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J.P. Moreland (1948- ) Taught philosophy at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University California. Three solutions to the mind-body problem Physicalism, Dualism and Neither.

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three solutions to the mind body problem physicalism dualism and neither

J.P. Moreland (1948- )

Taught philosophy at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University California.

Three solutions to the mind-body problem Physicalism, Dualism and Neither


Physicalism: holds that the only thing, which exists, is matter. Applied to the mind-body problem, physicalism asserts that a human being is just a physical system. There is no mind or soul, just a brain and central nervous system.


Dualism: …opponent of physicalism. It asserts that in addition to the body, a human being also has a nonphysical component called a soul, mind, or self.


Two main varieties of dualism:Property dualism: mind is property of the body.Substance dualism: mind is distinct from the body (i.e. Christianity).


Dualism defended: Problems with physicalism as a general worldview. i. Physicalism is wrong because:a. If theism is true, then there must be a god (who is nonphysical).b. Numbers exist and they are abstract, nonphysical entities.c. Values are objective realities and nonphysical entities.d. The existence of:theoriesMeanings ConceptsPropositionsThe laws of logic and truth

problems with mind body physicalism

Problems with mind-body physicalism:

Indiscernability of identicals: if something is true of the mind which is not true of the body, then the mind is not identical to the body and physicalism is false.b. The distinctiveness of mental and physical properties.c. Private access and incorrigibility to ones own thoughts.d. The experience of first person subjectivity (consciousness of the unknown).

Secondary qualities:ColorsTastesTextures

f. Intentionality: the mind's about-ness or of-ness.

g. Personal identity: assuming personal identity is ongoing in form and not renewed moment to moment.

the origin of mind
. The origin of Mind
  • 1. The emergent property view: when mind is seen to emerge through the coming together of matter in a certain way.
  • i. Four main features of the emergent property view:
  • a. Whole and parts: mind is property of the brain.
  • b. Levels of explanation and complementarities: systematic relationship of functions of the mind.
  • c. Causation between levels: lower levels of the hierarchy influence the higher levels only.
  • d. Resultant view of self: the self is an emergent property, which supervenes upon the brain.
paul churchland professor of philosophy at the university of california at san diego
Paul ChurchlandProfessor of philosophy at the University of California at San Diego.
  • examines functionalism and the two prominent versions of materialism in philosophy of mind.
reductive materialism the identity theory
Reductive Materialism (the identity theory)
  • each type of mental state or process is numerically identical with some type of physical state or process within the brain or central nervous system.
  • 1. Historical Parallels: mental states are identical with brain states in exactly the same ways.
  • 2. Arguments for the Identity Theory:
  • i. There are at least four reasons that the correct account of human behavior and its causes must reside in the physical neurosciences:
  • a. A physical system's behavior arises from its internal operations and its interactions with the rest of the physical world.
  • b. The origins of each type of animal also appear exhaustively physical in nature.
  • c. Neural dependence of all known mental phenomena.
  • d. Growing success of the neurosciences in unraveling the nervous systems of many creatures and in explaining their behavioral capacities and deficits in terms of the structures discovered.
arguments against the identity theory
Arguments against the identity theory:
  • a. Introspection: radically different from neuro-physiological states.
  • b. Identification of mental states with brain states is erroneous.
  • c. Leibniz's Law: if two items are numerically identical, both share the exact same properties (not true of mental and brain states).
  • d. Senselessness of ascribing semantic properties to brain states.
  • the essential or defining feature of any type of mental state is the set of causal relations it bears to:
  • Environmental effects on the body.
  • Other types of mental states.
  • Bodily behavior…
  • …and, unlike the identity theory, universal identities are rejected.
arguments against functionalism
Arguments against functionalism
  • i. Functionalism ignores the "inner" or qualitative nature of our mental states, i.e.:
  • a. The inverted spectrum thought experiment.
  • b. Absent qualia problem.
  • c. Reality of qualia.
  • ii. Reductions are domain specific
  • iii. Functionalist claims concerning the radical autonomy of psychology cannot be sustained. Therefore functionalism is not so profoundly different from the identity theory.
eliminative materialism
Eliminative Materialism:
  • doubts that the correct neuroscientific account of human capacities will produce a neat reduction of our commonsense framework. (one to one match ups will not be found) everyday mental concepts such as beliefs, feelings and desires are theoretical constructs without coherent definition; hence we should not expect such concepts to be a necessary part of a scientific understanding of the brain. Just as a modern understanding of science has no need for concepts such as luck or witchcraft to explain the world, Churchland argues that a future neuroscience is likely to have no need for "beliefs" or "feelings" to explain the brain. Instead, the use of objective phenomena such as neurons and their interaction should suffice. He points out that the history of science has seen many previous concepts discarded, such as phlogiston, caloric, the luminiferous ether, and vital forces.
arguments for eliminative materialism
Arguments for Eliminative Materialism:
  • i. Widespread explanatory, predictive, and manipulative failures of folk psychology.
  • ii. Inductive lessons from our conceptual history.
  • iii. The a priori advantage for eliminative materialism over the identity theory and functionalism.
arguments against eliminative materialism
Arguments against Eliminative Materialism:
  • i. It denies deeply entrenched assumptions.
  • ii. Introspection reveals directly the existence of:
  • a. Pains
  • b. Beliefs
  • c. Desires
  • d. Fears
  • iii. Incoherence in the Eliminative Materialist's position.
  • iv. Eliminative Materialism exaggerates the defects of folk psychology, and underplays its real successes.
laozi daoist views of mind and body
Laozi: Daoist Views of Mind and Body
  • 25. Beneath Abstraction
  • There is a mystery,Beneath abstraction, Silent, depthless,Alone, unchanging,Ubiquitous and liquid,The mother of nature.It has no name, but I call it "the Way";It has no limit, but I call it "limitless".
  • The Way bears sensation,Sensation bears memory,Sensation and memory bear abstraction,And abstraction bears all the world;Each thing in the world bears feeling and doing,And, imbued with mind, harmony with the Way.