Friday, January 22, 2010

ONTOLOGICAL STATUS OF COGNITIVE SCIENTIFIC AND FOLK-PSYCHOLOGICAL POSITS

Big "thank you"s are hereby transmitted to all of you who've already commented on the draft chunks I've been posting of my Oxford Bibliography on Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Here's the philcogsci version of the mind-body problem for your perusal:

ONTOLOGICAL STATUS OF COGNITIVE SCIENTIFIC AND FOLK-PSYCHOLOGICAL POSITS
The main positions discussed concerning the ontological status of the cognitive-scientific and folk-psychological posits among philosophers of cognitive science are functionalism, reductionism, and eliminativism (also known as eliminative materialism). (And functionalism is perhaps the most widely held position in the philosophy of cognitive science.) This general area is perhaps where the greatest overlap exists between the philosophy of cognitive science and the philosophy of mind, and the reader would do well to consult the Oxford Online Bibliography, *METAPHYSICS OF MIND*. For an article-length overview, see Lycan (2003). For an excellent, though avowedly contentious, book-length overview, see Rey (1997). For definitions of key relevant terminology in this area, see Mandik (2010).

Lycan, W. (2003). The Mind-Body Problem. In S. P. Stich & T. A. Warfield (Eds.), The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind (pp. 47-64). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
A brief overview of key ontological positions relevant to the philosophy of cognitive science.

Mandik, P. (2010). Key Terms in Philosophy of Mind. London: Continuum.
Dictionary containing many items of terminology of pertinence to key ontological positions in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of cognitive science.

Rey, G. (1997). Contemporary Philosophy of Mind: A Contentiously Classical Approach. Oxford: Blackwell.
Despite its avowedly contentious and classicist approach, an book-length treatment of key issues of relevance to the ontology of cognitive science and folk psychology.

ELIMINATIVISM
Though not the source of eliminativism (eliminative materialism), Churchland (1981) is one of the most discussed advocates of the position. Ramsey (2008) offers an excellent overview of the position, and key arguments for and against.

Churchland, P. M. (1981). Eliminative materialism and the propositional attitudes. Journal of Philosophy, 78, 67-90.
A classic. One of the most discussed sources of advocacy of eliminative materialism.

Ramsey, W. (2008). Eliminative Materialism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/materialism-eliminative/
Excellent overview of key arguments both for and against.


REDUCTIONISM
One of classic defenders of reductionism (also known as the identity theory and the type-identity theory) is Smart, and his up to date (2008) offers an excellent overview. Polger (2009) is an excellent review of identity theories. Though a bit dated, Churchland (1986) is still a worthwhile sketch of empirical considerations in favor of a reductionist approach.

Churchland, P. M. (1986). Some reductive strategies in cognitive neurobiology. Mind, 95, 279-309.
A dated but worthwhile sketch of empirical considerations in favor of reductionism.

Polger, T. W. (2009). Identity Theories. Philosophy Compass, 4(5), 822-834. DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2009.00227.x
An excellent review of key theories.

Smart, J. J. C. (2008). The Identity Theory of Mind. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/mind-identity/
An excellent overview by one of the key historical defenders of the position.

FUNCTIONALISM
One of the core features of discussion of functionalism is the closely related idea of multiple realizability. Levin (2009) is an excellent overview of the varieties of functionalism. Bickle (2008) and Funkhouser (2007) are both excellent in discussion of multiple realizability. For key historical sources of functionalism and multiple realizability considerations, see Fodor (1974), Putnam (1960), and Putnam (1967). For highly discussed sources of critique of functionalism, see Block (1980) and Block and Fodor (1972).

Bickle, J. (2008). Multiple Realizability. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/multiple-realizability/
An excellent overview of arguments concerning multiple realizability.

Block, N. (1980). “Troubles With Functionalism”, in Block, Readings in the Philosophy of Psychology, Volumes 1 and 2. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 268–305.
A classic line of criticism of the adequacy of functionalist approaches.

Block, N., & Fodor, J. A. (1972). What psychological states are not. Philosophical Review, 81, 159-181.
An early classic source of criticism of functionalism.

Fodor, J. A. (1974). Special sciences, or the disunity of science as a working hypothhesis. Synthese, 28, 97-115.
An influential argument spelling out the autonomy of special sciences due to multiple realizability considerations.

Funkhouser, E. (2007). Multiple Realizability. Philosophy Compass 2(2), 303–315.
An excellent overview of key issues.

Levin, J. (2009). Functionalism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2009 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2009/entries/functionalism/
An excellent discussion of the many varieties of functionalism pertinent to the philosophy of cognitive science.

Putnam, H. (1960). Minds and machines. In S. Hook (Ed.), Dimensions of Mind: New York University Press.
One of the key early sources of functionalism.

Putnam, H. (1967). The nature of mental states. In Capitan & Merrill (Eds.), Art, Mind, and Religion: Pittsburgh University Press.
One of the key early sources of functionalism.