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Mind, Matter, and Method

Mind, Matter, and Method: Essays in Philosophy and Science in Honor of Herbert Feigl

Copyright Date: 1966
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 534
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  • Book Info
    Mind, Matter, and Method
    Book Description:

    This volume of twenty-six essays by as many contributors is published in honor of Herbert Feigl, professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota and director of the Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science. Though the majority of the contributors are philosophers, there are also -- as benefits Mr. Feigl’s varied intellectual interests -- representatives of psychology, psychoanalysis, and physics. The first group of ten essays deals with the philosophy of mind, particularly with the mind-body problem, to which Mr. Feigl has devoted much attention. The eleven essays in the second part are concerned with problems of philosophical method, especially with induction and confirmation. The third part is comprised of five essays on the philosophy of the physical sciences. A biographical sketch of Mr. Feigl and a bibliography of his writings are also provided.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6239-5
    Subjects: General Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-2)
  3. Herbert Feigl: A Biographical Sketch
    (pp. 3-14)

    I first met Herbert Feigl in 1954, in the pleasant and stimulating atmosphere of a Vienna coffeehouse. I was then an assistant to Arthur Pap, who had come to Vienna to lecture on analytic philosophy and who hoped, perhaps somewhat unrealistically, that he would be able to revive what was left from the great years of the Vienna Circle and the analytic tradition there. His need for an assistant most happily coincided with my own need for a job. This was not an ordinary job, however. After a lecture, which frequently turned into a heated debate with the attending metaphysicians,...

  4. Part I. Philosophy of Mind and Related Issues

    • Feigl on the Mind-Body Problem
      (pp. 17-39)

      Feigl’s “The ‘Mental’ and the ‘Physical’ ” [3] is the most comprehensive treatment in recent years of the tangle of puzzles that makes up the traditional mind-body problem. Not only does it contain detailed appraisals of the merits and defects of the most important positions taken on the problem, but the critical analyses it contains reflect the work of thinkers of an exceptionally wide range of philosophical orientation. The importance of the essay is therefore considerable: it rates high even as a compendium of informed opinion on a problem that has vexed philosophers for centuries. But quite apart from this,...

    • Mental and Physical: Identity versus Sameness
      (pp. 40-58)

      Physicists say that the colors of things are identical with certain wave lengths of light rays, that the hotness of a liquid is identical with the rapid motion of certain molecules, and of course they are right. Moreover, it is a reasonable guess, in any and all senses of “reasonable,” that the scientists of the future will tell us that the mental and the physical are also identical, that consciousness is a state of particles in the brain. In this too, of course, they again will be right. A common argument against either or both identity claims starts from direct...

    • The Psychoanalyst and His Relationship to the Philosophy of Science
      (pp. 59-69)

      A recent symposium,Psychoanalysis, Scientific Method, and Philosophy[15], has not dealt too gently with the analyst’s work. Nagel [20] emphasizes there that he certainly acknowledges “the great service Freud and his school have rendered in directing attention to neglected aspects of human behavior, and in contributing a large number of suggestive notions which have leavened and broadened the scope of psychological, medical, and anthropological inquiry. But on the Freudian theory itself, as a body of doctrine for which factual validity can be reasonably claimed, I can only echo the Scottish verdict: Not proven.” The psychoanalyst would be ill-advised if...

    • A Task for Philosophers
      (pp. 70-91)

      At the sixty-sixth annual convention of the American Psychological Association, in 1958, Herbert Feigl delivered an address which he called “Philosophical Embarrassments of Psychology” [4]. Early in this lecture he declared that at the present time an important function of the philosopher in his contacts with the sciences resembles that of a psychotherapist; for, work in a particular discipline is often impeded by disturbing influences, the nature of which a calm philosopher who looks at this discipline from the outside will easily recognize, while those who are deeply immersed in that work may remain utterly unaware of the disturbance itself...

    • Why Isn’t the Mind-Body Problem Ancient?
      (pp. 92-102)

      What would we have to do to make the ghost of Aristotle understand the mind-body problem?

      Any teaching assistant can set up the mind-body problem so that any freshman will be genuinely worried about it. Yet none of the ancients ever dreamed of it, not even the author ofDe Anima. Why didn’t they? Was it just a lamentable oversight, like the failure of the Alexandrians to invent the steam engine?

      Feigl suggests [2, page 451] that the historical origins of the identity theory set forth in “The ‘Mental’ and the ‘Physical’” might be found in Aristotle. Presumably he had...

    • The Compleat Autocerebroscopist: A Thought-Experiment on Professor Feigl’s Mind-Body Identity Thesis
      (pp. 103-180)

      Professor Feigl’s mind-body identity thesis, which may be characterized as a daring hypothesis of “empirical metaphysics,” asserts that human raw-feel events are literally and numerically identical with certain physical brain-events. By physical₂ events he means, adopting the terminology of Meehl and Sellars [17], events which can be exhaustively described in a language sufficient to describe everything that exists and happens in a universe devoid of organic life. Given the set of descriptive terms (predicates and functors) which would be capable of describing without residue all continuants and occurrents in an inorganic world (say, perhaps, our world in the pre-Cambrian period),...

    • Free Will
      (pp. 181-190)

      The language used in modern epistemology and in the philosophy of science is difficult for me to translate without the aid of a dictionary, and even then I am often uncertain of its meaning. It would obviously be painful both for me and the reader if I were to try to write in that language, so I beg leave to fall back on the vernacular and also on frequent use of the first person singular. The idea that I want to tell Herbert Feigl about is certainly not original with me, for I suppose there is nothing new under the...

    • The Limitations of the Identity Theory
      (pp. 191-197)

      I am selecting one of Herbert Feigl’s great interests to discuss, and hope that these thoughts may provide a little stimulation for him on a topic about which he has stimulated me so much. I set out a number of summary theses, beginning with ones which are now relatively acceptable, often owing to Professor Feigl’s telling papers, and proceed to currently still contentious claims which I think we must now accept.

      1.The mind-brain identity is not identity of meaning.

      This claim is now generally acknowledged, and the standard reason for it is that one can perfectly understand the meaning of...

    • The Refutation of Phenomenalism: Prolegomena to a Defense of Scientific Realism
      (pp. 198-214)

      In the following argument I shall assume that there is available for the phenomenalist an account of sense contents which does not rule out his enterpriseab initio. I shall turn my attention directly to the exploration of what might be meant by the phrase “possible sense content.” Here the essential point can be made quite briefly, though its implications will require careful elaboration. A “possible” sense content in the desired meaning of “possible” would be more aptly referred to as aconditionalor (to use Mill’s term¹)contingentsense content. The logical structure of this concept can best be...

    • Quantifying the Sensory Experience
      (pp. 215-234)
      S.S. STEVENS

      Back in the days when I still nursed an on-again, off-again yearning to become a philosopher, one of the accidents that shape our aspirations took me to the third floor of Emerson Hall where E. G. Boring, Harvard’s lone professor of psychology, directed a laboratory in what was then the department of philosophy. There I was destined to find a niche and acquire an obstinate interest in sensory psychophysics and the theory of measurement—subjects that are first cousins to epistemology. The philosophers proper dwelt on the first floor of Emerson Hall under lofty ceilings where thought and talk soared...

  5. Part II. Induction, Confirmation, and Philosophical Method

    • Contextual Analysis
      (pp. 237-247)

      The central theme of this essay is an explication of the phrase “contextual analysis.” This phrase is taken to be the name of a philosophical strategy, a guide both for constructing a philosophy and for philosophizing. An explication, it is assumed, results in a proposal. A proposal concerning a strategy suggests that it is fruitful or useful, perhaps even necessary, to pay attention to certain conceptual and actional landmarks in carrying out the strategy. A philosophical strategy, and it is assumed every intelligible philosophy has a strategy, exhibits under scrutiny certain “joints,” or lines of distinction, the most salient of...

    • Probability and Content Measure
      (pp. 248-260)

      Before I begin the discussion of questions about probability and content measure, in which my views differ from those of Karl Popper, I should like to emphasize that I agree to a large extent with Popper’s views ongeneralquestions of the theory of knowledge and the methodology of science, as represented in hisLogic of Scientific Discovery[8] and especially in two more recent papers.¹ The picture he draws of a sharp contrast between his conception and that of the “empiricists” (or “positivists,” as he frequently says) is not correct as far as my conception is concerned.

      First, I...

    • Again the Paradigm
      (pp. 261-272)

      Herbert Feigl recently collaborated with Grover Maxwell in a typically forthright and good-humored article, “Why Ordinary Language Needs Reforming” [11]. On this occasion I do not want to take issue with anything they said there. But that article can serve as excuse for returning here once again to the questions of the nature, power, and limitations of the Argument of the Paradigm Case (APC). This argument, even in its most general form, is only one element in that loose agglomeration of general ideas, methodological policies, and stock moves which is often bundled up and labeled the Philosophy of Ordinary Language...

    • The Falsifiability of a Component of a Theoretical System
      (pp. 273-305)

      In his bookThe Aim and Structure of Physical Theory,the physicist, historian of science, and philosopher of science Pierre Duhem denied the feasibility of crucial experiments in physics. Said he [3, page 187]: “. . . the physicist can never subject an isolated hypothesis to experimental test, but only a whole group of hypotheses; when the experiment is in disagreement with his predictions, what he learns is that at least one of the hypotheses constituting this group is unacceptable and ought to be modified;but the experiment does not designate which one should be changed” (my italics). Duhem illustrates...

    • The Problem of Induction
      (pp. 306-318)

      1. That there is no theoretical justification for induction was explained very clearly by Feigl in 1934 [6]. (My own reasons were explained in 1925 [10].) However, the epistemological consequences of this situation have not been generally recognized, and it is also necessary to clarify them in greater detail. Such clarification will have to deal with the argument that without induction we end up in skepticism [1]; it will have to analyze the still existing attempts to find a basis for induction as a theoretical procedure (compare [14], [2], and [4]); and it will have to consider the more recent attempts...

    • Criteria of Meaning and of Demarcation
      (pp. 319-327)

      A brief personal note should be permitted in aFestschriftessay for a dear friend and colleague. I have, without doubt, learned more of whatever philosophy I know from Herbert Feigl than from any other source. Of the same order of magnitude, however, is my debt to Karl Popper and to Rudolf Carnap. In this essay, I criticize a family of ideas some member of which has been advocated, defended and, perhaps, even given its original formulation by each of these philosophers. However, it seems to me that, far from indulging patricidal impulses in so doing, I am treading in...

    • On Knowledge of Values
      (pp. 328-342)

      In this paper I wish to consider the justification of value judgments. This has become a more than ordinarily heated issue since the advent of the emotivists and their extreme position that value judgments are cognitively meaningless. Feigl exhibits a qualified agreement with their view. I wish to look into the tenability of his stand.

      His approach is by way of an analysis of justification in general. He makes a fruitful distinction between justification of a knowledge claim (justificatio cognitionis) and justification of an action (justificatio actionis). The first he calls “validation,” the second “vindication.” “The rules of deductive and...

    • A Theorem on Truth-Content
      (pp. 343-353)

      Herbert Feigl and I are almost the same age: I am the elder by about five months. But when we first met in Vienna more than thirty years ago, Herbert was already a philosopher of international renown, having been lately appointed to a professorship in an American university, while I had just been appointed to my first teaching job—at a lower secondary school in Vienna. I had then been working on philosophical problems for thirteen years; but though I had written much, I had published hardly anything.

      Prior to meeting Herbert I had known three philosophers on terms which...

    • Verifiability and Logic
      (pp. 354-376)

      Herbert Feigl has long been one of the ablest and most devoted champions of logical empiricism. On this occasion I should like to re-examine a complex of issues which lie at the heart of this doctrine. They center around the verifiability criterion of cognitive meaning.

      Until 1949 it could have been said that the verifiability criterion was one of the cornerstones of logical empiricism. The criterion had been hotly debated and had undergone numerous reformulations. By that time it was quite generally recognized that the criterion had to be formulated in terms of verifiability in principle rather than actual verification...

    • Philosophy and Scientific Plausibility
      (pp. 377-390)
      J.J.C. SMART

      In the Tractatus, 4.1122, Wittgenstein said: “Darwin’s theory has no more to do with philosophy than any other hypothesis in natural science.”¹ It is clear that Wittgenstein held that the results of scientific investigation have no bearing whatever on our philosophical investigations. On his view the sciences can be no more than theobjectof philosophical activity, which is the delimitation of sense from nonsense. This view of Wittgenstein’s has become pretty orthodox in much contemporary philosophy, and I wish to challenge it in this paper. This seems an appropriate topic for a contribution to Professor Feigl’sFestschrift, since especially...

    • A Case for Transempirical and Supernaturalistic Knowledge Claims
      (pp. 391-406)

      Is it insult or irony that a contributor to a volume of essays honoring Herbert Feigl should set himself the task of trying to defend some of the traditional arguments for God’s existence? It is neither insult nor irony. If anything, it is sheer folly. For the day is long gone when men were wont to shake their heads and remark, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Rather the situation is now one in which all would agree that the fool is precisely he who takes it into his head to say “There is a...

  6. Part III. Philosophy of the Physical Sciences

    • On the Possibility of a Perpetuum Mobile of the Second Kind
      (pp. 409-412)

      1. In one of his by now classic papers on the kinetic theory of matter von Smoluchowski admits that the second law “in the usual formulation of Clausius and Thomson certainly is in need of revision.” Yet he denies that the fluctuations might constitute “a perpetual source of income” (in terms of readily available work). His argument is that one-way valves, lids, and, for that matter, all mechanical contraptions designed for transforming fluctuations into such a “perpetual source of income” are themselves subject to fluctuations. “These machines work in normal circumstances because they must remain in a position of equilibrium which...

    • Equivalence: The Paradox of Theoretical Analysis
      (pp. 413-429)

      In an earlier paper [4] I addressed myself to the concept of equivalence between theories. Indeed, it was Professor Feigl himself who encouraged me to undertake that exploration; the present essay is a development of this earlier work, and a lengthy emendation of some of its shortcomings.

      That theory$\Theta_{1}$entails theory$\Theta_{2}$means that$\Theta_{2}$follows from, or is deducible from,$\Theta_{1}$. That theory$\Theta_{1}$is equivalent to theory$\Theta_{2}$therefore means that$\Theta_{2}$is deducible from$\Theta_{1}$, and that$\Theta_{1}$is deducible from$\Theta_{2}$. Now, is this always the case? The theories in question, of...

    • Classical Mechanics as a Limiting Form of Quantum Mechanics
      (pp. 430-448)
      E.L. HILL

      Many centuries of observation of natural phenomena have led to the recognition of two major elements underlying the structure of the physical universe—that of matter as composed of particulate entities (electrons, protons, neutrons, and so on), and that of continuously distributed fields such as the electromagnetic and gravitational fields. Until recent years these were regarded as distinct modes of existence of energy, itself the all-embracing concept of the natural world.

      The discovery of many processes by which energy is transformed from one of these forms to the other has given rise to determined efforts by physicists to unite the...

    • Relativity and the Atom
      (pp. 449-491)

      The special theory of relativity originated in 1905 as an attempt to reconcile an indubitable experimental fact with two basic, well-entrenched theories: Michelson’s experiment [51, page 626] was incompatible with Newtonian mechanics and Maxwellian electrodynamics. The reconciliation was effected by Einstein’s first theory of relativity [14]. However, the subsequent development of this theory detracted much from the importance of Michelson’s finding, which became simply a particular, historical item in the evolution of special relativity rather than an essential component of the latter. For a while, relativistic mechanics and relativistic electrodynamics, which superseded the two corresponding pre-Einsteinian theories and could be...

    • Language, Spatial Concepts, and Physics
      (pp. 492-506)

      Montaigne remarked that no one is exempt from talking nonsense; the misfortune is to do it solemnly. I shall therefore avoid being solemn in the hope that no argument need be entirely useless—even the worst one might serve a didactic purpose and be cited as wrong or invalid.

      We live in an age of definitions; it began at the dawn of geometry and has now affected most disciplines of systematic reasoning. A few centuries ago the Jesuit Gropius Bacanus of Antwerp “proved,” from definitions, that Adam and Eve spoke Dutch in Paradise. This claim may not be a flagrant...

    (pp. 507-512)
  8. Bibliography of the Writings of Herbert Feigl, to December 1965
    (pp. 513-518)
  9. Name Index
    (pp. 519-524)