Philosophy of Mind
Jaegwon Kim, Philosophy of Mind
Cartesian dualists, keep out. Jaegwon Kim's accessible, though difficult, survey of the issues and problems with physicalist conceptions of the mind wastes little time dispensing with substance dualism, the belief that
...each of is, at least as we exist on this earth, a composite being made up of two distinct substances, an immaterial mind an a material body.... There has been near consensus among philosophers that the concept of mind as a mental substance gives rise to too many difficulties and puzzles without compensating explanatory gains (pp. 3-4).The rest of the book focuses on varieties of physicalism--from emergentism to reductionism, from behaviorism to functionalism--and dwells on the explanatory benefits of, and difficulties with, each perspective. Though the book is meant for the informed reader, as Kim notes,
In the course of writing this book, I was constantly reminded of what Sir Peter Strawson once said, namely, that there is no such tihng as "elementary philosophy" (p. xi).Those who struggle through discussions of twin earths, Nagel-reduction, supervenience, and Turing machines will be rewarded with a new understanding of the complexity--and possibility--in the fields of neuropsychology and philosophy. The book is part of the Dimensions of Philosophy Series which is "dedicated to the next generation of philosophers and their students." A superlative achievement.