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Ideas of Keith T. Maslin, by Text

[British, fl. 2001, Head of Philosophy at Esher College, Surrey.]

2001 Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind
1.1 p.3 'Ontology' means 'study of things which exist'
     Full Idea: The word 'ontology' is derived from the Greek word 'ontia', which means 'things which exist'.
     From: Keith T. Maslin (Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind [2001], 1.1)
1.7 p.23 I'm not the final authority on my understanding of maths
     Full Idea: I may be the final authority on whether my shoe pinches, but I am manifestly not the final authority on whether I understand some mathematical theorem.
     From: Keith T. Maslin (Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind [2001], 1.7)
     A reaction: However, it doesn't follow that his teachers are the final authority either, because he may get correct answers by an algorithm, and bluff his way when demonstrating his understanding. Who knows whether anyone really understands anything?
10.7 p.279 If we are brains then we never meet each other
     Full Idea: If I am my brain this leads to the odd result that you have never met me because you have never seen my brain.
     From: Keith T. Maslin (Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind [2001], 10.7)
     A reaction: 'Star Trek' is full of aliens who appear beautiful, and turn out to be ugly grey lumps. 'I am my face' would be just as odd, particularly if I were in a coma, or dead.
3.8.6 p.93 Token-identity removes the explanatory role of the physical
     Full Idea: In token-identity mental and physical features seem as unrelated as colour and shape, which is very weak physicalism because it does not allow physical states an explanatory role in accounting for mental states.
     From: Keith T. Maslin (Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind [2001], 3.8.6)
     A reaction: Colour and shape are not totally unrelated, as they can both be totally explained by a full knowledge of the physical substance involved. ...But maybe if we fully understood Spinoza's single substance...? See Idea 4834.
6.3 p.167 Shadows are supervenient on their objects, but not reducible
     Full Idea: Shadows are distinct from the physical objects casting the shadows and irreducible to them; any attempt at reduction would be incoherent, as it would entail identifying a shadow with the object of which it is a shadow.
     From: Keith T. Maslin (Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind [2001], 6.3)
     A reaction: Another failure to find a decent analogy for what is claimed in property dualism. A 'shadow' is a reification of the abstract concept of an absence of light. Objects lose their shadows at dusk, but the object itself doesn't change.
7.4 p.197 Strict laws make causation logically necessary
     Full Idea: 'Deductive-nomological' explanation consists of two premises - a strict law with no exceptions and supporting deterministic counterfactuals, and a statement of an event which falls under the law - which together logically require the effect.
     From: Keith T. Maslin (Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind [2001], 7.4)
7.5 p.201 Causality may require that a law is being followed
     Full Idea: The principle of nomological causality says that if two events are intrinsically causally related, there must be a strict physical law under which they can be subsumed.
     From: Keith T. Maslin (Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind [2001], 7.5)
7.5 p.201 Strict laws allow no exceptions and are part of a closed system
     Full Idea: 'Strict' laws of nature contain no ceteris paribus clauses ('all things being equal'), and are part of a closed system (so that whatever affects the system must be included within the system).
     From: Keith T. Maslin (Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind [2001], 7.5)
7.6 p.203 Denial of purely mental causation will lead to epiphenomenalism
     Full Idea: If mental events are causally efficacious only by virtue of their physical features and not their mental ones, …then anomalous monism leads straight to ephiphenomenalism.
     From: Keith T. Maslin (Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind [2001], 7.6)
     A reaction: As epiphenomenalism strikes me as being incoherent (see Idea 7379), what this amounts to is that either mental effects are causally efficacious, or they are not worth mentioning. I take them to be causally efficacious because they are brain events.
8.2 p.215 Analogy to other minds is uncheckable, over-confident and chauvinistic
     Full Idea: The argument from analogy makes it impossible to check my inductive inferences because of the privacy of other minds; it also seems irresponsible to generalise from a single case; and it seems like a case of human chauvinism.
     From: Keith T. Maslin (Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind [2001], 8.2)
     A reaction: Privacy of other minds need not imply scepticism about them. I'm a believer, so I have no trouble checking my theories. Solipsists can't 'check' anything. It isn't 'irresponsible' to generalise from one case if that is all you have.