AuthorWOOD, GEORGE DARLINGTON.
KeywordsThought and thinking.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation centers on issues central to a scientific account of mental entities. In part I, I first consider the general question of whether, and when, it is legitimate to postulate theoretical entities in science. I argue that interpreting theories as if their theoretical terms do not refer to real items lowers their explanatory value by eliminating the opportunity to provide connections with other theories and provide a cohesive account of the world. I then question whether psychological theory needs to postulate mental entities in order to provide adequate explanations of observable behavior, concluding that, behaviorist claims not withstanding, talk about the mental cannot be reduced to talk about behavior. Finally, I argue that it is incumbent on such a theory to investigate the operation and constitution of its entities. In part II, I address attacks on the view that mental items might be made of physical stuff, but not analyzable in purely physical terms. I argue that while revised dualist arguments can show that mental entities cannot be defined in the vocabulary of physics, this is nevertheless consistent with their having a physical constitution. I conclude that in addressing the issue of mind-body identity, the solution lies as much in understanding "identity" as in understanding "mind." In part III, I apply the scientific account of mental items developed in the preceding parts to two traditional philosophical issues; the problem of personal identity. I sketch solutions to these problems and conclude that many remaining problems require scientific investigations rather than philosophical analysis.