Information-theoretic philosophy of mind

Authored by: Jason Winning , William Bechtel

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Information

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138796935
eBook ISBN: 9781315757544
Adobe ISBN: 9781317633495


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The branch of philosophy known as “philosophy of mind,” at its core, is concerned with two closely related questions: What sort of thing is a mind or mental state? And how are these related to the non-mental? We know some of the characteristic activities of minds: thinking, remembering, dreaming, imagining, etc. We consider certain types of things to be mental, i.e., to exist only in minds, as mental “states” or properties, or “mental contents”: thoughts, memories, desires, emotions, and what philosophers refer to as “qualia” (that aspect of an experience that one refers to by the phrase “what it is like to undergo it”). We also consider certain kinds of things to be non-mental, such as rocks, tables, and rain drops. These do not have minds, do not constitute minds, and cannot exist in minds as mental states or properties. Minds, and the states they can undergo, are mental; things that cannot be minds and cannot be undergone by minds are non-mental.

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