The pancreas is the organ which secretes insulin into the blood and digestive juices into the duodenum; the brain is the organ of the mind. But can we reduce mental functions to physical functions in the same way that we can reduce a flow-chart description of the jobs done by the pancreas to the actual bio-chemical processes undergone by the organ when it does them? Can we reduce psychological theories to physiological theories; can we, indeed, replace psychological theories by physiological theories? The questions I will be asking in this chapter — and, in good company, failing to answer — all concern the issue of whether there is something special about the mental functions which ensures that they can never be fully explained in terms of in the brain.
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Notes and References
- 1.See, for example, R. Rorty, ‘In defence of eliminative materialism’, Review of Metaphysics, 1970, 24, pp. 112–21.Google Scholar
- 2.See Eysenck’s discussion of the status of his theory in R. Borger and F. Cioffi (eds) Explanation in the Behavioural Sciences (Cambridge University Press, 1970).Google Scholar
- 3.Austen Clark, Psychological Models and Neural Mechanisms (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980).Google Scholar
- 5.See the review by J. Maj, ‘Antidepressant drugs: will new findings change the present theories of their action?’ Trends in Pharmacological Studies, 1981, pp. 80–3.Google Scholar
- 7.A. R. Green and D. W. Costain (eds) Pharmacology and Biochemistry of Psychiatric Disorders (New York: Wiley, 1981) p. 87.Google Scholar
- 10.M. Seligman, Helplessness (San Francisco: Freeman, 1975).Google Scholar
- 14.See my trilogy of papers: ‘Action from knowledge and conditioned behaviour: Part One: the stratification of behaviour’, Behaviourism, 1980, 8, pp. 87–98. ‘Action from knowledge and conditioned behaviour: Part Two: criteria for epistemic behaviour’, Behaviourism, 1980, 8, pp. 133–48. ‘Action from knowledge and conditioned behaviour: Part Three: the human case’, Behaviourism, 1981, 9, pp. 107–26.Google Scholar
- 17.Jerry Fodor, The Language of Thought (Brighton: Harvester, 1976).Google Scholar
- 24.T. Honderich, ‘Psychophysical lawlike connections and their problem’, Inquiry 1981, pp. 277–303, at p. 292.Google Scholar
- 27.S. P. Stich, ‘On the relation between occurrents and contentful mental states.’ Inquiry, 1981, pp. 353–8.Google Scholar
- 28.J. L. Mackie, ‘The efficacy of consciousness: comments on Honderich’s paper’, Inquiry 1981, pp. 343–51. (Extract from p. 350.)Google Scholar