Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Herman Cappelen, Robert Kirk and Iamblichus

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4 ideas

17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 1. Behaviourism
Behaviourism seems a good theory for intentional states, but bad for phenomenal ones [Kirk,R]
     Full Idea: For many kinds of mental states, notably intentional ones such as beliefs and desires, behaviourism is appealing, ..but for sensations and experiences such as pain, it seems grossly implausible.
     From: Robert Kirk (Mind and Body [2003], 5.1)
     A reaction: The theory does indeed make a bit more sense for intentional states, but it still strikes me as nonsense that there is no more to my belief that 'Whales live in the Atlantic' than a disposition to say something. WHY do I say this something?
Behaviourism offers a good alternative to simplistic unitary accounts of mental relationships [Kirk,R]
     Full Idea: There is a temptation to think that 'aboutness', and the 'contents' of thoughts, and the relation of 'reference', are single and unitary relationships, but behaviourism offers an alternative approach.
     From: Robert Kirk (Mind and Body [2003], 5.5)
     A reaction: Personally I wouldn't touch behaviourism with a barge-pole (as it ducks the question of WHY certain behaviour occurs), but a warning against simplistic accounts of intentional states is good. I am sure there cannot be a single neat theory of refererence.
17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 2. Potential Behaviour
In 'holistic' behaviourism we say a mental state is a complex of many dispositions [Kirk,R]
     Full Idea: There is a non-reductive version of behaviourism ( which we can call 'global' or 'holistic') which says there is no more to having mental states than having a complex of certain kinds of behavioural dispositions.
     From: Robert Kirk (Mind and Body [2003], 5.2)
     A reaction: This is designed to meet a standard objection to behaviourism - that there is no straight correlation between what I think and how I behave. The present theory is obviously untestable, because a full 'complex' of human dispositions is never repeated.
17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 4. Behaviourism Critique
The inverted spectrum idea is often regarded as an objection to behaviourism [Kirk,R]
     Full Idea: The inverted spectrum idea is often regarded as an objection to behaviourism.
     From: Robert Kirk (Mind and Body [2003], 4.5)
     A reaction: Thus, my behaviour at traffic lights should be identical, even if I have a lifelong inversion of red and green. A good objection. Note that physicalists can believe in inverted qualia as well a dualists, as long as the brain states are also inverted.