An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind: Souls, Science by D. Cockburn

By D. Cockburn

This e-book differs from others by means of rejecting the dualist procedure linked specifically with Descartes. It additionally casts severe doubt at the sorts of materialism that now dominate English language philosophy. Drawing particularly at the paintings of Wittgenstein, a imperative position is given to the significance of the suggestion of a person in our thought of ourselves and others.

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Extra resources for An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind: Souls, Science and Human Beings

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This becomes obvious when one reflects on the fact that a person can pretend to be angry or in pain: a person may behave as one who is angry or in pain, and yet not be in these states. That, it might be said, is sufficient to show that we must draw a sharp distinction between a person’s behaviour and her mental states. Thus our judgements about another’s mental states stand in need of some special form of justification in a way in which our judgements about the physical condition of a tree do not.

A considerable number of people have had experiences in which it has seemed to them that, for a period, they left their body. There are a variety of circumstances in which people report having had such experiences. One of the most striking, and most closely investigated, are those in which a person has been ‘close to death’. An individual who, for a period, showed (more or less) no behavioural or physiological signs of life, on being resuscitated reports having left her body while ‘unconscious’.

Now we might feel that it is important that we should be able to offer such people a reason for believing that they do: a reason for believing, for example, that the fish on the hook really does feel pain. It is in this spirit that Peter Singer appeals to the argument from analogy in defence of the claim that non-human creatures feel pain: Do animals other than human beings feel pain? How do we know? Well, how do we know if anyone, human or non-human, feels pain? We know that we ourselves can feel pain.

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