Ideas from 'Elements of Mind' by Tim Crane [2001], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Elements of Mind' by Crane,Tim [OUP 2001,0-19-289297-5]].

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5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 2. Descriptions / c. Theory of definite descriptions
The theory of descriptions supports internalism, since they are thinkable when the object is non-existent
                        Full Idea: The theory of descriptions gives a model of internalist intentionality, in that it describes cases where the thinkability of a belief does not depend on the existence of a specific object.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 4.36)
                        A reaction: So what do externalists say about the theory? Surely a reference to 'water' can't entail the existence of water?
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 5. Supervenience / a. Nature of supervenience
Aesthetic properties of thing supervene on their physical properties
                        Full Idea: It is sometimes said that the aesthetic properties of a thing supervene on its physical properties.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.16)
                        A reaction: A confusing example, as aesthetic properties only exist if there is an observer. Is 'supervenience' just an empty locution which tries to avoid reduction?
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 5. Supervenience / c. Significance of supervenience
Constitution (as in a statue constituted by its marble) is supervenience without identity
                        Full Idea: A statue is constituted by the marble that makes it up. It is plausible to say that constitution is not the same as identity - since identity is symmetrical and identity is not - but nonetheless constitution is a supervenience relation.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.16)
                        A reaction: So what makes it a statue, as opposed to a piece of marble? It may well be an abstraction which only exists relative to observers.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 7. Emergent Properties
The distinction between 'resultant' properties (weight) and 'emergent' properties is a bit vague
                        Full Idea: The distinction between 'resultant' properties like weight, and 'emergent' properties like colour, seems intuitive enough, but on examination it is very hard to make precise.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.18)
                        A reaction: It is no coincidence that the examples are of primary and secondary qualities. If 'the physical entails the mental' then all mental properties are resultant.
If mental properties are emergent they add a new type of causation, and physics is not complete
                        Full Idea: Whatever the causal process is, it remains true that if emergentism is true, the completeness of physics is false; there are some effects which would not have come about if mental things were absent from the world.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.18)
                        A reaction: Emergentism looks to me like an incoherent concept, unless it is another word for dualism.
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 5. Powers and Properties
Properties are causes
                        Full Idea: Properties are causes.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.17)
                        A reaction: We can't detect properties if they lack causal powers. This may be a deep confusion. Properties are what make causal powers possible, but that isn't what properties are?
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / a. Substance
Traditional substance is separate from properties and capable of independent existence
                        Full Idea: The traditional concept of substance says substances bear properties which are distinct from them, and substances are capable of independent existence.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.9)
                        A reaction: Put like that, it sounds ridiculous as a physical theory. It is hard to dislodge substance, though, from a priori human metaphysics.
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / a. Beliefs
Maybe there are two kinds of belief - 'de re' beliefs and 'de dicto' beliefs
                        Full Idea: Some philosophers have claimed that there are two kinds of belief, 'de re' belief and 'de dicto' belief.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 4.35)
                        A reaction: Interesting, though it may only distinguish two objects of belief, not two types. Internalist and externalist views are implied.
Maybe beliefs don't need to be conscious, if you are not conscious of the beliefs guiding your actions
                        Full Idea: The beliefs that are currently guiding your actions do not need to be in your stream of consciousness, which suggests that beliefs do not need to be conscious at all.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 4.31)
                        A reaction: Too bold, I think. Presumably this would eliminate all the other propositional attitudes from consciousness. There would only be qualia left!
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 6. Knowing How
Many cases of knowing how can be expressed in propositional terms (like how to get somewhere)
                        Full Idea: There are plenty of cases of knowing how to do something, where that knowledge can also be expressed - without remainder, as it were - in propositional terms (such as knowing how to get to the Albert Hall).
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 3.28)
                        A reaction: Presumably all knowing how could be expressed propositionally by God.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / d. Secondary qualities
Phenol-thio-urea tastes bitter to three-quarters of people, but to the rest it is tasteless, so which is it?
                        Full Idea: Phenol-thio-urea tastes bitter to three-quarters of people, but to the rest it is tasteless. Is it really bitter, or really tasteless?
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 5.44)
                        A reaction: A nice reinforcement of a classic Greek question. Good support for the primary/secondary distinction. Common sense, really.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 4. Sense Data / a. Sense-data theory
One can taste that the wine is sour, and one can also taste the sourness of the wine
                        Full Idea: One can taste that the wine is sour, and one can also taste the sourness of the wine.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 5.42)
                        A reaction: ůso sense data are optional? We create sense data by objectifying them, but animals just taste the wine, and are direct realists. Tasting the sourness seems to be a case of abstraction.
The traditional supports for the sense datum theory were seeing double and specks before one's eyes
                        Full Idea: The traditional examples used to support the sense datum theory were seeing double and specks before one's eyes.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 5.43)
                        A reaction: Presumably, though, direct realists can move one eye, or having something wrong with a retina.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 4. Sense Data / d. Sense-data problems
If we smell something we are aware of the smell separately, but we don't perceive a 'look' when we see
                        Full Idea: Visual perception seems to differ from some of the other senses; when we become aware of burning toast, we become aware of the smell, ...but we don't see a garden by seeing a 'look' of the garden.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 5.40)
                        A reaction: Interesting. Do blind people transfer this more direct perception to a different sense (e.g. the one they rely on most)?
The problems of perception disappear if it is a relation to an intentional state, not to an object or sense datum
                        Full Idea: The solution to the problem of perception is to deny that it is related to real objects (things or sense-data); rather, perception is an intentional state (with a subject, mode and content), a relation to the intentional content.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 5.42)
                        A reaction: Not clear. This definition makes it sound like a propositional attitude.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 6. Inference in Perception
If perception is much richer than our powers of description, this suggests that it is non-conceptual
                        Full Idea: The richness in information of perceptual experience outruns our modes of description of it, which has led some philosophers to claim that the content of perceptual experience is non-conceptual.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 5.45)
                        A reaction: It certainly implies that it can't be entirely conceptual, but it still may be that in humans concepts are always involved. Not when I'm waking up in the morning, though.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 8. Adverbial Theory
The adverbial theory of perceptions says it is the experiences which have properties, not the objects
                        Full Idea: The Adverbial Theory of perception holds that the predicates which other theories take as picking out the properties of objects are really adverbs of the perceptual verb; ..instead of strange objects, we just have properties of experiences.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 5.42)
                        A reaction: Promising. It fits secondary qualities all right, but what about primary? I 'see bluely', but can I 'see squarely'?
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 1. External Justification
Is knowledge just a state of mind, or does it also involve the existence of external things?
                        Full Idea: It is controversial whether knowledge is a state of mind, or a composite state involving a thought about something, plus its existence.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 1.5)
                        A reaction: Pinpoints the internalism/externalism problem. Knowledge is a special type of belief (but maybe belief with external links!). Tricky. I vote for internalism.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / e. Cause of consciousness
The core of the consciousness problem is the case of Mary, zombies, and the Hard Question
                        Full Idea: The three arguments that have been used to articulate the problem of consciousness are the knowledge argument ('Mary'), the possibility of 'zombies' (creatures like us but lacking phenomenal consciousness), and the explanatory gap (the Hard Question).
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 3.26)
                        A reaction: All of these push towards the implausible claim that there could never be a physical explanation of why we experience things. Zombies are impossible, in my opinion.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 4. Intentionality / a. Nature of intentionality
Intentionalism does not require that all mental states be propositional attitudes
                        Full Idea: Intentionalism (the doctrine that all mental states are intentional) need not be the thesis that all mental states are propositional attitudes.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 3.22)
                        A reaction: This points to the requirement for an intentionalist to prove that so-called 'qualia' states are essentially intentional, which is not implausible.
Object-directed attitudes like love are just as significant as propositional attitudes
                        Full Idea: Love, hate, and the other object-directed attitudes have as much of a role in explaining behaviour as the propositional attitudes.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 4.34)
                        A reaction: A good clarification of the range of intentional states. Objects seem to be external, where propositions are clearly internal.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 5. Qualia / a. Nature of qualia
If someone removes their glasses the content of experience remains, but the quality changes
                        Full Idea: There is a phenomenal difference between a short-sighted person wearing glasses and not; they do not judge that the world is different, but the properties of the experience (the qualia) have changed.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 5.43)
                        A reaction: Could be challenged. If a notice becomes unreadable, that is more than the qualia changing.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 5. Qualia / b. Qualia and intentionality
Pains have a region of the body as their intentional content, not some pain object
                        Full Idea: The intentional object of a pain-state is a part or region of the body, not a pain-object.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 3.24)
                        A reaction: Plausible. Has anyone ever suffered from pain without some sense of what part of the body is actually in pain?
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 5. Qualia / c. Explaining qualia
Weak intentionalism says qualia are extra properties; strong intentionalism says they are intentional
                        Full Idea: Weak intentionalism says all mental states are intentional, but qualia are higher-order properties of these states. ..Strong intentionalists say the phenomenal character of a sensation consists purely in that state's intentionality.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 3.25)
                        A reaction: The weak version sounds better. Asking 'how could a thought have a quality of experience just by being about something?' is a restatement of the traditional problem, which won't go away. The Hard Question.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 6. Inverted Qualia
With inverted qualia a person's experiences would change, but their beliefs remain the same
                        Full Idea: The right thing to say about inverted qualia is that the person's experiences are different from other people's, but their beliefs are the same.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 5.44)
                        A reaction: Right - which reinforces the idea that all beliefs are the result of judgement, and none come directly from perception.
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 1. Dualism
Descartes did not think of minds as made of a substance, because they are not divisible
                        Full Idea: It would be wrong to represent Descartes' view as the idea that bodies are made of one kind of stuff and minds of another; he did not think minds are made of stuff at all, because then they would be divisible.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.10)
                        A reaction: I'm not convinced. It could be an indivisible substance. Without a mental substance, Descartes may have to say the mind is an abstraction, perhaps a pattern of Platonic forms.
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 6. Epiphenomenalism
Functionalism defines mental states by their causal properties, which rules out epiphenomenalism
                        Full Idea: Functionalism holds that it is in the nature of certain mental states to have certain effects; therefore there can be no mental epiphenomena.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.14)
                        A reaction: I strongly resist the idea that a thing's identity is its function. Functionalism may not say that. Mind is an abstraction referring to a causal nexus of unknowable components.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 1. Reductionism critique
The problems of misrepresentation and error have dogged physicalist reductions of intentionality
                        Full Idea: The fundamental problems of misrepresentation and error have dogged physicalist reductions of intentionality.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 3.26)
                        A reaction: If footprints or tree-rings are the model for reductions of intentionality, there doesn't seem much scope in them for giving false information, except by some freak event.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 3. Property Dualism
Properties dualism says mental properties are distinct from physical, despite a single underlying substance
                        Full Idea: According to property dualism, mental properties are distinct from physical properties, even though they are properties of one substance.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.10)
                        A reaction: Two properties may be phenomenologically different (transparent and magnetic), but that doesn't put them in different ontological categories.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 4. Emergentism
Non-reductive physicalism seeks an explanation of supervenience, but emergentists accept it as basic
                        Full Idea: While the non-reductive physicalist believes that mental/physical supervenience must be explained, the emergentist is willing to accept it as a fact of nature.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.18)
                        A reaction: A good reason not to be an emergentist. No philosopher should abandon the principle of sufficient reason.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 5. Supervenience of mind
If mental supervenes on the physical, then every physical cause will be accompanied by a mental one
                        Full Idea: If the mental supervenes on the physical, then whenever a physical cause brings about some effect, a mental cause comes along for the ride.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.17)
                        A reaction: This is why supervenience seems to imply epiphenomenalism. The very concept of supervenience is dubious.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 1. Physical Mind
Identity theory is either of particular events, or of properties, depending on your theory of causation
                        Full Idea: If causation concerns events, then we have an identity theory of mental and physical events (particulars) [Davidson]. If causation is by properties, then it is mental and physical properties which are identical [Lewis and Armstrong].
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.14)
                        A reaction: Events are tokens, and properties are types. Tricky. Events are dynamic, but properties can be static.
Physicalism may be the source of the mind-body problem, rather than its solution
                        Full Idea: Physicalism may be the source of the mind-body problem, rather than its solution.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.19)
                        A reaction: Certainly if the physical is seen as just a pile of atoms, it is hard to see how they could ever think (see idea 1909).
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 5. Causal Argument
Overdetermination occurs if two events cause an effect, when each would have caused it alone
                        Full Idea: Causal overdetermination is when an effect has more than one cause, and each event would have caused the effect if the other one had not done so.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.13)
                        A reaction: Overdetermination is a symptom that an explanation is questionable, but it can occur. Two strong people can join to push over a light hatstand.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / a. Physicalism critique
The completeness of physics must be an essential component of any physicalist view of mind
                        Full Idea: I claim that the completeness of physics must be an essential component of any physicalist view of mind.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.12)
                        A reaction: He does not convince me of this. The mind may be within physics, but why should we say a priori that no exceptions to physical law will ever be discovered. Crane is setting up straw men.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / c. Knowledge argument
Experience teaches us propositions, because we can reason about our phenomenal experience
                        Full Idea: In experience we learn propositions, since someone can reason using the sentence 'Red looks like this' (e.g. 'If red looks like this, then either it looks like this to dogs or it doesn't').
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 3.28)
                        A reaction: The fact that we can create propositions about experiences doesn't prove that experience is inherently propositional.
18. Thought / C. Content / 5. Twin Earth
The Twin Earth argument depends on reference being determined by content, which may be false.
                        Full Idea: The Twin Earth argument does not refute internalism, since it depends on the 'Content-Determines-Reference' principle, which internalists can reject.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 4.37)
                        A reaction: The idea is that content should be understood in a context (e.g. on a particular planet). Indexicals count against a totally narrow view of content (Twins thinking 'I am here').
18. Thought / C. Content / 6. Broad Content
Broad content entails the existence of the object of the thought
                        Full Idea: If a mental state is broad, then the existence of the mental state entails the existence of its object.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 1.7)
                        A reaction: Hence thinking of non-existent things like unicorns is problematic for externalists. However, externalists can think about numbers or Platonic ideals.
18. Thought / C. Content / 8. Intension
In intensional contexts, truth depends on how extensions are conceived.
                        Full Idea: Intensional contexts are those where truth or falsehood depends on the way the extensions are conceived.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 1.4)
                        A reaction: An important distinction for anyone defending an internalist view of concepts or of knowledge
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Types of cause
Causation can be seen in counterfactual terms, or as increased probability, or as energy flow
                        Full Idea: A theory of causation might say 'If A had not existed, B would not have existed' (counterfactual theory), or 'B is more likely if A occurs' (probabilistic), or 'energy flows from A to B'.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.11)
                        A reaction: As always, it is vital to separate epistemology from ontology. Energy won't cover agents. Whisper "Fire!" in a theatre.
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / b. Causal relata
Causes are properties, not events, because properties are what make a difference in a situation
                        Full Idea: My view is that causes are properties (not events); when we look for causes, we look for the aspect of a situation which made a difference, and aspects are properties or qualities.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 2.14)
                        A reaction: He is talking about explanations, which may not be causes, or at least they have a different emphasis. Don't events 'make a difference'? Events are ontologically weird
28. God / B. Proving God / 2. Proofs of Reason / a. Ontological Proof
It seems that 'exists' could sometimes be a predicate
                        Full Idea: The view that 'exists' is never a predicate is not plausible.
                        From: Tim Crane (Elements of Mind [2001], 1.7)
                        A reaction: He doesn't enlarge. Russell says 'exists' is a quantifier. 'Your very existence offends me - I hope it is confiscated'.