Talk:Philosophy of mind/Archive 1

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Why are there so many questions in this article?

Why are there so many questions in this article? No less than 25. An encyclopedia is intended to provide answers to questions, not questions to answers. Much of the drafting has to be reformulated.

In response; There are so many questions because they are the questions that the philosophy of mind is struggling to deal with. No answers are provided because no accepted answers exist. If they did it wouldn't be such an interesting subject. I think the article is a reasonable attempt at giving some idea of what Philosophy of mind is about. Teutanic 14:36, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Adam Z

Who is "Adam Z." ?

Hegel needs a mention

Hegel's third major work in the Encyclopaedia, the Philosophy of Mind, needs inclusion here; I'll be attempting to write an article on the work itself sometime later this week, but collaboration would be wonderful CriminalSaint 18:45, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Made a little entry, could use some expansion.Poor Yorick 10:32, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I find it odd the fascination you Americans have for continental and post-modern views. It's extremely noteworthy that the German FEATURED ARTICLE WINNER version of the disastrous article makes not the least mention of Hegel or anyone else in the alledgedly continental tradition. I have been studying philosophy in Italy for the last five years (befire that I studied it in the US) and I find that the general attitude toward "existenialism" and the like is that it is just "bad poetry." --Lacatosias 15:44, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm trying to get that article translated ASAP, BTW. It's immensely better than this one.--Lacatosias 15:46, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Needs cleanup

This article is written like an essay, not like an encyclopedia entry. Therefore, it needs cleanup. Katefan0 08:07, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)

..and all of the related articels require more precision.. the "emergentism" article doesn't show the different definitions.. the wiki-links in "mind-body-problem" are incomplete and so on...

Needs more internal links,

eg functionalism. Sorry to crit and run... Thx, "alyosha" 22:06, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

LeDoux's Functionalism

From Joseph LeDoux's "The Emotional Brain: the Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life"; 1996; ISBN: 0684836599; p. 27.

One of the most important conceptual developments in the establishment of cognitive science was a philosophical position known as functionalism, which holds that intelligent functions carried out by different machines reflect the same underlying process.
{According to functionalism, the mental states that make up consciousness can essentially be defined as complex interactions between different functional processes. Because these processes are not limited to a particular physical state or physical medium, they can be realized in multiple ways, including, theoretically, within non-biological systems.}
For example, a computer and a person can both add 2 + 5 and come up with 7. The fact that both achieve the same answer cannot be explained by the use of similar hardware—brains are made of biological stuff and computers of electronic parts. The similar outcome must be due to a similar process that occurs at a functional level. In spite of the fact that the hardware in the machines is vastly different, the software or program that each executes may be the same. Functionalism thus holds that the mind {software} is to the brain {hardware} as a computer program {applications and data base—software} is to the computer hardware.
Cognitive scientists, carrying the functionalist banner, have been allowed to pursue the functional organization of the mind without reference to the hardware that generates the functional states. According to functionalist doctrine, cognitive science stands on its own as a discipline—it does not require that we know anything about the brain. This logic was a shot in the arm to the field, giving it a strong sense of independence. Regardless of whether they do experiments on humans or use computer simulations of the human mind, many cognitive scientists today are functionalists.

Yesselman 21:35, 30 December 2005 (UTC)


I removed one fake entry from this list of philosophers of mind, but there might be more, so I tagged it with a disputed accuracy template. —Ruud 15:00, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Can the list be made into two columns? Rtdrury 02:04, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Done, although I strongly suggest we shrink the section to something like Notable philosophers of mind with just a few entries, rather than attempting some sort of big laundry list of philosophers, which is a job for categories. WhiteCat 08:39, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk

Re AT THE CONGRESS. The Herren Professoren from Deutschland talked to their Verehrte Kollegen in Amerika about KEHRE, GEVIERT, GESTELL und GEWORFENHEIT. These terms do not mean anything in English. But this does not matter because they do not mean anything in German either, at least not in the sense that they are used by the Herren Professoren from Deutschland.
In return, the Herren Professoren from Amerika talked to their Verehrte Kollegen in Deutschland about the MIND. There is no such concept in the German language. As a matter of fact, there is not even a WORD for it. Does it matter? Certainly not! A good time was had by all. --BZ(Bruno Zollinger) 09:46, 7 February 2006 (UTC)


In the topic of reductionism, there's a "refutation" of it. I don't consider informative to include refutation of a 'philosophical postion', much less something complex like reductionism wich is analyzed in a more detailed way in the philosophy of science.

Other types that aren't discussed

There needs to be more sections; notably:

  1. Idealism: everything is just thoughts and ideas
  2. Dualism: Cartesian and otherwise
  3. Occasionalism: mind and body are synchronized by God
  4. Behaviorism, both radical and logical
  5. Physicalism: Type and Token Physicalism as well as Central State Identity Theory (CSIT)
  6. Representational Functionalism

Notable people that should be mentioned:

  1. Colin_McGinn
  2. Jerry Fodor
  3. Noam Chomsky 16:43, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Functionalism rejects physicalism?

In the paragraph on functionalism, it says that 'functionalism rejects physicalism and reductionism wholesale.' Is this accurate? I was under the impression that functionalism still held that the mind was brought about by physical processes in the brain, but ultimately the underlying physical component does not matter as does the functions of said physical component.-Laplace's Demon 01:26, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

No, Laplace's Demon, you are correct That statement is simply false. Functionalism (in all of its almost infinite guises) is a form of non-reductive physicalism. What counts, in most forms of functionalism, in the explantion of mental phenomena is the causal or functional role that they play, abstracting away from the lower-level details of physical implementation. Nevertheless, they all take for granted that there is' a physical lower-level realization. A mouse-trap can be realized in many different ways, with parts made of plastic, metal, ossified horse-manure or what have you, and with diferent lengths, proportions and so on, but it needs the essential functional equivalents of the spring, the bait, etc.. Functionalists view the mind analogously. --Lacatosias 12:01, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
Oops, mistatement. I almost feel into another common fallacy myself. In the case of functionalism, it should be obvious, that since the low-level realization base is abstracted away from, it could hypothecially, be a non-phyical realiztion base. Hence functionalism is not neither ontologically commitedd to physicalism nor to mentalism. It is, howvere, commited to monism (this could even be neutral monism). Most functionalist are, in practice, physicalists. --Lacatosias 13:42, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
It is amusing that, although most functionalists consider themselves to be physicalists, they are probably dualists see Wikibook entry where it points out that "some philosophers introduce the dualist notion of a "logical space" containing disembodied information".
This is actually (something like) the explicit view of Hans Moravic. The case can be made, but it would be a rather odd form of dualism and it would face the same problems as all other forms of dualism in addition to the many oher problems of functionalism. Personally, I consider it a second-order type-idntity thesis and hence too reductionist. Maybe I'm an unknowing triplist from someone's perspective.--Lacatosias 13:36, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

These main article links

are not in the German version. If you include one , you will have to include type identity, behaviorism, functionalism. etc.. But there are already prominent links to these artciles.--Lacatosias 14:03, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

I think they make it all the easier to go to the main article if you're interested. But OK, I'll add the others. Kripkenstein 14:08, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I added the MA links when the main article is actually a decent reference. In the case of intentionality, however, I don't know if it's worth pointing to the main article. Kripkenstein 14:13, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Sometimes I wonder if it's worth pointing to any of these philosophy articles. Every time I turn around, I find an article that looks almost as if it had been written by my seven-year-old niece. Maybe we should point to the German versions?? And the call it Anglo-American analytic-style philosophy!! Hmm...the continentals seem to know more about it than English speaking folks, if one were to judge by Wikipedia. It started out with Frege and then the Vienna circle anyway. Alright, never mind...--Lacatosias 14:40, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I know what you mean, but pointing to the German articles is not an option. What one can do is improve the articles one by one. What happened at the German wiki is that a few guys took upon themselves all the work and excelled. It could happen here too. Kripkenstein 15:44, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
That's what I'm trying to get going.--Lacatosias 15:56, 8 March 2006 (UTC)


Ok, some of us are apparently unhappy about the changes that I have made to this article and the merger with the now-redundant mind-body problem. Seeking consensus on the matter, I call for a vote:

Keep the current version or revert back to the old one and create a separate page for mind-body problem as before:


  • Lacatosias 18:28, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Kripkenstein 19:49, 8 March 2006 (UTC) (the mere suggestion of reverting to the old version is ludicrous~)
  • Laplace's Demon 22:50, 8 March 2006 (UTC) (Wow, nice job with the complete overhaul of this article. Much, much better than the previous one.)
  • Poor Yorick 11:41, 9 March 2006 (UTC) (Looks good, though I think a reference or link to an Eastern & Continental philosophy of mind would be in order to prevent bias).
This is an important objection actually. I have reintegrated some of the text of the previous version on Continetals and expanded on it somehat in order to provide some context. It's interesting to observe that the German (and the Spanish which is just a direct tralsnation of the German), the so-called continentals, do not mention anything about phenomenology, etc.. This confirms me in the opinion that "Continental philosphy " versus "Anglo-American" is nonsense and always has been. I aslo point this out in the new section. But there are different "schools" or "styles" of philosophy: analytic, phenonemology, post-modern or what have you. I think the article is, in fact, the better for including this material.

On the other hand, I really don't know how to deal with the "Eastern" question in the context of this artcile. More importanty, the article is getting FAT now. I'll see what I can do though.--Lacatosias 12:57, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, well personally I dislike continentals dismissing analytics as boring, and analytics dismissing it, as you put it "bad poetry". I studied in the analytic tradition but I find that both traditions have greatness, I like Kierkegaard & Nietzsche as much as Russell & Wittgenstein; Heidegger as much as Carnap; Marx as much as Rawls. There's a piece by Richard Rorty about the divide that I find very informative [1]. Cheers on the article, by the way Poor Yorick 13:35, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Analytics ARE all too often excruciatingly boring. But never mind...--Lacatosias 14:06, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Possible new link to online papers?

Although I am aware that the outside links already contain twice (the guide and the bibliography, both compiled by Chalmers), the following link contains by far the largest compilation of links to articles on philosophy of mind that are freely available online:

Meanwhile, it seems to me that the Dale Jacquette link is not especially useful to those seeking information about the whole of philosophy of mind, so perhaps that one could be replaced. Alternatively, a single link to specifically pointing out the "resources" section could also suffice.

Since there were no objections, I just made the changes I suggested a while ago. -- 02:06, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Originationism link

When trying to reach reference #3, Sankhya philosophy, my web browser says " could not be found. Please check the name and try again". Is this just temporary or...? /skagedal... 09:29, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Don't know. It worked the other day. Strange. I'll try to find another link in any case.--Lacatosias 10:14, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
It was a dead link. But I have now replaced it with an "archived" version (not exactly sure what this means, but the link now functions).--Lacatosias 10:20, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
When you write "archived version", I assume you mean the copy of the article that Google uses for indexing and search purposes. There is no guarantee that this archived version will stay, I think. Best if you can find another source. If the philospophy is notable, there should be other sources to draw from , shouldn't there? DanielDemaret 23:47, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
No problem.--Lacatosias 07:17, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Changes in sections on Neuroscience, psychology

Well, I was actually planning to make some rather significant changes to the sections on science. But, since ithas attained FA status, I don't want to risk making it too lengthy or something. I will leave it out for the time being.--Lacatosias 10:02, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Say, could you maybe in general avoid doing so many seperate edits? It's really annoying to have to look back two history pages to see the last edit made by somebody else because you apparently can't go for five minutes without correcting another miniscule item. Not to insult you, but it's extremely confusing. --TheOtherStephan 22:50, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
No, that's the way I work. If you don't like it, I'll gladly revert all of my edits back to the previous versions of all of the articles that I have salvaged on this Populopedia. Please don't provoke me!! I'm not finding this EXTRAORDINARY, VOLUNTARY use of my valuable time to be a worhwhile to myself npr anyone else these days. What's the point? --Lacatosias 07:49, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, then please do that. While I certainly respect the work you invest into this, I don't care for your personal issues ("Don't provoke me!!!", what the hell?), and I DO have a problem with you willfully messing up accessability for me and others because "that's the way you work". It's really not that hard to edit more that one sentence at a time. There's a preview button for exactly that, you know. --TheOtherStephan 15:12, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
What precisly is it that you need access to?--Lacatosias 16:33, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
I'd rather check to see if there is a consensus on that if I were you before I atcually go ahead and revert.
Incidenitly, most of the last several hundred edits are almost certainlymy attempts to satisfy the various, sometimes contradictory objections, that wre aimed at this article in order to get it to FA status. I had to delete, copy, past, delete, copt, paste, delete, copy, paste, about 51 references from one format to another, find refernces elsewhere, add ISBNs, document almost every single sentence. Give me a break, alright!! If you want to know something about this article, just ask me. NO ONE ELSE has SIGNIFICANTLY contrubuted to it!!--Lacatosias 16:49, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
As I said, I really respect your contributions. Me, I couldn't have done that for lack of patience alone, and it was certainly necessary as the article was quite a patchwork - though I think you tend to sympathize with the physicalist side a bit. I'm not attacking that at all, really, since evidence points that way. All I asked of you was to maybe try to do not as many seperate edits and, instead, a few edits that really make a difference. Really, fifty all on the same day just are too much. I, personally, care what the article looked like before someone took it into his hands (and I think I'm not the only one), and it's just annoying to see so many needless entries by the same person. It's bad for general overview, and could leave the impression that you are trying to cover POV entries. It's not like you couldn't finish your discussions first or simply press "preview" instead of "post", you know, so why are you so offended by that? It's really nothing personal. --TheOtherStephan 23:33, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
Fine, I'll try to kick the habit of clicking the edit button too often. I think your POV charge is completely off base, though. The dualism section is absolutely enormous here. If you take a look at, for example, The Routlege Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry or the entry in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy or, even, the entry in the Italian Enciclopedia Garzantine della Filosofia, you will find that they spend about one paragraph "historical views" and then get right into long discussions of modern views (reductive physicalism, non-reductive physicalism, behaviorism, etc.). --Lacatosias 07:13, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
I thank you very much for that. --TheOtherStephan 11:52, 1 April 2006 (UTC)


  • Keep and don't tell me how to edit

Keep, since it is good work so far. But I really think you should make rather a few significant entries instead of oh so many miniscule ones. I understand your position, but it's still bad style. --TheOtherStephan 23:38, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Revert.

More info

More information is needed on:

  1. [Representational Functionalism]] and Sterelny insignificant form of functionalism
  2. Computationalism and White, Newell and Simon, Copeland alreadu linked.
  3. Nativism (Chomsky's universal generative grammar) and Cummins linguistics
  4. Modularity (Fodor) --no room.
  5. Colin_McGinn and Mysterianism -- ro room.
  6. Jerry Fodor in functionalism.
  7. Noam Chomsky linguist
  8. Consciousness Problem and Block, Chalmers yes, it's called Qualia; already there.
  9. Problem of Intentionality and Searle already there
  10. Functionalism (philosophy of mind) already there
  11. Functionalism (psychology) this is a philosophy article. 00:55, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

you will notice that this raticle is ALREADY nearly 60 KB (the general requirement is to remain below 30!!)

These matters are all linked to and dealt with in in-depth in therr own separate articles. Also, this is a FEATTIRED ARTICLE. Do you know jow mant Featured Articles there are in all of philosophy after five years of exietcne of the Wikipedia: six!!! You're nuts!! Don't even look at it, much less touch it.--Lacatosias 10:12, 15 April 2006 (UTC)


I know that there are a large number of Christian fundamentalist fanatics out there who want to discuss the origin if dualism and attribute it all to something called Judeo-Christian roots (though both of these are in fact Eastern religions with prodound roots in Mesopaotian, Perisn and other mythology). I won't get into this dicusson on this page. This article touches on dualism in only one specific aspect (mind-body duialism). There is a much broader article dualism which deals with the questions of soul-body dualism and ontoloogical dualism in general. Only if specific sources can be coted for the thesis that the soul-body distinction was conceeived as a mind-body disctintion (that is, the soul possessed faculties of intelligence, concsiousness and so on) in some philophy other than the Greek (from which the Jewich concept of soul directly derives) then I will allow it to be added. Otherwise, it will be deleted without comment. An obsevation: one does not have to be a dualist in odre to be a Christian and vice-versa. So not only does dualism not derive from something called Judeo-Cristianity (whatever that might mean) but it is not essential to dualism as such and vieversa. Gottfireid Liebzniz was a monist who believed that there was only ONE fundmantal substance (monads woth mental properties). He was a devout Christian. Spinoza was a neutal monist; he was aslo a Jew. Bishop George Berekely....well, you get the idea.--Lacatosias 09:47, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

I'll bite

Philosophy of mind is the philosophical study of the exact nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, and consciousness, and of whether these have a relationship with the physical body: the so-called "mind–body problem."

whether? I gott read up on this more but surely there is some type of relationship. Ka-zizzlMc 06:18, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Bishop Berkeley's answer to the mind/body problem says that there are no physical bodies, and in that case there would be no relationship between mind and body. Another answer, proposed by Malebranche, says that the mind and body are on two completely different causal tracks and never interact with each other. God causes the apparent effects of the body on the mind and vice versa. That's why they appear to be in synch, and again, no direct relationship.


In Eastern philosophy, on the other hand, the yogacara tradition, which arose in opposition to Madhyamika, represents a clear example of idealistic monism.

It has certanly been called idealistic, but 'represents a clear example' is quite too much; i read the work the autor of this was reffering to, as, curiously, supporting this assesment; here are some quotes from it:

many contemporary scholars have cast doubt upon the interpretation of the Asa^nga-Vasubandhu phase of Yogaacaara as a form of idealism. It is also not clear that the early Yogaacaara philosophy is straightforwardly "idealistic" since there appears to be the acknowledgment at times that at the highest levels of attainment both citta and vij~napti-maatra are to be transcended. An important point to note is that Asa^nga here explicitly criticizes the view that denies that there exists a "bare given-thing" (vastu-maatra) as the basis for the ruupa-skandha.(l2) Indeed, the Yogaacaara school seems to have accepted the traditional Sarvaastivaada division of dharmas into five categories: mind (citta), mental concomitants (caitasikaa, form (ruupa) , compounded factors independent of the mind (citta-viprayukta-sa.mskaara-dharmas) , and the uncompounded factors (asa.msk.rta).(l3) This seems to be at variance with the "naive idealism" usually attributed to Yogaacaara thought. It is said that a mass of matter (ruupasamudaaya) is composed of atoms. Here the atom should be understood to be without a physical body (ni.h'sraiira). The atom is determined in the final analysis by the intellect (buddhi), in view of the abandonment of the notion of an aggregate (pi.n.dasa.mj~naa) , and in view of the penetration into the relativity(15) of matter as a substance (dravyaparini.spattiprave'sa).

This argument was extended further by Asa^nga's brother Vasubandhu in his Vi.m'satikaa(16) with an attack upon the realist notion of matter (ruupa) as a substance existing independently of the experiencing subject. Whether this is a case of idealism depends to a large extent upon one's understanding of the term. Asa^nga describes the grasping subject of perceptions (graahaka) as the material sense-organ (ruupiindriya),the mind (citta), and the mental factors (caitasika). The inclusion of a gross sense-faculty in the analysis of the subject is hardly what one would expect from an idealistic analysis.

and the general conclusion of the article is that only much later yogachara can be though of as idealistic. I really dont understand in what sence was this article used in support of this conclusion???

Such conclusion about Asangas yogachara is also supported by the fact that a Karl Brunnhölzl, a Kagyu scholar, cosiders yogacara position to be misrepresented, to serve as a straw-man, in tibetan tradition, and that contemporary shentong position is only orthodox yogachara, though its commonly thought of as yogacara madyamaka. And also, it should be noted that yogacharins and shentongpas alike defend their position as skillfull means for meditators (hence the name yogacara), not ontological truths, that they certanly dont believe in existance of a soul, self, or essence, and that in buddhist philosophy, mind is numbered among other sence organs, just like ear, eye, etc, and even this is considered just practical division, not prularistic ontology; as Bikhu Nyanajivako (Cedomil Veljacic, PhD, noted yugoslavian comparative philosopher) explains in his book Buddhism (Beograd,1977, improvised translation) 'unlike helenic philosophy, indian philosophy never starts with ontological, but exclusively from epistemiological assumptions about knowledge and though.'... I also would consider using western philosophy traditional designations, like idealism, materialism, for eastern philosophy as 'neutral designation' inherently chauvinistic (in this example, a more appropriate term, might be ethernalism), and only usefull when used really carefully, for identifying both commonalities and difference, in context of comparative philosophy.. for these reasons, I will remove this claim.--Aryah 08:33, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

I think you have done a disservice to the article by removing the only mention of Cittamatra in particular and Buddhist thought in general. You could have changed the passage rather than removing it entirely. The article is called "Philosopy of Mind," not "Western Philosophy of Mind." I will try to work a discussion of this back into the article when I have time.Sylvain1972 19:45, 7 February 2007 (UTC) 19:44, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

The picture sucks


A featured article shouldn't begin with a pseudo-scientific picture (since the article is not about pseudo science). I didn't read the article to look for an explanation for this, but it's not worth to read it while there's this stupid picture in the introduction. The article is completely discredited. --Hdante 00:15, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Speak for yourself, I find pseudo-scientific pictures a lot of fun. Oh, and someday a picture of the double-slit experiment may be called pseudo-scientific too, so take it easy. -- 00:18, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry for writing my opinion on the stupidness of the picture. The only point that I'm discussing here is that the article is completely discredited. --Hdante 03:03, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I think you miss the purpose of the picture. It's not there to endorse phrenology, but rather to recognize an influential idea that came from it (viz. that particular regions of the brain support particular cognitive functions) and its connection to modern philosophy of mind. You may benefit from reading the article or other writings in the philosophy of mind to get a better understanding of how phrenology sits in relation to current ideas in the field. A minor note, Jerry Fodor uses a similar image on the cover of The Modularity of Mind, but you won't find many followers who also believe it "completely discredits" one of the most important monographs in 20th century philosophy. :)
Ok. Would you mind writing this in the picture description ? --hdante 04:33, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't remember what the caption said the other day and maybe it has been edited since, but it looks good to me. What do you think? We can re-write it if you'd like.
The picture is cool. Pseudosciences such as this are perhaps MOST valuable as sort of novelties that invite curiousity and communicate easily in visual format. This image is compelling in that it's an immediate reference to much of the madness in the history to understand the mind. It is certainly part of the picture (cognative philosophy as a whole, I mean). Also, the caption says enough, IMHO. MotherFunctor 06:19, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm not really sure I follow what you are saying. While it's true that many of the ideas from phrenology were out there, one idea that has gained empirical support from a range of fields and has become influential in our understanding of the brain and mind (though hotly debated) is the notion that mental functions (such as language, vision, executive function, etc.) are instantiated in specific brain structures. Contributions to this research have come from neuroscience, computer science, linguistics, cognitive psychology, as well as other fields. Rather than the picture being a "sort of novelty" and "immediate reference to much of the madness in the history to understand the mind," it fits into a particular historical context that relates the above idea from phrenology to modern philosophy of mind (as well as other overlapping fields like those mentioned above).

Originationism link

Just noticed that when you click on the link that says originationism (in the free will section), it leads to a page that has nothing to do with philosophy, unless telephone networks are highly relevant to free will. Thought that maybe we should remove the link or change the article that it links to.

Why is the Communism icon here?

Maybe I'm just incredibly dense today, but I don't understand the connection between the topic of this article and Communism, which (elsewhere in Wikipedia) is what's usually signified by the hammer-and-sickle icon. Assuming that there is a relationship, I would propose it should be explained more explicitly in the article. If it's not related and someone stuck the icon on as a joke, let's remove it. - Mark Dixon 03:00, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Hegel and the ultimately idealistic heritage of Communism? Wilhelm Ritter 17:11, 18 May 2006

Phrenology is not a study of the mind

In this article, the image and image description state that phrenology is a study of the mind. This is not correct because phrenology claims to be able to read a persons character and traits based on the overall shape of the head, including bumps and hollows.


I may only guess that it was placed there for sensationalist purposes. It would be better if more people discussed this. I don't know how this was made a featured article. --hdante 03:40, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Please see coments above under The picture sucks section. The picture and mention of phrenology is relevant in connecting modern philosophy of mind (not to mention other fields such as cognitive neuroscience) with an influential idea rooted in phrenology, viz. that there are various mental faculties that are instantiated in various regions of the brain.


To all editors of this page, I am thoroughly impressed, a very well deserved FA. I am a philosophy student and Wikipedia has always felt very thin on philosophy to me; this is a great achievement for the encyclopedia as well as being, as the FA-submitter wrote, one of the best summaries of Philosophy of mind there is! I have my exams in about 10 days, and i'll definitely be reading this article more thoroughly. Once again, congratulations on such a great article. -- Alfakim --  talk  07:25, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

There were exactly three people involved in the process: ME, MYSELF and I. You may consider these entities as temporal or spatial, ontologically indepdent parts or some other such forms of abtraction if you like, but the fact remains that they all share a common intrinsic property: they are all part of a unitary entity which is distinct from all other participants on the Wikipedia and which goes by the name (rigid designator) Francesco Franco (alias Lacatosias). What did I get out of this effort? Nil. Ditto for all of my other efforts. I have stopped contributing for this and other reasons. -- 08:51, 24 May 2006 (UTC)


the image shown is NOT fMRI but just MRI image, probably T2. someone should correct that...

You are correct. I have fixed the problem. I was considering changing the caption, but I thought that fMRI really was more important for understanding theory of mind than MRI was, so I changed the picture. Irongargoyle 16:24, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Question about this Article

Is Philosophy of the Mind Phrenology as it stats below?

A Phrenological mapping of the brain. Phrenology, as a protoscience, was among the first attempts to correlate mental functions with specific parts of the brain. ???


On the first part of the article it looks like something got deleted. I don't know if this was a mistake, vandilism, or my computer just doesn't want to show it. This is what the beginning of the article looks like to my computer, ", if mental states are something material, but not behavior, then mental states are probably identical to internal states of the brain. In very simplified terms: a mental state M is nothing other than brain state B. The mental state "desire for a cup of coffee" would thus be nothing more than the "firing of certain neurons in certain brain regions".

And you probably see why I think something got deleted, as it starts with a comma and a lowercase letter.

I think deletion of parts seems to happen a lot on featured articles, because everyone sees it on the main page. Hm. --Ayame The Wolf 18:59, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Paragraph removed for further analysis, discussion and citations

I have removed this increasingly confusing and questionable paragraph and am placing it here for further analysis as to the value of its content...Kenosis 21:46, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Several modern religious movements and texts, for example the organizations within the New Thought Movement (especially the Unity Church) and the book, A Course in Miracles, may be said to have a particularly idealist orientation. The theology of Christian Science is explicitly idealist: it teaches that all that exists is God and God's ideas; that the world as it appears to the senses is a distortion of the underlying spiritual reality. In A Course in Miracles the body and the senses are said to do nothing. All of our perceptions including the body and the sense organs are projected thought within the mind which only appear to function. One analogy is the movie screen. There is an appearance of characters sensing and reacting to one another when this is simply a projection. ....21:46, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

I believe this paragraph should not be removed as these thought systems include large numbers of people who believe in mentalistic monism. Your article appears to ignore mentalistic monism where all that exists is in and of the mind. Our perceptions are not perceptions of external objects. Rather, our vast Mind creates this complex matrix of perceptions without reference to something outside of the mind. - anonymous 17 May 2006

I believe a good number of ACIM analysts, both critics and adherents, would disagree heartily with this characterization. ACIM plainly contains an interwoven set of physical and mental/psychological/spiritual interactivity in its very complex set of precepts. At a minimum, if there's a case to be made for this kind of stereotyping of spiritually oriented literature and practice, it should be cited properly and derived from a dependable source of research. As to the Unity school, this is bogus stereotyping and highly inaccurate. Don't know much about Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science myself, but such a case should still be made based upon solid citations, not personal belief of what their positions are. Not that I object to an analysis of modern resurgences of older forms of thought, but the current content is merely ineptly framed "new age philosophy"-bashing, and therefore is unacceptable....Kenosis 02:55, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure why the removed paragraph would be considered 'bashing'? Regardless, the paragraph was from an earlier version of the article (I think the featured article version). With respect to the Christian Science perspective, I would cite the Scientific Statement of Being to support that part of the paragraph. WilliamKF 20:35, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

The material here was not included before, but rather was added piece by piece in unsupported increments while a featured article. Previously the section read as follows: ... Kenosis 07:00, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

In contrast to dualism, Monism states that there is only one fundamental substance. Today nearly all forms of monism in Western philosophy are physicalistic. [8] Physicalistic monism asserts that the only existing substance is physical, in some sense of that term to be clarified by our best science.[26] However, a variety of formulations are possible (see below). Another form of monism is that which states that the only existing substance is mental. Such idealistic monism, also referred to as panpsychism, is very uncommon in modern times in the West. [8] Phenomenalism, the theory that all that exists are the representations (or sense data) of external objects in our minds and not the objects themselves, was adopted by Bertrand Russell and many of the logical positivists during the early 20th century.[27] It lasted for only a very brief period of time. A third possibility is to accept the existence of a basic substance which is neither physical nor mental. The mental and physical would both be properties of this neutral substance. Such a position was adopted by Baruch Spinoza [6] and popularized by Ernst Mach [28] in the 19th century. This neutral monism, as it is called, resembles property dualism. In the following discussion, only physicalistic monisms are considered.

Presently it reads this way:... Kenosis 07:00, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

In contrast to dualism, monism states that there is only one fundamental substance. Today the most common form of monism in Western philosophy are physicalistic. [8] Physicalistic monism asserts that the only existing substance is physical, in some sense of that term to be clarified by our best science.[26] However, a variety of formulations are possible (see below). Another form of monism is that which states that the only existing substance is mental. Such idealistic monism is currently somewhat uncommon in the West.
[8] Phenomenalism, the theory that all that exists are the representations (or sense data) of external objects in our minds and not the objects themselves, was adopted by Bertrand Russell and many of the logical positivists during the early 20th century.[27] It lasted for only a very brief period of time. A third possibility is to accept the existence of a basic substance which is neither physical nor mental. The mental and physical would both be properties of this neutral substance. Such a position was adopted by Baruch Spinoza [6] and popularized by Ernst Mach [28] in the 19th century. This neutral monism, as it is called, resembles property dualism. In the following discussion, only physicalistic monisms are considered. (See also: idealism.)... 07:00, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Problem with the added material is that positions such as those taken by the Unity school assume that there is mind and that there is substance or physical reality, but that mind leads the way, so to speak, or is at least capable in affecting physical reality. This is not equivalent to some of the positions such as phenomenalism, subjective idealism, metaphysical solipsism and such. Moreover, the added material was highly misleading or wrong as to ACIM and Unity School. Eddy I don't know about, but I suspect her position and that of her followers might be similarly oriented. The positions of the three groups mentioned may be extreme in their emphasis on the capability of mind (or spirit) but at least as to ACIM and Unity they are not entirely monistic. Indeed at first blush, admitting I don't know much about Eddy's followers, it would appear to be a highly dualist approach (to wit:"matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal"). This is not a particularly unusual position for a religion to take. I appreciate the opportunity to think a bit more about these issues as it relates to these religious, or quasi-religious, positions.... Kenosis 07:00, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes, at first glance, it can appear that Eddy's work is dualist, however, further study of her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, reveals that the apparent opposite is in fact relative to the actual or absolute. In other words, the concept of falsehood is relative to or derivative from truth. The ability to conceive of the concept of duality in a monist philosophy does not make the monist a dualist if it is classified as just a concept in the monist's thought. In Christian Science, accepting as truth the false belief that there is a power opposed to God results in an illusion of seeming duality, whereas in fact God is the only power. As we align our thought with what is true, God, the false sense of duality falls away into its native nothingness. WilliamKF 18:27, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

This is fundamentally not different than, to give just a few quick examples, the Buddhist use of the Two truths doctrine, the gnostic (whether modern or ancient) conception of spirit, many of the Eastern conception of pantheism and related concept of consciousness as permeating all reality (increasingly common again today), the Western conceptions of panentheism (also increasingly common today), and indeed not even fundamentally different from the general oft-asserted idea of religious truth being absolute while regarding empirical facts as only relative... Kenosis 18:46, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

The section shown above is wrong. Ernst Mach was not a Neutral Monist, he was a Positivist and strongly rejected metaphysics of any sort. - Robin Herbert

Phenomenalism - is this a correct description?

"Phenomenalism, the theory that all that exists are the representations (or sense data) of external objects in our minds and not the objects themselves, was adopted by Bertrand Russell and many of the logical positivists during the early 20th century."

Is this an accurate description of phenomenalism? It makes no sense as written. If all that exists are representations of external objects in our minds then what can they be representations of since external objects do not exist by definition. - anonymous 17 May 2006

JA: There may be some nuance to the actual words they used, but that is basically what phenomenalism is. Alfred Jules Ayer's Language, Truth and Logic (1946), makes for a standard banner-waving celebration of this position at its midcentury summit. Will look up some exact quotes tomorrow. Jon Awbrey 04:26, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Jon. Let me back that up too, working only off of memory at the moment. Russell's phenomenalism was what we might, in very colloquial terms, call a mildly phenomenalistic orientation. As a very practical man, Russell himself never fell completely into the trap of subjective idealism characteristic of the most stringent phenomenalists. He always added to this view (at every stage of his career as far as I know) additional elements of justification to connect what's "up here" in the mind to what's "our there" in the "real world." Indeed in this regard (if I understand your query correctly) he was arguably closer in overall positioning to Emanuel Kant than to the "die-hard" phenomenalists and positivists. All this of course skips a proper analysis of the semiotic complications of the word "objects" and other quirky issues such as the meanings of the verb "to be" or what "is" a particular "object." Too much to get into here. ...Kenosis 04:49, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

If this is correct then phenomenalism is illogical at first glance. If it really does say that all that exists are mental representations and yet there are external objects that these representations represent then it is a form of dualism where the external objects do not exist. I find it hard to believe anyone would present this.

I find the article excellent except that it does not present mentalistic monism (Idealism). In this concept everything that exists are thoughts within the mind. Our perceptions do not represent anything outside of the mind, they are thoughts within the mind. The many varied perceptions are part of a complex matrix of thought by many minds that are aspects of one much larger Mind. The individual perceptions are distortions of reality which is also thought. --Who123 7:51, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

That, indeed, is the problem with phenomenalism. See, for example, Empiricism#Phenomenalism, especially the last paragraph, which describes roughly what happened in the 20th Century...Kenosis 14:46, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

See also Subjective_idealism. There does seem to be missing from your article a discussion of "pure" mentalistic monism where our perceptions do not represent external objects but our perceptions are reality, or, distortions of it. There are no separate objects but only aspects of reality that we have artifically given a name and artifically separated. Is there really such a thing as a tree separate from eveything else? Could a tree exist without sunlight, atmosphere, and earth? Mental projection makes perception. --Who123 17:48, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

JA: There are several articles on the subjects of Solipsism, Metaphysical solipsism, Methodological solipsism, etc., if that's what you're into. Jon Awbrey 18:08, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

No, it is not solipsism either. Perhaps this will help us to begin to come to a mutual understanding: All of our perceptions including the body and the sense organs are projected thought within the mind which only appear to function. One analogy is the movie screen. There is an appearance of characters sensing and reacting to one another when this is simply a projection.

The West is inundated with physicalistic monism. There is widespread belief that everything will be explained in terms of matter/energy by science. Since we are constantly taught this it may make the idea of mentalistic monism hard to grasp. One way to begin to grasp the idea is through analogy. The movie screen analogy was given above. If we next consider "Star Trek's holodeck" it takes us a step further as what appear to be physical objects are not. Next consider the movie "The Matrix". In "The Matrix" even people's bodies and identities are projected. Then replace the machine with a vast and powerful mind. A last analogy is our dreams at night. We seem to be in a world filled with other objects and other people and yet there is nothing physical. Projection makes perception. Although this is not a strict philosophical argument it does allow us to begin to think along these lines. --Who123 22:48, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Logical Error

Check this out, from the article: "Since Leibniz' law of the identity of indiscernibles says that for any individual entities x and y and for all intrinsic properties F, if x has the property F if and only if y also has the property F, then x and y are identical, it follows that mind and body are not identical because they have radically different properties, according to Descartes."

That's logically nonsensical. Leibniz' law says that "[x and y have identical properties] implies [x = y]." But this doesn't get you the conclusion of the above paragraph. What's needed is the converse of Leibniz' law: "[x = y] implies [x and y have identical properties]," which is logically equivalent to "Not [x and y have identical properties] implies not [x = y]."

I think the converse of Leibniz' law is much more elementary than Leibniz' law itself. (It's more or less the same as the principle of "substituting equals for equals"... If x=y and x has property P, then, by substitution of equals for equals, y has property P.) I don't know much philosophy; I'm just a mathematical logician. But it appears that Descartes' argument has does not need Leibniz' law at all, just the more obvious converse. And, of course, Descartes preceeded Leibniz by a number of years, so I'm sure it isn't the case that Descartes literally appealed to Leibniz. I'm going to remove the mention of Leibniz from the article.

Oh, I now see that the paragraph I'm questioning has a reference. Does the reference cited actually say that Leibniz' law is needed? If so, I suspect that's an error. I'm hoping the citation is just for Decartes' argument and not for the specific use of Leibniz' law. (The preceding submitted 18 May 2006 by

Yo Sarge, the term Leibniz law can be used to refer to either or both of the following principles.

Indiscernibility of Identicals: for all F (F(x) <-> F(y)) -> x=y

Identity of Indiscernibles (converse of the other) x=y -> for all F (F(x) <-> (F(y))

In this case, the point was very simply that, according to Leibniz law, two things which have all the same properties are identical. It follows that mind and body are not identical, according to Descartes' dualism, since they do not have all the same properties!! Give me a break, already.--Lacatosias 17:18, 19 June 2006 (UTC)


The principle existed LONG before Descartes, probably can be attributed to Plato. His theory of Forms had a similar concept. The law got called Leibniz law, for his formulation not for content. Therefore it is not weird that Descartes uses the principle before Leibniz formulation.--Hq3473 15:34, 23 February

--Lacatosias 17:28, 19 June 2006 (UTC)


Am I the only one who's reading of "On the Soul" would indicate that Aristotle was not as clearly a dualist as the article indicates? That is, in the question of the mind he states that the only sort of intelligence that can exist independently of the body is the 'active intelligence' which, from my reading of it, sounds an awful lot like his prime mover, and thus might not be a part of the human mind at all. Thus, if we're discussing the dualism of the human mind, rather than more 'cosmic' intelligences, it seems debateable that Aristotle is a dualist at all. But then perhaps I'm showing too much of my own Aristotle exegesis as a student of St. John's College, U. S. and thus, I'm told, an indirect follower of Heidegger in looking at Aristotle. Or something.

Wilhelm Ritter 17:09, 18 May 2006

I completely agree. The controversy over this aspect of Aristotle's thought is probably greater than any other area. I suggest that there only need be a mention of Plato in the intro, afterall, there is only one reference to Eastern thought and the reference to Aristotle seems superfluous anyway. Mel Thompson in 'Teach Yourself Philosophy' notes that Aristole does rather better than Plato in recognizing the interconnected nature of self and world, and eminent Aristotle scholar Jonathan Barnes, in his 'Aristotle - A Very Short Introduction' points out that souls are not 'bits of spiritual stuff' and notes that Aristotle does not suffer the problem of interaction inherent to all dualism, except when he seems to think that perhaps one aspect of though comes from a divine influence. At the very least, I think that classifying him as a 'dualist' is an oversimplification at best and misleading at worst. 00:35, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

There are radically differing interpretations, as you point out. In an article like this one, which is not specifically about Aristole or dualism, oversimpication is par for the course. But, if it will prevent deterioration of the quality of the article by addition of sixteen thousand sections on Eastern theology, followed by Chritian theology (for balance), Islamic theology, ad infinitum, I wil remove it IMMEDIATELY. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 08:10, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Here are several sources to look into for the views that differ from your sources:

  • Robinson, H. (1983): ‘Aristotelian dualism’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 1, 123-44.
  • Nussbaum, M. C. (1984): ‘Aristotelian dualism’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 2, 197-207.
  • Nussbaum, M. C. and Rorty, A. O. (1992): Essays on Aristotle's De Anima, Clarendon Press, Oxford.

--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 08:21, 24 August 2006 (UTC)


May 17, 2006, Philosophy of Mind on Wikipedia, [2] -- Cherubino 22:13, 20 May 2006 (UTC)


"Borrowing from Herbert Simon and also influenced by the ideas of existential phenomenologists such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Martin Heidegger, McClamrock suggests that man's condition of being-in-the-world ("Dasein", "In-der-welt-sein") makes it impossible for him to understand himself by abstracting away from it and examining it as if it were a detached experimental object of which he himself is not an integral part." I feel quite comfident that this idea should indeed be contributed to Martin Heidegger! Thoose of you who may have read Sein und Zeit may correct me! Mandelum 20:44, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Yep, you are not wrong... this idea appears in Hegel, Heidigger and Sartre..... Although the form presented here is closest to heidegger's expression of it (which Satre openly borrows...) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:42, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

NOnsequitar- Imagination and Mind

A mind appears to be a complex aspect. And to alter the MIND requires the expression of truth. Here appears a solution. Peer review. So to change this page require review.

Kinds are the basic outline. And to make the mind is a philosopher's task.

My mind is a some. And I profess to teach a little as Plato. And enforce the school.

Your school in peer review is understood, but unworthy of Greek recognition because it desires perfection of uncommon kind. To write the mind correctly is a profound thing. Absolute catergory class distinction in particlar effect is the school. A school of arrogance.

Why the writings of Plato?

And so I request a single sentence addition.

The eastern or buddist mind is unrepresented.

If Plato was called a zen master would it worry the reviewers.

Correct it. --Eaglesondouglas 01:06, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Some possible ambiguities in my recent edit summaries.

I'm comparitively inexperienced at editing, so I apologise for clicking 'Save page' several times when I could have just clicked 'Preview page'. Also, one of my edit summaries reads "Erased 'in the west' and 'in the east' in 'dualism' section - I think it's superflous", and I now realise that this could very easily be misunderstood.

So, to clarify, by 'Dualism section' I was referring to the paragraph dealing with dualism in the introduction, not the section dealing with said subject in the main body of the article; where you will find the East/West divide being firmly upheld.

Also, I do not at all hold that the distinction between Eastern and Western philosophy is superfluous, but I do hold that it is unnecessary, not to mention clunky, to tell someone reading this article that Plato and Aristotle were from the West and that Hinduism is from the east. In all probability they will already know this and, if they do not, the links to the relevant articles are clearly displayed.

Hope my edits are ok apart from that.

Julian Roberts 14:50, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't know. I donìt have enough time to even take a glance at it before I get cut off. You bastards!!--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 17:51, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Please read: paragraph in dualism section

"Descartes' argument fundamentally depends on the premise that what Seth believes to be "clear and distinct" ideas in his mind are necessarily true. Many contemporary philosophers doubt this.

For example, Joseph Agassi believes that several academic innovations made since the early 20th century have substantially undermined the idea of privileged access to one's own ideas. Freud has shown that a psychologically-trained observer can understand a person's unconscious motivations better than he does, Duhem has shown that a philosopher of science can know a person's methods of discovery better than he does Malinowski has shown that an anthropologist can know a person's customs and habits better than he does. He also asserts that modern psychological experiments that cause people to see things that are not there provide grounds for rejecting Descartes' argument and scientists can describe a person's perceptions better than he can), .[1]"

I have edited this paragraph but I'm still not happy with it. I changed it because it is not at all apparent to me that the views set forth here are representative of those of 'Most modern philosophers'. If we're going to ascribe views to 'Most modern philosophers' we need backup from more than just one book surely?

Also, I'd like to see links to examples of these experiments and I'm not at all sure the views of Joseph Agassi deserve such privileged exposure on this page.

I'll do what I can to rectify this myself, but anyone more knowledgeable who can help with this please do. Julian Roberts 09:39, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Fair point: I'll get to it when I can. My ADSL is installed....but now the rest of my g***** system has gone looney. I can't get this to run on Linux and I have a pirated version of Windows---doesn't allow updates. They want E200!! You sonnamagonyyaaa'!! Greedy SB!!--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 11:06, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Definitely an improvement. Out of interest, how uncontroversial is it generally that Freud's work constitutes 'scientific discovery'? JR

Hmm...a great deal depends on where you are. Personally, I'm almost Popperian in my distrust and skepticism of Freudianism, Jungianism and all of that sort of thing. But I don't dismiss it outright.

However, Freud continues to exercise enormous influence here in Italy because of some bizarre historical convergence of events which I can't go too deeply into. It seems that there is a much deeper and growing skeptcism about Freud's claim to scientificity over in the US. But the answer is at this point is: I don't really know. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 16:02, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

This is going way off topic, but I don't know where else to put it - "Freud continues to exercise enormous influence here in Italy because of some bizarre historical convergence of events which I can't go too deeply into." Is this as interesting as it sounds? If so, where can I read about it? JR

Indeed, Italy is quite a LOONEY place!! Here's an interesting article which may be helpful on this question of Freudian reception. It mostly deals with the reception in philosophy, fails to discuss the enormous influence of Italo Svevo and the huge psyhcoanaltyic literary tradition, but it is fairly accurate.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 10:23, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Hmm...that link seems to be broken. Here's another one.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 10:26, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

While the rooster's away.....

Can any of you folks with profesional writijng experience please help me out with e.g. the following:

""Philosophy of mind is the branch of Analytic philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties and consciousness, as well as the relation of these things to the physical body."

Is this a good introductory PARAGRAPH?? Is it a paragraph AT ALL?? I see a whole series of one and two-sentence paras throughout the intro section. This is NOT encouraging, espcially consideng that this is labeled as a FEATURED ARTICLE. I obviously don't have any time to do much about this, so I've out it up for REVIEW. There have been radical changes; from what I can see at a glance....not helpful!! --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 11:12, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I've obviously made you very angry. I was just trying to make it easier to read. Revert my edits if necessary. Meanwhile, I will read the editing guidelines more thoroughly. Julian Roberts
No, no, I wasn't angry at anyone in particular. In fact, I wasn't angry at all. I just have a somewhat provocative and confrontational writing style which I picked up from the days when I spent too much time editing Wikipedia and trying to sort of supervise (impossible!!) some of the REALLY bad articles in the philosophy section. Not this one really. I only had time to scan over the thing really. I haven't been on-line for about two months because of problems cplained on my talk page. I can only get connceted for about 3 minutes at a time!! What I saw in the intro was somewhat disturbing though (I don't know who edited that, but it looks much better now), and I thought it might genuinely need a review, which it hasn't had in a good while anyway. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 16:16, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Interesting reaction. I also enjoy seeing how people react to my provocative comments. It's an interesting psychological experiment and often makes for the most delightful discussion and arguments!!--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 16:21, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

The comic-book intro was my fault... I don't know what I was thinking. The thought that it was a good idea possibly came from reading Asterix and Tintin books recently to improve my French. I've been TEFL teaching too, which might have something to do with it. I was way too reckless here. I will attempt to systematically go over the changes I have made and discuss them. For one, I probably need a reference to say Spinoza was a rationalist, right? I can provide one from the 'Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy'... JR

Spinoza was not nearly as rationalist as he is often portrayed as being. He obviously did not believe that NO knowledge could be obtained through the senses, for example. These traditional 18th century binary oppositions were extreme oversimplifications, as you probably know. But he WAS definitely on the rationalist side of that divide (over against Locke, Hume, Berkely, etc..) and this is not very controversial. So I don't think it needs a reference.
PS. WOOOW!! I just realized that Firefox is capable of saving and restoring the exact web page, including everything I just wrote that I haven't had the time to save or copy myself. That is outstanding !! Can Internet Exploder do that?? -

In response to"Interesting reaction..." - the typing errors were the crucial touch. I was under the impression you were really struggling to control yourself! JR

Monism, on the other hand, rejects the dualist separation and maintains that mind and body are inseperable" - still unsatisfied with this sentence. I didn't like "There is only one substance" because I thought on its own it was too close to metaphysics/ontology and doesn't quite explain the position appropriately in terms of POM, even though the following sentences on idealism and physicalism do help to clarify the context. And it should start with "Monism is the position that.." - ascribing an action to an abstract position is just way too "I am Jack's raging bile duct" Any ideas? JR

Colin McGinn?

Surprised not to find reference to McGinn's important work on this topic. KD Tries Again 19:54, 5 February 2007 (UTC)KD

What were his ideas? JR

McGinn beleives, in essence, that there are there are epistemlogical limitataions which prevent of human beings from ever being able to explain the first-person phenomenological aspects of consciouenss in terms of third-person scientific explanation: the explanatory gap, in othr word, is neither ontlogical (as dualists would have it) nor semantic (as Witt. and others) but epistemoligical in nature. The positin is simialr to Nagel, but the arguments are slightly different. Not much too it. You just can't do it!! He is given the oddly mystical name of a New Mysterian,even though he as convinced a physicalist as anyone. But this is chatter for the forums. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 16:44, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think he says we can never explain it - just not from where we are now. Surely important enough to be included? I can draft a paragraph. KD Tries Again 18:00, 6 February 2007 (UTC)KD
Hmm.....interesting. I'm not sure about that. I know Nagel suggests the problem is essentially irresolvable based on current knowledge alone. McGinn seems to me, and to a great many others whence the term Mysterian (as in Chomsky's problems versus mysteries) to be saying that the problem is irresolvable because of natural/biological limitations or some such. In any case, if you can you provide a specific passage, preferably from a secondary source, to support your interpretation.....Meantime, I'll look into it a little

further. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 09:15, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

No, it's not a difference of opinion; you're just wrong. Looking it it more carefully, the central point of McGinn's "transcendental naturalism" is that such questions are cognitively closed to us in a manner similar to the way that partial differential equations or QCD are closed to elephants. There is an inherent biological limitation. We're not smart enough, as a species, to answer the question. That's all there is to it. If you want to add a paragraph, make sure you get that right!! Might be worth a sentence or two next to Nagel under "qualia". --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 10:02, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I misremembered. All I have to hand is McGinn's work, which I haven't picked up in a while, but I'll try to find a secondary account.KD Tries Again 15:51, 12 February 2007 (UTC)KD
No problem. Meantime, I've already added a concise paragraph to the article describing and contrasting McGinn's views with those of others on the explanatory gap. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Lacatosias (talkcontribs) 12:55, 13 February 2007 (UTC).

New Theories

This may be too early to include here, but I came across this local group recently: Institute of Advanced Science and Engineering and their information web site [3].

--Myscience 01:20, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Not comfortable with "non-reductionists"

I am not comfortable with the definition given here to "non-reductionists" - in general the term is applied in a broader sense to anyone that does not agree with a reductionist approach. This is a heads up that I am likely to change it after some more thought.

--Myscience 20:02, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

yes, I have clarified this in the intro, if that is what you are talking about. It was meant to be clear that I was referring to non-reductive physicalists. But I have fixed it. If you are suggesting that non-reductive physicalist means anyone who disagrees with reductionism (i.e. dualists and so on), then you are either extremely confused or extremely intent on pushing an agenda. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 09:49, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Fine. Just be aware that I will change back anything I find misleading or biased in favor of reductionism......and that I can get many more people to back me up on Wiki than you can because of my established reputation on here. In short while, I'm going to be separating out the entire section on mind-body problem into a separate article and will rewrite the whole thing off-line from scratch anyway. So I wouldn't obsess on such minutiae if I were you. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 09:39, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

I advocate accuracy, not a bias. The article is a little "brain centric" but I am glad to see the changes that you made. Relax. --Myscience 01:45, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Susan Blackmore warrrants a place here?

Blackmore is not really a serious contributor. There are others in history more deserving of the space. I recommend that references to her be removed. Leave a reference to her interview book, maybe.

--Myscience 20:09, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Minutiae.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 09:40, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh,BTW, be careful that if you start to remove the Blackmore's, the general pattern on wikipedia is that you will tarred as "Eurocentric", analtyic bias" "scientistic" or some such nonsense. Then, you will have to deal with the onslaught of Rupert Sheldrakes, scientologists, and other....types of characters. That is why I left it alone as a reasonable compromise between philosophy, as we seem to understand it and "philawsophy" as the average wacky Wiki understands it. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 10:03, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Glad to see you aren't defending Consciousness as being a worthwhile book.  :) I've seen fewer that were worse. Was it written for twelve-year olds or what? I really don't understand why Alva Noe would make any positive assertions about it at all. - KSchutte 19:17, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't know why Alva Noe should say anything about such crap. But, on the other hand, there is a fairly substantial group of highly respected philosophers (usually in that rather antiquated and demented sub-field called philosophy of religion) who openly advocate Intelligent Design in the US. Not THAT's scary. Not even the wacky postmodernists who dominate over here go that far.
Her latest book, Consciousness: An Introduction (2004), is a textbook that broadly covers the field of consciousness studies. In it she covers a wide variety of topics such as the mind-body problem, the hard problem of consciousness, philosophy of mind, God's existence, Cognitive neuropsychology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, evolution, intelligent design, parapsychology, altered states of consciousness, phenomenology, Buddhism, and meditation.

Yes, well, that's all I need to read right there. I try to stay away from such "books" as much as possible. Not enough time in fifty lifetimes to really understand just one of the infinite subtopics of the subtopics of even ONE of these topics. Except parapsychology, perhaps. Nothing to it. I'm still waiting for someone to take up James Randi's $1 million challenge. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 09:38, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Biology and Philosophy

The concept of a question can induce the reform of neutrality, but conflict does induce prowess. I understand this. I will, however, argue the correlation of neutrality to philosophy, and argue the prerequisition of any theories I have "tried" to express. My additions have no new scientific data which needs to be reference - but only correlations between logic and language.

"Philosophy is the discipline concerned with the questions of how one should live (ethics); what sorts of things exist and what are their essential natures (metaphysics); what counts as genuine knowledge (epistemology); and what are the correct PRINCIPLES of reasoning (logic).[1]"

Perhaps you think science doesn't belong in philosophy; I understand this, however, a principle is a concept/thought/neurotransmitter. The correct principals of reasoning and logic are science. To form an abstraction around a perceived perogative such as "honoring" the principals and mysticsm around philosophy (we must remember Plato was born when foolishness like Gods of Wine and such existed) isn't highly potentiated.

Undermining the meaning of the logical process to which Philosophy is practically based upon isn't a direction I'm ready to let this article be subjected to. Mysticsm or a simple concept of neutrality can undermine what sorts of things exist and what are their essential natures (metaphysics).

"Some theorists adopt the stance that any given philosophy is merely a reflection of the way that a person is socially embedded in a certain culture. To put it in Hegel's terms, "Philosophy is that which grasps its own era in thought."[8]"

This own era of thought is the definitive: the absolute: the thought which thinks itself; the catalyst. I suggest that the concept of a foreground, or "start" of a "the" flowchart in respect to underlying the concept of answering questions (remember conflict induces prowess, and evolution is a fact of this, and therefore humans and animals have a strong relation to questions and answers) with an answer/logic/science, is far more objective +(Wiki+rules=neutral) than subjective +(Wiki-rules=bias), because I am using inductive reasoning - which is a strong prerequisition of objectivity. See for yourself: General Applications/Objectivism.[4]

Unbias doesn't neccessarily mean unlogical. Is that not the goal of a philosophys' logical principal/thought/concept/aminoacids: to provide clarity/reason?

"The mind-body problem concerns the explanation of the relationship, if any, that obtains between minds, or mental processes, and bodily states or processes.[1] One of the aims of philosophers who work in this area is to explain how a supposedly non-material mind can influence a material body and vice-versa."

It's not a non-material mind, but electrochemical stimuli that correlates with Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factors in respect to evolution over very small, or very large sequences of time. This process, or the mind-body problem, can be explained through science. The nature of this article is in strong regard to philosophy, but doesn't the scientific method correlate with philosophy? Isn't rational logical thought fit to encompass all of life/science? --User:InternetHero 14:16, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, and grass is green in China, too. So what? I agree with part of what you say, I'm what they call a "physicalist". I don't belive that you have quite identified the neural correlate of consciouscess though, and even if you did you still would not have explained why such correlation od neural phenonema with a cerafully restritcted notion of consciouness as awarness gives rise to "qualitative experiences" by any stretch of the imagination. In any case, neither your opions and not mine belong in an the article. Please read WP:NPOV, [WP:Verifiability]], and so on ver, very carefully. You should be ably to see why your edits to POM are inappapropate. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 09:29, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

[still would not have explained why such correlation of neural phenonema with a carefully restritcted notion of consciouness as awarness gives rise to "qualitative experiences"]

Simple. Variety of things. For instance, zinc ions have been proven to improve mathematical ability. Woman on the other hand, have much less concentrations through their BDNF. Synaptic plasticity is another variable. Cell potential. Action potential threashold. etc.,

But thats fine, keep reverting, it just gives me more strength to rid the Tyrant of this article which is you - greedily hoarding his/her connection to the article by preventing other people adding to it.

Again: The nature of this article is in strong regard to philosophy, but doesn't the scientific method correlate with philosophy? Isn't rational logical thought fit to encompass all of life/science? --User:InternetHero 14:16, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Please stop talking cluttering my user page with meanignless pseudoscientific gobbledygook and stuff that is irrelevant to the article. You're edits violate WP:OR. Period. Get it through your head.
I will revert until you leave the article (and my talk page) alone. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 08:28, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

In response to your comment: "The only reasons for your arguements are Wiki rules and the fact that I reverted to your tactics. My strategy is logic and has been from the start. You have yet to refute my edits on both your and Lactosias's talk pages." If your logic is so secure, it shouldn't be hard for you to cite reliable sources to back it up, or get an article published in a peer-reviewed journal, for example. On Wikipedia, we need reliable sources. If you want to show off the soundness of your logic, go to a message board. — BRIAN0918 • 2007-03-28 00:37Z

You're probably right. I had no right to edit. My arguements aren't even good, they're just worded confusingly. My only purpose was to underline the importance of biology in philosophy. I'm sorry. I'll get started on that article now. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by InternetHero (talkcontribs).

The sentence "I had no right to edit" is incorrect. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that anyone can edit. What we expect is that the edits improve it as an encyclopedia. Attributable content that is not original research and a neutral point of view is what we look for. In theory, even a featured article (like this one) can always be improved. In practice, featured articles are far better than the average article, so improvements are harder than average. GRBerry 12:26, 29 March 2007 (UTC)


I came because a notice was posted at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents, alleging that a WP:3RR violation had occurred here. (Incidentally, the correct place for such notices is WP:AN3RR.) Looking at the history, a technical 3RR violation has not occurred. However, it is clear that one user is repeatedly inserting the same material, and not really participating in two way conversation on this talk page. So this sentence in WP:3RR applies: "Editors may still be blocked even if they have not made more than three edits in any given 24 hour period, if their behavior is clearly disruptive." I'm going to leave a clear warning on the talk page of the named user that has been adding the disputed paragraph. I assume the IPs are the same person, but since they change there is little point in warning them also, so I also leave a warning here.

Wikipedia:Attribution is a core content policy on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, so relies on previously published reliable sources for all of its content. The ability to cite sources for all proposed content is more important than either logic or getting it right. The disputed paragraph is being added without any sources cited, so the correct answer about whether or not to include it on Wikipedia is obivious - without sources, it does not belong in the article. Repeatedly adding the same material without trying to address this fundamental flaw with it is disruptive. GRBerry 16:41, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for stepping in here. I haven't had much time to deal with this person and am not an admin. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 17:44, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

"Nine out of Ten Philosophers Agree"

The article intro states:

Most modern philosophers of mind adopt either a reductive or non-reductive physicalist position, maintaining in their different ways that the mind is not something separate from the body.[10]

And again:

Today, the most common forms of monism in Western philosophy are physicalist.[10] Physicalistic monism asserts that the only existing substance is physical, in some sense of that term to be clarified by our best science.[31] However, a variety of formulations are possible (see below). Another form of monism, idealism, states that the only existing substance is mental. It is uncommon in contemporary Western Philosophy.[10]

Is an encyclopedia article the appropriate place to give a sense of the current most accepted view among experts (Western theorists specifically) in the introduction to an article devoted to an overview of different non-empirical theories, in a contested field of study?

Specificially when the view "preferred" by the article, i.e. physicalism, to which the inexperienced student (of, say monism) is repeatedly referred, excludes the possibility of other mind-body theories' existence?

(This article being the "home page" for definitions of those alternate theories of mind which "most people don't share" so to speak)

Please note that the same citation is given for these statements, a general overview of the subject matter which is also generally cited for other purposes, in passim:

[10] # ^ a b c d e f Kim, J., "Mind-Body Problem", Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Ted Honderich (ed.). Oxford:Oxford University Press. 1995.

To understand why the "predominant thinking" claim could be construed as a sweeping dismissal (argumentum ad popularum) of alternative theories, many of which find their definitions or links to their definitions within this important overview article (which is the main reason this is really relevant, in a stub article it would not be), here's the definition cited for physicalism:

Physicalism is the metaphysical position asserting that everything which exists has a physical property; that is, that there are no kinds of things other than physical things. In contemporary philosophy physicalism is most frequently associated with philosophy of mind, in particular the mind/body problem, in which it holds that the mind is a physical thing in some sense. Physicalism is also called "materialism", but the term "physicalism" is preferable because it has evolved with the physical sciences to incorporate far more sophisticated notions of physicality...

In general, perhaps we should not use "most current experts believe" or "most current experts agree" in an encyclopedia article about non-empirical subjects, most notably into the introduction of an article describing a variety of such concepts; particularly when an article provides widely-read definitions of the entire subject matter or field, including alternative concepts which, it is claimed, "most current experts" dismiss entirely.

Why not, when it is indeed a verifable fact? Give me break now. Pleas don't get me started now.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 09:22, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

This introduces a specific viewpoint -- eliminativism, as defined in the article itself -- into the intro text of the article, by implying that physicalism, a very specific doctrine that eliminates or rules out certain other approaches from discussion, is preferred over alternate explanations of the issue by experts in the field. It would be equally inappropriate for the introduction to an article on Physicalism to include in its introduction "Most modern philosophers of mind adopt this philosophy."

Eliminativism is a marginal subset of physcialism and is given fairly marginal space in the article.. It is not once mentioned in the introduction. I don't know what you're takking about here, son.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 08:41, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

For a counter-example, it would be inappropriate for the introduction to an article on Jesus Christ to include in its introduction "The most common theories on Jesus Christ at present are that he existed and that he either died on the cross or reappeared for a short time afterwards. However, other theories on the subject are possible."

There are alternate, valid approaches to introducing this sort of information into an encyclopedia article which do not presuppose the validity of the subject matter, which include:

historical influence on the field, and

predominance of empirical data supporting the claim

  • When a theory or claim is subordinate to empirical evidence, it is possible to cite empirical research or evidence, and this is to be preferred (instead of citing "the predominant school of thought is...") even or especially when the subject matter is an empirically verifiable theory.
  • For an example of a historical reference, which may be appropriate, elsewhere in the article it's stated:

Behaviorism dominated philosophy of mind for much of the 20th century, especially the first half.[10]

This is a proper use of terminology because it is a historical claim which can be backed up by citations from historians, historians of science, or historians of philosophy. It does not presuppose validity of current thinking or lack thereof...

  • Finally, there is the empirical argument to be made about the statement itself: Historically speaking, at the present time there are at least a billion Buddhists, many of whom are non-physicalist monists, thereby disproving the argumentum ad popularum unless it is arbitrarily restricted only to what most "Western" philosophers think.

There is no argumenten ad populam. At worst, there is an implicit argumentam ad verucundiam. (look it up). But there is, in fact, no argument at all. Perhaps there is a bit of Western slant, at worst. But that's about it.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 08:41, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I edited this to de-harshen my tone a bit, since the original author is clearly getting hit from both sides here.

Note that I'm not implying that "non-Western modes of thought" exist or require separate mention or some such.

Also note that I would not advocate the turnabout situation either; i.e. if an article said "most theories of mind are religious in origin, but other possibilities exist" that would introduce a similar argumentum ad popularum, which might be appropriate as a general statement in a journal article that was stating a position shared by the author, but not in a review of the literature.

Brian Robinson 20:54, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

  • By the way, I just wanted to add that the rest of the article is exceptionally well written, thanks to the author.

I would suggest rewording the two quotes mentioned at the beginning of this talk section to be "popularity" neutral. I'm disturbed when I find "popularity among current theorists" argued in respect to contested theories in textbooks, too, even when I agree with the most popular theories cited.

I'm not yet an expert in the field and I'm not logged in, so I don't feel comfortable editing it myself without permission of the author, but my suggested edits would be:

For the first quote mentioned at the top of this section, I suggest:

Many contemporary philosophers of mind adopt either a reductive or non-reductive physicalist position, maintaining in their different ways that the mind is not something separate from the body.[10] These approaches have been particularly influential in the sciences, particularly in the fields of evolutionary sociobiology and cognitive neuroscience.(citation needed) Other philosophers, however, adopt a non-physicalist position which challenges the notion that the mind is a purely physical construct.

Yes, that's fine. I, personally, have no problem with this for example. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 08:50, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

And the second quote mentioned at the top of this section:

The form of monism most widely familiar in Western philosophy is physicalist.[10] Physicalistic monism asserts that the only existing substance is physical, in some sense of that term to be clarified by our best science.[31] However, a variety of formulations are possible (see below). Another form of monism, idealism, states that the only existing substance is mental. It is uncommon in contemporary Western Philosophy.[10] Other forms of monism exist, which presuppose that the mental supervenes on the physical (that which can be empirically determined) or vice versa. Variants of this type of monism include arguments that, as the limits of obtainable information are approached, a strict physicalist understanding and a strict idealist understanding supervene on each other. Lastly, there are advocates of monism who believe that the mental and the physical are both part of a larger whole, which is generally considered to be not directly percievable and hence not equivalent to the physical world. This last version of monism is generally associated with Eastern religions and philosophies, including Buddhism, but also Transcendentalism and mystic religious belief in general.

Way too verbose and lacks sources, but something along these lines can be incorporated easily enough.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 08:50, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
You know, I don't understand what THE HELL to make of this mess. Comments are interpersesed within other comments;there are missing sigs, blockquotes which may or may not be from this article. Bold-faced declarations stating that the author is being hit from both sides. WTH is that??
Folks, I was the main author on this. The the only thing possibly useful that I can draw from this weird discussion is the observation that "since Wikipedia is, or is supposed to be, international in scope..etc.. therefore it shouldn't say in the intro that pshyialsicic monism is the dominant view in the world wrt to the mind-body problem. This is fair enough. It can be revised easily enough. Although I don't have a scource to back the first part of this up, I would revise along the following lines: "Dualism is the dominant view regarding the mind/body problem in the modern world as a whole. In Western philosophy and science, some versions of reductive or non.erduction phsycialistic monism are most common in the literature, while in various other cultures.....

I think (something along these lines) should be more than satisfatory to take care of these concerns about Western scientific or scientisitic bias, while making it clear that, in the West, it really is that way. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 08:34, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Emergent Dualism - William Hasker

William Hasker, a philosopher of the mind, has developed a theory called emergent dualism in his book The Emergent Self. It has significant advantages over Cartesian dualism, reductive materialism, and idealism. It's also a theory to which I subscribe, which is one reason in particular that I'd like to see its addition to Wikipedia. It could be said to be a sister to property dualism, which states that properties emerge from complex physical arrangements. However, unlike property dualism, it accounts for the unity-of-consciousness, which one might call a soul. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:08, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

What is Philosophy of mind?

Hi, this is an exellent article, but I get the impression that the Philosophy of mind is all about the mind-body problem. Now I just found that there are a lot of books about the Philosophy of mind:

  • 2007, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, Keith Maslin, 352 pp.
  • 2006, Philosophy of Mind A-Z, Marina Rakova, 207 pp.
  • 2005, Philosophy of Mind, George Ladd, 428 pp.
  • 2005, Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind, David Woodruff Smith, Amie Lynn Thomasson, 336 pp.
  • 2004, Philosophy of Mind, Jaegwon Kim, 312 pp.
  • 2005, A Brief Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, Neil Campbell, 213 pp.
  • 2004, Philosophy of Mind, door Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, 132 pp.
  • 2004, Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction, John Heil, 262 pp.
  • 2003, Philosophy of Mind: Contemporary Readings, Timothy O'Connor, David Robb en John Heil, 592 pp.
  • 2003, Mind, Reason and Imagination: Selected Essays in Philosophy of Mind and Language, Jane Heal, 316 pp.
  • 2003, Philosophy of Mind, Ernest Sosa & Enrique Villanueva, 400 pp.
  • 2002, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, E. J. Lowe, 332 pp.
  • 2002, Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, David J. Chalmers, 688 pp.
  • 2001, Holism in Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Physics, Michael Esfeld, 366 pp.
  • 2001, Philosophy of mind, Maurice Schouten.
  • 2000, What Is a Mind?: An Integrative Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, Suzanne Cunningham, 274 pp.
  • 2000, Mind's Landscape: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, Samuel D. Guttenplan, 358 pp

I wonder if all those books only focuss on the mind-body problem. Isn't there something more going on in this field? - Mdd (talk) 00:22, 27 November 2007 (UTC)


References 32-73 seem to be missing. Anyone know that happened with that? Enigma00 (talk) 05:04, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Fixed. - Mdd (talk) 19:55, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Dualism's "main argument"

I take issue with this passage:

"The main argument in favor of dualism is that it seems to appeal to the common-sense intuition of the vast majority of non-philosophically-trained people. If asked what the mind is, the average person will usually respond by identifying it with their self, their personality, their soul, or some other such entity. They will almost certainly deny that the mind simply is the brain, or vice-versa, finding the idea that there is just one ontological entity at play to be too mechanistic, or simply unintelligible.[8] The majority of modern philosophers of mind think that these intuitions, like many others, are probably misleading and that we should use our critical faculties, along with empirical evidence from the sciences, to examine these assumptions and determine if there is any real basis to them."

I don't think any of those philosophers would call this argument dualism's "main argument". I think it conflicts NPOV because it gives the reader a sense that this lame excuse for an argument is the best most dualists can muster. Perhaps it would be more appropriate it call it the "most popular position" or something to that effect. -- The Fwanksta (talk) 00:32, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Maybe "crucial argument" or "central argument" -- Mdd (talk) 00:39, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Apologies, but I'm not a fan of those. "Crucial" makes it seem as if it's actually important (which any philosopher worth his or her salt would vehemently disagree with), and "central" has much the same effect as "main". Sorry if I'm not being clear. The Fwanksta (talk) 03:22, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I've just decided to go ahead and do it. Apologies for the delay. -- The Fwanksta (talk) 02:26, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Partiality and laconism in dualism section

I beg your pardon for my english's skill, I'm a french speaking student. I find the section about dualism frankly partial. Expressions like "The main argument in favor of dualism is that it seems to appeal to the common-sense", "Descartes's argument crucially depends on the premise that what Seth believes to be "clear and distinct" ideas in his mind are necessarily true. Many contemporary philosophers doubt this." After a reading it seems that dualism is out of date. Thought it is not the main position now, dualism is not an unlogical statement, and, as far as I know the subject, is not impossible at all to reconciliate with science. There is a whole paragraph about opposants to the "Descartes's argument", but not a line on the position of Karl Popper. By the way the article doesn't mention even one time the name and the position of Bergson, which wrote a whole book on the subject (Matter and memory), where he tried to reconciliate the reality of the mind and the reality of the matter. This philosopher is too important to be ignored in a encyclopedy talking about this subject. Unfortunately, in regard to my english's skill, to write something in english on his complex philosophy. But up to that moment, this laconism is huge for a "featured article". J.S. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:07, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Physicalism ISN'T the most dominant viewpoint.

This article inaccurately portrays physicalism as being a dominant viewpoint in modern philosophy of the mind. Physicalism is rarely adopted by members of any religion. Considering the fact that most people in the world are religious, dualism and idealism are far more common than physicalism. Here are some of the statements that should be corrected:

The most common monisms in the 20th and 21st centuries have all been variations of physicalism; these positions include behaviorism, the type identity theory, anomalous monism and functionalism.

Today, the most common forms of monism in Western philosophy are physicalist

Behaviorism dominated philosophy of mind for much of the 20th century, especially the first half.

If by "self" or "I" one refers to an essential, immutable nucleus of the person, most modern philosophers of mind will affirm that no such thing exists.

If by "self" or "I" one refers to an essential, immutable nucleus of the person, most modern philosophers of mind will affirm that no such thing exists. The idea of a self as an immutable essential nucleus derives from the idea of an immaterial soul. Such an idea is unacceptable to most contemporary philosophers, due to their physicalistic orientations, and due to a general acceptance among philosophers of the scepticism of the concept of 'self' by David Hume, who could never catch himself doing, thinking or feeling anything.

lead section

I have noticed that the lead section has been somewhat altered, and I suspect that some, possibly most, of these changes were of a destructive nature, i.e. vandalism (talk) 16:45, 4 June 2008 (UTC)


"Thus, for example, the idea that Herodotus was a historian refers to Herodotus and to the fact that he was an historian. If the fact is true, then the idea is true; otherwise, it is false. But where does this relation come from? In the brain, there are only electrochemical processes and these seem not to have anything to do with Herodotus.[20]"

What an odd question! One can also write down on paper that Herodius was a historian. Put, paper is only wood fibres and ink - how can wood fibres and ink have anything to do with Herodius?

For that matter, I can build you a machine, made out of lego, that will compute the next eclipse of the moon (although it might take a while) . What does a pile of lego have to do with the moon?

Paul Murray (talk) 02:46, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

I appreciate that someone has done a good job on this article on the whole, but the paragraph on Intentionality is strange. It doesn't really summarize how the concept has been defined and it is unclear in establishing a relation to the main topic. The concept of intentionality isn't essentially about whether "mental ideas or judgments are true or false", or whether they are "natural processes". I think the paragraph should be rewritten, but unfortunately I am no expert on the subject so this is just a humble opinion aiming to be constructive. Does anyone agree? Untitled 2008 (talk) 12:20, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Proposed Change in Duality section

Our perceptual experiences depend on stimuli which arrive at our various sensory organs from the external world and these stimuli cause changes in our mental states, ultimately causing us to feel a sensation, which may be pleasant or unpleasant

I think this is a little bit of a leading assumption. Could it not be that our feeling of a sensation is only and exactly the change in the mental state? There seems to be an assumed causality and thus an implied duality between sensation and mental state.

I would propose it to be changed to "...and these stimuli cause changes in our mental states, and cause us to feel a sensation,..." Or something along those lines.

--DerwinUMD (talk) 23:13, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

How about "...and these stimuli cause changes in our mental states that corelate with the sensations we feel...."??

Brent_Allsop (talk) 04:30, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Scientific Worldview

The notion of mind (or spirit for that matter) should be reflected in our rational view of the universe, in particular through the concept of a non-physical dimension.
If we take the word 'dimension' to mean a fundamental aspect of our reality, where a minimum set of dimensions can fully envelope (or provide a framework) for describing our reality, then I would say that the universe has five dimensions. These are 4-d spacetime currently accepted in the mainstream scientific view, plus a fifth dimension - a non-physical dimension of mind or spirit.
The fifth spiritual dimension does not influence the mechanics of the physical universe, however it encapsulates things such as perceptions, emotions, and a sense of right or wrong (just to name a few examples). People with a purely physical view of the universe would say that mind (or spirit) is comprised of the purely physical, ie. just chemical and electrical signals in the brain. People with a bit more imagination might agree that thoughts and feelings, perceptions, memories, dreams, expectations, love for family and friends, concepts of ownership, concepts of tribe or nation, concepts of right and wrong - are more than just chemical and electrical signals in the brain.
In other words, if we want a rational scientific view that can encapsulate all aspects of our reality, it needs to include the non-physical (mind/spirit). This theory need not be falsifiable, because at its very roots scientific understanding rests on assumptions based on common sense. String Theory (from theoretical physics) suggests there may be 10 or 11 or so higher dimensions. But if these are just more physical/spatial dimensions at a sub-atomic scale, then wouldn't they be redundant? (ie. overlapping with 4-d spacetime.)Crazygrandpa (talk) 11:35, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Why are you writing this on this talk page? Looie496 (talk) 16:27, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Consciousness Theory

There are emerging theories of consciousness, experience, and emotion that you may want to consider as you compile your reference material. What makes these theories unique is thier ability to span across science and philosophy. There is theory on how the brain processes consciousness which is based on "activity" rather than attempting to explain everything through structural elements. The "Mind and Thought Series" provides several books based on Consciousness Theory. You can find more information on the website, [], for your consideration. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bishopclinics (talkcontribs) 14:16, 4 November 2008 (UTC)


I am not an expert on the topic, but I am knowledgeble enough to be disturbed by the sections on Qualia and Intentionality. For instance, the first three sentences of the section on qualia are presented as fact, but are clearly the opinion of the author. These opinions are not shared by all experts in the field. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:32, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Lack of Eastern Philosophy

I added the globalize tag (accidentally under the IP because of the minimal inclusion of Eastern philosophy of the mind. Hindu concepts are mentioned passingly in a single paragraph and in the introduction, and Buddhism and Buddhist concepts aren't mentioned at all. I'm no expert on Eastern philosophies, but I'd bet that plenty has dealt with the mind and very little is mentioned here.Tyharvey313 (talk) 09:36, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Proposed link to open survey topic on philosophies of mind

Listing of various camps of philosophy, from monism to dualism is useful, but some of these philosophies or theories of mind are much better and well accepted than others. seeks to enable collaborative development of concise statements of leading theories and to survey who is in what camp. This results in a rigorous quantitative and dynamic measures of scientific consensus for each theory as the field progresses.

An example quality theory would be the consciousness is real and representational camp showing a significant early lead in the amount of consensus it has compared to all other theories so far. The members of that camp believe no other theory will be able to ever match their early lead, and that ultimately the demonstrable scientific proof will convert everyone else into this camp revealing it be THE ONE true theory. Of course until we have scientific proof one way or another, many will disagree. seeks to rigorously measure this discovery process, for all theories, as the field progresses towards what some argue will be THE greatest scientific discovery of all time.

Such quantitative measures of scientific consensus for concisely stated theories is critical for such things as enabling ‘nuts and bolts’ neural researchers to know which theories are worth consideration amongst all the junk theories listed here and the many more contained in the 18000 plus publications in Chalmers MindPapers bibliography. Right now, for obvious reasons, most people tend to just mostly ignore the entire mess of a field. In many conferences and forums on the mind, you can't even bring up qualia, or anything like it – something that is obviously slowing down progress.

Proposed External link Addition:

(Preceding statement was written by Brent_Allsop, who forgot to sign it.)

I have some difficulty figuring out what is going on at that site, but it seems to be essentially equivalent to a blog site, which would make it an improper link. I can't see how voting by unidentified people would give an assurance of reliability -- it would be even worse than using Wikipedia as a reference for a Wikipedia article. Looie496 (talk) 05:55, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for adding the signature which I forgot. is radically different than a blog. It is more of a wiki system with ‘camps’ and survey capabilities. Everyone in a certain ‘camp’ representing a particular theory, can work together to develop and concisely state their theory in a wiki way.
The numbers indicate how much ‘consensus’ there is for each concisely stated theory. And these numbers can be calculated in various ways. For example, if you select the PhD canonizer, it shows how much consensus there is amongst PhDs. ‘Scientific Consensus’ can be rigorously and quantitatively measured by determining, quantitatively, how much of an expert someone is via peer ranking topics like this. This isn’t completed yet, but if you look into who is supporting camps already, you get a good idea of their expertise. The rigorous and automatic measures will come shortly, once we get more experts surveyed.
And of course there are some people that are more interested in how much consensus there is amongst Christians and so on, so if that is what you want, you can select the Christian canonizer on the side bar. Of course this system is still new, but already there is some clear scientific consensus appearing about what is the most well accepted theory of consciousness.
Everyone is identified, and must establish a good reputation about what they believe and who they are, before they can have any influence amongst the more important ‘canonization’ algorithms.
Most traditional sources of ‘good’ information filter things on the way in, according to some set of usually hierarchically or ‘ivory tower’ based set of leaders or ‘peers’. flips things around. They let all theories in, and people can then sort and filter (i.e. canonize) things any way they want, to get just what they want out of the system.
Some people believe the correct theory of consciousness already exist in all the blogs and publications listed and referenced in the various bibliographies already linked to here. All that is needed is a rigorous system of measuring scientific consensus, so the good theories can finally be developed in a concise and unified way, with quantitative measures of consensus, so they can stand out from amongst all the voluminous junk noise that is driving everyone away from this field and preventing progress.
Brent_Allsop (talk) 15:16, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
That's a very interesting concept. I have some skepticism that it will hold together, but the possibilities are exciting. Regarding linking, I guess my feeling is that the site ought to achieve some level of independent notability before Wikipedia links to it -- we don't want to be in a position where Wikipedia plays a critical role in making the site notable. If the site has been discussed in other forums, it would be helpful to know about that. In any case, it would be nice to get opinions about this from other editors, too. Looie496 (talk) 17:57, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia has obviously played a big part at increasing the popularity of the Chalmers Bibliographies and anything else it links too. There are several problems with attempting to quantitatively measure scientific consensus, but the grass roots volunteers developing have been working on this a long time, and believe they have resolved all of the tough issues and much more.
Also, people need to know about such survey topics, before they might be interested in ‘taking the survey’ at so that such becomes much more comprehensive and complete. And there are some leading thinkers that have already joined camps, such as Steve Lehar, John Smythies, Joe Edwards, Richard Wilson, Charles Whitehead, Leon Maurer, Robin Faichney, Joseph McCard, and many others. How many peers of this class are required to get a paper published in a respectable journal?
It would definitely be great to also hear about what others think on this issue. Anyone?
Brent_Allsop (talk) 19:18, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
It sounds like everyone is OK with this change, so unless I here otherwise, I'll make this addition as proposed in a bit. Brent_Allsop (talk) 04:30, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Assessment comment

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Philosophy of mind/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

How are you??--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 14:30, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Last edited at 14:30, 31 August 2006 (UTC).

Substituted at 15:34, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Agassi, J. (1997). La Scienza in Divenire. Rome: Armando.