Concerned with how the mind and body are connected to one another. Are we just entirely made up of matter or is there something more?

Two points of doubt

  1. We know a bit about minds without knowing anything about brains
  2. Are minds different from brains?


  • Materialism (physicalism): minds and brains are identical (identity theory)
    • nothing magical about minds, just the brains activity
  • Dualism: minds are distinct from the brain
  • Idealism: everything is mental/in the mind

Considering other minds

For own mind, introspection works more or less. However for other minds, we must rely on behaviour of others (what they say and do, see also: epistemic authority)

Two possible ways of understanding how this way of knowing other minds works

  1. Behaviourism: behaviour is all there is to mentality
    • Seems inconsistent with introspection
    • We have thoughts that are never reflected in our behaviour
    • We can have multiple thoughts that correspond with a behaviour → umbrella example
      • A man looks out of a window, goes to a closet and takes an umbrella before leaving his house
      • What is he thinking?
      • There are multiple possible thoughts that could’ve lead to his taking the umbrella
  2. Common-sense psychology (C-SP): understand most likely correct interpretation
    • Common-sense knowledge of other minds rests on knowledge of some general principles of the characteristic behaviour of people
      • He sees pretty much what we see when we look.
      • He doesn’t like most stuff that people don’t like (getting soaked).
      • He minimizes costs when possible.
      • In general, we attribute normal perceptual and reasoning abilities.
    • ”We attribute thoughts to him that it is reasonable for him to have, given those abilities.”