Hi, my name's Dr. Suilin Lavelle and today I'd like to talk you through some of the core issues in philosophy of mind. Unfortunately, we're not going to be able to answer a lot of the questions that we pose, because that's the nature of philosophy. We're looking at questions and we're trying to work out what good questions there are to us. So I need to point out some of the questions that philosophists have asked about the mind and some of the ways which we try to answer those questions. In particular, I want to focus on why philosophers and psychologists often talk about the mind using the metaphor of a computer, why has this sour gripped the imagination? But, first of all, what is it to have in mind? Okay. Well, one philosophical technique that people use when you trying to find out more about a particular property, is that you look at something which definitely doesn't have that property. Here is a tennis ball. What happens to a tennis ball in an average day? Well, if it's my tennis ball it gets thrown about, it gets bounced on the floor and annoys the people in the flat people below me, then I'll take it out in the garden, check it around a bit, leave it on the ground. The dog will come pick it up. Maybe it will get rained on, will get slightly eroded, will get soggy, maybe the rubber will contract and expand a bit and that's it for the tennis ball. Tennis balls don't have a very interesting existence. They get beaten about, things happen to them, but they don't really instigate things happening in the world. The second example is a dog. Now, what kind of day does a dog have? Well, a dog gets up and the first thing it's usually thinking about is food. So dogs think about food. They think about staying warm. They think about finding shelter. They think about belly rubs or trying to find you and get your attention. Sometimes dogs go out into the garden, find a tennis ball, play with that a bit, come back, and have a sleep. That is the day in the life of the average Scottish dog. Now take me. In many ways, I'm like the dog. I woke up this morning and the first thing I thought was, brr it's cold, I don't want to get out of bed. Like the dog, in my life I seek warmth and shelter. The second thing I thought when I woke up was, hm, what's for breakfast? Like the dog, I think a lot about food. So, what I have in common with dogs are certain traits such as wanting food, wanting warmth, wanting shelter. And I'm able to change my environment to bring those things about. Just like the dogs able to go inside if it wants to keep warm, I can go ahead to my flat if I want to keep warm. Tennis ball as well they don't have that same scientific design to keep warm. They just stay weather put. But while I'm very similar to dog in some respects, I'm also quite different. Here's some ways in which my mind is different from the dogs. First of all, I can evaluate my own thoughts. So, maybe I'm thinking about the party I went to last night. And I think, God, I really didn't like that guy. Couldn't really put my finger what it was about him I didn't like. But, I didn't like him, and then I catch myself thinking these thoughts and think hey, Suilin, you're being really prejudiced, why are you thinking this? And then I might think back and think, he has the mannerisms of someone I didn't like very much at school and I shouldn't hold that against him. So, I'm wrong to think that this person isn't very nice. So then I had a thought, I've got a negative reaction to this person. But then I can have a thought about a thought. I can think about why I had that thought and try and evaluate why I have it. And to be honest a lot of human gossip is centered around thinking about our thoughts. It's one of our favourite things to do when we go for coffee with people is I thought this and I thought, why did I think that. The second thing about human minds which is interesting is that we can think about things. So I've just said that we can think about thoughts, but thoughts aren't the only things we can think about. We can make plans for the future. I can think about states of the world that don't actually exist yet. I can think about what time might be like when I'm 60. And whether I'm going to wear purple. I can think about what would like if I owned a five legged, five breathing unicorn? Five legged, five breathing unicorn don't exist as far as I'm aware. But that doesn't preclude me thinking about it. So as humans we're able to think about not only things that are immediate and around us in our environment that we can see, but we can also think about things like five-legged fire-breathing unicorns that don't exist. And this is a very tricky aspect of human thought. It comes to us so naturally that we can think about things. I can think about a five legged, five winged unicorn. I can think about what I want for my lunch later on. I can think about non-actual things or I can thing about things here in the room; like the tennis ball that's on the floor. But what is it that makes thoughts about things? If we're going to give a description of a thought, how are we going to capture that aboutness that this thought is about a tennis ball? That right now I'm thinking about my holiday in Paris? How can we capture that aboutness? That's one of the big questions in philosophy of mind. The other way in which I'm slightly different from the dog Is that I have conscious awareness. Philosophers like to call this the what is like. So there is something it is like when I sit down and I smell my beautiful bacon sandwich for breakfast in the morning. I start salivating. There's a distinctiveness awareness, a distinctive awareness of that smell that I can experience. If you like, there's something that it's like for me to be sitting in a chair and thinking very hard about a particular problem. There's some kind of awareness or experience that accompanies that thought process. So, what it is likeness is the other tricky aspect in philosophy of mind that philosophers of mind are trying to pin down. How do we characterize that what its likeness to have a particular experience. Now, of course I'm not saying that animals don't have experiences, I'm just saying that this is very distinctive part of human thought and that if we want to characterize human thought then this is something that we need to take into account. So any story of how the mind works is going to have to explain why we have this what its likeness. And it's also going to explain how it is that we're able to think about things. Think about things that are here in our environment, such as known existent and even think about our own thoughts. So, those are the core issues and contemporary philosophy of mind. Perhaps the most iconic philosopher of mind is a 17th century philosopher Rene Descartes. Now, Descartes was very famous for putting forward a particular view of how the mind worked. Descartes believed that minds had to be made of fundamentally very different stuff from our physical bodies. So he thought that there were two types of substance in the world There is physical stuff, stuff that our bodies are made out of, stuff that trees are made out of, irons, metals, things in the world. But then, there is this fundamentally different substance which is immaterial, could not be studied by science, could not be tracked by any of our best scientific instruments. It was an immaterial substance and that what was our minds were. So Descartes thought that for every human being, there were two bits of stuff, if you like, each human being has a physical form, which is your kind of average compounds of H2O, other chemicals, hormones that make up the human body. And in addition to this, there was this immaterial stuff. This immaterial stuff, and that was the mind. Now, this fused off to known as substance dualism. Dual, because it poses two things, and substance it's posing two different substances. Material substances, which worldly things are made out of, including human bodies Is and immaterial substances which minds are made out of. It's also known as Cartesian dualism. Now, there are some significant problems with Descartes' view, including problems with the argument that he uses to argue for why minds and bodies have to be made out of fundamentally different things. And if you'd like to find more about that particular argument you can look it up in supplementary materials. However, the problem I'd like to draw your attention to is the problem of causation. Now the problem of causation was brought forward to Descartes by Elisabeth of Bohemia. Now she was one of Descrates' pupils in a very bright pupil she was as well. And she wrote to Descartes, asking, if we have this immaterial substance, then how does it affect changes in the physical body? So she says look, in order for physical things to move, they have to be moved by another physical thing. So for a rock to roll down the hill, someone has to push it. Or perhaps you need to have an earthquake if it shakes it but you need some impetus from another physical object to start its journey down the hill. And she says, look, human beings, they're exactly the same. In order for them to move, in order for them to affect changes in the world, there has to be some kind of physical impetus The changes, the physical state of our body. Such that we can move. Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia said look if thoughts are made up the materials substance then that's substance isn't physical. But how can that interact with physical body as to affect change in the world. Because it's a fundamental feature of thoughts that they can cause our bodies to move. If I think I know the answer to a question in a test, I'll put my hand up. What caused me to put my hand up? Well it was my thought. I knew the answer to that particular question. If I want to buy some chocolate, then I'll set off and I'll get my coat and I'll walk out the door and go to the shops. What caused that particular behavior? Well, it was my desire for chocolate. It was my particular thought. So, thoughts, beliefs, and desires can cause particular behaviors. Behaviors happen in physical bodies. Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia wanted to know how on Earth an immaterial substance, which was so fundamentally different From the physical stuff, how this immaterial stuff could cause a physical thing to move. This is known as the problem of a causation and it's a very tricky one for Descartes and for substance dualism.