Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Topics for quiz 2 (chapters 2 and 3)

Chapter 2 (Philosophy of Mind)
2.1: Cartesian dualism: The mind is a thinking non-physical substance.
2.2: Logical Behaviorism: MS ---> BhS, where BhS are behavioral dispositions. C/E "Perfect pretender", "Super Spartans." Qualitative content (qualia = the unique, private feeling of our mental states).

Identity Theory: MS ---> BrS, where BrS is the passing of electro/chemical signals from cell to cell. C/E "Nagel's Bat" and "Lewis Pained Martian." (You must be able to grasp and understand these counterexamples and derive conclusions).

2.3: Functionalism: MS ---> FS. According to functionalism, to have a mind is to have the ability to perform certain functions. C/E "Lewis Pained Madman and Putnam's inverted spectrum (imagine a color-blind driver driving like we do, only he inverts green with red). "Turing Test for Intelligence: C/E Searle's Chinese Room. Intentionality (the ability of mental states to be "of" or "about" anything).

2.5: Property Dualism,

... is the view that non-physical, mental properties (such as beliefs, desires and emotions) inhere in some physical substances (namely brains).
Primitive Property (intentionality as a primitive property).
Emergent Property and Downward Causation.

Chapter 3
3.1: Causal Determinism (every event has a cause that makes it happen + laws of nature) and Hard determinism (the doctrine that there are no free actions). Hard determinism assumes that if CD is true, then there are no free actions because as our bodies made up of matter, we must be subjects to the same laws of causation. In class we discussed an argument to problematize HD. If HD is true, then there is no human responsibility: i.e., if we are not free, we cannot be responsible for our actions, (one is responsible if and only if one can make choices).

3.2: Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are not mutually exclusive.

Soft determinism: Determined actions can nevertheless be free. One "soft" theory is Traditional Compatibilism (Free actions are 1- caused by one's will and 2- not externally constrained). The idea is that you're free provided you are not constrained from the outside. C/E "Taylor's Ingenious Physiologist. In class we discussed how TV can "plant" desires. So in a way is a kind of ingeneous physiologist.

"Hierarchical Compatibilism: First and Second Order Desires; Second Order Volitions. Remember: A first order desire is directed to an object or state of affairs, a second order desire is a desire about a desire, a second order volition is a second order desire one decisely acts upon. Harry Frankfurt's three drug addicts: (Let's call a first order desire: FOD, a second order desire: SOD, a second order volition: SOV) So we get the following:

Wanton addict: FOD, not SOD, not SOV, not free.
Happy Addict: FOD, SOD, SOV, free.
Unwilling Addict: FOD, SOD (only this desire is against his taking the drug, not SOV, not free).

3.3: Libertarianism

Event and Agent Causation. Event---> event or Agent---> event.

Libertarianism holds that agents can cause events. How? remember we talked about the possibility that the mind causes the brain. Libertarianism also holds that one is responsible for one's action only if one does it (one has to act on one's own desire). If the desire is not yours, you're not responsible, ex. one's doing something by being coerced to do it by somebody else.

Radical Libertarianism (Existentialism): Jean-Paul Sartre's kind of libertarianism (known as Existentialism) holds that the self is essentially free. When he says: "L'existence précède l'essence" he means that we exist first, and are "defined" later. Sartre puts it as sucgh: "il n'est rien d'autre que ce qu'il fait de sa vie."

We cope with this heavy "weight" of our own FREEDOM by creating fictitious justifications, what Sartre calls mauvaise foi or "bad faith". We're always responsible for our actions, because even when we think we don't choose, we choose. The only possible constraint is our facticity (the stuff we don't choose, like being born and having a certain name and parents). "La mauvaise foi" in a practical sense means that what counts is the intention (" c'est l'intention qui compte"). Sartre rejects the freudian "unconscious" as well as other forms of determinisms. As he puts it: "L'homme est condamné à être libre."

In Being and Nothingness, Sartre discusses the example of a gambler who wishes to stop gambling as an illustration of anguish as it relates to the past, "anguish in the face of the past". The gambler has resolved, in the past, to stop gambling because he recognizes the toll his habit is taking on his life. In the moment of that resolution, that choice to no longer gamble seemed "a real barrier" between gambling and the one who gambles, between the human being and his freedom. However, in the light of a new moment, minutes, hours or days later, that earlier resolution seems nothing more than a "memory of an idea, a memory of a feeling" (p. 126) when the gambler is presented once again with the opportunity to gamble. Precisely nothing (what Sartre calls "Néant": no previous decision that attempts to put a "barrier" – a something – between a subject and his freedom) stops the gambler from gambling again. He is always free to choose, to gamble or not to gamble. "The resolution is still me to the extent that I realize constantly my identity with myself across the temporal flux." The gambler thus feels anguish in the face of his own freedom. He has finally apprehended the "nothingness" of his own being. He "perceives with anguish that nothing prevents him from gambling" (p. 126).