PHIL 255: Week 9

The Self and Emotions


The final exam is scheduled for Dec. 21. Plan your travel accordingly.

Essay topics are now available.

Kurweil: We are approaching a singularity in technological progress due to superhuman intelligence.

Pluralistic reductionism

1. Explanation requires specifying mechanisms that produce changes.

2. Multiple levels of explanation are useful, e.g. social, cognitive, neural, molecular.

3. Mechanisms at one level decompose into mechanisms at lower level.

4. But explanation does not just occur at the lowest level:

5. No mind-brain identity: whole body.

Traditional view of the self

1. The self is a mind with a body attached.

2. The self has free will.

3. The self has infallible knowledge of itself.

4. Animals are not selves.

Revised view of the self

1. The self is both physical (body) and social (relational).

2. The self is free if not controlled by others.

3. Knowledge of self requires inference.

4. Some animals have self-representations.

Churchland on the self

1. The self is not a thing or single representation.

2. The self is a loosely connected set of representational capacities.

3. The multiple capacities of the self are shown in mental illnesses:

4. Emulation: brains use sensory and motor imagery to work out solutions before dealing with the world.

5. Inner models: sensory systems that represent the body.

6. Mirror neurons.

What's missing?

The self in relation to others.

High-level conceptual representations of self, e.g. personality.


Powerpoint presentation: Hot Thought.


Phil 255

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

Paul Thagard

This page updated Nov. 14, 2005