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Essays in Philosophy and Science in Honor of HERBERT FEIGL



Copyright 1966 by the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 66-13467


Table of Contents

HERBERT FEIGL: A Biographical Sketch by Paul K. Feyerabend Part I. Philosophy of Mind and Related Issues FEIGL ON THE MIND-BODY PROBLEM by Bruce Aune MENTAL AND PHYSICAL: Identity versus Sameness by May Brodbeck THE PSYCHOANALYST AND HIS RELATIONSHIP TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE by Rudolf Ekstein A TASK FOR PHILOSOPHERS by Wolfgang Kohler WHY ISN'T THE MIND-BODY PROBLEM ANCIENT? by Wallace I. Matson

17 40 59 70 92

THE COMPLEAT AUTOCEREBROSCOPIST: A Thought-Experiment on Professor Feigl's Mind-Body Identity Thesis by Paul E. Meehl 103 FREE WILL by Carroll C. Pratt THE LIMITATIONS OF THE IDENTITY THEORY by Michael Scriven THE REFUTATION OF PHENOMENALISM: Prolegomena to a Defense of Scientific Realism by Wilfrid Sellars QUANTIFYING THE SENSORY EXPERIENCE by S. S. Stevens 181 191 198 215

Part II. Induction, Confirmation, and Philosophical Method




Part III. Philosophy of the Physical Sciences ON THE POSSIBILITY OF A PERPETUUM MOBILE OF THE SECOND KIND by Paul K. Feyerabend EQUIVALENCE: The Paradox of Theoretical Analysis by Norwood Russell Hanson CLASSICAL MECHANICS AS A LIMITING FORM OF QUANTUM MECHANICS by E. L. Hill RELATIVITY AND THE ATOM by Henryk Mehlberg 409 413 430 449

LANGUAGE, SPATIAL CONCEPTS, AND PHYSICS by Wolfgang Yourgrau 492 ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS BIBLIOGRAPHY of the Writings of Herbert Feigl, to December 1965 NAME INDEX 507



Why Isn't the Mind-Body Problem Ancient?

What would we have to do to make the ghost of Aristotle understand the mind-body problem? Any teaching assistant can set up the mind-body problem so that any freshman will be genuinely worried about it. Yet none of the ancients ever dreamed of it, not even the author of De Anima. Why didn't they? Was it just a lamentable oversight, like the failure of the Alexandrians to invent the steam engine?

Feigl suggests [2, page 451] that the historical origins of the identity theory set forth in "The 'Mental' and the 'Physical'" might be found in Aristotle. Presumably he had passages like these in mind: Sensation consists in being moved and acted upon. . . . It seems to be a sort of change of state. (De Am'ma 416b33, Hett translation, Loeb Classical Library, modified.) The affections (pathe) of the soul are proportions (logoi) expressed in matter. Their definitions therefore must be in harmony with this; for instance, anger must be defined as a movement of a body, or of a part or faculty of a body, in a particular state roused by such a cause, with such an end in view. (Ibid., 403a25.) The natural philosopher will define anger as a surging of the blood and heat round the heart. (Ibid., 403bl.) Sensing is a bodily function. (Ibid., 427a27.) The affections of the soul, such as desire (thumos) and fear, are inseparable from the matter of living things in which their nature is manifested, and are not separable like a line or a plane. (Ibid., 403bl7.)


WALLACE I. MATSON By "separable like a line or a plane" Aristotle means "separable in thought" (see De Anima 403al3). Thus the last passage amounts to a claim that "The affections are inseparable from matter" is analytically true. This stronger version of the identity thesis Feigl himself explicitly repudiates. However, Aristotle was by no means the originator of these ideas about mind. Here as elsewhere he was codifying opinions commonly held. A century earlier Empedocles had asserted that "mind (noema) in men is the blood around the heart" (Fragment 105). Not very many explicit statements of this sort are to be found in Greek literature, but that is so because mind-body identity was taken for granted. An elaborate physiology of mind is to be found in Homer (see [5], Part I, Chapters I-IV). Indeed, in the whole classical corpus there exists no denial of the view that sensing is a bodily process throughout. If, then, one means by "identity theory" simply the contention that what we call mind and its manifestations are not separable from the body, surely Aristotle and his predecessors subscribed to this theory. But in the more correct sense in which use of the word "theory" implies a preexistent theory-generating puzzlement, the Greeks held neither an identity theory of mind-body nor any other. Feigl expresses the mind-body problem in the material mode as "How are the raw feels related to behavioral (or neurophysiological) states?" and in the formal mode as "What are the logical relations of raw-feeltalk (phenomenal terms, if not phenomenal language) to the terms and statements in the language of behavior (or of neurophysiology)?" [2, page 372; compare pages 416, 424, 425, 446]. These formulations are superior to the more usual ones, which go approximately "Does the mind affect the body? or body mind? or both? and if so how?" For in order to say anything sensible to the latter type of question, one must first theorize mightily about Mind. In the end the question is either trivialized or rephrased in some way equivalent to Feigl's. Moreover, the question with "affect" in it prejudges the answer, insofar as it is bound to be given in terms of causation. Even though no Greek could have understood a question stated in terms of neurophysiology, it seems strange nevertheless that the ancients did not ponder questions amounting to the mind-body problem in its Feigelian formulation. If one were told that anger was the boiling of blood around the heart, might one not be expected to point out that,

PHILOSOPHY OF MIND granting the invariable presence of boiling blood in the chests of angry men, still the angry feeling is clearly distinguishable from the boiling blood? And if so, might one not conclude that the way is open for questions of a conceptual sort concerning the logical relations of anger talk to the statements in the language of hematothermodynamics? Nor can we say that the Greeks failed to ask the mind-body question because they had not attained the appropriate level of sophistication. For it is a crucial feature of the mind-body problem that if it is a problem at all, it is a glaringly obvious problem; or at least it can be made so in a few words, to persons uncorrupted by philosophy. So at any rate we are assured by enthusiasts for the problem such as C. D. Broad. His method for disposing of people who say that the mental is nothing but the physical [1, pages 622-623] can be paraphrased as follows. To the man who says anger is nothing but boiling blood, we point out that there are questions which make sense when asked about boiling blood but are nonsense if raised about anger: Has it changed its color? Is it hotter or colder than boiling water? Is it getting thicker or thinner? Conversely we can ask of anger, but not of boiling blood, whether it could be appeased by an apology, whether it is justifiable or childish, and so on. Therefore "anger" and "boiling blood" cannot be synonymous expressions. What their relation may be is a subject for inquiry. Broad goes on to say: "It seems to me then that Reductive Materialism in general, and strict Behaviourism in particular, may be rejected. They are instances of the numerous class of theories which are so preposterously silly that only very learned men could have thought of them" (ibid.). Aristotle was a very learned man. And some of his theories may even deserve to be called preposterously silly. However, Broad has by implication indicted not just Aristotle but the whole Greek nation. Therefore we in our turn are compelled to reject the contention that reductive materialism and strict behaviorism, whether or not preposterously silly, could have been thought of only by very learned men. At least we must do so, if taking-for-granted is to count as thinking-of. This in itself, however, is only to score a debating point against a turn of Broadian rhetoric. The substantial question remains that of whether reductive materialism and strict behaviorism are indeed preposterously silly. There is nothing unusual about whole nations and cultures holding silly views. In the case before us, however, we are asked to believe not

WALLACE I. MATSON only that the Greeksnot the dullest people who ever livedheld a view that will not stand against a paragraph of criticism, but also, what is far more paradoxical, that none of their philosophers was capable of producing the paragraph.
II Those who teach the introductory course in philosophy know that it is not hard to set up the mind-body problem. One way is to begin with the question whether a tree falling in a deserted forest makes a sound. Often a freshman will suggest, without being professorially prompted, that the word "sound" is ambiguous: it can mean the motion in the air, or the sensation in the hearer. There is sound in the former sense, not in the latter. This solution seems always to content the students, who through their lives count this bit of semantical sophistication among the treasures that made the Humanities requirement worthwhile. The distinction having thus been made between vibration in the air and sensation or "raw feel" in thewhat?it is but a short step further for the instructor to convince the students that it makes sense to talk of raw feels separate from all physical processes, actual or hypothetical, in the body of the sentient. If some dullard persists in maintaining that the feel just is the neural discharge or the boiling blood, he can be at least silenced, and often convinced, by describing the construction, function, and results hoped to be obtained from the autocerebroscope. "Sensation" and "neural discharge," everybody now admits, are not synonyms. Therefore it is logically possible for what the terms respectively designate to exist apart from each other. Indeed, at this point it looks as if the feels and the transactions at the synapses must be separate items in the inventory of the universe. Yet it is also obvious that somehow they are intimately linked. The question can at last be asked: What is the nature of this linkage? Or to put it only slightly more technically, "How are raw feels related to behavioral (or neurophysiological) states?" A few more lessons in the jargon and the student will even understand "What are the logical relations of raw-feel-talk . . . to the terms and statements in the language of behavior (or of neurophysiology)?" This way of setting up the mind-body problem consists in pointing out to the student that there is something of which he is "immediately" or "directly" aware or which is the "content of his awareness," viz., his sensations or "raw feels"; that the sensations cannot be identical with the


PHILOSOPHY OF MIND objects of the external world, such as trees and vibrating air; that for the same reasons, they cannot be identical with certain subcutaneous goingsonor that, at least at the outset, it looks hopeless to maintain that they are. Whereupon one asks: What is (how are we to conceive) the relation between the sensation and the brain event? The class is now in a position to begin pondering the merits and drawbacks of "materialism, mentalism, mind-body interactionism, evolutionary emergence theories, psychoneurophysiological parallelism (epiphenomenalism, isomorphism, double aspect theories), and neutral monism" [2, page 371]. Yet Aristotle would have been baffled by all this. Why? Do the freshmen really understand it? Do we? If one is puzzled about how X is related to Y, one must already know, or think one knows, a great deal about X, Y, and the possible sorts of relations between them. If the puzzlement is relieved by an explanation, the terms in the explanation must all be understood; and that means they must all be familiar to the person whose puzzlement has been cleared up. Let me illustrate these platitudes by referring to a problem the Greeks did consider, the soul-body problem. The question is, How is the soul related to the body? In the formula S R B, the B already is familiar, the R is restricted at the outset to the category of (inter)action, and the S signifies "the vital principle," that is, whatever there is in or about a living being that distinguishes it from a corpse. Before Aristotle, it was further taken for granted that S must be a "thing," which meant for the Greeks a material object. (As indeed it did and does for everyone, no matter what may be said.) Whatever kind of object it might turn out to be, it had to be of a sort that could conceivably affect the body, i.e., move it. And since the only familiar, hence comprehensible, way in which one thing could affect another was that in which the individual Greek affected something else, it followed at once that the soul had to be a double of the individual Greek, wholly or in part. It is not surprising that in Greece, as well as in every other culture that has the concept at all, the soul is initially thought of as an interior double, which both pushes and orders the body around. For the same reason gods are gigantic personages hurling thunderbolts and shooting arrows as well as issuing commands and deceiving men and each other. For there are only two ways to get something done: do it yourself, by

WALLACE I. MATSON pushing and tugging, or get someone else to do it for you. The latter method, being much preferred, tends to be emphasized as the modus operand! of the Ideal. In simple societies the tendency is checked somewhat by the necessity the rulers have to justify their status by being good at handling weapons (see for instance Iliad, XII, 310-321). But at length the activity of gods, and of souls, comes to be conceived exclusively on the model of commanding: There is one god, greatest among gods and men, not like mortals in form nor in thought (noema). All of him sees, all of him thinks (noei), and all of him hears. But exempt from labor he sets all things in motion by the force of thought (noou phreni). Forever he remains in the same place, not moving at all, nor does it befit him to ramble hither and yon. (Xenophanes, Fragments 23-26.) For mind (nous) is the most rarefied of all things and the purest, and it has complete knowledge (gnomen) in regard to everything and the greatest power; . . . and mind ruled the rotation of the whole, so that in the beginning a rotation started. (Anaxagoras, from Fragment 12.) And God said: Let there be light. And there was light. (Genesis i: 3.) In the beginning was the Word (logos). (John i:l.) This kind of view, though it may be stigmatized as magical, is nevertheless progressive in three ways. It marks the growth of society from petty tribalism, in which the chief is the mightiest warrior, or must pretend to be, to a large and organized state in which the Great King is the fountainhead of administration. It shows some dissatisfaction with, and emancipation from, the sort of pseudoexplanation which merely duplicates the explicandum. And it embodies an application of the principle of parsimony. For if the operative factor is the giving of the order, or even anteriorly the forming of the intent, why require the agent also to execute it? The execution can be put on the side of the effect. Here we have the genesis of idealist metaphysics. Materialism develops from the other side of the human-action model, the banausic manhandling. This is one reason why materialism through the ages has been unacceptable in the best society. Refinement of the anthropomorphic soul and god could go no further. The great step, the greatest single step ever taken in thinking on this subject, was made at last by Aristotle, who rejected the notion that the soul is a thing at all, and said instead that it is the kind of organization and functioning that certain pieces of matter have. "If the eye were a living creature, its soul would be its vision." (De Anima II, i.) Aristotle's

PHILOSOPHY OF MIND achievement has not been sufficiently recognized and applauded. But that is another story. Now back to the mind-body problem. Since this also is a puzzlement about a relation, its schema is M R B. B again stands for body or relevant parts or aspects thereof: "neurophysiology," perhaps. M = "raw feels," sensations, or what notat any rate, things prima facie distinct from anything and everything symbolized by B. R appears again to be the relation of (inter)action. When now we turn our scrutiny to the R, we see that we are really in no better case than the Greeks. Even today no kinds of action are familiar to us from our experience except push-pull and command. Indeed we are worse off than the Greeks, and even than our early modern predecessors, for we are convinced that command is not a distinct kind of action. The passages in Descartes and Berkeley that tell of how God puts images directly into our minds and brings about various states of affairs by willing them no longer carry conviction or even make sense. Hence the mind-body problem with R interpreted as (inter)action becomes in effect "How does a sensation push or pull, or get pushed or pulled, by a nerve tissue?"; and this problem, not surprisingly, is insoluble. Some philosophers think the way out is to be Humean about causation, but such evasive tactics have nothing to recommend them. Unless our ideas about body are in need of revisiona possibility I shall ignorethere seem to be only two ways left for progress. One is to question the assumption that R in M R B must be causation or action of some sort. It might be just "=": we should then have the identity theory. This is of course the way out that Feigl has explored. If the mindbody problem is conceded to be a genuine problem, then the Feigelian solution must be correct and definitive. Needless to say, it entails a drastic modification, though not abandonment, of the traditional philosophical notion of "sensation." But need we concede the genuineness of the problem? Need we concede that "sensation" as it occurs in the statement of the problem must designate some thing?

Was anyone ever really puzzled by the hoary puzzle about the tree falling in the uninhabited forest? Did the freshman who came up with

WALLACE I. MATSON the distinction between two senses of "sound" really think it up on the spot? Or had he heard it from a sophomore roommate? The question "is quickly clarified by the distinction between the sound waves (vibrations in the air) and sounds-as-heard" [2, page 409]. How? Is this the way? One is asked, "If a tree falls in a deserted forest, does it make a sound?" One replies, "First inform me whether you mean by 'sound' sound waves (i.e., vibrations in the air) or sounds-as-heard." The questioner tells us what he meant, after which we can answer his original question Yes or No. That can't be the way. If the questioner knew which he meant, he wouldn't have asked the question. So he must not have known, and his question was only a picturesque way of asking whether "sound" means "sound waves" or "sounds-as-heard." The same sort of case, it seems, as William James's metaphysician-and-squirrel. "Take your choice," say both Feigl and James. But do we have the choice? What will people think if we say that when a wheel is revolving, the outer half of a given spoke goes around the inner half of the same spoke? What will be the reaction if we announce that the wind blew the big tree down and we heard the deafening crash-as-heard? This business entered the philosophical tradition via the second Dialogue between Hylas and Philonous. There it was the conveniently moronic Hylas who tried to make a quick clarification by means of a distinction. Philonous would have none of it. Maintaining that it is an evident contradiction to speak of an unheard sound, he insisted that by hypothesis there would be no sound, if indeed it made any sense to suggest that there might be. Berkeley was right to deny that the word "sound" is ambiguous; but he was wrong as to what it means. "Sound" means "what is heard"; you can define it that way, if you like (as if definitions mattered!). But what is heardwhat sound isis air vibration. This, to be sure, is a fact that had to be discovered, and the word "sound" is older than the discovery. From this it by no means follows, however, that the word ever meant a sensation or "raw feel." The devices whereby "hear a sound" has been construed as parallel to "feel an itch" have been sufficiently anatomized in recent years. Nor is there any parallel between the Jamesian squirrel and the Berkeleyan tree. There are not two senses of "around," but there are, as Austin has pointed out, two requirements for its application, which are usually satisfied simultaneously: roughly, circumnavigation and boxing

PHILOSOPHY OF MIND the compass. Whereas the suppositions second (or even first) sense of "sound" is simply nonexistent. Or if in philosophy a linguistic explanation is demanded for every metaphysical perplexity, perhaps we ought to diagnose this one as arising from taking the tautology "Nothing can be heard but sound" as excluding the possibility of hearing, "in truth and strictness," bells, explosions, and vibrating air on the ground that these are not sounds "by definition" (see [4]). Perhaps, however, all we need to do about this puzzle is to point out that the initial question was asked in fact not by the worried freshman but by the suave professor. The presumption, among many freshmen, is that all questions put by professors are sensible. The student's train of thought must have been something like this: "Since the question makes sense, both Yes and No answers must at least make sense also. The No answer can make sense only if 'sound' is tied to 'being heard' by definition. Therefore there must be such a meaning of 'sound,' even though I have never run across it beforebut after all, I'm here for an education." Exit Freshman to take the Ph.D. and repeat the cycle. Hence if the mind-body problem had to be introduced via the alleged distinction of two meanings of "sound," it would be based on a sophism. We could then congratulate the Greeks on never having thought of it. But, it will be said, certainly the matter cannot be so simple as that. There are all sorts of other ways to set up the problem. Here, for example, is Leibniz's: Perception, and all that it means, is not to be explained by reasons which hold good in mechanics. We cannot, that is to say, explain perception by figures and movements. Let us imagine a machine capable of thinking, feeling, and perceiving; let us conceive it magnified, still preserving its proportions, until we can fancy ourselves entering into it as into a mill. On going in we should see the interlocking parts, but we should not see anything which would explain a perception [3, Section 17, page 55]. But what is it to "explain perception"? What would count? Compare: (1) "Long-wave light reflected from the surface of the tomato is focused on the retina. This causes certain dyes to break down, releasing energy which is transmitted through a fiber of the optic nerve to the visual cortex. We understand the process up to this point, but we do not know yet how the firing of the last neuron on the line causes the sensation of perceiving the tomato." (2) "Long-wave light reflected . . . to the visual cortex. That is what seeing a tomato is." What is wrong with (2)? Any100'

WALLACE I. MATSON thing? Which one is entitled to be called "the causal theory of perception"? Either one? The Greeks did not lack a concept of mind, even of a mind separable from the body. But from Homer to Aristotle, the line between mind and body, when drawn at all, was drawn so as to put the processes of sense perception on the body side. That is one reason why the Greeks had no mind-body problem. Another is that it is difficult, almost impossible, to translate such a sentence as "What is the relation of sensation to mind (or soul)?" into Greek. The difficulty is in finding a Greek equivalent for "sensation" in the sense philosophers make it bear. It is true that in translations of De Anima one finds "sensation" and "perception" used freely where Aristotle has aisthesis. But this is seldom right. Aisthe'sis means "sense" ("the five senses") or "sensing" (a generic term for cases of seeing, hearing, etc., individually or collectively taken). Perceptions and sensations are had, while the word-for-word equivalent in Greek of "to have a sensation," aisthesin echein, would mean (if it meant anything) "to be sensed," i.e., to have an aisthesis directed toward one, to be the object of an aisthesis. Secondly, "perception" and "sensation" are (in their philosophical employments) terms of art, whereas aisthesis is not. "Sensation" was introduced into philosophy precisely to make it possible to speak of a conscious state without committing oneself as to the nature or even existence of external stimuli. On the other hand, an aisthesis must have a cause, though it may turn out not to be what it was thought to be at first. It is this open feature of the term, moreover, that makes "perception" an inadequate rendering. However, the comparatively rare formation aisthema, "that which is the consequence of the activity in aisthesis," occurs in Aristotle's writings some ten times, and in three of these cases it is natural and perhaps inevitable to translate it by "sensation," "sense impression," or even "sense datum." All of them, though, occur in the treatise On Dreams (460b2, 461al9, 461b22), and the spooky context, the need for a word to designate a floating image not ascribable to sense perception, explains the usage. On Dreams, being pre-Cartesian, is not an epistemological work. On the whole, it seems that the Greeks found it no more necessary, or even possible, to talk "phenomenal language" or "raw-feel-talk" than we do, and that their philosophers lacked motives, such as Ryle has catalogued, for exhorting them to do so. And no sensations, no mind-body problem. It does no good to exclaim, with Feigl [2, page 390], to the un-


PHILOSOPHY OF MIND believer "Don't you want anesthesia if the surgeon is to operate on you? And if so, what you want prevented is the occurrence of the (very!) raw feels of pain, is it not?" For what one wants prevented is the pain, tout court.
REFERENCES 1. Broad, C. D. The Mind and Its Place in Nature. London: Kegan Paul, 1925. 2. Feigl, Herbert. "The 'Mental' and the 'Physical,'" in Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. II, Herbert Feigl, Michael Scriven, and Grover Maxwell, eds., pp. 370-497. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1958. 3. Leibniz, G. W. Monadology, translated by Herbert Wildon Carr. London: Favil Press, 1930. 4. Margolis, Joseph. "Nothing Can Be Heard but Sound," Analysis, 20:82-87 (March 1968). 5. Onians, R. B. Origins of European Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1951.