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Questions tagged [philosophy-of-mind]

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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What are some arguments against violence?

I had repercussions over an argument in class of the inevitability of war, and violence in some instances. I was on the side that was arguing that violence is never necessary. My opponent said ...
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Does anyone assert the real existence of p-zombies?

Philosophical zombies are usually presented as, let say, "conceivable" and then this assertion is used to infer dualism. Have any philosophers taken the position that p-zombies are in fact real, and, ...
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Are people capable of generating a random number?

Let's say you tell me to produce randomly a number from 1-100, and I choose the number 47. Can it be said that there is a specific reason I chose the number 47, and that it is not completely random? ...
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What is the term for the fallacy/strategy of ignoring logical reasoning intended to disprove a belief?

Updated 10/19/2018 -- Regards for all the responses. Much appreciated. To address the point of fact that one cannot "prove" anything about reality: Yes, I agree. This is the reason I now set my ...
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What is the modern solution to the mind-body problem for those who still hold the mind is separate?

René Descartes gave us the problem of how the mind interacts with the body in its modern formulation. Essentially, he asked how the incorporeal mind was able to influence the material body. He also ...
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Is Nothing actually imaginable?

It's possible to imagine something, for example a table, we see one everyday and can bring it in front of our minds eye (although it's a moot point whether we can see it - I certainly don't). But of ...
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How does Penrose defeat the computational theory of mind?

In Shadows Of The Mind Roger Penrose puts forth a Gödelian argument against the computational theory of mind. He then goes on to suggest that quantum mechanics plays a central role in the realization ...
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How can substance dualism survive the arguments from neuroscience?

On the Wikipedia page for Mind-body dualism, one of the arguments against dualism is neuroscience. In some contexts, the decisions that a person makes can be detected up to 10 seconds in advance by ...
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What are some arguments against the brain-in-a-vat thought experiment?

I read this article about how this guy in Switzerland did an experiment that he thought proved the Simulation Hypothesis of reality (link: http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.1847). I have also been reading ...
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5answers
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How can a stream of thoughts and perceptions have freewill?

William James believed that there was no central entity or ego that embodied the "I" in "I feel" or "I think". That the continuous stream of thoughts and sensations generated the illusion of their ...
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9answers
802 views

Why am I this particular human being?

Some philosophers dismiss this as a question about a tautology: when Alice asks "Why am I Alice?", this is equivalent to her asking "Why is Alice Alice?", which is not an interesting question. But ...
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Does consciousness depend on our five senses?

Does consciousness depend on our five senses? If we never have senses, would we have consciousness? It seems that if we lose our senses, we would maintain our consciousness. But if we never had senses ...
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Is there a causal influence of the mental on the physical?

Regardless of whether the mental is ultimately physical or not... doesn't the impact of human knowledge (science, mathematics, etc) on the world (ie: technology, agriculture, basically everything), ...
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7answers
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Is music just another language?

In this video (starting around 00:28:30) the interviewer, Bryan Magee, and Noam Chomsky discuss musical composition as a form of thinking without language. But it seems trivial to me that music is a ...
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4answers
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If zombies are possible would that imply that physicalism is false?

The SEP article on Zombies writes: Zombies in philosophy are imaginary creatures used to illuminate problems about consciousness and its relation to the physical world. Unlike those in films or ...
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5answers
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What are the retorts to Searle's Chinese Room?

Searle's Chinese Room basically argues that a program cannot make a computer 'intelligent'. Searle summarises the argument as Imagine a native English speaker who knows no Chinese locked in a room ...
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3answers
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How does Putnam's twin earth thought experiment disprove functionalism?

In the twin Earth thought experiment Putnam determines that meanings are not in the head. Later interpretations, by himself and by others, take it to falsify functionalism. It seems to me that the ...
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4answers
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What are the differences between sentience, consciousness and awareness?

Dictionary definitions such as this one often seem to use the terms sentience, awareness, and consciousness as if they are synonymous with each other. Is this really the case? If not, how do they ...
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Does Google's latest translation tool support Jerry Fodor's Language of Thought Hypothesis?

Google recently updated their translation tool so that it can now translate between language pairs that it hadn't seen before, something they're calling "zero-shot translation." See here for the full ...
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6answers
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Can the act of having certain thoughts be unethical? [duplicate]

On the basis of Western morality, the Greco-Roman Judeo-Christian one, behaviors like killing, betraying, cursing are considered immoral. Christianity imposes that thoughts can be corrupt, therefore ...
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12answers
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Can someone be an atheist and subscribe to substance dualism at the same time?

I consider myself to be firmly in the atheist camp. None of the arguments for the existence of a higher being or prime mover convince me, let alone attempts at proving the existence of the old God of ...
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6answers
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Is it possible that I see color differently?

Is it possible that I see color differently; for example what I call 'red' is 'blue' in your vision. Edited.. As we know the science of color, nothing is colored. Red is not "in" an apple. The ...
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2answers
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In what fundamental ways, if any, does Husserl break with Kant?

I've read only slim secondary works on Husserl some time ago, and recently started "The Crisis in the European Sciences." So far, the framework seems faithfully Kantian. Husserl, for example, ...
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On the difference between “knowing” and “understanding”?

Intuitively, there is a clear difference between knowing something and understanding something. We speak of someone 'getting' or 'internalizing' a concept, of developing a 'gut feeling' for something, ...
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Is it possible to imagine a color one has never seen before?

We can easily imagine any color we have seen at some point in life (e.g., white, black, rainbow colors). But what would it take one to understand and "see" a new color? P.S.: There are more colors ...
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6answers
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How does Gödel's incompleteness theorem apply to materialism and the mind

Assertion 1: Humans use some logical system to understand the universe Assertion 2: Gödel proved through a formal logic what is provable about a logical system is a subset of what is true about it, ...
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8answers
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Is the simulation of emotional states equivalent to actually experiencing emotions?

According to the 'Mario Lives!' video, researchers have been able to develop an AI unit that is able to experience emotional states, such as greed, hunger, and curiosity. If the AI is currently ...
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9answers
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How can consciousness be an illusion?

Regarding this New Scientist article: Metaphysics special: What is consciousness? It contains this strapline: “You may know beyond a doubt that you exist, but your ‘I’ could still be an illusion“. (...
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From a functionalist point of view: when is an algorithm an A.I., and when is it just software?

Recently, The Atlantic published an article claiming that "Google Taught an AI That Sorts Cat Photos to Analyze DNA". When you look at the original paper published by the Google team, what they really ...
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2answers
785 views

Euler's 1746 philosophy paper

In 1746, Euler, a famous mathematician, published what I believe to be a little-known philosophy paper. It seems interesting, but it is difficult for me to follow as I lack adequate philosophy ...
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8answers
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Is “opacity of mind” specifically a Nyingma position within Buddhism?

In various Nyingma Buddhist groups in Nepal there is a local theory of mind that, most basically, holds that you can not ever know what another person is thinking. This is a phenomenon that I have ...
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Can conjoined twins share a mind?

A unique recent case of conjoined twins having a neural bridge connecting their brains raises some philosophical questions concerning mind sharing and the mind-body problem. From the article by ...
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Was there support for panpsychism among the Romantic poets?

Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy and vocal critic of religion, is a supporter of panpsychism, the doctrine that consciousness arises because every inanimate particle actually ...
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Can computers be programmed to be 'creative'?

When a artist strokes their brush on a canvas and paints a beautiful work of art they may be referred as creative person. Or perhaps a musician or a writer. Does this creativeness come from the soul ...
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4answers
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Why do philosophy of mind courses tend to bypass Kant?

All of the philosophy of mind courses I've seen seem to follow a basic pattern: Start with Descartes and substance dualism Jump to the 20th century and discuss behaviorism, functionalism, identity ...
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3answers
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Are the experiences of the “flow of time” and of “cause and effect” qualia?

Physics and biology have no answer why or how we personally experience the color red and we say that the experience of the color red is a quale. Physics also has no answer why or how we experience ...
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3answers
692 views

How did Kant “undermine the soul”?

In the beginning of William James' 1904 paper "Does 'Consciousness' Exist?" he states the following: At first, 'spirit and matter,' 'soul and body,' stood for a pair of equipollent substances quite ...
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Is Conway-Kochen's “free will” theorem about quantum measurements an argument for panpsychism?

Conway and Kochen have proved a theorem about free will (no to be confused with the related Kochen–Specker theorem, which rules out hidden variables), which states that if we have a type of ...
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5answers
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Why is the existence of qualia considered an argument for dualism and against materialism?

Qualia is the term to used describe actual subjective experience and sensation, as opposed to mere knowledge and information. The concept is best described by Frank Jackson's color blind scientist ...
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2answers
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How much is our understanding of Kant's Categorical Framework (published in German in 1781) obscured by translation and basic semantics?

Upon reading about and later researching [1] Kant's famous Categorical Framework, which is included as a key part of his classic Critique of Pure Reason (1781), I am struck by aspects that are quite ...
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Does Gödel's argument that minds are more powerful than computers have the inconsistency loophole?

In "Raatikainen, P., 2005, “On the Philosophical Relevance of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems,” , the author argues that Penrose's and others use of Gödel's theorem as an argument against mechanism (...
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Can we be Boltzmann brains? Or, how can we be sure there is no conspiracy about the past?

The way things are traditionally presented about time, there is the present, the past is fixed, and the future is open. The second law of thermodynamics is invoked. But how can we be so sure the past ...
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Does claiming that strong AI is impossible imply a belief in substance dualism?

I was reading an article by J Mark Bishop "The danger of artificial stupidity" on ScientaSalon, where he quotes his own research, John Searle and Hilary Putnam, among others, as proof of the ...
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What are the problems with the argument for the mind-body dualism from immateriality of thoughts?

I have started studying philosophy of mind and I am currently reading an introduction to the field. The first topic that is presented in the book is dualism of the Cartesian brand, and the case for it ...
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What are book recommendations on Philosophy of Consciousness by contemporary authors?

I am looking for a book that is more focused on the philosophy of consciousness(rather than general topic of Phil. of Mind) which takes up the hard problem as a major theme. Can you guys give me ...
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Is there a way to prove if something is self-aware?

Is there a way to prove if something is self-aware or has the quality of consciousness? Can I even prove that I am self-aware to myself? Would consciousness be like a faith or belief, in that I can ...
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Free will and the Libet experiments

In The face of God (Gifford Lectures), Scruton discusses in passing the Libet Experiments as an unimportant framing of the discussion of free-will and determinism; without presenting any arguments, ...
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4answers
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What exactly is the persuasive power behind Jackson's “Mary's Room” argument?

The knowledge argument (also known as Mary's room or Mary the super-scientist) is a philosophical thought experiment proposed by Frank Jackson in his article "Epiphenomenal Qualia" (1982) and extended ...
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1answer
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Was the Brain-in-a-Vat thought experiment explored philosophically before Putnam?

On SciFi.SE there's a question about the origins of "captive brains" in literature. Upon seeing the question I presumed it originated as a philosophical thought experiment (and then made it's way to ...
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Why can't an algorithm understand incompleteness?

I've heard a lot of people say that Gödel's proof shows that human intelligence somehow goes beyond what a computer could ever do. It's only ever been articulated to me very badly, though not for want ...