Thinking about the self is obviously quite different from thinking about something else because there is a degree of control and understanding that doesn't extend to other objects. Suppose the sun had a conscious, it might more easily perceive that objects orbit around it than would a person stuck on earth who does not have such a viewpoint. But we do have such a viewpoint with our selves, and so it is that many of our assumptions about ourselves have more credence (especially to ourselves) and seem more likely to be correct than our assumptions about other things.
[...] The subject without any concept of pain could even be an animal. What folk psychology would say is that both subjects jumped away because they were in pain. This could possibly be reduced to the neural level to say that the stimulus produces an unpleasant sensation which in turn triggers a “jump away” reflex. Either way the stimulus produces the unpleasant sensation which is then defined as pain. Someone could argue that it takes no concept of turning spheres to perceive that the sun looks like it is moving. [...]
[...] It seems he is mistaking the communication of mental states for their essence. In other words, it is as if describing a mental state is inadequate simply because language is inadequate to truly capture the meaning of something. But I can feel pain and other things even if I don't know how to express it in language. Animals can behave as if they are in pain as well. Once when I was a boy I fell and started bleeding and the flow of blood was not greeted the same way as the flow of tears. [...]
[...] He compares this to alchemists who see a material changing into another material and describe both the change and the nature of the change in terms which have no bearing to current chemistry (Eliminative Materialists 79). He goes on to say that everything can be explained in terms of neuroscience and insists that the language of folk psychology has no bearing on our mental states. He also hypothesizes that our true mental states can be explained in terms of the brain and through broader and deeper ways of communication. [...]
[...] But if the demon is defined as a chemical imbalance then it can still hold as a way to describe what happens. Can this apply to pain, are the folk psychology concepts of mental states the lowest possible levels? Apparently not if they can be reduced to sensations on the level of the brain's topographical areas. We can assume that chemical transformations of substances or the orbit of the earth describe how things actually are. In the same way physical stimuli cause neuronal sensations, nothing more. The eliminative [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee