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eBook Mental Reality download

by Galen Strawson

eBook Mental Reality download ISBN: 0262193523
Author: Galen Strawson
Publisher: The MIT Press (November 17, 1994)
Language: English
Pages: 360
ePub: 1744 kb
Fb2: 1397 kb
Rating: 4.9
Other formats: lrf doc txt rtf
Category: Political
Subcategory: Philosophy

Galen Strawson's "Mental Reality" is a fantastic book on what should be considered one of the most important issues of them all, namely "metaphysics", the ultimate nature of reality

Galen Strawson's "Mental Reality" is a fantastic book on what should be considered one of the most important issues of them all, namely "metaphysics", the ultimate nature of reality. It's rather sad that the term "metaphysics" is usually mentioned in a prerogative manner as if insinuating that any time this topic arises it has nothing to do with "real" reality, or it is a baseless argument.

Strawson's book is noteworthy for its declaration of faith: faith that terialism is true. terialism is the doctrine that there is no supernatural realm and that everything that is real is material or made out of matter. From now on I will refer to this simply as materialism. Noteworthy because Strawson insists that materialism cannot explain or understand conscious experience as material, but that no sane person denies that conscious experience is real. All declarations of faith raise the question Why this faith rather than some other?

In Mental Reality, Galen Strawson argues that the answer is not intelligence, representational content, or intentionality broadly understood, but conscious experience.

In Mental Reality, Galen Strawson argues that the answer is not intelligence, representational content, or intentionality broadly understood, but conscious experience. He argues that much contemporary philosophy of mind is still confused by positivism and its various offspring. Established in 1962, the MIT Press is one of the largest and most distinguished university presses in the world and a leading publisher of books and journals at the intersection of science, technology, art, social science, and design.

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In "Mental Reality," Galen Strawson argues that the answer is not intelligence, representational content, or intentionality broadly understood, but conscious experience

In "Mental Reality," Galen Strawson argues that the answer is not intelligence, representational content, or intentionality broadly understood, but conscious experience. A careful, sensitive and imaginative treatment of some of the main conceptual questions that condition any approach to the nature of mind. - Colin McGinn, "Nature" What is distinctive of the mental? In "Mental Reality," Galen Strawson argues that the answer is not intelligence, representational content, or intentionality broadly understood, but conscious experience.

It does so at the expense of the phenomena of conscious experience.

Galen Strawson's personal site. Mental Reality (1994) . Mental ballistics: the involuntariness of spontaneity" (2003), Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, pp. 227–56. A Fallacy of our Age" (‘Against Narrative’) in the Times Literary Supplement, 15 October 2004. Against Narrativity" (2004,) Ratio 17, pp. 428–52. BNF: cb12097248j (data).

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What is distinctive of the mental? In Mental Reality, Galen Strawson argues that the answer is not intelligence, representational content, or intentionality broadly understood, but conscious experience. Strawson challenges neobehaviorist accounts of the mental. He argues that much contemporary philosophy of mind is still confused by positivism and its various offspring. It gives undue primacy of place to nonmental phenomena, publicly observable phenomena, and behavioral phenomena in its account of the nature of mind. Strawson describes an alternative position, naturalized Cartesianism, that couples the materialist view that mind is entirely natural and wholly physical with respect for the idea that the only distinctively mental phenomena are those of conscious experience. A Bradford Book. Representation and Mind series
Comments: (4)
Blackseeker
Simply put -- the best book available on the topic.
Andromajurus
Galen Strawson's "Mental Reality" is a fantastic book on what should be considered one of the most important issues of them all, namely "metaphysics", the ultimate nature of reality. It's rather sad that the term "metaphysics" is usually mentioned in a prerogative manner as if insinuating that any time this topic arises it has nothing to do with "real" reality, or it is a baseless argument. I don't think this should be the case at all, with the term being created when classifying Aristotle's books, they bumped into one that had no title, but went after (or beyond) the "physics" book, hence the prefix: "meta".

In this book Strawson argues, quite convincingly in my opinion, that the ultimate nature of reality is entirely physical (or material), and that the famous "mind-body problem" which reached its most important articulation through Descartes, is really a pseudo-problem, and stems from our inability to fully comprehend what it means to argue that something is "physical."

Strawson proceeds to cement his position which he labels "agnostic-materialism" by going through a wealth of philosophical material, classic and contemporary on most of the issues that concern debating what is mind, what is body and what role does the mind play in constructing what the world is made of. Strawson also gives convincing refutations concerning behaviorism and the more ambitious type of scientists who argue that once we understand all of physics, we will be able to understand how the mind works too, among many other topics.

This is truly an extraordinary book, which despite presenting difficulties in technical jargon, is truly a gem: thought-provoking, mind-expanding and humbling all in one. I am quite confused about why a book that deals with "the ultimate nature of reality", the biggest of big question in philosophy, is not mentioned in the same lineage as some of the works of Russell, Quine and others in the analytic tradition. If you happen to stumble on this book and are on the fence about it, don't be, read this classic and become all the wiser because of it.
Gavirus
Not really an introductory text, but useful for putting one's
mind in order after reading around the subject. Includes a
painstaking, but highly readable and convincing appraisal of past and
current theories concerning the nature of qualitative
consciousness (what it is like to be something or to see the
color red). I would have liked to have read a little speculation
about what the nature of consciousness could be, given the author's
reservations about the various 'isms' and 'wasms', but maybe
that isn't the job of philosophy. All in all a thought-provoking
work, which is sure to continue to ruffle a few feathers.
Cordabor
Strawson's book is noteworthy for its declaration of faith: faith that naturalism-monism-materialism is true. (Naturalism-monism-materialism is the doctrine that there is no supernatural realm and that everything that is real is material or made out of matter. From now on I will refer to this simply as materialism.) Noteworthy because Strawson insists that materialism cannot explain or understand conscious experience as material, but that no sane person denies that conscious experience is real.
All declarations of faith raise the question Why this faith rather than some other? In Strawson's case the pertinent question is Why monism rather than dualism, and, indeed, Why not a supernatural realm as well as a natural one?
With respect to the former question, Strawson is ingenious, though, as he brings out, Locke was there first. The essence of Strawson's ingenuity here is this. Dualism comes under severe pressure to posit an immaterial stuff that the mind is which somehow makes possible thoughts, memories, etc. This immaterial stuff turns out to be such that one does not and cannot know its nature. But this allows that this allegedly immaterial stuff may, for all we know, be material, for `matter may very well have properties of which one has no idea and that can indeed be the basis of...experiential goings-on.' Once Strawson has made this argument, I believe that, though he himself does not say this, considerations of simplicity favor monism, not to mention the avoidance of the notorious mind-body problem.
I am not entirely happy with Strawson's answer to Why monism rather than dualism? But space does not permit me to bring out why here.
I conclude with the question about a supernatural realm. Strawson says that there is no satisfactory account of mental phenomena to be found in contemporary science or philosophy or anywhere else. He suggests that this is either because some mental phenomena are fundamental, like electrical charge, or because we do not have the revolutionary physics needed to give such a satisfactory account. But why not think about a supernatural explanation for mental phenomena? There's much precedent here: What explains the Big Bang? What explains life's origin? Etc. If there's no natural answers to these questions, why not look to supernatural answers? Perhaps the reason not to is brought out by paraphrasing William James: Supernaturalism is an outbirth of that sort of philosophizing whose great maxim, according to Dr. Hodgson, is: `Whatever you are totally ignorant of, assert to be the explanation of everything else?'