Philosophy of mind A phrenological mapping of the brain – phrenology was among the first attempts to correlate mental functions with specific parts of the brain Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness, and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind–body problem, i.e. the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as one key issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body, such as how consciousness is possible and the nature of particular mental states. Mind–body problem Our perceptual experiences depend on stimuli that arrive at our various sensory organs from the external world, and these stimuli cause changes in our mental states, ultimately causing us to feel a sensation, which may be pleasant or unpleasant.
Holism in science Holism in science, or Holistic science, is an approach to research that emphasizes the study of complex systems. This practice is in contrast to a purely analytic tradition (sometimes called reductionism) which aims to gain understanding of systems by dividing them into smaller composing elements and gaining understanding of the system through understanding their elemental properties. The holism-reductionism dichotomy is often evident in conflicting interpretations of experimental findings and in setting priorities for future research.
Marginal utility Marginality The term marginal refers to a small change, starting from some baseline level. As Philip Wicksteed explained the term, "Marginal considerations are considerations which concern a slight increase or diminution of the stock of anything which we possess or are considering" In practice the smallest relevant division may be quite large. Sometimes economic analysis concerns the marginal values associated with a change of one unit of a discrete good or service, such as a motor vehicle or a haircut. Antireductionism Antireductionism is a reaction against reductionism, which instead advocates holism. Although "breaking complex phenomena into parts, is a key method in science," there are those complex phenomena (e.g. in psychology, sociology, ecology) where some resistance to or rebellion against this approach arises, primarily due to the perceived shortcomings of the reductionist approach. When such situations arise, some people search for ideas that supply "an effective antidote against reductionism, scientism, and psychiatric hubris." This in essence forms the philosophical basis for antireductionism.
A New Kind of Science A New Kind of Science is a best-selling, controversial book by Stephen Wolfram, published in 2002. It contains an empirical and systematic study of computational systems such as cellular automata. Wolfram calls these systems simple programs and argues that the scientific philosophy and methods appropriate for the study of simple programs are relevant to other fields of science. Holism For the suffix, see holism. Holism (from Greek ὅλος holos "all, whole, entire") is the idea that natural systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. This often includes the view that systems function as wholes and that their functioning cannot be fully understood solely in terms of their component parts. Reductionism may be viewed as the complement of holism.
Béla H. Bánáthy Béla Heinrich Bánáthy (December 1, 1919 – September 4, 2003) was a Hungarian linguist, systems scientist and a professor at San Jose State University and UC Berkeley. Bánáthy was the founder of the White Stag Leadership Development Program whose leadership model was adopted across the United States. He was also founder of the International Systems Institute with its innovative "conversation"-oriented conference structure, co-founder of the General Evolutionary Research Group, an influential professor of systems theory and a widely read and respected author. Biography Béla Bánáthy was born in 1919 in Gyula, Hungary.
Antiscience History In the beginnings of the scientific revolution, scientists such as Robert Boyle found themselves in conflict with those such as Thomas Hobbes, who were skeptical of whether science was a satisfactory way to obtain genuine knowledge about the world. Hobbes' stance is sometimes regarded as an antiscience position:
Chaos theory A double rod pendulum animation showing chaotic behavior. Starting the pendulum from a slightly different initial condition would result in a completely different trajectory. The double rod pendulum is one of the simplest dynamical systems that has chaotic solutions. Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future. Chaotic behavior can be observed in many natural systems, such as weather and climate. This behavior can be studied through analysis of a chaotic mathematical model, or through analytical techniques such as recurrence plots and Poincaré maps.
René Descartes Descartes laid the foundation for 17th-century continental rationalism, later advocated by Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz, and opposed by the empiricist school of thought consisting of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. Leibniz, Spinoza and Descartes were all well versed in mathematics as well as philosophy, and Descartes and Leibniz contributed greatly to science as well. His best known philosophical statement is "Cogito ergo sum" (French: Je pense, donc je suis; I think, therefore I am), found in part IV of Discourse on the Method (1637 – written in French but with inclusion of "Cogito ergo sum") and §7 of part I of Principles of Philosophy (1644 – written in Latin). Early life
Hubert Benoit (psychotherapist) Hubert Benoit (1904–1992) was a 20th-century French psychotherapist whose work foreshadowed subsequent developments in integral psychology and integral spirituality. His special interest and contribution lay in developing a pioneering form of psychotherapy which integrated a psychoanalytic perspective with insights derived from Eastern spiritual disciplines, in particular from Ch'an and Zen Buddhism. He stressed the part played by the spiritual ignorance of Western culture in the emergence and persistence of much underlying distress. He used concepts derived from psychoanalysis to explain the defences against this fundamental unease, and emphasised the importance of an analytic, preparatory phase, while warning against what he regarded as the psychoanalytic overemphasis on specific causal precursors of symptomatology. He demonstrated parallels between aspects of Zen training and the experience of psychoanalysis. ' It should be on the bookshelf of every meditator.
Materialism Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are the result of material interactions. Materialism is closely related to physicalism; the view that all that exists is ultimately physical. Philosophical physicalism has evolved from materialism with the discoveries of the physical sciences to incorporate more sophisticated notions of physicality than mere ordinary matter, such as: spacetime, physical energies and forces, dark matter, and so on. Thus the term "physicalism" is preferred over "materialism" by some, while others use the terms as if they are synonymous. Overview Despite the large number of philosophical schools and subtle nuances between many, all philosophies are said to fall into one of two primary categories, which are defined in contrast to each other: Idealism, and materialism.
Gödel's incompleteness theorems Gödel's incompleteness theorems are two theorems of mathematical logic that establish inherent limitations of all but the most trivial axiomatic systems capable of doing arithmetic. The theorems, proven by Kurt Gödel in 1931, are important both in mathematical logic and in the philosophy of mathematics. The two results are widely, but not universally, interpreted as showing that Hilbert's program to find a complete and consistent set of axioms for all mathematics is impossible, giving a negative answer to Hilbert's second problem. Empiricism John Locke, a leading philosopher of British empiricism Empiricism is a theory which states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism and skepticism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory experience, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or traditions; empiricists may argue however that traditions (or customs) arise due to relations of previous sense experiences. Empiricism, often used by natural scientists, says that "knowledge is based on experience" and that "knowledge is tentative and probabilistic, subject to continued revision and falsification