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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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Why is it impossible for a program or AI to have semantic understanding?

relatively new to philosophy. This question is based on John Searle's Chinese Room Argument. I find it odd that his main argument for why programs could not think was that because programs could only ...
Abraham's user avatar
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30 votes
18 answers
8k views

Aren't we all philosophical zombies?

I've been reading about the philosophy of the mind, and I'm a bit confused. Everything I've read seems to start with the (unjustified) assumption that there is some aspect of the mind that isn't ...
Alex's user avatar
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30 votes
16 answers
43k views

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? ...
Snowman's user avatar
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28 votes
10 answers
11k views

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 ...
Lucian09474's user avatar
22 votes
7 answers
3k views

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, ...
Dave's user avatar
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21 votes
16 answers
5k 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 ...
present's user avatar
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20 votes
16 answers
5k views

Why is mind interacting with matter any more problematic than matter interacting with matter?

So there's this supposedly an 'interaction' problem for substance dualism, that isn't there for physicalism or idealism. I've never understood this. So as Hume pointed out, we see event a followed by ...
Ameet Sharma's user avatar
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19 votes
9 answers
6k views

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 ...
McMahon's user avatar
  • 191
19 votes
12 answers
16k views

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 ...
Josh Zmijewski's user avatar
19 votes
10 answers
9k views

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 ...
dorzey's user avatar
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19 votes
18 answers
6k views

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 ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
18 votes
4 answers
4k views

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 ...
Noah's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
3k views

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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
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17 votes
3 answers
7k views

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 ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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17 votes
6 answers
42k views

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 ...
coleopterist's user avatar
17 votes
3 answers
1k views

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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
2k views

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 ...
Not_Here's user avatar
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15 votes
8 answers
1k views

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), ...
Ameet Sharma's user avatar
  • 3,093
14 votes
12 answers
6k views

Do computers use logic?

I know we refer to computers as using logic, logic gates and the like, but is this just us ascribing human capacities to the machines? It sounds like a case of us giving more meaning to the machines ...
adkane's user avatar
  • 285
14 votes
16 answers
16k views

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 ...
Fred Oakman's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
1k views

What counters are there to Spinoza's argument that acts of free will create infinite regress?

My 16-to-21-year-old self was very preoccupied with free will. When I was 21 years old I rejected the notion as ill-defined as both my reason and my inner experience told me that my will was caused ...
ymar's user avatar
  • 544
13 votes
12 answers
5k views

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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
36k views

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 ...
Abyr Valg's user avatar
  • 187
13 votes
2 answers
3k views

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, ...
Nelson Alexander's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
1k views

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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
806 views

If qualia are "something extra" to explain, isn't it weird that the brain produces speech about qualia?

This question is mainly directed at people who are firm physicalists (as opposed to dualists) but still think qualia are "something extra to be explained". I believe Searle and Chalmers both fall into ...
Dan Butler's user avatar
12 votes
8 answers
5k views

If you used intuitionistic logic in real life, would you not sound absurd?

Intuitionistic logic does not include the law of the excluded middle and double-negation elimination. I imagine a real-life conversation with an intuitionist might go like this: Amy said you didn't ...
MWB's user avatar
  • 471
12 votes
5 answers
2k views

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 (...
Alexander S King's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

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 ...
stoicfury's user avatar
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12 votes
8 answers
3k views

Does the computational theory of mind explain anything?

In science, when you theorize that X reduces to Y, you propose a theory that links X and Y in some causal way. Physicists don't just say, "What you experiences as a gas is really a swarm of fast-...
David Gudeman's user avatar
12 votes
7 answers
9k views

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, ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
3k views

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 ...
Amit Hagin's user avatar
  • 1,018
12 votes
6 answers
655 views

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, ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
12 votes
11 answers
4k views

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“. (...
user2808054's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
614 views

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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
928 views

How can you support the idea of qualia as distinct from neuronal firing when you only experience one thing?

Physicalists are people who equate brain states with mental states. There are people in this category; and yet there are many people who do not hold this view. Such people hold that there is an ...
stoicfury's user avatar
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12 votes
5 answers
3k views

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 ...
user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
683 views

Are humans becoming more hive-like? Does this have philosophical implications?

Have any philosophers taken up human hive-like behaviour and its implications? EO Wilson and others have outlined eusociality, a mode of group selection acting in addition to selection at the ...
CriglCragl's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
1k views

Does having free will presuppose consciousness, can philosophical zombies have it?

Philosophical zombies may lack a consciousness, but does this preclude the ability to have a free will? Why does consciousness matter, for agency, or at all, if determinism is real? (I've framed the ...
NationWidePants's user avatar
11 votes
10 answers
6k views

What makes things real?

Suppose that a person can't sense anything. He can't see, hear, feel. Nothing. So for him, does anything even exist? Does that mean only things we can sense are real or existent? Also, how would you ...
user701763's user avatar
11 votes
17 answers
3k views

Is it reasonable to believe that others have sentient minds?

Obviously I'm not looking for a valid deductive proof using formal logic, but at least a relatively convincing argument. How do I know that humans who I encounter other than myself have sentient ...
That Guy's user avatar
  • 1,953
11 votes
6 answers
3k views

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, ...
Zaya's user avatar
  • 249
11 votes
8 answers
2k views

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 ...
Left SE On 10_6_19's user avatar
11 votes
9 answers
3k views

Are dualism and the theory of evolution compatible?

From an evolutionary point of view there is a continuous gradient of intelligence (in the larger sense of the term), from lower life forms with no intelligence at all to higher life forms that exhibit ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
11 votes
5 answers
7k views

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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
667 views

What other philosophy of mind books might be recommended if I like John Searle?

What other philosophy of mind books might be recommended if I like John Searle? I am an engineer who is interested in AI and the possibility of machines become able to think and the philosophy behind ...
M.Sameer's user avatar
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11 votes
8 answers
879 views

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 ...
LaurenG's user avatar
  • 119
11 votes
2 answers
940 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 ...
glebovg's user avatar
  • 380
11 votes
3 answers
953 views

Identifying three kinds of "unity" in Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason"

After reading about transcendental Aesthetics and transcendental logic, I perceive three kinds of unity in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: Unity of properties of an object which is sensed through ...
user1846458's user avatar
10 votes
14 answers
4k views

How do we know that the mind is not a physical entity?

Most people believe that the mind is separate from the physical world. But how do we actually know that? Maybe the mind is a physical object. Of course, to answer this question, we need a rigorous ...
user107952's user avatar
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