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Natural Minds : A Bradford Book - Thomas W. Polger

Natural Minds

A Bradford Book

Hardcover Published: 6th February 2004
ISBN: 9780262162210
Number Of Pages: 324
For Ages: 18+ years old

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In Natural Minds Thomas Polger advocates, and defends, the philosophical theory that mind equals brain -- that sensations are brain processes -- and in doing so brings the mind-brain identity theory back into the philosophical debate about consciousness. The version of identity theory that Polger advocates holds that conscious processes, events, states, or properties are type- identical to biological processes, events, states, or properties -- a "tough-minded" account that maintains that minds are necessarily indentical to brains, a position held by few current identity theorists. Polger's approach to what William James called the "great blooming buzzing confusion" of consciousness begins with the idea that we need to know more about brains in order to understand consciousness fully, but recognizes that biology alone cannot provide the entire explanation. Natural Minds takes on issues from philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and metaphysics, moving freely among them in its discussion.Polger begins by answering two major objections to identity theory -- Hilary Putnam's argument from multiple realizability (which discounts identity theory because creatures with brains unlike ours could also have mental states) and Saul Kripke's modal argument against mind-brain identity (based on the apparent contingency of the indentity statement). He then offers a detailed account of functionalism and functional realization, which offer the most serious obstacle to consideration of identity theory. Polger argues that identity theory can itself satisfy the kind of explanatory demands that are often believed to favor functionalism.

The book samples extensively the current gamut of views on the embodiment of consciousness, including a chapter-long rebuttal of some arguments about zombies due to Daniel Dennett. No doubt many of the issues remain unsettled, but this book should give mind-brain identity theory a new lease on life.-Colin Beer, The Quarterly Review of Biology

List of Figuresp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Minds, Brains, and Multiple Realizabilityp. 1
The Illusion of Contingent Identityp. 39
Varieties of Functionalismp. 71
Realization and Generic Functionalismp. 111
Functional Realizationsp. 139
Functional Properties and Mechanistic Explanationsp. 181
Dennett's Challengep. 213
Minds, Brains, and Personsp. 241
Notesp. 247
Referencesp. 271
Indexp. 289
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262162210
ISBN-10: 0262162210
Series: A Bradford Book
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 324
Published: 6th February 2004
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.59