Julia Tanney offers a sustained criticism of today’s canon in philosophy of mind, which conceives the workings of the rational mind as the outcome of causal interactions between mental states that have their bases in the brain. With its roots in physicalism and functionalism, this widely accepted view provides the philosophical foundation for the cardinal tenet of the cognitive sciences: that cognition is a form of information-processing. Rules, Reason, and Self-Knowledge presents a challenge not only to the cognitivist approach that has dominated philosophy and the special sciences for the last fifty years but, more broadly, to metaphysical-empirical approaches to the study of the mind.
Responding to a tradition that owes much to the writings of Davidson, early Putnam, and Fodor, Tanney challenges this orthodoxy on its own terms. In untangling its internal inadequacies, starting with the paradoxes of irrationality, she arrives at a view these philosophers were keen to rebutone with affinities to the work of Ryle and Wittgenstein and all but invisible to those working on the cutting edge of analytic philosophy and mind research today. This is the view that rational explanations are embedded in “thick” descriptions that are themselves sophistications upon ever ascending levels of discourse, or socio-linguistic practices.
Tanney argues that conceptual cartography rather than metaphysical-scientific explanation is the basic tool for understanding the nature of the mind. Rules, Reason, and Self-Knowledge clears the path for a return to the world-involving, circumstance-dependent, normative practices where the rational mind has its home.
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About the Author
Julia Tanney is Reader in Philosophy of Mind at the University of Kent.
Table of Contents
I Rules and Normativity
1 De-Individualizing Norms of Rationality (1995) 23
2 Normativity and Thought (1999) 46
3 Playing the Rule-Following Game (2000) 63
4 Real Rules (2008) 88
II Reason-Explanation and Mental Causation
5 Why Reasons May Not Be Causes (1995) 103
6 Reason-Explanation and the Contents of the Mind (2005) 133
7 Reasons as Non-Causal, Context-Placing Explanations (2009) 149
8 Pain, Polio, and Pride: Some Reflections on "Becausal" Explanations 171
III Philosophical Elucidation and Cognitive Science
9 How to Resist Mental Representations (1998) 189
10 On the Conceptual, Psychological, and Moral Status of Zombies, Swamp-Beings, and Other "Behaviorally Indistinguishable" Creatures (2004) 208
11 Conceptual Analysis, Theory Construction, and Philosophical Elucidation in the Philosophy of Mind 226
12 Ryle's Regress and the Philosophy of Cognitive Science (2011) 249
13 Some Constructivist Thoughts about Self-Knowledge (1996) 279
14 Self-Knowledge, Normativity, and Construction (2002) 300
15 Speaking One's Mind (2007) 322
16 Conceptual Amorphousness, Reasons, and Causes 334
Provenance of Essays 361