What Is Philosophy?
On the Mind-Body (or Mind-Brain) Problem
Mind-Body Theories (cartoon)
Philosophy of Mind:
An Overview for Cognitive Science
(Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates).
- LOCKWOOD Book Collection B105.M55 B43 1988
Colburn, Timothy R. (2000),
and Computer Science
(Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe):
- Ch. 3 ("AI and the History of Philosophy"), pp. 19-40.
- Ch. 4 ("AI and the Rise of Contemporary Science and
Philosophy"), pp. 41-50.
- On eliminativism:
- Rorty, Richard (1965),
"Mind-Body Identity, Privacy, and Categories",
Review of Metaphysics
19(1) (September): 24-54.
- MacFarquhar, Larissa (2007), "Two Heads", The New Yorker
(12 February): 58-69.
- An interview with Paul and Patricia Churchland, two
contemporary philosopher-cognitive scientists who
believe in eliminativism.
- Article may still be online, but you need to register (free) at the
"Paul and Pat, realizing that the revolutionary
neuroscience they dream of is still in its infancy, are nonetheless
already preparing themselves for this future, making the appropriate
adjustments in their everyday conversation. One afternoon recently,
Paul says, he was home making dinner when Pat burst in the door, having
come straight from a frustrating faculty meeting. ‘She said,
"Paul, don't speak to me, my serotonin levels have hit bottom, my brain
is awash in glucocorticoids, my blood vessels are full of adrenaline,
and if it weren't for my endogenous opiates I'd have driven the car into
a tree on the way home. My dopamine levels need lifting. Pour me a
Chardonnay, and I'll be down in a minute."’ Paul and Pat have
noticed that it is not just they who talk this way—their students
now talk of psychopharmacology as comfortably as of food."
On the other hand, the Churchlands "hope to replace our common notions
of beliefs and feelings with more accurate descriptions of brain
states…. Yet, while they already sometimes speak of their own
experience as a sort of fluctuating neurochemical soup, science cannot
yet accurately describe experience in terms of chemical concentrations.
Even if it could, why replace concise descriptions of experience with
ones that are wordy, prone to error, and unclear? For example,
despite Patricia Churchland's talk of her serotonin ‘hitting
bottom,’ there is likely no simple relationship between short-term
serotonin fluctuations and mood in the general population. (Nor do
depressed people necessarily have low serotonin—a myth that owes
much to the marketing of serotonin-increasing drugs for depression.)
Serotonin can be seen as a slow modulator of fast networks of neurons
communicating throughout the brain. It should not surprise us if the
effects of such modulatory neurochemicals depend crucially on the
specific patterns of neural activity, and thus defy easy summary. After
all, the neuromodulator fond in a glass of Chardonnay often soothes but
sometimes inflames our anxiety. So, if what we really mean is that we
want a glass of wine, eventually even Patricia Churchland seems to
recognize that it is more effective to drop the neurobabble and ask for
- Baggott, Matthew (2007), "Emotional Science" (letter to the
editor), The New Yorker (26 March): 9.
- Legare, Cristine H.; & Gelman, Susan A.
"Bewitchment, Biology, or Both: The Co-Existence of Natural and
Supernatural Explanatory Frameworks across Development",
- Provides psychological and anthropological evidence
that Rorty's arguments are empirically false.
On functionalistic theories of mind:
"Eventually, this nesting of boxes within boxes lands you with homunculi
so stupid—all they have to do is remember to say yes or no when
asked—that they can be ‘replaced by a machine’. One
discharges fancy homunculi from one's scheme by organizing armies of
such idiots to do the work."
- Daniel C. Dennett (1978), "AI
as Philosophy and as Psychology", in M. Ringle (ed.),
Philosophical Perspectives on AI (Humanities Press); reprinted in
Dennett, Brainstorms (MIT Press).
Hilary Putnam's invention and subsequent refutation of functionalism:
- Putnam, Hilary
"Minds and Machines"
in Sidney Hook (ed.),
Dimensions of Mind: A Symposium
(New York: New York University Press):
- Putnam's first article on functionalism.
"The Nature of Mental States",
originally published as "Psychological Predicates", in
W.H.~Capitan & D.D.~Merrill (eds.), Art, Mind, and
Religion (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press):
- Putnam's clearest and strongest formulation
of both functionalism and computationalism.
Representation and Reality
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).
- An argument against functionalism, by the philosopher who
first proposed it.
to Representation and Reality
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press): 121-125.
- "Theorem. Every ordinary open system is a
abstract finite automaton."
Putnam, Hilary (2008),
"12 Philosophersand Their Influence on Me",
Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical
82(2) (November): 102-115.
- An intellectual autobiography that discusses
his most current view of the functionalism
controversy, esp. in §4, pp.104-105.
Fodor, Jerry A. (1968),
An Introduction to the Philosophy of Psychology
(New York: Random House).
For an earlier, shorter version, see:
Fodor, Jerry A.
"Explanations in Psychology",
in Max Black (ed.),
Philosophy in America
(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press):
Fodor, Jerry A. (1981),
"The Mind-Body Problem",
Scientific American 244(1) (January): 114-123.
Two arguments for the importance of the implementing medium
in functionalistic theories of mind:
Thagard, Paul (1986),
"Parallel Computation and the Mind-Body Problem",
Cognitive Science 10: 301-318.
"Computers Don't Follow Instructions",
Block, Ned (1996),
Encyclopedia of Philosophy Supplement
"The Mind as Neural Software?
Understanding Functionalism, Computationalism, and Computational Functionalism",
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
(Published Online: 27 May 2010)
Gazzaniga, Michael S.
"Neuroscience and the Correct Level of Explanation for Understanding Mind:
An Extraterrestrial Roams through Some Neuroscience Laboratories
and Concludes Earthlings Are Not Grasping How Best to Understand the
Trends in Cognitive Sciences 14(7) (July): 291–292.
- An excellent description of the differences between the
psychological (abstract, functional) and the physical (implementation)
evels of description.
Burge, Tyler (2010),
"A Real Science of Mind",
NY Times Opinionator: The Stone (19 December).
Do plants (or other non-higher-animal biological organisms) have minds?
Angier, Natalie (1992),
"Odor Receptors Discovered in Sperm Cells",
New York Times (30 January): A19.
Fountain, Henry (2006),
"This Plant Has the Sense of Smell (Loves Tomatoes, Hates Wheat)",
New York Times (3 October): F1
- Angier, Natalie (2009, December 22),
Brussels Sprouts Like to Live, Too",
New York Times Science Times:
Yoon, Carol Kaesuk (2011),
"No Face, but Plants Like Life, Too",
New York Times (15 March): D4.
Gardner, Kevin; & Correa, Fernando
"How Plants See the Invisible",
335(6075) (23 March): 1451–1452.
- Commentary on:
Christie, John M.; et al.
"Plant UVR8 Photoreceptor Senses UV-B by Tryptophan-Mediated
Disruption of Cross-Dimer Salt Bridges",
335(6075) (23 March): 1492–1496.
Chamovitz, Daniel (2012),
"Rooted in Experience:
The Sensory World of Plants",
New Scientist, Issue 2879 (28 August).
- See also:
Chamovitz, Daniel (2012),
What a Plant Knows:
A Field Guide to the Senses
(New York: Scientific American/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Pollan, Michael (2013),
"The Intelligent Plant",
New Yorker (23-30 December): 92–105.
Appel, H.M.; & Cocroft, R.B.
"Plants Respond to Leaf Vibrations Caused by Insect
Oecologia 175: 1257–1266.