By James Russell

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Extra resources for Explaining Mental Life: Some philosophical issues in psychology

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Movements are mirrored back to the baby as actions and thus the baby develops a belief in his or her own autonomy. Leaving aside the logical problems of such an hypothesis (the infant must recognise this maternal interpretation as of an intentional action prior to developing the concept of intentionality) and the empirical problems (much work has shown the infant to be the controlling partner in mother-infant dyads), 29 what must be appreciated here is its essentially behaviourist nature. 30 Shotter 31 has used the expression of the 'baby becoming human' to describe such a process.

But I hope this sketch is sufficient for the reader to appreciate Davidson's denial: that although brain-states Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature 37 and conscious states may be identical in fact, it is impossible in principle for us even to construct laws which relate the mental to the physical. Why? Essentially because our characterisation of mental states is hampered by the holism and dependency on a rational framework of explanation that we saw discussed in Pettit's and McGinn's papers.

Mechanistic: the person's brain must support such performance. 3. Differential: we may ask what determines that Jones does this even when he has been told that continuing to smoke will, in his case, lead to almost certain death from lung cancer. 4. Performance: the person must be able to select a brand by visual search, compute the amount of money to hand over and so on. 26 Explaining Mental Life The second problem is that the reasons/causes distinction does not hold in anything like the hard and fast way that Peters intended it to do.

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