Helen Steward

in The Ontology of Mind

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250647
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681318 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs


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This introductory chapter opens with a discussion of the philosophy and mind and the mind-body problem. It argues that philosophers have been surprisingly slow to ask about the distinctions between the categories in terms of which they characterize the mind. It is not, of course, that nobody has ever investigated the differences between events, states, and processes. It is rather that work specifically in philosophy of mind has largely proceeded as though it could simply afford to ignore these discriminations, thinking them perhaps to be too subtle to be of any great moment, or too tightly rooted in linguistic considerations to matter much to metaphysics. But this neglect has been a mistake. Indeed, it is argued that the category of state has been so grossly misunderstood that some theories of mind which are supposed to encompass entities traditionally regarded as falling under the category, e.g. beliefs and desires, cannot so much as be sensibly formulated, once we are clearer about the nature of states. An overview of the subsequent chapters is presented.

Keywords: philosophy of mind; mind-body problem; philosophy; mental states

Chapter.  6885 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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