IN 'Brains and Behaviour' (Analytical Philosophy, Second Series, ed. R. J.. Butler), Hilary Putnam sets out to show that no behavioural criteria are essential for. Philosophical Papers - edited by Hilary Putnam November In his article “Brains and Behavior” Hilary Putnam attacks the school of thought known as logical behaviorism Putnam believes that the basic.


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Philosophy of Mind Part 1 - Foundations Kem Stone - 22 April The mind-body problem is perhaps the most deadlocked philosophical debate of all time.

Benjamin Gibbs, Putnam on brains and behaviour - PhilPapers

On the one hand, the materialists reject all concepts regarding mental events and phenomena, refusing to grant that the mind is anything other than a physical entity like everything else in the universe. Both sides have valid arguments putnam brains and behavior one another, and in hundreds of years neither side has managed to completely defeat the arguments against it.

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And so, as is natural whenever such a philosophical impasse is reached, there are those who attempt to form a compromise between the two positions, one that does not eliminate the problems but rather seeks to avoid them, usually by suggesting an alternative way of speaking about the issue.

As Hilary Putnam writes in this text, logical behaviourism arose as an attempt at this kind of middle-path that would allow psychologists putnam brains and behavior advance their studies of the mind while avoiding the theoretical entanglements of the mind-body issue.

Rather than these ethereal characters floating around in some kind of Platonic nether-realm, they identified numbers as logical putnam brains and behavior out of sets of actual things.


The number one represents the set of all one-membered sets, the number two all sets of two-membered sets, and so on. The success of set-theory served as a model for future philosophers in all fields, and around it putnam brains and behavior suggested by the Vienna positivists that just as numbers are logical constructions out of sets, mental events are logical constructions out of behaviour events.

Hilary Putnam, Brains and behavior - PhilPapers

This view implies that all talk about mental events is translatable into putnam brains and behavior about behaviour, thus paving the way for a pathway between dualism and materialism. As Putnam writes, the extreme thesis of logical behaviourism has long since been rejected by most philosophers as false.

There are those, however, who maintain that behaviourism is still the best approach to the study of the mind, and they have weakened their thesis to something like these two propositions: Putnam calls these analytic entailments.

Already, putnam brains and behavior problems with these propositions are apparent.

And the putnam brains and behavior will also want to say that the only reason we can not talk about pain exclusively in terms of wincing is due to a higher level of ambiguity in the concept of putnam brains and behavior than the concept of wincing, yet there is a much wider gulf between these phenomena than mere clarity of the terms.

Putnam rejects both propositions rightly so in my opinion and endeavours to expose logical behaviourism for the completely false doctrine that it is.

A behaviourist would reply that this is exactly true, that pain stands for a cluster of phenomena, but Putnam insists that this is not what he means. Putnam analogises pain to another example of a cluster-concept: Presently or at least at the time this text was written there is no known virus origin for Multiple Sclerosis, so this name refers only to the symptoms of that disorder.

Some philosophers would insist that a change of meaning has taken place, as in the case of polio now being defined in terms putnam brains and behavior the virus that causes it.

Brains and Behaviour

If we accept the definition used in the case of MS, that polio is the disease normally responsible for such and such symptoms, we leave open the question of whether there is one cause or several and thus avoid the problem of any change of meaning taking place.

In arguing against a behaviourist, both a dualist and a materialist would want to say that even if it were a necessary truth that: This is because causes pains and not logical constructions putnam brains and behavior of their effects behaviour.


Perhaps to deflect counter-arguments that miss the point, Putnam admits that his analogy of pains to diseases is not an identity. A person can have polio without knowing it, but a person cannot be in pain without knowing it. The behaviourist can claim that pain reports have a special status because if 1- John knows he has a pain, 2- John putnam brains and behavior English, and 3- John is speaking in all sincerity, we can conclude that John has a pain.

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