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May 8, 2017: Marco Nathan: The Mind-Body Problem, Version 3.0

Alice meets Humpty Dumpty - The Victorian Web

Seminars of Philosophy of Language and mind


Marco Nathan (University of Denver)

The Mind-Body Problem, Version 3.0


May 8, 2017: h. 10:30-12:30

Room "Enzo Paci" - Directorate of the Department of Philosophy (Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milano)


The talk will be held in English.

Participation is strongly recommended to students of the Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences.

Attendance is free. All welcome



When Descartes rst formulated the mind-body problem, in its modern form, he posed it as a question of ontology : what kind of substance are minds made of? Thus framed, the `mind body problem version 1.0' was never solved. It was eventually dismissed when people realized that the controversial issue had little to do with metaphysics. Yes, minds are physical systems, but that doesn't tell us much about their nature. In the 20th century, the `mind-body problem version 2.0' was reformulated in terms of reduction: can mental states be reduced to brain states? Again, this question was eventually set aside when philosophers realized that the debate on reduction was doing little to advance the main issue at stake|if anything, the status of reductionism itself is murkier than the nature of minds. The goal of this talk is to provide a framework for rephrasing a mind- body problem in a new guise which reects current scientic debates. How should we understand Descartes' question in the 21st century? The `mind-body problem 3.0' is the question of the place of cognitive psychology|the scientic study of the mind|in the age of neuroscience.

The main issue, I maintain, is the autonomy of higher-level theories, though, contrary to mainstream discussions, this autonomy is independent of the longstanding battle over (anti)reductionism.

08 May 2017
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