Rules, Reason, and Self-Knowledge

Rules, Reason, and Self-Knowledge

by Julia Tanney

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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 rebut—one 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674067080
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 01/08/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Julia Tanney is Reader in Philosophy of Mind at the University of Kent.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

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

IV Self-Knowledge

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

Acknowledgments 359

Provenance of Essays 361

Index 365

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