"There are none so blind as those who will not see." --

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Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit, or There and Back-Before-it-Ended Again

It drove them, greedy ambition bold/
To seek out treasure, as dragons did of old/

Fans began feeling, that something wasn't right/
Their groans resounding, in the night/

The film was bloated, the story's soul was lost/
The movie tickets, had not been worth the cost/

The news would spread, it was a dread/
Those who like halflings, should read the book instead!/

Saturday, December 08, 2012

An interesting paper on Analytic Functionalism

A very interesting paper on analytic functionalism has been posted at Brains. Here are some of my own thoughts, on the subject of whether ordinary people ("the folk") attribute mental states to groups:

First, the distinction between "individuals" and "groups" seems to be relative to a level of description: On a microscopic scale, our brains are vast groups of neurons, and while they interact and are closely related, so do group entities like corporations, though admittedly to a lesser extent. One question is then whether the folk, on being given a detailed explanation of how some part of the brain works, or of neurons, dendrites and synapses in general, would feel an intuitive pull towards a dualistic view: they might think such an ensemble couldn't be conscious any more than a corporation could, and posit a more unified agent like a soul (BTW, this resembles Scholastic arguments for the simplicity of the soul). Another question is, if the folk would still think that brains could be the subjects of intentional and phenomenal states but NOT that corporations could, whether the difference would arise because the members of a corporation have thoughts and experiences of their own, while neurons are thought not to have them. If so, that would seem to show that people fail to ascribe thoughts and experiences to corporations because they think that if the members of a group have thoughts and experiences the group cannot--the mental states of the members "crowd out" any potential mental states of the group--not just because they are a group. On this view groups could still be conscious if their members are not.