Logical Constructions (ii): Minds

David Bostock

in Russell's Logical Atomism

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199651443
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741197 | DOI:
Logical Constructions (ii): Minds

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Russell initially rejected neutral monism, but later came to accept a version of it, aiming to construct both matter and minds from the same ‘neutral’ stuff. This neutral stuff was sensibilia (or, as they became, events of sensing), except that minds also have an extra ingredient, namely events of imaging. The idea is that a mind may be identified with the class of all those events of sensing and imaging which occur in it. Russell explains that two such events occur in the same mind when there are experiences of temporal relations between them, but he also adds connecting links of ‘mnemic causation’. To obtain the right results one must invoke merely possible experiences and causation, and this is awkward. Russell tries to account for beliefs, desires, and other mental states (including being conscious of something), all in terms of sensings and imagings, but these analyses are highly questionable.

Keywords: minds; neutral monism; images; temporal relations; mnemic causation; possibilities; beliefs; desires; consciousness

Chapter.  12062 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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