Phil 255: Midterm Questions II

Phil 255: Philosophy of Mind

Prof. Eliasmith

Six of the following questions will be on the midterm. You will have to answer five of them. Each will be worth 5% of your final grade. You will have 80 minutes to answer them in class. If you have any questions regarding the midterm, feel free to email me with your best guess.

  1. What is the intentional stance? Why is it non-scientific? How does it relate to anomalous monism? In what central way are Davidson's and Dennett's conclusions and arguments regarding psychology similar?
  2. What's the relation between Armstrong's 'causal analysis' and functionalism? What central problem for functionalism does Armstrong claim to solve? What is his solution? Is this solution available to functionalists? Why or why not?
  3. What's the relation between physicalism and materialism? What is Nagel's argument against physicalism? Is this an argument against materialism? Why or why not? Does Nagel think it's an argument against materialism? Explain.
  4. What is syntax? What is semantics? How do the two relate in our mental life according to Fodor? What is the problem of misrepresentation?
  5. How do Nagel's arguments relate to the problem of privacy? Can functionalism provide a solution to either or both? Explain. What kind of response would Ryle give to Nagel's argument? Would such a response be convincing? Why or why not?
  6. What is a quale, give some examples? Provide two arguments that show that qualia are independent of function? What does this mean for functionalism? Do 'blindsight' patients provide empirical evidence for this independence? Why or why not?
  7. What's perceptual closure? What's cognitive closure? Does the latter follow from the former? Give an example or argument to demonstrate your answer. What's the relevance of cognitive closure to McGinn's main thesis?
  8. If Nagel is right, does dualism follow? Justify your answer. Suppose it does follow, is it going to be more or less radical than Cartesian dualism? Is functionalism compatible with either form of dualism? Explain. Is behaviorism compatible with either form of dualism? Explain.