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An Epistemic Criterion of the Mental

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020

Arnold B. Levison*
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Extract

‘When we see, hear, smell, taste, feel, meditate, or will anything, we know that we do so. … Consciousness … is inseparable from thinking, and essential to it. …’

John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (II, 27)

‘Psycho-analysis … cannot accept the identity of the conscious and the mental. It defines what is mental as processes such as feeling, thinking and … willing. … ’

Sigmund Freud, Introductory Lectures on Psycho-analysis (Lecture 1 ).

In this paper I shall provide a novel version of a traditional epistemic criterion for distinguishing mental entities from nonmental ones, and defend it from likely sorts of objections. By the phrase ‘criterion of the mental’ I mean a set of conditions which is necessary and sufficient for an entity's being mental (or psychological).

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Authors 1983

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References

Anscombe, G.E.M. Intention, 2nd. ed. (Oxford: Blackwell 1963)Google Scholar
Chisholm, Roderick M.On the Nature of Acquaintance: A Discussion of Russell's Theory of Knowledge,’ in Nakhnikian, George ed., Bertrand Russell's Philosophy (New York: Harper & Row 1974), 4757Google Scholar
Davidson, DonaldMental Events,’ in Foster, Lawrence & Swanson, J.W. eds. Experience & Theory (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press 1970), 79101Google Scholar
Feigl, HerbertSome Crucial Issues of Mind-Body Monism,’ Synthese, 22 (1971) 295312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Feigl, HerbertRussell and Schlick,’ Erkenntnis, (1975) 1134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Freud, Sigmund An Outline of Psycho-analysis (New York: Norton 1928)Google Scholar
Maxwell, GroverThe Later Bertrand Russell: Philosophical Revolutionary,’ in Nakhnikian, George ed., Bertrand Russell's Philosophy (New York: Harper & Row 1974), 169–82Google Scholar
Malcom, Norman Thought and Knowledge (Ithaca: Cornell University Press 1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rosenthal, DavidMentality and Neutrality,’ Journal of Philosophy, 73 (1976) 386415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Russell, Bertrand Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits (New York: Simon & Shuster 1948)Google Scholar
Thalberg, IrvingA Novel Approach to Mind-Brain Identity,’ Philosophical Studies, 33 (1978) 255–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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