PHIL 255: Week 8

Churchland on Metaphysics



The final exam is scheduled for Dec. 21. Plan your travel accordingly.

Essay topics are now available.

Exam 1 will be returned Nov. 3.

A car with intentionality?

Approaches to Philosophy

1. A priori: Plato, Kant, Frege, Husserl, etc.

2. Naturalistic: Aristotle, Hume, Quine, Patricia Churchland

Mechanistic Explanation

Explanation based on objects, relations, changes.

Simple examples: lever, bike.

Levels of explanation: social, psychological, neural, molecular, biochemical ...

Integrate levels:


Churchland's examples:

Biological examples:

Conceptual change is widespread. Meanings change.

Coevolution of scientific fields.

Reductionism does not eliminate the value of life: self-esteem can survive.

Against substance dualism

No positive description of the mind and its interactions with body.

No competition for brain-based explanations.

Overemphasizes the conscious mind.


Vs. correlation. Probability not enough.

Hume: constant conjunction.

In world or in mind? Kant.

Can causality be perceived?



Phil 255

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

Paul Thagard

This page updated October 31, 2005