Shortcutting… Philosophy of Mind

11 Jun

You might have gathered from my Shortcutting… Existentialism post that I’m rather into my Philosophy. Indeed, I am quite the enthusiast. With that in mind (hehe), I shall introduce you to my favourite part of the subject: Philosophy of Mind. Here are some mind boggling questions to blow your mind, if you don’t mind.

1) How do we know anything?
There are no doubt some things you know about the world around you: stuff’s made up of atoms, things fall because of gravity, all humans have brains. But what proof do you have for any of this? You can’t see atoms or gravity or other people’s brains can you? So let’s think about things we can see. I can see my writing here in front of me and so, I suppose, can you. But how do you know it’s really there? How do you know your eyes aren’t playing tricks? How do you know you’re not dreaming? How do you know the world around you isn’t some elaborate virtual reality? The truth is, YOU CAN’T KNOW!!! Scary right? You have zero evidence for anything outside your own head (before you say something about not being able to see brains, I’m referring to your mind!). For all you know, you’re dreaming right now… (Hey, at least it’s a good dream.)

2) How do we know other people experience what we experience?
Surely you’ve thought about the whole inverted spectrum thing before (what I see as blue you see as red), and this also applies to everything we perceive through our senses. Maybe when I eat chicken, it tastes to me how strawberries taste to you, or even it feels like what hearing a violin feels like to you! In fact, if you don’t know anything outside your mind, how do you know I even have a mind at all? The view no one else exists is called solipsism.) Maybe this whole blog is a figment of your imagination…

3) What is the mind?
If you believe in an immaterial mind (you’re a substance dualist dude) as many people do, then you’re faced with the question of how an immaterial mind can interact with a material mind. And if you think the mind is nothing more than processes in the brain, then riddle me this: If a scientist had a poke around in your brain while you were eating chocolate, would he be able to find the taste of chocolate? No, I don’t think so. But surely this implies that there is more to the mind than just physical processes; some kind of subjective experience (qualia) that isn’t quite the same as neutrons firing in your brain?

I hope these questions get you thinking, if you even exist at all…

Keep shortcutting,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: