Other minds skepticism gets its teeth from the idea that minds seem to be something that we have only first-person access to. Imagine a person who doesn’t yet understand what the term “average taxpayer” means. Wittgenstein actually has his own kind of solution to the problem of other minds that he hints at here, but we will save a discussion of that until the next section when we consider some of the famous attempts to solve the problem of other minds. If we cannot rationally rule out that solipsism is true, then we cannot know that other people have minds. There are two answers to this question. When the patient wakes up, the surgeon hears him groaning and contorting his face in certain ways. One well-known proposed solution to the Problem of Other Minds is called the Analogical Inference, but this solution fails to achieve its goal of probabilistically entailing that one can know that other people have minds. One way of putting this is that conscious experience is first-person accessible, whereas behaviors are third-person accessible. Is it successful? The idea is that humans have minds (and thus thoughts) but that machines don’t have minds (and thus don’t really think). Whereas traditional behaviorists treat the brain as a kind of black box, functionalists, influenced by modern-day cognitive science, try to understand the input-output functions that the brain instantiates. However, in an important sense, the behaviorist solution to the problem, isn’t really a solution at all, but rather a rejection of the problem in the first place. True or false: The aspect of “mind” that is operative in the problem of other minds is that of conscious experience. Russell thinks it is perfectly rational to assume, based on the correlation, M → B in my own case, that the same thing holds for others, based on the strength of analogy between our intelligent behaviors, which are very similar. Particular taxpayers are things that we encounter in time and space (Bob, Sue, Sally) but “average taxpayer” is not that kind of thing. It will answer questions like the above “D”-umbrella question correctly and it will be able to describe the fragrance of a rose and distinguish that smell from the smell of coffee. But since these intelligent behaviors could be caused by things that aren’t conscious, I cannot confidently infer that others have conscious experience. Wittgenstein’s point was that there can’t be because anything that is essentially private is not something that could figure into the meaning of a publicly shared language. The behaviorist thinks that the problem of other minds is only a problem because it assumes a mistaken view of the nature of the mind. So we all call things by the same color—for example, we all refer to stop signs as “red” and grass as “green”—but what you in your head experience as red, I experience as green. The Problem of Other Minds remains as a puzzling issue in the philosophy of mind. The sceptic raises a doubt about thepossibility of knowledge in connection with the mind of another, adoubt which is thought to follow from a more general doubt raised byDescartes concerning our knowledge of the external world. But now notice where this response puts us. That is a hasty generalization, par excellence. And since these mental terms refer to publicly observable phenomena, it turns out that we can know other minds just as directly as we can know our own minds! The strength of the argument rests on the strength of analogy between my behaviors and the behaviors of others. How could you know this isn’t the case? Suppose I have 100 friends, all of whom I believe have minds like mine and all of whose intelligent behaviors I have observed. Which of the following statements is crucial to Russell’s argument from analogy? I can know what I want or believe through introspection. [5] Since in my own case I can observe both my conscious thoughts, on the one hand, and the intelligent behaviors, on the other, I am able to establish a correlation between them: M → B (read this as “M reliably precedes B”). A philosophical zombie is, so to speak, dead inside—it doesn’t experience anything. They appear in all kinds of official documents talking about facts about the country, but they have never been encountered in real life! Here is the relevant passage in Russell where I think he makes the fatal error: “If, whenever we can observe whether A and B are present or absent, we find that every case of B has an A as a causal antecedent [in our own case], then it is probable that most Bs have As as causal antecedents [in the case of others], even in cases where observation does not enable us to know whether A is present or not.”. In all of these cases I am often aware of the conscious thoughts I am having and I recognize that my intelligent behavioral responses are regularly preceded by those conscious thoughts. The problem is that Russell seems to be committing exactly this fallacy in his solution to the problem of other minds. According to Russell, the argument takes this form: Only A’s cause B’s. If all we meant by “mind” was simply whatever it is that causes a certain class of behaviors (namely, those we deem “intelligent”), then there is no problem of other minds. Dissolutions of philosophical problems reject that the problem really is a problem. The Problem of other minds: how can we know that other people have minds? What might the skeptic say in response to this reasoning? 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Carritt, "Criticisms of Utilitarianism", J. J. C. Smart, "Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism", Bernard Williams, "Utilitarianism and Integrity", Peter Singer, "Famine, Affluence, and Morality", Immanuel Kant, "Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals", J. David Velleman, "A Brief Introduction to Kantian Ethics", Onora O'Neill, "Kantian Approaches to Some Famine Problems", G. A. Cohen, "Where the Action Is: On the Site of Distributive Justice", John Stuart Mill, "The Subjection of Women", Debra Satz, "Markets in Women's Reproductive Labor", Richard Taylor, "The Meaning of Human Existence", Anthony Brueckner and John Martin Fischer, "Why is Death Bad?

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