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Core Concepts

Abduction
Belief
Best Explanation
Cause
Certainty
Chance
Coherence
Correspondence
Decoherence
Divided Line
Downward Causation
Emergence
Emergent Dualism
ERR
Identity Theory
Infinite Regress
Information
Intension/Extension
Intersubjectivism
Justification
Materialism
Meaning
Mental Causation
Multiple Realizability
Naturalism
Necessity
Possible Worlds
Postmodernism
Probability
Realism
Reductionism
Schrödinger's Cat
Supervenience
Truth
Universals

Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
Isaiah Berlin
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
C. Lloyd Morgan
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
John Herschel
Werner Heisenberg
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium

 
Mind-Body Identity Theory
Mind-Body Identity Theory is the idea that the mind is just a part of the physical body.

Mind-brain identity theorists like to say that "mental states" are "brain states," but we will see that much more than abstract "states," "events," "properties," and "laws" are involved in explaining how the mind emerges from the brain.

A more extreme position is to simply deny the existence of mind (there is only a brain), or to say that mind is at best an epiphenomenon, with no causal influences on the physical world.

Most identity theorists have been materialists who argued for a form of eliminative materialism or reductionism. Ultimately, they regard physics as the foundational science. They expect that molecules are reducible to atoms, biological cells are reducible to molecules, the brain is reducible to its neurons, and the mind is reducible to the brain.

Other philosophers argue that the mind somehow "emerges" from the brain. They see emergence as producing new "laws" at each hierarchical level of "self-organization." Thus, cells have complex biological laws that emerge from simpler molecular laws. On this view, the mind has "states," "events," "properties," and "laws" that are not predictable based on those of the brain.

Some emergentists believe that the new laws in an upper hierarchical level are not reducible to those of the lower levels. They can thus claim to be materialists or physicalists but deny reductionism. This is known as "non-redcutive physicalism." Other philosophers describe the relationship between hierarchical levels as one of supervenience. They claim that "mental events" supervene on "physical events."

Many writers over the centuries have simply identified the mind with the brain, noticing the empirical fact that when the brain is damaged, mental properties are also impaired. But others, following René Descartes, have assumed that mind is an immaterial, non-physical substance. Descartes and others simply assumed that the mental world could influence the physical world and vice versa, but the mystery of exactly how this might be possible led to the "mind-body problem" the question how two unlike substances, one material, the other immaterial, can interact. Identity theory is one solution to that problem.

The other solution is dualism and a theory of interactionism (notably the work of Karl Popper and John Eccles).

Twentieth-century philosophers best known to argue for an identity of mind (or consciousness) and brain include Ullin T. Place (1956), Herbert Feigl (1958), and J.J.C.Smart (1959).

Place explicitly describes "consciousness as a brain process," specifically as "patterns" of brain activity. He does not trivialize this identity as a succession of individual "mental events and physical events" in some kind of causal chain. He compares this identity to the idea that "lightning is a motion of electrical charges."

Herbert Feigl's work was independent of Place's, but he said that the fundamental idea had been held by many earlier materialist (monist) thinkers. He thought it was implied strongly in the reduction of all sciences to physics by Rudolf Carnap's "unity of science" view in 1925. Feigl describes his own thesis:

The identity thesis which I wish to clarify and to defend asserts that the states of direct experience which conscious beings "live through" and those which we confidently ascribe to some of the higher animals, are identical with certain (presumably configurational) aspects of the neural processes in these organisms.

J.J.C.Smart clarified and extended the identity theory of his colleague U.T.Place

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 the smallest prime number greater than 5.") When I say that a sensation is a brain process or that lightning is an electric dis- charge I do not mean just that the sensation is somehow spatially or temporally continuous with the brain process or that the lightning is just spatially or temporally continuous with the discharge.

Smart is a strong materialist. He says "A man is a vast arrangement of physical particles, but there are not, over and above this, sensations or states of consciousness." (ibid.) Smart wrote the 2007 article on mind-body identity theory for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, in which he says:

Some philosophers hold that though experiences are brain processes they nevertheless have fundamentally non-physical, psychical, properties, sometimes called ‘qualia’... Identity theorists often describe themselves as ‘materialists’ but ‘physicalists’ may be a better word. That is, one might be a materialist about mind but nevertheless hold that there are entities referred to in physics that are not happily described as ‘material’.

The Mind-Body Solution of Information Philosophy
Information Philosophy rejects the Identity Thesis. The mind is an immaterial and non-physical process going on in the physical and material brain.

The human mind is the most highly evolved form of the biological information processing that goes on in all organisms. Information philosophy sees the mind as a biological information processing system.

Our mind/brain model emphasizes the abstract information content of the mind. Abstract information is neither matter nor energy, yet it needs matter for its concrete embodiment and energy for its communication. Information fits well with the common-sense notion of spirit, or with behaviorist philosopher Gilbert Ryle's derisive "ghost in the machine."

When we are conceived, it is information in our parental DNA (plus the vastly greater information in the human cell) that starts our life. When we die, mere matter remains. What is lost is our developmental and experiential information - our life history, excepting that which may have been stored externally in other minds or in the Sum of human knowledge.

Because it is embodied in the brain, the mind can control the actions of a body. The mind is normally unaffected by its own quantum level uncertainty (excepting when we want to be creative and unpredictable).

Thus our mind/body model explains how a relatively immaterial, "free," unpredictable, and creative mind can exert downward causal control over the adequately determined material body through the self-determinate and responsible actions selected by the will from an agenda of alternative possibilities.

See the Experience-Recorder-Reproducer model of the mind.
For Teachers
For Scholars

Chapter 3.7 - The Ergod Chapter 4.2 - The History of the Knowledge Problem
Part Three - Value Part Five - Problems
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