Can Physicalism Account For Qualia? Essay

3467 words - 14 pages

Can physicalism account for qualia? Physicalist theories of mind presented a new alternative for those who rejected dualism yet could not bring themselves to endorse behaviourism. Proposing that that mental events are physical ones, physicalist theories lack the mystical quality of dualist explanations of mind, and avoid behaviourism's greatest flaw: the complete denial (or glossing over) of inner mental life. Simple introspection seems to make the denial of this inner mental life quite ridiculous - all philosophers are familiar with Descartes' Cogito Ergo Sum (2006). However, as with behaviourism, this inner mental life creates a difficult obstacle for physicalism to surmount. In ...view middle of the document...

756). There are also other possible reasons that the two may be impossible to reconcile - not because physicalism is false, but rather because there is something wrong about our notion of qualia. Before the compatibility of physicalism and qualia can be considered, first we must make sure that we have clear ideas of each concept. There are many forms of physicalism. Physicalist theories all share one thing in common: they all make the claim that there is only one type of "stuff" - the physical - and that the mind is therefore a physical entity. This is usually taken to mean that our mental lives should be describable in physical terms, though it is important to note that this is not logically necessary: it is not a contradiction to hold that our mental lives are physical, yet indescribable (possibly because we lack the linguistic sophistication to do so). However, the ability to describe the mental in terms of the physical is usually held by physicalists, and accordingly many arguments focus on this. The motivation behind this assertion of the describability of the mental in terms of the physical is clear: without it, a physicalist conception of mind would be scientifically useless, a conclusion unpalatable to physicalists - especially given the close ties between physicalism and neuroscience. For the purpose of this paper, we may consider an attack on describability an attack on physicalism in general. The basic expression of physicalism is that of mind-brain identity, which suggests that a mental event is identical with a brain state. For example, being in pain would be identified with the brain being in a certain state, thinking about tennis with another, and so on. This position has evolved into more sophisticated forms in response to various objections. Most notably "token identity" was developed in response to objections about the necessary nature of identification of a mental event "X" with a brain state "Y". Token identity allows that my brain state for pain may be different from another person's (or even my own at another time): it merely states that any given mental event will be identified with a token (particular instance of a) brain state. Functionalism is a type of physicalism which holds that the mind, while still physical, is defined by the causal and functional relations that it consists of, and it only happens that, in the case of humans, these relations are seated in the brain. It is equally possible, under a functionalist understanding of mind, that minds may appear in other physical systems. This view is not incompatible with token identity theory (Fodor, 1981, p.174), and as such functionalism may be considered a more sophisticated expression of this. Qualia are an aspect of conscious experience. The term is closely linked with the idea of a phenomenology: that there is something which it is like to be something. It is like something to be a human, but there is not something which it is like to be a rock. Thus humans have a...

Other Essays On Can Physicalism Account For Qualia?

Essay Instruction Terms

1071 words - 5 pages circumstances. Not to be confused with 'Give an account of' which asks only for a detailed description.analyse Study in depth, identifying, describing, and criticising in detail the main characteristics.argue Put forward a proposition, then illustrate it, discuss its significance, and defend it against possible counter-charges.assess Examine closely, with a view to 'weighing up' a particular situation. Consider in a balanced way the strengths and

Gilgamesh Essay

624 words - 3 pages practical tool for the Babylonians to use and pass down to future generations. There are many factors why the Epic of Gilgamesh became sacred literature.One such reason why Gilgamesh has survived is due to its accurate account of the gods and the beliefs that made them so crucial to these ancient people. A fine example of this is shown in the line, "I am going to that country, O Shamash, I am going; my hands supplicate, so let it be well with my soul

Measure Of Friendship What defining qualities in a person can measure the strength of your friendship with him or her? Loyalty, Humor and Kindness

371 words - 2 pages they measure up to your basic standard of humor.Finally, is the friend really a good person? To measure a friend on this you must judge wether or not they are sincere in their kind actions towards you or others. Is your friend a kind person or just someone who is using you for some cruel purpose? Once again, this must be taken into account.In conclusion, loyalty, humor, and kindness are the three most important qualitites that you can judge a person on to see if they measure up to your personal standards of friendship. These things must be taken into account and factored into the equation. So can you now look at your friends and judge them? How well do they measure up?

Operating System Common On The Internet

1401 words - 6 pages that there must be people to give those limitations. When a user has these privileges, they are called root. On a Linux system, there is one Root account, and systems administrators can log onto this account to maintain the system. If a user is logged onto their account, they can use the Root password to gain Root privileges. If a hacker gained the password for Root, they could do whatever they want to the system. This is why the passwords in the

Differences Between Spearman And Gardner

666 words - 3 pages on one general type of intelligence, G and reaction time. Gardner's theories are essentially the same but broader focusing on multiple intelligences. Point here is that Gardner doesn't believe that one intelligence can be sufficient to determine intelligence. As for overall use of these theories, Spearman's theory has more evidence that it works compared to Gardner's theory. The proof conquers that there is a connection between someone's IQ and

This Is About John Locke's Argument On How We Gain Perceptual Knowledge Of External Bodies

1056 words - 5 pages : simple and complex. Complex ideas are built from simple ideas. All knowledge, therefore, traces back to simple ideas, and simple ideas come exclusively through experience. Furthermore, Locke claims that we can break all of our experiences down into their fundamental parts. If we see a cat, for instance, we can break that sensation down into blackness, softness, shininess, a certain size, a certain shape, etc. Fundamental bits, those that are

Internal Control Paper

1663 words - 7 pages because internal process aims to isolate financial approvals so as to create a separation of duties. The office manager prevents employees accessing checks by properly accounting and filing them in numerical sequence.The account payable department a) reviews invoice, b) codes for proper expense account, c) enters account payable into accounting system are considered as strengths in their internal control system. By closely reviewing all invoices

It Global Sample Test

400 words - 2 pages Sample Test - EC 1. Banks use __________, which are electronic transmissions of account information over private communications networks.a. WANs b. EFTs c. EDIs d. VANs 2. __________ occurs when one business transmits computer-readable data in a standard format to another business.a. VAN b. EFT c. EDI d. WAN 3. In examining a commerce transaction from

The Effect of Technology on the Accounting Profession

399 words - 2 pages entire planning cycle.My company had purchased new accounting software three years ago. Our MIS Dept. had spent over two years to revised it and connected it to our internal website "Applewood". All the employees now can log in the web and perform various type kinds of accounting and business functions. For example: we can perform functions such as, account status inquiry, funds availability inquiry, check request inquiry, invoice inquiry, purchase

What are stakeholders? Why can they influence organisations? Do stakeholders always have the same amount of influence over an organisation? Why or why not?<Tab/>

427 words - 2 pages general public.Stakeholders can influence the organisations because all stakeholders can justifiably expect that the company will attempt to satisfy their particular demands. Besides, stakeholders provide the enterprise with capital and in exchange expect an appropriate return on their investment. Employees provide labor and skills and in exchange expect commensurate income and job satisfaction. Customers want value for money and suppliers seek

Selection: Job Analysis - Telephone Customer Service Representative

739 words - 3 pages Job analysis is a concept used to develop a comprehensive description of a position that includes the job responsibilities and tasks performed, the tools utilized to perform those duties and the job's environment and working conditions. The information gathered can then be used to determine the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to effectively carry out those activities (Dessler, 2005). It is also aids in identifying specific

Similar Papers

Physicalism: What Mary Didn’t Know And Possibly

1167 words - 5 pages conclude physicalism is false.Jackson's continues by displaying that there is nothing in the knowledge argument that objects anything in dualism. For the knowledge argument to object to dualism would require Mary to have learned all of dualism through lectures. Unfortunately, Jackson explains that the latter is impossible, on the basis that for all of dualism to be learned through lectures would require the learning of all of qualia through these

More Of A List Of What Things You Can Do To Become A Millionaire. These Are Things Listed Are Vital To Becoming A Millionaire

365 words - 2 pages Ways to become a millionaire1. Pay yourself first. Put money into your retirement account. If you don't have one, get one. You will be thankful for this account when you retire. You can set this account up with your bank. Pay a certain amount to this account every paycheck. Don't get a paycheck without putting money into this account.2. Buy a house. You don't want to pay rent the rest of your life do you? When you buy your home, pay your

Roth Ira Vs. Traditional Ira Essay

594 words - 3 pages -deferred compounding can enhance the growth potential of your money". However, in most early withdrawals from traditional IRA's there is a 10% penalty from the IRS on top of any income taxes that you may have. On the more positive side, there are some exceptions for an early withdrawal such as, when you are paying for a first home, seeking higher education, paying medical expenses, health insurance, have a disability or if the account owner dies.You

Inventory Management Essay

712 words - 3 pages Business BriefMy existing workforce is made up of 10,000 workers, each having skills valued at $40,000 per year. The plan calls for the laying off 500 employees. My supervisor has tasked me with evaluating the situation to determine length of time required for payroll savings to recover restructuring cost.AnalysisWhen a company conducts a layoff, there is a price to pay in the short run for getting costs. Besides a severance and benefits package