so trivial an alteration. The passage of the thought from the object before the change to the object after it, is so smooth and easy, that we scarce perceive the transition, and are apt to imagine, that it is nothing but a continued survey of the same object. There is a very remarkable circumstance, that attends this experiment; which is, that though the change of any considerable part in a mass of matter destroys the identity of the whole, let we must measure the greatness of the part, not absolutely, but by its proportion to the whole. The addition or diminution of a mountain would not be sufficient to produce a diversity in a planet: though the change of a very few inches would be able to destroy the identity of some bodies. It will be impossible to account for this, but by reflecting that objects operate upon the mind, and break or interrupt the continuity of its actions not according to their real greatness, but according to t heir proportion to each other: And therefore, since this interruption makes an object cease to appear the same, it must be the uninterrupted progress o the thought, which constitutes the imperfect identity. This may be confirmed by another phenomenon. A change in any considerable part of a body destroys its identity; but it is remarkable, that where the change is produced gradually and 4 insensibly we are less apt to ascribe to it the same effect. The reason ca n plainly be no other, than that the mind, in following the successive changes of the body, feels an easy passage from the surveying its condition in one moment to the viewing of it in another, and at no particular time perceives any interruption in its ac tions. From which continued perception, it ascribes a continued existence and identity to the object. But whatever precaution we may use in introducing the changes gradually, and making them proportionable to the whole, it is certain, that where the change s are at last observed to become considerable, we make a scruple of ascribing identity to such different objects. There is, however, another artifice, by which we may induce the imagination to advance a step farther; and that is, by producing a reference o f the parts to each other, and a combination to some common end or purpose. A ship, of which a considerable part has been changed by frequent reparations, is still considered as the same; nor does the difference of the materials hinder us from ascribing an identity to it. The common end, in which the parts conspire, is the same under all their variations, and affords an easy transition of the imagination from one situation of the body to another. But this is still more remarkable, when we add a sympathy of parts to their common end, and suppose that they bear to each other, the reciprocal relation of cause and effect in all their actions and operations. This is the case with all animals and vegetables; where not only the several parts have a reference to som e general purpose, but also a mutual dependence on, and connexion with each other. The effect of so strong a relation is, that though every one must allow, that in a very few years both vegetables and animals endure a total change, yet we still attribute i dentity to them, while their form, size, and substance are entirely altered. An oak, that grows from a small plant to a large tree, is still the same oak; though there be not one particle of matter, or figure of its parts the same. An infant becomes a man -, and is sometimes fat, sometimes lean, without any change in his identity. We may also consider the two following phaenomena, which are remarkable in their kind. The first is, that though we commonly be able to distinguish pretty exactly betwixt numerical and specific identity, yet it sometimes happens, that we confound them, and in our thinking and reasoning employ the one for the other. Thus a man, who bears a noise, that is frequently interrupted and renewed, says, it is still the same noise; though it is evident the sounds have only a specific identity or resemblance, and there is nothing numerically the same, but the cause, which produced them. In like manner it may be said without breach of the propriety of language, that such a church, which was form erly of brick, fell to ruin, and that the parish rebuilt the same church of free -stone, and according to modern architecture. Here neither the form nor materials are the same, nor is there any thing common to the two objects, but their relation to the inha bitants of the parish; and yet this alone is sufficient to make us denominate them the same. But we must observe, that in these cases the first object is in a manner annihilated before the second comes into existence; by which means, we are never presented in any one point of time with the idea of difference and multiplicity: and for that reason are less scrupulous in calling them the same. Secondly, We may remark, that though in a succession of related objects, it be in a manner requisite, that the change of parts be not sudden nor entire, in order to preserve the identity, yet where the objects are in their nature changeable and inconstant, we admit of a more sudden transition, than would otherwise be consistent with that relation. Thus as the nature of a river consists in the motion and change of parts; though in less than four and twenty hours these be totally altered; this hinders not the river from continuing the same during several ages. What is natural and essential to any thing is, in a manner, expec ted; and what is expected makes less impression, and appears of less moment, than what is unusual and extraordinary. A considerable 5 change of the former kind seems really less to the imagination, than the most trivial alteration of the latter; and by break ing less the continuity of the thought, has less influence in destroying the identity. We now proceed to explain the nature of personal identity, which has become so great a question ill philosophy, especially of late years in England, where all the abstru ser sciences are studyed with a peculiar ardour and application. And here it is evident, the same method of reasoning must be continued which has so successfully explained the identity of plants, and animals, and ships, and houses, and of all the compounde d and changeable productions either of art or nature. The identity, which we ascribe to the mind of man, is only a fictitious one, and of a like kind with that which we ascribe to vegetables and animal bodies. It cannot, therefore, have a different origin, but must proceed from a like operation of the imagination upon like objects.
Imagine it is the year 3023. Over the last thousand years, startling advances have been made in nanotechnology. A company called Supramentis is the largest publicly traded company devoted to implantin
Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind 1. What is the Philosophy of Mind? Broadly speaking, the philosophy of mind is concerned with the study of consciousness. Aside from the general issue of what consciousness is, it is concerned with a variety of questions including but not limited to: • Metaphysical Questions: In what manner does consciousness exist? Is consciousness fundamentally physical? Is consciousness identical to the human brain? Is consciousness reducible to a specific part of the human brai n? • Epistemological Questions: Can neuroscience tell us everything there is to know about consciousness? Is introspection the most reliable means of understanding what consciousness is and who I am? Is seeing brain states the same thing as seeing mental sta tes? • Questions of Artificial Intelligence: Could computers one day have consciousness? Can computers think? Can computers understand creative or imaginative thinking? • Questions of Personal Identity: What’s the relationship between my personal identity and consciousness? To what extent can my personal identity remain the same across time? In cases where humans have permanently lost consciousness (such as those in persistent vegetative states), do they still have the same personal identity? Are they still persons? 2. Main Positions in the Philosophy of Mind (a) Dualism: As a metaphysical theory generally, dualism is the view that reality consists of two primary substances: physical things and non -physical things. As a thesis within the philosophy of mind, it is the view that mind and body are fundamentally different substances, with mind being non -physical and body being physical. Descartes , who you will read in this section of the course, is generally read as a kind of dualist (b) Monism : As a metaphysical theory generally, monism is the view that reality consists of one fundamental substance. Monism can generally be divided into two camps: • Idealism: Idealists deny the reality of the physical world and instead insist that only the contents of o ne’s consciousness – that is, ideas – exist. • Materialism: Materialists hold that only physical or material things exist. There is a variety of different kinds of materialism. Two prominent ones (dis cussed in the Frank Jackson essay in this module) are: o Id entity materialism: holds that consciousness is identical to the human brain and that complete knowledge of the human brain will ultimately yield complete knowledge of human consciousness o Functionalism: holds that consciousness has multiple realizability, i.e., that it can be instantiated on a wide range of physical systems provided that such systems exhibit functions or behaviors that play the same functional roles as consciousness or mental states
Imagine it is the year 3023. Over the last thousand years, startling advances have been made in nanotechnology. A company called Supramentis is the largest publicly traded company devoted to implantin
1 John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) Book II, Chapter XXVII, “Of Identity and Diversity” 1. Wherein Identity consists. ANOTHER occasion the mind often takes of comparing, is the very being of things, when, considering ANYTHING AS EXISTING AT ANY DETERMINED TIME AND PLACE, we compare it with ITSELF EXISTING AT ANOTHER TIME, and thereon form the ideas of IDENTITY and DIVERSITY. When we see anything to be in any place in any instant of time, we are sure (be it what it will ) that it is that very thing, and not another which at that same time exists in another place, how like and undistinguishable soever it may be in all other respects: and in this consists IDENTITY, when the ideas it is attributed to vary not at all from wha t they were that moment wherein we consider their former existence, and to which we compare the present. For we never finding, nor conceiving it possible, that two things of the same kind should exist in the same place at the same time, we rightly conclude , that, whatever exists anywhere at any time, excludes all of the same kind, and is there itself alone. When therefore we demand whether anything be the SAME or no, it refers always to something that existed such a time in such a place, which it was certai n, at that instant, was the same with itself, and no other. From whence it follows, that one thing cannot have two beginnings of existence, nor two things one beginning; it being impossible for two things of the same kind to be or exist in the same instant , in the very same place; or one and the same thing in different places. That, therefore, that had one beginning, is the same thing; and that which had a different beginning in time and place from that, is not the same, but diverse. That which has made the difficulty about this relation has been the little care and attention used in having precise notions of the things to which it is attributed. 4. Principium Individuationis. From what has been said, it is easy to discover what is so much inquired after, th e PRINCIPIUM INDIVIDUATIONIS; and that, it is plain, is existence itself; which determines a being of any sort to a particular time and place, incommunicable to two beings of the same kind. This, though it seems easier to conceive in simple substances or m odes; yet, when reflected on, is not more difficult in compound ones, if care be taken to what it is applied: v.g. let us suppose an atom, i.e. a continued body under one immutable superficies, existing in a determined time and place; it is evident, that, considered in any instant of its existence, it is in that instant the same with itself. For, being at that instant what it is, and nothing else, it is the same, and so must continue as long as its existence is continued; for so long it will be the same, an d no other. In like manner, if two or more atoms be joined together into the same mass, every one of those atoms will be the same, by the foregoing rule: and whilst they exist united together, the mass, consisting of the same atoms, must be the same mass, or the same body, let the parts be ever so differently jumbled. But if one of these atoms be taken away, or one new one added, it is no longer the same mass or the same body. In the state of living creatures, their identity depends not on a mass of the sam e particles, but on something else. For in them the variation of great parcels of matter alters not the identity: an oak growing from a plant to a great tree, and then lopped, is still the same oak; and a colt grown up to a horse, sometimes fat, sometimes lean, is all the while the same horse: though, in both these cases, there may be a manifest change of the parts; so that truly they are not either of them the same masses of matter, though they be truly one of them the same oak, and the other the same hors e. 2 The reason whereof is, that, in these two cases — a MASS OF MATTER and a LIVING BODY — identity is not applied to the same thing. 10. Same man. For I presume it is not the idea of a thinking or rational being alone that makes the IDEA OF A MAN in most peopl e’s sense: but of a body, so and so shaped, joined to it; and if that be the idea of a man, the same successive body not shifted all at once, must, as well as the same immaterial spirit, go to the making of the same man. 11. Personal Identity. This being p remised, to find wherein personal identity consists, we must consider what PERSON stands for; — which, I think, is a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times an d places; which it does only by that consciousness which is inseparable from thinking, and, as it seems to me, essential to it: it being impossible for any one to perceive without PERCEIVING that he does perceive. When we see, hear, smell, taste, feel, med itate, or will anything, we know that we do so. Thus it is always as to our present sensations and perceptions: and by this every one is to himself that which he calls SELF: — it not being considered, in this case, whether the same self be continued in the s ame or divers substances. For, since consciousness always accompanies thinking, and it is that which makes every one to be what he calls self, and thereby distinguishes himself from all other thinking things, in this alone consists personal identity, i.e. the sameness of a rational being: and as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that person; it is the same self now it was then; and it is by the same self with this present one th at now reflects on it, that that action was done. 12. Consciousness makes personal Identity. But it is further inquired, whether it be the same identical substance. This few would think they had reason to doubt of, if these perceptions, with their consciou sness, always remained present in the mind, whereby the same thinking thing would be always consciously present, and, as would be thought, evidently the same to itself. But that which seems to make the difficulty is this, that this consciousness being inte rrupted always by forgetfulness, there being no moment of our lives wherein we have the whole train of all our past actions before our eyes in one view, but even the best memories losing the sight of one part whilst they are viewing another; and we sometim es, and that the greatest part of our lives, not reflecting on our past selves, being intent on our present thoughts, and in sound sleep having no thoughts at all, or at least none with that consciousness which remarks our waking thoughts, — I say, in all th ese cases, our consciousness being interrupted, and we losing the sight of our past selves, doubts are raised whether we are the same thinking thing, i.e. the same SUBSTANCE or no. Which, however reasonable or unreasonable, concerns not PERSONAL identity a t all. The question being what makes the same person; and not whether it be the same identical substance, which always thinks in the same person, which, in this case, matters not at all: different substances, by the same consciousness (where they do partak e in it) being united into one person, as well as different bodies by the same life are united into one animal, whose identity is preserved in that change of substances by the unity of one continued life. For, it being the same consciousness that makes a m an be himself to himself, personal identity depends on that only, whether it be annexed solely to one individual substance, or can be continued in a succession of several substances. For as far as any intelligent being CAN repeat the idea of 3 any past actio n with the same consciousness it had of it at first, and with the same consciousness it has of any present action; so far it is the same personal self. For it is by the consciousness it has of its present thoughts and actions, that it is SELF TO ITSELF now , and so will be the same self, as far as the same consciousness can extend to actions past or to come; and would be by distance of time, or change of substance, no more two persons, than a man be two men by wearing other clothes to -day than he did yesterd ay, with a long or a short sleep between: the same consciousness uniting those distant actions into the same person, whatever substances contributed to their production. 13. Personal Identity in Change of Substance. That this is so, we have some kind of ev idence in our very bodies, all whose particles, whilst vitally united to this same thinking conscious self, so that WE FEEL when they are touched, and are affected by, and conscious of good or harm that happens to them, are a part of ourselves; i.e. of our thinking conscious self. Thus, the limbs of his body are to every one a part of himself; he sympathizes and is concerned for them. Cut off a hand, and thereby separate it from that consciousness he had of its heat, cold, and other affections, and it is th en no longer a part of that which is himself, any more than the remotest part of matter. Thus, we see the SUBSTANCE whereof personal self consisted at one time may be varied at another, without the change of personal identity; there being no question about the same person, though the limbs which but now were a part of it, be cut off. 17. The body, as well as the soul, goes to the making of a Man. And thus may we be able, without any difficulty, to conceive the same person at the resurrection, though in a bo dy not exactly in make or parts the same which he had here, — the same consciousness going along with the soul that inhabits it. But yet the soul alone, in the change of bodies, would scarce to any one but to him that makes the soul the man, be enough to mak e the same man. For should the soul of a prince, carrying with it the consciousness of the prince’s past life, enter and inform the body of a cobbler, as soon as deserted by his own soul, every one sees he would be the same PERSON with the prince, accounta ble only for the prince’s actions: but who would say it was the same MAN? The body too goes to the making the man, and would, I guess, to everybody determine the man in this case, wherein the soul, with all its princely thoughts about it, would not make an other man: but he would be the same cobbler to every one besides himself. I know that, in the ordinary way of speaking, the same person, and the same man, stand for one and the same thing. And indeed every one will always have a liberty to speak as he plea ses, and to apply what articulate sounds to what ideas he thinks fit, and change them as often as he pleases. But yet, when we will inquire what makes the same SPIRIT, MAN, or PERSON, we must fix the ideas of spirit, man, or person in our minds; and having resolved with ourselves what we mean by them, it will not be hard to determine, in either of them, or the like, when it is the same, and when not. 4
Imagine it is the year 3023. Over the last thousand years, startling advances have been made in nanotechnology. A company called Supramentis is the largest publicly traded company devoted to implantin
1 Notes on Materialism Materialism , broadly speaking, is a metaphysical thesis that reality consists solely and entirely of physical things. As a thesis within the philosop hy of mind, it is the view that consciousness is fundamentally some type of physical thing. Materialism should be viewed in contrast to dualism. Dualism , as a thesis within the philosophy of mind, holds that mind and body occupy different realms of exis tence: • Mind is conceived by dualists as being a non -physical and private entity that is only accessible introspectively from a first -person perspective. On the dualistic theory, one’s mental states are knowable only from the inside, and inasmuch as it is a non – physical entity, mind is not subject to the laws of physics. • Body or matter is conceived as being a physical and publicly viewable entity, observable from a third -person perspective. Bodies, as material things, are subject to the laws of physics. The dualistic way of speaking is intuitive, and we often make use of dualistic idioms in everyday speech . But dualism is plagued by two problems: • Problem of Interaction: how can we explain the interaction of physical and non – physical things? If mind is, as the dualist alleges, non -physical, then how do we explain how drunkenness or brain damage impair cognitive function? If mind is non – physical, then how can we explain in tentional behavior? If, as the dualist would allege, an intention is a function of a non -physical mind, it’s fundamentally mysterious how a non -physical intention could produce motion in a physical body. • Problem of Solipsism: if our mental states are, as the dualist alleges, fundamentally private things, then how could we possibly know whether other minds exist? If consciousness is private, then it could only be known from the inside. Solipsism is thus the idea that we could never know that any other con sciousness but our own exists, since the only consciousness that we’ve ever encountered directly is our own. Part of the attraction of materialist theories is their ability to potentially avoid the pitfalls of dualistic conceptions of mind. We can avoid the problem of interaction by just admitting that mental processes are some type of physical (typically neurological) processes. And we can avoid the problem of solipsism by denying the privacy of consciousness and instead affirming that consciousness is some type of publicly viewable thing. What kind of physical thing consciousness is, however, is a matter of dispute among materialist philosophers . Materialism should thus be viewed as a broad umbrella under which a variety of different theories fall. What follows will present three different types of materialism before outlining Frank Jackson’s famous criticism. 2 1. Behaviorism : as a thesis withi n the philosophy of mind, this is the view that mental states should not be understood as private, internal mental states, but rather as publicly observable dispositions to behavior. 1 Consider the following statement from Gilbert Ryle’s The Concept of Mi nd : “To say that a person knows something, or aspires to be something, is not to say that he is at a particular moment in the process of doing or undergoing anything, but that he is able to do certain things, when the need arises, or that he is prone to do and feel certain things in situations of certain sorts” .2 Mental states according to Ryle are not private, internal happenings that are known only by the mind that has them. Instead, mental states are dispositions , or tendencies , to certain behaviors . How do we know, for example, that one believes that the traffic light is red? We know this on the basis of one’s disposition to stop their car at a red light. Or , how do we know that someone (even ourselves) is in pain? We know this on the basis of the observable behaviors of one who is in pain (wincing, grimacing, cries, etc .). Take Ludwig Wittgenstein’s account of this: “How do words refer to sensations?…Here is one possibility: words are connected with the primitive, the natural expressions of the sensation and used in their place. A child has hurt himself and he cries; and then adults talk to him and teach him exclamations, and later, sentences. They teach the child new pain -behaviour…the verbal expression of pain replaces cryin g and does not describe it”. 3 Saying that “I am in pain” on this account is not to refer to or to express some sort of private, internal mental happening. Instead, it is just a sophisticated kind of observable behavior, albeit a linguistic one, that ref ers to or replaces other observable pain behaviors like crying or grimacing. 2. Functionalism : somewhat derivative of behaviorism, this is the view that the presence of mental states is identifiable on the basis of a physical system exhibiting certain fu nctional roles. Thus, having a belief is not dependent on the internal physical constitution of a physical entity, but on the role that it plays in that entity. Minds are thus capable of multiple realizability, that is, of being instantiated on different physical systems . Consider an analogy by Wilfrid Sellars to make the idea of functionalism clearer. 4 Think of what it is to play chess. To play chess , one’s chess pieces needn’t necessarily be made out of any particular kind of physical stuff. The chess pieces coul d be made from wood, plastic, glass, or whatever. Indeed, if one were wealthy enough, one could play chess with a fleet of helicopters in the Midwest. How would we know which helicopter was which chess piece in such a scenario ? We would identify them on t he basis of the functional roles each helicopter played. Helicopters that moved only diagonally would be bishops. Helicopters that moved in L – 1 Though they have an affinity, the philosophical or logical behaviorism described here should not be confused with the psychological behaviorism of B.F. Skinner or Ivan Pavlov. 2 Ryle (1949: 117) 3 Wittgenstein (1958 : § 244) 4 Sellars (1954) 3 shaped patterns would be knights. And so on. So, the functionalist idea is that just as chess has multiple reali zability in that its functions can be instantiated on a variety of different physical systems, mental states are also capable of multiple realizability. Hence, f unctionalism is a theory that is amenable to the idea that computers might be capable of one da y exhibiting consciousness, provided that they exhibit functions that are constitutive of mental states. 3. Identity Materialism : this is the view that consciousness and its various contents (beliefs, desires, emotions, etc .) are identical to the brain in some way . Thus, complete and total knowledge of the human brain will yield complete and total knowledge of consciousness. As J.J.C Smart puts it: “…In so far as a sensation statement is a report of something, that something is in fact a brain process. Sensations are nothing over and above brain processes. Nations are nothing ‘over and above’ citizens, but this does not prevent the logic of nation statements being very different from the logic of citizen statements, nor does it insure the translat ability of nation statements into citizen statements… ”5 Smart’s point here is that though the semantic properties of mental states might seem very different from brain processes, that doesn’t prevent us from saying that those mental states are in fact identical to some set of brain processes. Just as the nation of the United States is not some metaphysically odd entity that exists over and above the citizens of a geo -political entity in North America, our beliefs are not some weird non -spatial thing that exists independent of our brain. Though we may speak of our beliefs in very spec ial ways (say, for example, the way we might talk of being in love), our beliefs are still nothing more than brain processes. Hence, despite the semantic differences between the way we might speak of mental states and the way we might speak of brain state s, they are metaphysically identical: “When I say that a sensation is a brain process or that lightning is an electric discharge I am using ‘is’ in the sense of strict identity. (Just as in the – in this case necessary – proposition ‘7 is identical with t he smallest prime number greater than 5.’). When I say that a sensation is a brain process or that lightning is an electric discharge I do not mean just that the sensation is somehow spatially or temporally continuous with the brain process or that lightni ng is just spatially or temporally continuous with the discharge”. 6 4. Jackson’s Knowledge Argument In his essay “What Mary Didn’t Know”, Frank Jackson presents a novel thought experiment to challenge materialist (or what he refers to as “physicalist ”) theories of consciousness, especially identity materialism. Recall that the identity materialist holds that since mind and brain are 5 Smart (2002: 62) 6 Smart (2002: 62) . Functionalists argue against identity materialist arguments of this sort on the grounds that there appear to be plenty of cases where a physical system could exhibit the functional role of a particular sensation yet have a radicall y different physiology than the human brain. In the analysis of Hilary Putnam (2002: 77) , the identity materialist must “specify a physical -chemical state such that any organism (not just a mammal) is in pain if and only if (a) it possesses a brain of a suitable physical -chemical structure; and (b) its brain is in that physical -chemical state…Thus if we can find even one psychological predicate which can clearly be applied to both a mammal and an octopus (say ‘hungry’), but whose physical -chemical ‘correl ate’ is different in the two cases, the brain -state theory has collapsed” . 4 identical, complete and total knowledge of the brain will yield complete and total knowledge of the mind. Modifying Jac kson’s thought experiment slightly, imagine the following. Imagine a woman named Mary who is a total expert in two fields: the physics and the neurophysiology of color perception. She thus knows everything there is to know about the electro -magnetic spec trum and the wavelengths of light that are constitutive of the experience of color. She also knows everything that there is to know about what’s going on in the human brain when someone looks at a particular color. There’s only one catch: Mary is color bli nd . This then raises the question of whether or not Mary knows everything that there is to know about color. Remember, if identity materialism is true, then total knowledge of brain processes should yield total knowledge of consciousness. The Mary scenari o, however, seems to suggest that it’s possible for one to have total knowledge brain processes without having knowledge of certain mental states . That is, though Mary may know what it is for a brain to be in a state of seeing red, she doesn’t know what i t’s like to see red . Stated deductively, Jackson’s argument is: P1. If materialism is true, then Mary knows everything about color P2. Mary does not know everything about color C: Therefore, materialism is not true. 7 The idea is that while Mary may know the quantitative aspects of color (say, the aforementioned wavelengths), what she lacks knowledge of are the qualitative aspects of color. Hence, what makes consciousness unamenable to a fully materialist understanding according to Jackson is its access to qualia : the su bjective, qualitative aspects of conscious experience. Bibliography Chalmers, David J. “Consciousness and Its Place in Nature” . in David J. Chalmers (ed.). Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings . (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 247 -271. Jackson, Frank. “What Mary Didn’t Know” . The Journal of Philosophy , Vol. 83, No. 5. (1986), pp. 291 -295 . Putnam, Hilary. “The Nature of Mental States”. in David J. Chalmers (ed.). Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings . (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 73 -79. Ryle, Gilbert. The Concept of Mind . (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949). Sellars, Wilfrid. “Some Reflections on Language Games”. Philosophy of Science , Vol. 21 , No. 3, (1954 ), pp. 204 -228. Smart, J.J.C. “ Sensations and Brain Processes”, in David J. Chalmers (ed.). Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings . (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 60 -68. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations . (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1958). 7 Jackson (1986). See also Chalmers (2002).
Imagine it is the year 3023. Over the last thousand years, startling advances have been made in nanotechnology. A company called Supramentis is the largest publicly traded company devoted to implantin
1 Notes on British Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind (All the quotes below are taken from Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature both of which have links posted to Blackboard) 1. Empiricism: the epistemological view that all knowledge should be derived from observation Much of 17 th and 18 th century philosophy in Britain was dominated by empiricists, and their work is a forerunner to what will eventually become known as psychology. 2. Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding (a) Identity as a Concept “ANOTHER occasion the mind often takes of comparing, is the very being of things, when, considering ANYTHING AS EXISTING AT ANY DETERMINED TIME AND PLACE, we compare it with ITSELF EXISTING AT ANOTHER TIME, and thereon form the ideas of IDENTITY and DIVERSITY. When we see anything to be in any place in any instant of time, we are sure (be it what it will) that it is that very thing, and not another which at that same time exists in another place , how like and undistinguishable soever it may be in all other respects: and in this consists IDENTITY, when the ideas it is attributed to vary not at all from what they were that moment wherein we consider their former existence, and to which we compare t he present. For we never finding, nor conceiving it possible, that two things of the same kind should exist in the same place at the same time, we rightly conclude, that, whatever exists anywhere at any time, excludes all of the same kind, and is there its elf alone. When therefore we demand whether anything be the SAME or no, it refers always to something that existed such a time in such a place, which it was certain, at that instant, was the same with itself, and no other” Locke is arguing that the concep t of identity (whether we’re talking about the identity of persons, oak trees, or automobiles) is a function of two different levels of analysis: synchronic and diachronic . When talking about identity on a synchronic level what we are talking about is uni queness or identity at any one given time . When talking about identity on a diachronic level what we are talking about is sameness or identity across time. Diachronic identity is a particular importance here as part of what we are concerned with is what a llows us to say that a given entity is the same thing over time, especially as its physical parts change. (b) Criteria for Identity Locke holds that there are different criteria for identity depending on the type of entity under consideration. • Inanimate objects: “if two or more atoms be joined together into the same mass, every one of those atoms will be the same, by the foregoing rule: and whilst they exist united together, the mass, consisting of the same atoms, must be the sam e mass, or the same body, let the parts be ever so differently jumbled. But if one of these atoms be taken away, or one new one added, it is no longer the same mass or the same body” ➢ Here, Locke is arguing that the diachronic identity of inanimate objects consists of the continuity of their physical parts. 2 • Animate objects: “In the state of living creatures, their identity depends not on a mass of the same particles, but on something else. For in them the variation of great parcels of matter alters not the identity: an oak growing from a plant to a great tree, and then lopped, is still the same oak; and a colt grown up to a horse, sometimes fat, sometimes lean, is all the while the same horse: though, in both these cases, there may be a manifest change of t he parts; so that truly they are not either of them the same masses of matter, though they be truly one of them the same oak, and the other the same horse. The reason whereof is, that, in these two cases — a MASS OF MATTER and a LIVING BODY — identity is not a pplied to the same thing ” ➢ Here, Locke is arguing that the diachronic identity of animate objects consists of the continuity of their life -processes. • Persons: You will notice in the Essay that Locke carefully distinguishes between his use of the words “man” (by which he means human) and “person ”. The criteria of identity for persons thus has to be carefully considered. (c) Personhood Rejection of Body Criterion: “Cut off a hand, and thereby separate it from that consciousness he had of its heat, cold, and other affections, and it is then no longer a part of that which is himself, any more than the remotest part of matter. Thus, we see the SUBSTANCE whereof personal self consisted at o ne time may be varied at another, without the change of personal identity; there being no question about the same person, though the limbs which but now were a part of it, be cut off.” P1: If personal identity is identical to bodily identity, then any cha nge to one necessitates a change in the other P2: It is possible to have bodily change without personal change C : Therefore, personal identity is not identical to bodily identity Endorsement of Consciousness Criterion: “to find wherein personal identity consists, we must consider what PERSON stands for; — which, I think, is a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places; which i t does only by that consciousness which is inseparable from thinking, and, as it seems to me, essential to it: it being impossible for anyone to perceive without PERCEIVING that he does perceive” ➢ What distinguishes humans from persons is the capacity for s elf – consciousness, i.e. the capacity to be aware of one’s self, it being as Locke points out, “impossible for anyone to perceive without perceiving that he does perceive”. So , what makes up your identity at any given time is not the state of your body but rather your consciousness. Diachronic Identity and Memory: “since consciousness always accompanies thinking, and it is that which makes everyone to be what he calls self, and thereby distinguishes himself from all other thinking things, in this alone con sists personal identity, i.e. the sameness of a rational being: and as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, 3 so far reaches the identity of that person; it is the same self now it was then; and it is by the same self with this present one that now reflects on it, that that action was done” ➢ What secures the continuity of personal identity across time for Locke is memory. Certainly , the contents of our consciousness change, but what provides the glue that binds these various states of consciousness together is memory. Think, by contrast, what your conscious experience would be like if you had no capacity for memory: would you be abl e to know who you are, let alone any object before you? 3. Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (a) Hume’s Methodology • Impressions and Ideas : impressions are raw pieces of sense data, and ideas are copies of impressions stored in memory. For Hume, all ideas must be traceable back to some sensory experience. Impressions by their nature are variable. None of our impressions remains permanent, and impressions vary from person to person. • Associations of Ideas : hard -wired cognitive functions for processing data. Hume believed that all humans processed data via these mechanisms and that there were three of them: ▪ Resemblance: the capacity to detect in perceptual comparisons (i.e. that x looks to be red) ▪ Contiguity : the capacity to detect spatial and temporal relations (i.e. how things are related in space and time) ▪ Cause and Effect: the capacity to reason about the future in terms of the past (i.e. that x causes y) (b) Hume’s Argument Hume begins by criticizing the assumptions that theori es of personal identity have been based on, such as those of Descartes and Locke. “There are some philosophers who imagine we are every moment intimately conscious of what we call our SELF; that we feel its existence and its continuance in existence; and are certain, beyond the evidence of a demonstration, both o f its perfect identity and simplicity. The strongest sensation, the most violent passion, say they, instead of distracting us from this view, only fix it the more intensely, and make us consider their influence on self either by their pain or pleasure. To attempt a farther proof of this were to weaken its evidence; since no proof can be derived from any fact, of which we are so intimately conscious; nor is there anything, of which we can be certain, if we doubt of this. ” As Hume points out , what is typically key to theories of personal identity is the idea that there is something that remains continuous and unchanging. Hume’s critique will be to make two challenges: • Metaphysical chall enge: does the continuity that allegedly makes up the self actually exist? 4 • Epistemological challenge: what is our access to this continuity or invariability that is supposedly constitutive of the self ? How could we come to know of it? Hume doesn’t think that either of these challenges can be met. Consider the following passage: “Unluckily all these positive assertions are contrary to that very experience, which is pleaded for them, nor have we any idea of self, after the manner it is here explained. For from what impression coued this idea be derived? This question it is impossible to answer without a manifest contradiction and absurdity; and yet it is a question, which must necessarily be answered, if we would have the idea of self pass for clear and in telligible, It must be some one impression, that gives rise to every real idea. But self or person is not any one impression, but that to which our several impressions and ideas are supposed to have a reference. If any impression gives rise to the idea of self, that impression must continue invariably the same, through the whole course of our lives; since self is supposed to exist after that manner. But there is no impression constant and invariable. Pain and pleasure, grief and joy, passions and sensations succeed each other, and never all exist at the same time. It cannot, therefore, be from any of these impressions, or from any other, that the idea of self is derived; and consequently there is no such idea. ” Hume appears to be making at least two claims in the passage. First, he points out that there is no impression or sense data that could serve as the basis for personal identity. This is because though the concept of identity requires something that is continuous or invariable, the sense data that we experience is constantly changing. Thus, the metaphysical challenge above can’t be met. Second, Hume doesn’t think that the epistemological challenge above can be met either. Consider when he states: “It must be some one impression, that gives rise to every real idea. But self or person is not any one impression, but that to which our several impressions and ideas are supposed to have a reference ” Hume’s point here is that it would be impossible to form an objective perception of the subject of perception because there is no perspective that could be both the subject and object of perception . (c) Hume’s “bundle theory of the self” Whatever it is that we call the “self” is, according to Hume, nothing but a bundle of different perceptions . If we look at what Locke and Descartes claimed was constitutive of the self – that is, the contents of our consciousness – all we see is constant change : “I ma y venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement. Our eyes cannot turn in their sockets without varying our perceptions. Our thought is still more variable than our sight: and all our other senses and faculties contribute to this change; nor is there any single power of the soul, which remains unalterably the 5 same, perhaps for one moment. T he mind is a kind of theatre, where several perceptions successively make their appearance; pass, re -pass, glide away, and mingle in an infinite variety of postures and situations. There is properly no simplicity in it at one time, nor identity in differe nt; whatever natural propension we may have to imagine that simplicity and identity ” Notice Hume’s claim in the bold print. Even though metaphysically there does not exist anything that could serve as the basis for the idea of the self, we nonetheless ha ve a “natural propension” to “imagine” that we do have a self. And in this, Hume seems to be absolutely correct. Even if it turns out to be the case that there doesn’t actually exist any object that is sufficiently continuous across time that it could sa tisfy the criteria for personal identity, all of us still continue to believe that we have a self. Why is that? (d) Psychological Mechanisms that Give Rise to the Idea of Self Hume will argue that our idea of the self is in some way the product of the ass ociative mechanisms discussed above in (3)(a) : “We have a distinct idea of an object that remains invariable and uninterrupted thro’ a suppos’d variation of time; and this idea we call that of identity or sameness . We have also a distinct idea of several different objects existing in succession, and connected together by a close relation; and this to an accurate view affords as perfect a notion of diversity …But tho’ these two ideas of identity , and a succession of related objects be in themselves perfectly distinct, and even contrary, yet ‘tis certain, that in our common way of thinking they are generally confounded with each other” What Hume is claiming here is that the idea of the self results from the confusion of two ideas: • Idea of identity as such : the idea of identity as something constant and invariable • Idea of the spatial and temporal contiguity of perceptions: that is, the idea that all of our perceptions are closely related together in space and time (every single perception you have is c ontiguous to the previous one in both space and time) o The point for Hume is that we come to think of the spatial and temporal contiguity of our perceptions as resembling something that has identity that is constant and invariable. ▪ Later in the text, Hume u ses the analogy of a river to make his point. Even though the contents of a flowing river at any given point will all change in the course of 24 hours, we are habituated to still speak of it as the identical river because the close spatial and temporal co ntiguity of its parts resembles something that is continuous and invariable. o Thus, “we often feign some new and unintelligible principle, that connect the objects together, and prevents their interruption or variation. Thus we feign the continued existenc e of the perceptions of our senses, to remove the interruption; and run into the notion of a soul , and self , and substance , to disguise the variation”.
Imagine it is the year 3023. Over the last thousand years, startling advances have been made in nanotechnology. A company called Supramentis is the largest publicly traded company devoted to implantin
1 Notes on Descartes ’ Meditations on First Philosophy (All quotes below are from Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy ) 1. A Universal Experience In the opening lines of his Me ditations , Descartes describes a universal experience which he thinks should provoke a similarly universal anxiety: “Several years have now elapsed since I first became aware that I had accepted, even from my youth, many false opinions for true, and that consequently what I afterward based on such principles was highly doubtful; and from that time I was convinced of the necessi ty of undertaking once in my life to rid myself of all the opinions I had adopted, and of commencing anew the work of building from the foundation, if I desired to establish a firm and abiding superstructure in the sciences ” Notice first the experience De scartes describes. He is talking about how in the past he found that many things that he once believed to be true turned out to be false. Surely every single one of us has had this experience. But if we think about it a little deeper, this should provoke a kind of anxiety. For if in the past I’ve had the experience that things I believed to be true turned out to be false, then how do I know that the beliefs that I have now are in fact true? It seems quite likely that at least one if not more of my beliefs is false. This experience and anxiety motivate two goals for Descartes. 2. Two Goals Recall the passage where Descartes states “…I was convinced of the necessity of undertaking once in my life to rid myself of all the opinions I had adopted, and of comm encing anew the work of building from the foundation, if I desired to establish a firm and abiding superstructure in the sciences ”. Here he seems to be identifying two goals: (a) Certainty : given the aforementioned experience of error, Descartes wants to see if there is at least one thing that he can be certain of, if there is one thing that he is incapable of doubting. (b) Foundation : his hope is that if he can find one belief that is certainly true , then he can then use that as a pote ntial foundation for justifying all his other beliefs. 3. Strategic Doubt “… my reason convinces me that I ought not the less carefully to withhold belief from what is not entirely certain and indubitable, than from what is manifestly false, it will be sufficient to justify the rejection of the whole if I shall find in each some ground for doubt. ” Descartes’ strategy to achieve his goals is to doubt everything that he doesn’t know with certainty until he gets to something that he can’t possibly deny. T o do so he considers four possible sources of error. 2 4. Sources of Error (a) Senses “All that I have, up to this moment, accepted as possessed of the highest truth and certainty, I received either from or through the senses. I observed, however, that these sometimes misled us; and it is the part of prudence not to place absolute confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived.” Descartes is not so much outright denying the reliability of sensory perception as much as he’s asking a kind of “what if” question: what if our senses systematically deceived us? Would there be anything that we could know with absolute certainty? (b) Insanity “But it may be said, perhaps, that, although the senses occasionally mislead us respecting minute objects, and such as are so far removed from us as to be beyond the reach of close observation, there are yet many other of their informations (presentations), of the truth of which it is manifestly impossible to doubt; as for example, that I am in this place, seated by the fire, clothed in a winter dressing gown, that I hold in my hands this piece of paper, with other intimations of the same nature. But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors as to cause them pertinaciously to assert that they are monarchs when they are in the greatest poverty; or clothed [in gold] and purple when destitute of any covering; or that their head is made of clay, their body of glass, or that they are gourds? I should certainly be not less insane than they, were I to regulate my procedure according to examples so extravagant ” Here, Descartes is asking how do you know th at you’re not insane? How do you know that, though you think you’re a student taking online classes at NCC that you’re not in fact a patient in a mental hospital? The same point can be made a little less dramatically by asking how do you know that you don’ t have some cognitive defect that you’ve hitherto been unaware of? (c) Dream Argument “I must nevertheless here consider that I am a man, and that, consequently, I am in the habit of sleeping, and representing to myself in dreams those same things, or eve n sometimes others less probable, which the insane think are presented to them in their waking moments. How often have I dreamt that I was in these familiar circumstances, that I was dressed, and occupied this place by the fire, when I was lying undressed in bed?” Descartes is asking here whether or not we can distinguish our waking life from our dreaming life? One couldn’t just merely pinch one’s self to test whether or not one is dreaming (as the saying goes) since whatever sensations one feels could be part of th e dream. Think of either the best or the worst dreams that you’ve had. What made them so bad or good? Oftentimes, it was because they felt so real. (d) Simulation Argument “… the belief that there is a God who is all powerful, and who created me, such as I am, has, for a long time, obtained steady possession of my mind. How, then, do I know that he has not 3 arranged that there should be neither earth, nor sky, nor any extended thing, nor figure, nor magnitude, nor place, providing at the same time, howe ver, for [the rise in me of the perceptions of all these objects, and] the persuasion that these do not exist otherwise than as I perceive them?” Descartes is here making an argument that is a version of The Matrix . How do I know that some higher power ha s not made it seem like the world exists in the way that I perceive it when in fact it doesn’t exist in that way at all? So again, the question for Descartes is: supposing that all four of these sources of error are true, is there anything that I could be absolutely certain of? 5. Cogito Argument What comes out of the consideration of the sources of error is perhaps one of the most famous lines in the history of philosophy. Although originally written in a different text of Descartes’ (his Discou rse on Method ), its logic is identical in this text. The line, of course, is: I think, therefore I am . This is often referred to as the cogito argument (originally written in Latin, the argument is cogito, ergo sum ). Why does this argument work? Why is it that Descartes can be certain of his existence even if the four sources of error enumerated above are true? The idea here is that the act of thinking assumes the existence of a thinker . So even if Descartes is deceived by the four sources of err or above, something still needs to exist in order to be deceived. Stated more formally, the argument is: P1: The act of thinking assumes the existence of a thinker P2: Everything that thinks exists P3: I think C: Therefore, I exist 6. Argument from Essences In the Second Meditation, Descartes turns to a consideration of what the essence of the “I” in the “I think, therefore I am” argument is. When considering the essence of something, we are broadly speaki ng considering what makes something the kind of thing that it is. More precisely, we can state the following definitions: • Essence: that without which something couldn’t be conceived • If Y is essential to X, then I can’t conceive X without Y Consider such definitions in relation to the following passage: “…it is plain I am not the assemblage of members called the human body; I am not a thin and penetrating air diffused through all these members, or wind, or flame, or vapor, or breath, or any of all the things I can imagine; for I supposed that all these were not, and, without changing the supposition, I find that I still feel assured of my existence . But it is true, perhaps, that 4 those very things which I suppose to be non -existent, because th ey are unknown to me, are not in truth different from myself whom I know. This is a point I cannot determine, and do not now enter into any dispute regarding it. I can only judge of things that are known to me: I am conscious that I exist, and I who know t hat I exist inquire into what I am. It is, however, perfectly certain that the knowledge of my existence, thus precisely taken, is not dependent on things, the existence of which is as yet unknown to me ” Take particular note of the lines in bold print. Wh at Descartes is drawing attention to is whether or not his body is essential to the existence of the “I” in the cogito argument. Recall that one of the sources of error Descartes considered was the simulation or matrix argument. If such a hypothesis were true – if, in other words, one was living in a computer simulation – one would be deceived about the existence of their body. But, as the cogito argument demonstrates, even if I am deceived about my body, something still must exist in order for deception to take place. Thus, Descartes’ argument above can be re -stated: P1 : If Y is essential to X, then I can’t conceive X without Y P2: Let X = I, Y = body P3: I can conceive the I without the body. C : Therefore, the body is not essential to the I 7. Significance of Descartes’ Argument Descartes’ arguments in the Meditations have been very influential. His arguments have: • Established a basis for absolute certainty • Established the centrality of consciousness as an area of study • Provoked questions as to whether consciousness is fundamentally reducible to physical states
Imagine it is the year 3023. Over the last thousand years, startling advances have been made in nanotechnology. A company called Supramentis is the largest publicly traded company devoted to implantin
What Mary Didn’t Know Frank Jackson The Journal of Philosophy , Vol. 83, No. 5. (May, 1986), pp. 291-295. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-362X%28198605%2983%3A5%3C291%3AWMDK%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Z The Journal of Philosophy is currently published by Journal of Philosophy, Inc.. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR’s Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/about/terms.html . JSTOR’s Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/journals/jphil.html . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. The JSTOR Archive is a trusted digital repository providing for long-term preservation and access to leading academic journals and scholarly literature from around the world. The Archive is supported by libraries, scholarly societies, publishers, and foundations. It is an initiative of JSTOR, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to help the scholarly community take advantage of advances in technology. For more information regarding JSTOR, please contact [email protected] http://www.jstor.org Mon Dec 17 11:40:35 2007 291 WHAT MARY DIDN’T KNOW COMMENTS AND CRITICISM WHAT MARY DIDN’T KNOW* M ARY is confined to a black-and-white room, is educated through black-and-white books and through lectures re- layed on black-and-white television. In this way she learns everything there is to know about the physical nature of the world. She knows all the physical facts about us and our environment, in a wide sense of ‘physical’ which includes everything in completed phys- ics, chemistry, and neurophysiology, and all there is to know about the causal and relational facts consequent upon all this, including of course functional roles. If physicalism is true, she knows all there is to know. For to suppose otherwise is to suppose that there is more to know than every physical fact, and that is just what physicalism denies. Physicalism is not the noncontroversial thesis that the actual world is largely physical, but the challenging thesis that it is entirely physi- cal. This is why physicalists must hold that complete physical knowl- edge is complete knowledge simpliciter. For suppose it is not com- plete: then our world must differ from a world, W(P), for which it is complete, and the difference must be in nonphysical facts; for our world and W(P) agree in all matters physical. Hence, physicalism would be false at our world [though contingently so, for it would be true at W(P)] .’ It seems, however, that Mary does not know all there is to know. For when she is let out of the black-and-white room or given a color television, she will learn what it is like to see something red, say. This is rightly described as learning-she will not say “ho, hum.” Hence, physicalism is false. This is the knowledge argument against physical- ism in one of its manifestations.’ This note is a reply to three objec- tions to it mounted by Paul M. Churchland.+ * I am much indebted to discussions with David Lewis and with Robert Pargetter. ‘ The claim here is not that, if physicalism is true, only what is expressed in explicitly physical language is an item of knowledge. It is that, if physicalism is true, then if you know everything expressed or expressible in explicitly physical language, you know everything. Pace Terence Horgan, “Jackson on Physical Information and Qualia,” Philosophical Quarterly, XXXIV, 135 (April 1984): 147-152. Namely, that in my “Epiphenomena1 Qualia,” ibid., xxxrI, 127 (April 1982): 127-136. See also Thomas Nagel, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?”, Philosophical Review, LXXXIII, 4 (October 1974): 435-450, and Howard Robinson, Matter and Sense (New York: Cambridge, 1982). “Reduction, Qualia, and the Direct Introspection of Brain States,” this JOUK- NAL, LXXXII, 1 (January 1985): 8-28. Unless otherwise stated, future page refer- ences are to this paper. 0022-362X/86/8305/0291$00.50 O 1986 The Journal of Philosophy, Inc. 292 THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY I. THREE CLARIFICATIONS The knowledge argument does not rest on the dubious claim that logically you cannot imagine what sensing red is like unless you have sensed red. Powers of imapnation are not to the point. The conten- tion about Mary is not that, despite her fantastic grasp of neurophys- iology and everything else physical, she could not imagine what it is like to sense red; it is that, as a matter of fact, she would not know. But if physicalism is true, she would know; and no great powers of imagination would be called for. Imagination is a faculty that those who lack knowledge need to fall back on. Secondly, the intensionality of knowledge is not to the point. The argument does not rest on assuming falsely that, if Sknows that a is F and if a = b, then S knows that b is F. It is concerned with the nature of Mary’s total body of knowledge before she is released: is it com- plete, or do some facts escape it? What is to the point is that S may know that a is F and know that a = b, yet arguably not know that b is F, by virtue of not being sufficiently logcally alert to follow the consequences through. If Mary’s lack of knowledge were at all like this, there would be no threat to physicalism in it. But it is very hard to believe that her lack of knowledge could be remedied merely by her explicitly following through enough logical consequences of her vast physical knowledge. Endowing her with great logical acumen and persistence is not in itself enough to fill in the gaps in her knowledge. On being let out, she will not say “I could have worked all this out before by making some more purely logical inferences.” Thirdly, the knowledge Mary lacked which is of particular point for the knowledge argument against physicalism is knowledge about the experiences ofothers, not about her own. When she is let out, she has new experiences, color experiences she has never had before. It is not, therefore, an objection to physicalism that she learns some- thing on being let out. Before she was let out, she could not have known facts about her experience of red, for there were no such facts to know. That physicalist and nonphysicalist alike can agree on. After she is let out, things change; and physicalism can happily admit that she learns this; after all, some physical things will change, for in- stance, her brain states and their functional roles. The trouble for physicalism is that, after Maiy sees her first ripe tomato, she will realize how impoverished her conception of the mental life of others has been all along. She will realize that there was, all the time she was carrying out her laborious investigations into the neurophysiol- ogies of others and into the functional roles of their internal states, something about these people she was quite unaware of. All along their experiences (or many of them, those got from tomatoes, the WHAT MARY DIDN’T KNOW 293 sky, . . .) had a feature conspicuous to them but until now hidden from her (in fact, not in logic). But she knew all the physical facts about them all along; hence, what she did not know until her release is not a physical fact about their experiences. But it is a fact about them. That is the trouble for physicalism. 11. CHURCHLAND’S THREE OBJECTIONS (i) Churchland’s first objection is that the knowledge argument contains a defect that “is simplicity itself” (23). The argument equiv- ocates on the sense of ‘knows about’. How so? Churchland suggests that the following is “a conveniently tightened version” of the knowl- edge argument: (1) Mary knows everything there is to know about brain states and their properties. (2) It is not the case that Mary knows everything there is to know about sensations and their properties. Therefore, by Leibniz’s law, (3) Sensations and their properties # brain states and their properties (23). Churchland observes, plausibly enough, that the type or kind of knowledge involved in premise 1 is distinct from the kind of knowl- edge involved in premise 2. We might follow his lead and tag the first ‘knowledge by description’, and the second ‘knowledge by acquain- tance’; but, whatever the tags, he is right that the displayed argument involves a highly dubious use of Leibniz’s law. My reply is that the displayed argument may be convenient, but it is not accurate. It is not the knowledge argument. Take, for instance, premise 1.The whole thrust of the knowledge argument is that Mary (before her release) does not know everything there is to know about brain states and their properties, because she does not know about certain qualia associated with them. What is complete, according to the argument, is her knowledge of matters physical. A convenient and accurate way of displaying the argument is: (1)’ Mary (before her release) knows everything physical there is to know about other people. (2)’ Mary (before her release) does not know everything there is to know about other people (because she learns something about them on her release). Therefore, (3)’ There are truths about other people (and herself) which escape the physicalist story. What is immediately to the point is not the kind, manner, or type of knowledge Mary has, but what she knows. What she knows be- 294 THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY forehand is ex hypothesi everything physical there is to know, but is it everything there is to know? That is the crucial question. There is, though, a relevant challenge involving questions about kinds of knowledge. It concerns the support for premise 2′. The case for premise 2′ is that Mary learns something on her release, she acquires knowledge, arid that entails that her knowledge beforehand (what she knew, never mind whether by description, acquaintance, or whatever) was incomplete. The challenge, mounted by David Lewis and Laurence Nemirow, is that on her release Mary does not learn something or acquire knowledge in the relevant sense. What Mary acquires when she is released is a certain representational or imaginative ability; it is knowledge how rather than knowledge that. Hence, a physicalist can admit that Mary acquires something very significant of a knowledge kind-which can hardly be denied- without admitting that this shows that her earlier factual knowledge is defective. She knew all that there was to know about the experi- ences of others beforehand, but lacked an ability until after her relea~e.~ Now it is certainly true that Mary will acquire abilities of various kinds after her release. She will, for instance, be able to imagine what seeing red is like, be able to remember what it is like, and be able to understand why her friends regarded her as so deprived (something which, until her release, had always mystified her). But is it plausible that that is all she will acquire? Suppose she received a lecture on skepticism about other minds while she was incarcerated. On her release she sees a ripe tomato in normal conditions, and so has a sensation of red. Her first reaction is to say that she now knows more about the kind of experiences others have when looking at ripe tomatoes. She then remembers the lecture and starts to worry. Does she really know more about what their experiences are like, or is she indulging in a wild generalization from one case? In the end she decides she does know, and that skepticism is mistaken (even if, like so many of us, she is not sure how to demonstrate its errors). What was she to-ing and fro-ing about-her abilities? Surely not; her rep- resentational abilities were a known constant throughout. What else then was she agonizing about than whether or not she had gained factual knowledge of others? There would be nothing to agonize about if ability was all she acquired on her release. See Laurence Nemirow, review of Thomas Nagel, Mortal Questions, Philo- sophical Review, LXXXIX, 3 (July 1980): 473-477, and David Lewis, “Postscript to ‘Mad Pain and Martian Pain’,” Philosophical Papers, vol. r (New York: Oxford, 1983). Churchland mentions both Nernirow and Lewis, and it may be that he intended his objection to be essentially the one I have just given. However, he says quite explicitly (bottom of p. 23) that his objection does not need an “ability” analysis of the relevant knowledge. WHAT MARY DIDN’T KNOW 295 I grant that I have no proof that Mary acquires on her release, as well as abilities, factual knowledge about the experiences of others -and not just because 1have no disproof of skepticism. My claim is that the knowledge argument is a valid argument from highly plausi- ble, though admittedly not demonstrable, premises to the conclusion that physicalism is false. And that, after all, is about as good an objection as one could expect in this area of philosophy. (ii) Churchland’s second objection (24/5) is that there must be something wrong with the argument, for it proves too much. Sup- pose Mary received a special series of lectures over her black-and- white television from a full-blown dualist, explaining the “laws” gov- erning the behavior of “ectoplasm” and telling her about qualia. This would not affect the plausibility of the claim that on her release she learns something. So if the argument works against physicalism, it works against dualism too. My reply is that lectures about qualia over black-and-white televi- sion do not tell Mary all there is to know about qualia. They may tell her some things about qualia, for instance, that they do not appear in the physicalist’s story, and that the quale we use ‘yellow’ for is nearly as different from the one we use ‘blue’ for as is white from black. But why should it be supposed that they tell her everything about qualia? On the other hand, it is plausible that lectures over black-and-white television might in principle tell Mary everything in the physicalist’s story. You do not need color television to learn physics or function- alist psychology. To obtain a good argument against dualism (attri- bute dualism; ectoplasm is a bit of fun), the premise in the knowledge argument that Mary has the full story according to physicalism be- fore her release, has to be replaced by a premise that she has the full story according to dualism. The former is plausible; the latter is not. Hence, there is no “parity of reasons” trouble for dualists who use the knowledge argument. (iii) Churchland’s third objection is that the knowledge argument claims “that Mary could not even imagine what the relevant experi- ence would be like, despite her exhaustive neuroscientific knowl- edge, and hence must still be missing certain crucial information” (25), a claim he goes on to argue against. But, as we emphasized earlier, the knowledge argument claims that Mary would not know what the relevant experience is like. What she could imagine is another matter. If her knowledge is defective, de- spite being all there is to know according to physicalism, then physi- calism is false, whatever her powers of imagination. FRANK JACKSON Monash University

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