Item description for The Ontology of Mind: Events, Processes, and States (Oxford Philosophical Monographs) by Helen Steward...
The author puts forward a radical critique of the foundations of contemporary philosophy of mind, arguing that it relies too heavily on insecure assumptions about the nature of some of the sorts of mental entities it postulates - the nature of events, processes, and states. She offers a fresh investigation of these three categories, clarifying the distinction between them, and argues specifically that the assumption that states can be treated as particular, event-like entities has been a huge and serious mistake.
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Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.5" Width: 5.49" Height: 0.68" Weight: 0.77 lbs.
Release Date May 18, 2000
Publisher Oxford University Press
ISBN 0198250649 ISBN13 9780198250647
Availability 0 units.
More About Helen Steward
Steward is Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford.
Helen Steward has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Leeds University of Oxford University of Oxford Universi.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Ontology of Mind: Events, Processes, and States (Oxford Philosophical Monographs)?
Strongly recommended to students of phil mind Jan 6, 2004
I'd recommend this to anyone with a serious interest in the philosophy of mind but caution that it is not the sort of thing easily digested by undergraduates. The book is divided into two parts. In Part I, Steward explains why some popular views concerning event identity prevent us from formulating a coherent version of token physicalism. She then provides us with ways of distinguishing events, states, and processes in the hopes of clarifying what is too often muddled discussion concerning the nature of the relation between the mental and the physical. She then tries to sort out the proper role for states, events, and processes within our causal ontology and provides a nice discussion concerning the distinction between causation (understood as a relation among events and perhaps substances) and causal relevance. In Part II, she explains why functionalism and eliminative materialism (in their standard formulations) run into difficulties because the arguments for such views illictly assume that there is a coherent notion of a token state that could play a certain role in causation that she has argued in Part I states could not fulfill. If she's right, much of the discussion in contemporary philosophy of mind is seriously confused. She finishes with some sketchy and speculative comments as to how we should best formulate physicalist theses (Note: she's not defending such theses, only providing us with suggestions as to how to coherently state them).
Often her arguments rest on linguistic data and if you aren't already familiar with the distinction between tense and aspect, say, this book will be a very difficult read. It is something that I feel has not received sufficient attention in the literature for two reasons. First, people seem quite happy carrying on in a muddled fashion speaking of states as if they were coarse grained particulars. Second, papers are now starting to come out questioning the coherence of token physicalism, but the arguments these papers contain are far less persuasive than those Steward offers.