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He says that it seems that scientific consensus is converging on an explanation of the mind in "purely physico-chemical terms".
Armstrong writes that the purpose of his essay is to outline a Materialist account of the nature of the mind - one that is compatible with the scientific view of an entirely physico-chemical mind.
The Authority of Science[ edit ] Armstrong states that science can achieve consensus among experts on controversial matters after prolonged investigation.
This, he says, makes science the authority on the nature of the mind and other matters. It is recognized that science can make mistakes, and that some claim that science has a limited sphere of inquiry.
He puts forward science as the best hope we have in understanding the mind. Defining the Mental[ edit ] Returning to the search for a Materialist account of the mind, Armstrong considers Behaviourismwhich holds that the mind "is not something behind the behaviour of the body, it [is] simply part of that physical behaviour".
For instance, one can feel angry but not express anger. Armstrong illustrates Ryle's idea with a description of glass - brittleness is the disposition of materials such as glass to shatter under certain circumstances.
Whether or not the glass shatters in a particular instance, it has the disposition to do so. In the same way, a mind can have a disposition towards anger, but it may only express this anger under certain circumstances. Armstrong quotes Ryle's The Concept of Mind: Armstrong modifies Ryle's Behaviourism by suggesting that the mind's dispositions may be explainable by science in Materialist terms, in the same way that glass's brittleness can be explained in terms of molecular structure.
Armstrong offers this view as a true account of the mind. It is more fully developed in Belief, Truth and Knowledgech. Armstrong brings together two earlier conclusions: The Problem of Consciousness[ edit ] Armstrong now addresses what he calls 'the problem of consciousness': Armstrong considers times when the brain goes on 'auto-pilot' - during long drives without breaks, one might suddenly 'come to' and realize that while one has stayed on the road, stopped at red lights and operated the clutch, one was completely unaware of doing so.
This shows that it is possible for mental processes to take place without conscious experience. Before considering how this can be the case, Armstrong describes a method by which a psychologist may determine whether an animal can distinguish between two colours by training it to perform a task that requires this perception.
The animal's behaviour would indicate its perception of the colours. While a Behaviourist would say that the animal's behaviour was its perception, Armstrong describes the perception as a state of the animal's mind. It is implied that one could test for consciousness using a similar method.
Further illustrating his idea, Armstrong gives an analogy in which perception is a key to a door, the door being action. The unlocking of the door, and therefore action, is optional, but one cannot open the door without the key.
A blind man, for instance, lacks certain keys. As a result, he cannot operate in an environment in the same way that a sighted man can. Using this conception of perception as a state, Armstrong characterizes consciousness as "perception or awareness of the state of our own mind",  or "a self-scanning system in the central nervous system".Nature and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions) [Ralph Waldo Emerson] on ashio-midori.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
He was an ordained minister, renowned orator, and beloved author and poet whose ideas on nature, philosophy From The Community Reviews: Nature and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions) - Kindle edition by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.
Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Nature and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions)/5(22).
Egalitarianism as a Revolt against Nature, and Other Essays is vital reading for anyone interested in the thought of Murray Rothbard. The book is his comprehensive effort to . "Nature" is an essay written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and published by James Munroe and Company in In the essay Emerson put forth the foundation of transcendentalism, a belief system that espouses a non-traditional appreciation of nature.
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