- Series: Readings in Philosophy of Psychology
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 15, 1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 067474876X
- ISBN-13: 978-0674748767
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.8 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,510,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Readings in Philosophy of Psychology, Volume I
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A splendid collection. The papers assembled in Block's anthology will prove to be of lasting value to anyone wishing to engage the philosophical dimension of cognitive science.
Block's anthology is sure to become a standard reference for philosophy of psychology; the papers [have]...already fixed the general direction of this field for the next several years. Cognitive psychology cannot but profit from the interest that this anthology is sure to generate among philosophers. (Contemporary Psychology)
About the Author
Ned Block is Professor of Philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Top Customer Reviews
He wrote in the Preface to this 1980 collection of papers, "It is increasingly clear that progress in philosophy of mind is greatly facilitated by knowledge of many areas of psychology and also that progress in psychology is facilitated by knowledge of philosophy... A host of crucial issues do not 'belong' to either philosophy or psychology, but rather fall equally well in both disciplines... until now there has been no general anthology intended as a text in philosophy of psychology. It is this gap that the present book, which appears in two volumes, is intended to fill." (Pg. v) He later adds, "no single anthology on the subject could possibly be comprehensive. The best one can do is pick a few topics and cover them in moderate depth..." (Pg. 6) Block also wrote helpful introductions for each section of the book.
Papers (or excerpts from books) from many important figures in the field are included, such as: Carl Hempel [including his statement, "the meaning of a statement is established by its method of verification," pg. 17; not ethat Hempel clarified that the article included is "far from representing my present views"; pg. 14]; Hilary Putnam; B.F. Skinner; Noam Chomsky [his famous critique of Skinner's Verbal Behavior]; Donald Davidson; Jerry Fodor; Saul Kripke; Thomas Nagel [his famous essay, 'What Is It Like to Be a Bat?']; David Lewis; Jaegwon Kim, and others.
To take one example of the contents, Chomsky's critique of Skinner, Chomsky notes that "we can account for a wide class of responses in terms of Skinnerian functional analysis by identifying the controlling stimuli. But the word 'stimulus' has lost all objectivity in this usage... they are driven back into the organism. We identify the stimulus when we hear the response... We cannot predict verbal behavior in terms of the stimuli in the speaker's environment, since we do not know what the current stimuli are until he responds... Skinner's claim that his system, as opposed to the traditional one, permits the practical control of verbal behavior is quite false." (Pg. 52)
Famously, Chomsky adds, "We constantly read and hear new sequences of words, recognize them as sentences, and understand them... It appears that we recognize a new item as a sentence not because it matches some familiar item in any simple way, but because it is generated by the grammar that each individual has somehow and in some form internalized... It must be admitted that the ability of a human being to do this far surpasses our present understanding. The child who learns a language has in some sense constructed the grammar for himself on the basis of his observation of sentences and nonsentences... this grammar is of an extremely complex and abstract character, and that the young child has succeeded in carrying out what ... seems to be a remarkable type of theory construction. Furthermore, this task is accomplished in an astonishing short time... and in a comparable way by all children. Any theory of learning must cope with these facts... The fact that all normal children acquire essentially comparable grammars of great complexity with remarkable rapidity suggests that human beings are somehow specially designed to do this." (Pg. 59-60)
In Nagel's 'Bat' article, he says, "In so far as I can imagine this... it tells me only what it would be like for ME to behave as a bat behaves. But that is not the question. I want to know what it is like for a BAT to be a bat... So if extrapolation from our own case is involved... the extrapolation must be incomplete... And if there is conscious life elsewhere in the universe, it is likely that some of it will not be describable even in the most general experiential terms available to us." (Pg. 161) He adds, "This bears directly on the mind-body problem. For if the facts of experience... are accessible only from one point of view, then it is a mystery how the true character of experiences could be revealed in the physical operation of that organism." (Pg. 163)
Readers who apreciate this volume will almost certainly appreciate Mind and Cognition (Blackwell Philosophy Anthologies).