Raw Feeling

Robert Kirk

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780198236795
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679353 | DOI:
Raw Feeling

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This book asks the question: how could processes in the brain amount to conscious experiences? The mind–body problem is mystifying, even after decades of philosophical activity with the benefit of progress in psychology and the neurosciences. Previous attempts to remove the mystery have been developed. Behaviourism is a good example. Behaviourists maintain that mental states are determined entirely by behaviour and behavioural dispositions: it doesn't matter at all what goes on inside the head as long as it produces the right patterns of behaviour. This book sets out a view of the most troublesome philosophical problems in this area, and offers solutions. The title of this book comes from Tolman's expression ‘raw feels’ in his book Purposive Behaviour in Animals and Men (1932) which he used to refer to certain features of our mental life which thought science could not capture. Tolman's expression has been modified to avoid any hint that being conscious is a matter of being related to a special class of entities. Raw feeling is not a thing but a process, which this book suggests is purely physical.

Keywords: conscious experiences; mind–body problem; Behaviourism; patterns of behaviour; Tolman

Book.  262 pages. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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