Stępnik Andrzej
PDF Print Email
48(2012)1 - Current controversies about soul

Andrzej Stępnik

The philosophical consequences of the evolutionary paradigm in mind examination

  • language: Polish


Summary

The aim of the article is to consider the philosophical consequences of the evolutionary paradigm in mind examination and to examine some methodological problems connected with evolutionary explanations. The article consists of four parts. The theory of evolution and contemporary controversies related to it are outlined in the first part. The second concerns the evolutionary paradigm applied to mind examination, especially from the methodological perspective. The third is entirely dedicated to an analysis of the philosophical consequences of the evolutionary paradigm, and the last is a summary. The result is the recognition of the evolutionary paradigm as an interesting perspective, which doesn’t demand far-reaching ontological assumptions, which allows for the rejection of some views concerning the mind-body problem. But the evolutionary paradigm cannot be the only universal paradigm, and some of the evolutionary explanations are nothing more than hypotheses or speculations.

 

 
PDF Print Email
45(2009)2 - Consciousness and the Subject


Andrzej Stępnik

Traditional definition of knowledge and the awareness of one's beliefs

  • language: Polish


Summary

According to the traditional definition of propositional knowledge, S knows that p if and only if (a) p is true, (b) S believes that p, and (c) p is epistemically justified for S.

The objective of the paper is to analyze the adequacy of the traditional definition of knowledge, especially the condition (b), in the context of Sperry?s experiments on patient who had commissurotomy (surgical separation of brain?s hemispheres). The standard split-brain experiment performed by Sperry involved a split-brain patient sitting in front of a screen that hides his or her hands from view. The patient is given a knife in the left hand. The information from the left arm is received by the non-verbal right hemisphere of the brain resulting in the patient not being able to tell the experimenter what they hold in the left hand. The patient would then be asked to reach behind the screen with their left hand and pick out the object that corresponds with the thing previously given. As the right hemisphere controls the movement of the left side of the body, the left hand is able to pick out the correct object. We can ask some important questions: Does the patient know what they are holding in the left hand? If the patient knows, can we say then that they believe that they are holding a knife in the left hand? If the patient does not know, then how can we explain that they are able to pick out the correct object? Can we say that in such a situation there is only one person who knows what they are holding in the left hand? Maybe we deal with two different minds?

The paper attempts to demonstrate that possible interpretations of Sperry?s experiment imply the need to broaden the meaning of ?belief? and ?knowledge?, or to find the traditional definition of knowledge inadequate.