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series introduction
1. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Jaakko Hintikka, Robert Cummings Neville, Ernest Sosa, Alan M. Olson, Stephen Dawson Series Introduction
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volume introduction
2. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Bernard Elevitch Volume Introduction
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articles
3. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Josep E. Corbí, Josep L. Prades Mental Contents, Tracking Counterfactuals, and Implementing Mechanisms
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In the ongoing debate, there are a set of mind-body theories sharing a certain physicalist assumption: whenever a genuine cause produces an effect, the causal efficacy of each of the nonphysical properties that participate in that process is determined by the instantiation of a well-defined set of physical properties. These theories would then insist that a nonphysical property could only be causally efficacious insofar as it is physically implemented. However, in what follows we will argue against the idea that fine-grained mental contents could be physically implemented in the way that functional properties are. Therefore, we will examine the metaphysical conditions under which the implementing mechanism of a particular instance of a functional property may be individuated, and see how genuine beliefs and desires—insofar as they track the world—cannot meet such conditions.
4. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Jesús Ezquerro, Agustín Vicente Explanatory Exclusion, Over-Determination, and the Mind-Body Problem
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Taking into account the difficulties that all attempts at a solution of the problem of causal-explanatory exclusion have experienced, we analyze in this paper the chances that mind-body causation is a case of overdetermination, a line of attack that has scarcely been explored. Our conclusion is that claiming that behaviors are causally overdetermined cannot solve the problem of causal-explanatory exclusion. The reason is the problem of massive coincidence, that can only be avoided by establishing a relation between mind and body; that is, by denying overdetermination. The only way to defend that mind-body causation is a case of overdetermination would be by denying any modal force whatever to the principle of the causal closure of the physical, and this is a claim we would not like to reject.
5. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Sydney Shoemaker Realization and Mental Causation
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A common conception of what it is for one property to “realize” another suggests that it is the realizer property that does the causal work, and that the realized property is epiphenomenal. The same conception underlies George Bealer’s argument that functionalism leads to the absurd conclusion that what we take to be self-ascriptions of a mental state are really self-ascriptions of “first-order” properties that realize that state. This paper argues for a different concept of realization. A property realizes another if its “forward looking” causal features are a subset of those of the property realized. The instantiation of the realizer property will include the instantiation of the property realized; and when the effects produced are due to the causal features of the latter, it is the instantiation of it that is appropriately regarded as their cause. Epiphenomenalism is avoided, and so is Bealer’s absurd conclusion.
6. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Stephen Yablo The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Thinkers
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By effective thinkers I mean not people who think effectively, but people who understand “how it’s done,” i.e., people not paralyzed by the philosophical problem of epiphenomenalism. I argue that mental causes are not preempted by either neural or narrow content states, and that extrinsically individuated mental states are not out of proportion with their putative effects. I give three examples/models of how an extrinsic cause might be more proportional to an effect than the competition.
7. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Henry Jackman Belief, Rationality, and Psychophysical Laws
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Davidson has argued that the connection between belief and the “constitutive ideal of rationality” precludes the possibility of their being any type-type identities between mental and physical events. However, there are radically different ways to understand both the nature and the content of this “constitutive ideal,” and the plausibility of Davidson’s argument depends on blurring the distinction between two of these ways. Indeed, it will be argued here that no consistent understandingthe constitutive ideal will allow it to play the dialectical role Davidson intends for it.
8. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Carlos J. Moya A Proposal About Intentional Action
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In this paper, I want to defend the proposal that one has to be a realist about the existence and causal efficacy of reasons if one wants to have rationally justified actions. On this basis, I will propose to understand intentional action in terms of justification alone, not in terms of justification plus causation. I shall argue that an action is intentional, under a certain description, if, and only if, it is justified, under that description, by the agent’s reasons. The proposal recommends itself as being capable of solving the problem of wayward causal chains and is promising as a way of avoiding epiphenomenalism of mental properties.
9. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Ted Honderich Consciousness as Existence Again
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Perceptual and other consciousness is left out of or is not adequately characterized in naturalist accounts, including eliminative materialism and neural functionalism. We need a radically new start. Phenomenologically, if you are perceptually conscious, then a world—a changing totality of things—must somehow exist. Partly because with consciousness nothing is hidden and all can be reported without inference, perceptual consciousness itself is literally to be understood as things existing spatio-temporally. This account of consciousness as existence does not reduce it to mental worlds and satisfies our conviction of the reality of consciousness—mainly we do not think of it as ethereal or gossamer. The account also explains fundamental subjectivity, as the naturalist accounts cannot, and passes a test having to do with the mind-body problem. It is a near-naturalism. The account can be defended against objections about brains in vats, chairs in minds, and leaving out consciousness.
10. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Ruth Garrett Millikan Naturalizing Intentionality
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“Intentionality,” as introduced to modern philosophy by Brentano, denotes the property that distinguishes the mental from all other things. As such, intentionality has been related to purposiveness. I suggest, however, that there are many kinds of purposes that are not mental nor derived from anything mental, such as the purpose of one’s stomach to digest food or the purpose of one’s protective eye blink reflex to keep out the sand. These purposes help us to understand intentionality in a naturalistic way. The naturalist challenge here is to show, first, that natural purposiveness can explain the intentionality of explicitly represented purposes, hence that it is associated with “aboutness” (as in Brentano’s usage). Second, it needs to show how the same kind of analysis can also be used to naturalize intentionality in cases where facts are represented rather than purposes or ends.