• rickyk95
    53
    I have become increasingly interested in philosophy of mind, consciousness, free will, and so on. But am hesitant to approach the topic from the ungrounded, scientific layman's point of view. What science do I need to learn to study this subject seriously?

    Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, Physics? And how could I go about learning it by myself?
  • I like sushi
    1.1k
    Cognitive Neuroscience.

    It depends how serious you are. I recommend Gazziniga’s books on studies in Cognitive Neuroscience - they’re not for the faint hearted though. Principles of Neuroscience is the standard textbook for the field I believe? Both are HUGE tomes and you’ll never get to read them all the way through, but they are very good references (you can find pdf them online; although probably not the latest editions).
  • Wayfarer
    7.6k
    Philosophy of mind is not a science and the reasons for that are themselves philosophical rather than scientific. Start by googling ‘Bennett and Hacker’.
  • I like sushi
    1.1k
    And have they studied neuroscience are or their criticisms of some stereotypical view of the “neuroscientist” based purely from a position of ignorance? I think not. The simple fact of the matter is if you wish to be taken seriously understanding the physiology is important - any philosophical claims must be shown to either be logically sound and/or require physical evidence.

    The so-called philosophy of mind has been so utterly taken over by advances in neuroscience, that either bolster or dismiss ungrounded philosophical speculation, that a large number of people who’ve committed their careers to such areas have been left flailing in the wake. Without a reasonable appreciation of neuroscience and neurophysiology you’ll have a hard time coming up with anything new or reasonable given that many different positions can be easily dismissed through fact finding.

    I’ve even posted here about the innate optimism that humans have and people simply dismiss this. It is actually a neurological fact not blind speculation - if it eats into people’s preconceived ideas then they do tend to dismiss it not understanding the science behind such discoveries (such biases are part of neuroscience and psychological studies - when it some to theory of mind we’re generally playing in the field of psychology and the grounding of what little we can dismiss based on neurological data acquired.

    Anyone concerned about “mind” is a fool to ignore the information cognitive neuroscience provides in this area.
  • Wayfarer
    7.6k
    And have they studied neuroscienceI like sushi
    Bennett is a neuroscientist, Hacker an academic philosopher. It’s a well-regarded book. Read the Notre Dame review if nothing else.

    https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/philosophical-foundations-of-neuroscience/

    Question: how would Socrates have benefitted from neuroscience (other than if he had had a brain injury or tumor and would have then died for the want of it?)
  • Galuchat
    581


    If you read Bennett and Hacker, you will become familiar with the logical errors which many eminent scientists (e.g., Gazzaniga) have made. Then read as much cognitive science as you can.

    Bennett, Maxwell Richard; Hacker, Peter Michael Stephan. 2003. Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    Complexity Sciences (chaos theory and complex systems) and machine learning are enough to ferret out the important bits of "intelligence".

    But there is a big difference between answering the questions "how do we think?" and "why do we behave the way we do" than answering the question "why do we have a conscious experience of things?". The latter is referred to "the hard problem of consciousness" and it's really not easy to get anywhere in that subject.
  • I like sushi
    1.1k
    Just saying. Know what you’re talking about. The Gazzaniga books I a referring to are a collection of studies done by the leaders in the field - Searle wrote the intro to one section (consciousness I think) and Chalmers in the next edition.
  • Galuchat
    581

    Oh wow! Big names.
    I'll have to rush right out and buy those Gazzaniga books then, not.
  • I like sushi
    1.1k


    What science do I need to learn to study this subject seriously? — rickyk95
  • Galuchat
    581


    Speaking of ignorance: what part of "Bennett is an internationally renowned neuroscientist" don't you understand?
  • StreetlightX
    3.7k
    A reading list in place of specific sciences - because there are so many - too many - relevant ones:

    Alicia Juarrero - Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System
    Scott Kelso - Dynamic Patterns: The Self-Organization of Brain and Behavior
    Andy Clark - Surfing Uncertainty: Prediction, Action, and the Embodied Mind
    Andy Clark - Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again
    Jesse Prinz - Beyond Human Nature: How Culture and Experience Shape the Human Mind
    Donald Merlin - Origins of the Modern Mind: Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition
    Antonio Damasio - Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain
    George Lakoff - Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind
    Evan Thompson - Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy
    Evan Thompson - Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind
    Dan Sperber and Hugo Mercier - The Enigma of Reason
    Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson - Relevance: Communication and Cognition
    L. S. Vygotsky - Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes

    As a note of principle: you can't study the mind if you don't study the body; definitely study the basics (and more) of neuroscience, but if you're not studying evolution, anthropology, and culture alongside that, you'll be doing yourself a disservice.
  • I like sushi
    1.1k
    I didn’t say otherwise. Just because you infer I stated something doesn’t make it true. I’m careful with words most of the time. I was merely pointing out that knowledge of neuroscience is held by one of those people - therefore to hint that it is a matter of philosophy above science is not helpful to the OP’s question.
  • I like sushi
    1.1k
    Damasio’s is a nice book. To dive deeper though I think it best to go beyond pop-science books if the OP is serious about getting into this topic.

    Psychology is also important in relation to the neuroscience and I’d say anthropology is not the most solid source of information (to put it mildly); the exception being Renfrew and looking into Cognitive Archaeology as well as neurogenesis.
  • Wayfarer
    7.6k
    Dan Sperber and Hugo Mercier - The Enigma of ReasonStreetlightX

    Like the sound of that.
  • StreetlightX
    3.7k
    Oh boy, wait till you read up on it - I think you'll hate it, haha. The paper from which the book is drawn:

    http://www.dan.sperber.fr/wp-content/uploads/2011_mercier_why-do-humans-reason.pdf
  • Wayfarer
    7.6k
    I mainly shop here for counterfactuals.

    //oh, and thanks - the abstract save me from the trouble.
  • bert1
    229
    I don't think you need much science. The science is still interesting in its own right of course (not that I'm an expert on it) it's just that I really haven't come across much that is strongly relevant to the philosophy of mind. To put it another way, the science is consistent with pretty much the full range of philosophies of mind, so we can't use science to decide between them. Whatever theory of mind we come up with, it of course has to be consistent with what we empirically know beyond a reasonable doubt. But that is a very low bar.
  • Harry Hindu
    2k
    To put it another way, the science is consistent with pretty much the full range of philosophies of mind, so we can't use science to decide between them. Whatever theory of mind we come up with, it of course has to be consistent with what we empirically know beyond a reasonable doubt. But that is a very low bar.bert1
    Exactly. In other words, philosophy is a science and conclusions from one domain of investigation should be consistent with the conclusions in another. All knowledge must be integrated.

    But there is a big difference between answering the questions "how do we think?" and "why do we behave the way we do" than answering the question "why do we have a conscious experience of things?". The latter is referred to "the hard problem of consciousness" and it's really not easy to get anywhere in that subject.VagabondSpectre
    It's only a hard problem for dualists - not so hard for monists. If the fabric of the mind is the same as the rest of reality (for example, information/meaning is the fabric of reality), then what is the hard problem?

    As for science/philosophy books that I would recommend:

    Steven Pinkers "How The Mind Works" and Douglas Hofstadter's "I Am A Strange Loop"
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k
    Re Bennett and Hacker and their mereological fallacy, they say:

    "it makes no sense to ascribe such psychological attributes to anything less than the animal as a whole. It is the animal that perceives, not parts of its brain, and it is human beings who think and reason, not their brains."

    Does it make sense to ascribe blood-pumping attributes to anything less than the animal as a whole? Respiratory attributes? Bile-producing attributes? Perspiration attributes?

    Why aren't there similar objections to talking about the specific functions of other organs/systems? Why not an appeal to attribute all functions to animals as a whole, as if specific organs/systems have no particular functions? (Is it because they realize that it would be clearly stupid in those regards?)
  • Galuchat
    581
    Why aren't there similar objections to talking about the specific functions of other organs/systems?Terrapin Station

    Where is mind and its components? As always, I'm only interested that you cite credible scientific research in answering this question. You have not provided it in the past, and I doubt that you will be able to provide it now.

    Because of this, I don't think mind exists. But I do think that psychological predicates can be attributed to animals. Given the first assertion, and apart from elaboration, is the latter assertion logical (i.e., does it make sense)?
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k
    . But I do think that psychological predicates can be attributed to animals.Galuchat

    If a psychological predicate can be applied to animals, then we're referring to properties of either some part or the whole of the animal's body, no?
  • Galuchat
    581

    Thanks for proving my point regarding lack of credible scientific evidence.
    No opinion regarding my second question (here)?
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k


    Why aren't you answering my question. Let's do one thing at a time.
  • Galuchat
    581
    No opinion regarding my second question (here)? — Galuchat

    OK, I'll give you a clue: Bennett and Hacker make the same two assertions, but if you want the elaboration, you will have to read their book.

    I assume PMS Hacker is a competent logician and philosopher of mind, but admit that you may regard him as "stupid" per above.
  • Wayfarer
    7.6k
    Does it make sense to ascribe blood-pumping attributes to anything less than the animal as a whole? Respiratory attributes? Bile-producing attributes? Perspiration attributes?Terrapin Station

    I think it does. The strength of reductionism is to reduce (hence the name) complex systems to their component parts and processes to understand how they work together. That is why the scientific study of anatomy and physiology were fundamental to the establishment of modern medicine. But to then assume that the nature of the mind is amenable to the same treatment is a misapplication of that method by trying to extend it to a subject that is of a different order.

    Certainly cognitive science can examine the sense in which different aspects of neuroanatomy interact to perform particular functions, but again, these are what are called in philosophy of mind the relatively easy problems. The hard problems revolve around the nature of subjective experience (a.k.a. ‘Being’) which are again problems of a different order.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k
    I think it doesWayfarer

    If it does, then how would we explain how you can produce bile just as well when you've had a toe removed, or both legs amputated, or both legs and both arms amputated, etc.?
  • Wayfarer
    7.6k
    What do you think 'mereology' is the study of?
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k


    How about trying to answer the question rather than figuring that being ridiculously patronizing will get you anywhere?
  • Wayfarer
    7.6k
    Mereology is the study of the relationship between wholes and parts, which is germane to the topic, as we’re discussing the ‘mereological fallacy’.

    The questions your asking are in the domain of physiology, whereas the mereological fallacy is a philosophical issue. If you can’t see the distinction, then there’s nothing to discuss.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k
    The questions your asking are in the domain of physiology, whereas the mereological fallacy is a philosophical issue. If you can’t see the distinction, then there’s nothing to discuss.Wayfarer

    So there isn't a whole versus parts when we're talking about physiology? Isn't the mereological fallacy a la Bennett & Hacker specifically about physiology--talking about brains versus a whole person?
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