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This paper is a survey of what evidential holism is, how plausible it is, and what consequences it has. Section 1 will distinguish a range of different holistic claims, Sections 2 and 3 explore how well motivated they are and how they relate to one another, and Section 4 returns to the arguments listed above and uses the distinctions from the previous sections to identify holism's role in each case. The indispensability argument is a method for showing that abstract mathematical objects exist.

Various versions of this argument have been proposed. Lately, commentators seem to have agreed that a holistic indispensability argument will not work, and that an explanatory indispensability argument is the best candidate. In this paper I argue that the dominant reasons for rejecting the holistic indispensability argument are mistaken. This is largely due to an overestimation of the consequences tha… Read more The indispensability argument is a method for showing that abstract mathematical objects exist.

Harold Langsam

This is largely due to an overestimation of the consequences that follow from evidential holism. Nevertheless, the holistic indispensability argument should be rejected, but for a different reason —in order that an indispensability argument relying on holism can work, it must invoke an unmotivated version of evidential holism.

Such an argument will be unsound. Correcting the argument with a proper construal of evidential holism means that it can no longer deliver mathematical Platonism as a conclusion: such an argument for Platonism will be invalid. I then show how the reasons for rejecting the holistic indispensability argument importantly constrain what kind of account of explanation will be permissible in explanatory versions. Quine Indispensability Arguments in Mathematics.

Self-Consciousness (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

A survey of arguments and positions concerning the possibility of inductive knowledge, this piece covers: Hume's problem of induction; the underdetermination of theories by evidence; the method of hypothesis; the relationship between underdetermination and evidential holism; attempts to specify how some statements can be said to be evidentially or justificatorily relevant to other claims.

Logic: Bullet Guides Hodder Education. Readers will learn what logic is, use truth tables and truth trees, make sense of complex arguments, and use logic every day. Introductions to Logic Philosophy, Introductions and Anthologies.

Higher Consciousness

Should scientific realists be platonists? Enhanced indispensability arguments claim that Scientific Realists are committed to the existence of mathematical entities due to their reliance on Inference to the best explanation. Our central question concerns this purported parity of reasoning: do people who defend the EIA make an appropriate use of the resources of Scientific Realism to achieve platonism? We argue that just because a variety of different inferential strategies can be employed by Scientific Realists does not mean that ontolo… Read more Enhanced indispensability arguments claim that Scientific Realists are committed to the existence of mathematical entities due to their reliance on Inference to the best explanation.

Dualism, Misc. The Nature of Perceptual Experience, Misc. Qualia Adverbialism and Qualia Theories. Content Internalism and Externalism.

Thoughts have content; for instance, the content of the thought that Plato is a great philosopher is that a certain person, Plato, has a certain property, the property of being a great philosopher. In thinking this thought, I become related in a certain manner to this person, Plato, and to the property of being a great philosopher. In this dissertation, I begin to develop a theory of how such relations come to obtain. In chapter 2, I begin to present my own theory of intentionality, the starting point of which is the familiar idea that experience is a necessary condition for thought.

In motivating this familiar idea, I explain the sense in which experience can be said to have a qualitative character, and I describe those specific aspects of qualitative character that figure in my subsequent account of how we succeed in forming concepts of material objects.

Finally, I end the chapter by presenting the principal challenge for my theory: given that experience is a necessary condition for concept formation, how do we succeed in forming concepts of things other than our experiences? I oppose empiricism by arguing that the content of our concepts derives from two sources: experience, and the syntactic features of our thought.

In chapter 4 I explain how by referring to phenomenal features with two-place rather than one-place predicates, we can form concepts of objects that exist independently of experience.

In chapter 5 I defend naive realism. The account of demonstrative thought I present in chapter 4 presupposes a kind of naive realist theory of perception, and in chapter 5 I defend this theory against such familiar arguments as the argument from hallucination, the causal argument, and the time-gap argument.

Intentionality Kant: Philosophy of Mind, Misc. I think it is important to try to make sense of these thoughts concerning the justificatory role of experiences, for I suspect that we are losing the ability to see why philosophers have traditionally been attracted to such thoughts. Coherentism and reliabilism, perhaps the two most currently popular theories of epistemic justification, appear simply to reject the idea that experiences can justify beliefs. Although there is little consensus as to how the notion of coherence should be explicated, it is generally agreed that experiences are not the sort of thing that can cohere with beliefs.

Experiences may be formed in the course of such processes, but they need not be, and even when they are, they make no contribution to the justification of the beliefs that are formed as the result of those processes. What makes a belief-forming process justification-conferring, according to reliabilism, is simply that it is reliable, not that it gives rise to experiences. So neither coherentism nor reliabilism seems to allow any room for the traditional thought that experiences justify beliefs. Knowledge of Consciousness.

Risks and Wrongs with Jules L. Social and Political Philosophy Ethics.

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History of Western Philosophy 20th Century Philosophy. Philosophy of Mind. Naive and Direct Realism. In this paper, I argue that what underlies internalism about justification is a rationalist conception of justification, not a deontological conception of justification, and I argue for the plausibility of this rationalist conception of justification.

The rationalist conception of justification is the view that a justified belief is a belief that is held in a rational way; since we exercise our rationality through conscious deliberation, the rationalist conception holds that a belief is justifie… Read more In this paper, I argue that what underlies internalism about justification is a rationalist conception of justification, not a deontological conception of justification, and I argue for the plausibility of this rationalist conception of justification.

The rationalist conception of justification is the view that a justified belief is a belief that is held in a rational way; since we exercise our rationality through conscious deliberation, the rationalist conception holds that a belief is justified iff a relevant possible instance of conscious deliberation would endorse the belief. The importance of conscious deliberation stems from its role in guiding us in acquiring true beliefs: whereas the externalist holds that if we wish to acquire true beliefs, we have to begin by assuming that some of our usual methods of belief formation generally provide us with true beliefs, the intemalist holds that if we form beliefs by conscious deliberation, we can be conscious of reasons for thinking that our beliefs are true.


  • The Wonder of Consciousness | The MIT Press.
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Conscious deliberation can make us conscious of reasons because it proceeds via rational intuitions. I argue that despite the fallibility of rational intuition, rational intuitions do enable us to become conscious of reasons for belief. Epistemic Internalism and Externalism Rationality.

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The Wonder of Consciousness: Understanding the Mind through Philosophical Reflection

In this paper, I explain how Kant's views can be reconciled, and I argue that the relevance of transcendental idealism here is that it shows that determinism is known to be true, not in accordance with the familiar correspondence notion of truth, but only in accordance with a weaker notion of truth, Kant's empirical notion of truth, which is a kind of coherence notion of truth. In this paper, I criticize Michael Huemer's phenomenal conservatism, the theory of justification according to which if it seems to S that p, then in the absence of defeaters, S thereby has at least some degree of justification for believing that p.

Specifically, I argue that beliefs and hunches provide counterexamples to phenomenal conservatism.