Searle’s outside the physical world can enter into
Searle’s Mind: A Brief Introduction has the intentions of introducing the reader to a number of philosophical matters about the mind and other concepts that arise from philosophy, but in particular their weaknesses. The author aims to speak from a number of modern views through biology, physics or ontology, rather than the traditional theories such as the Cartesian dualism, however he does often include aspects of materialism and dualism in explaining concepts and to also pick out the truths from these theories rather than to critique it.In the book Searle’s begins with an outline of a dozen problems of the philosophy of the mind which then goes into further detail in various parts throughout the book. Some of the problems that are only mentioned in comparison to larger issues such as the mind body problem include whether animals have minds, where Descartes believes that animals don’t have minds because they don’t have a language they can communicate with, however Searle points out that animals do have ways to show their emotions such as dogs wagging their tails as a sign of happiness. One other topic that is a strand of the mind-body problem is mental causation, proposing the issue of how mental processes can affect the physical world or even cause bodily movements if ‘Nothing outside the physical world can enter into the physical world and act causally’ (Searle., 2004, p.31). Another problem is sleep, where there is confusion on whether or not we exist when we are unconscious when we sleep, which then resulted in an explanatory gap due to the lack of explanation.Chapter 2 then turns to materialism but Searle soon begins to point of the problems of dualism and in particular mentions that substance dualism has some sort of spiritual energy instead of a physical reasoning behind energy and within the brain. Searle then dismisses property dualism (weaker form of substance dualism) because of the same difficulties that substance dualism has. Maybe an alternative approach to understanding the mind could be materialism? The author seems to consider the different forms of materialism that ranges from behaviourism, a dated theory, to computer functionalism, a more recent theory. However, in chapter 3, Searle criticises everything he had previously said about materialism by stating the eight and a half arguments against it. These included Thomas Nagels ‘what is it like to be a bat?’ questioning whether or not we understand knowledge the physiology or a bad without having a subjective judgement, and Searle’s very own ideology of the Chinese room, where humans are more complex in terms of having more elements than symbols and its meaning as a computer would. From this he then came to the conclusion of, ‘Neither dualism nor materialism is acceptable and yet they are presented to us as the only possibilities’ (Searle., 2004, p. 102-106).When it comes to the consciousness and the mind body problem that Searle discusses in depth but concisely, he states that there are mistaken assumptions such as there being difficulties when describing the differences between the aspects of dualism, the mental and physical realm, and the fact that reduction is unclear in relation to the alleged cause of consciousness. However Searle’s favored solution to this problem is taking on a biological naturalistic solution where consciousness is part of the brain system, but caused by lower level neurobiological processes in the brain. Philosophers see the neurobiological approaches in two parts; a building block approach where conscious field is made of units, the approach most neurobiologists take on according to Searle, and a unified field approach that shows consciousness as being subjective and qualitative. The approach that is more likely to succeed in this problem from Searle’s view is the unified field approach because the other approach claims that if you produce one block then there will be a constant experience of that block and nothing else. Whilst instead ‘We should think of perception not as creating consciousness but as modifying a preexisting conscious field’ (Searle., 2004, p.155).Searle then addresses another concept with his own views that seems to be very puzzling, intentionality and the distinction between intentionality-with-a-T (the mind being directed by objects or our surrounding in the world) and intensionality –with-an-s (whether internal qualities of an object are the same acting as the opposite to extensionality). In terms of this chapter so far, Searle is successful in breaking down vocabulary and assumptions about intentionality, achieving some of his initial aims. Although Searle stresses the fact that this is only a small part of understanding intentionality. Searle believes that our intentional thoughts and behaviours come from within our body and not from the world and the self. Hence Searle put forward the two arguments for externalism of the Twin Earth constructed by Hilary Putnam (where beliefs are different) and the Arthritis Argument by Tyler Burge (the change of language based on background assumptions). Following the concept of free will, if it is supposedly a part of our mind then why can it have an effect on the physical world that is entirely determined? In some sense free will must be real from a psychological perspective but Searle’s disagrees and comes to the conclusion of constructing two hypothesis to not solve the issue but to consider it in terms of current theories. The first is that the brain is a machine and everything is determined and the second hypothesis being, quantum mechanics gives a sense of randomness but not freedom. Thus the author came to the assumption with uncertainty that we may not really have freedom and may never know why the notion of free will exists in our brain because there is no solution to this problem. This is one of the arguments that I think was weakly developed compared to the other concepts because if its lack of development on the issue but also noSearle had mentioned that there may be a connection between the unconscious and the consciousness and intentionality. He dedicates a section of chapter 9 to the connection principle where the unconscious mental state cannot be explained in terms of near all biological properties but should be considered in terms of describing a brain mechanism. Now to the part of intentionality, it links to unconsciousness because this and neurobiology are similar in terms of it having no aspects all shape causes us to merge two types of unconsciousness together, the deep unconsciousness and the non-consciousness. Although Searle isn’t pleased about this principle by only giving the justification of the connection principle being only way to go about this issue.Regarding Descartes last issue of the self, he believes that in his famous slogan ‘I think before I am’ the ‘I’ is not the body but is the mind and its mental substance. However for those who would reject dualism would ask themselves, what is the self? Hume stated that it is just a sequence of experiences in fact any experience we have is caused by another experience, which seems logical to Searle but not a psychological explanation. However Searle thinks that ‘we absolutely must postulate a self in addition to the sequence of experience’ (Searle., 2004, p. 292), suggesting that the self is not seen as it being a product of its capacity but instead it is seen through qualities and a unit that has capacities and a sense of perception. However he admits that he cannot get any deeper into this. But these events must follow our personal experiences as concluded with the analogy of the ‘ship of thesus’ where the question of if one was to replace original pieces of a ship would it still be the same ship to begin with? Rounding up the review of Searle’s mind: a brief introduction, Searle stated at the beginning of the book, ‘I can at least give you a feel for the richness of the subject matter’ (Searle., 2004, p. 5-6), I think he has successfully given his account of the mind and its aspects being a mental phenomena and part of nature. He concluded that we do not in fact live in two separate worlds (the mental and the physical) but we are in one world trying to describe our situation within it. Searle has deeply thought about biological naturalism and in many cases it provides the readers a more contemporary approach that makes reading the book far more interesting.