Oklahoma State University Philosophy Questions Discussion

Instructions: Answer every question. Make sure you fully answer each part of the question. Define technical terms. Extensive quotes are unacceptable. Explain your answers in your own words rather than quote the readings or the handouts. Answers will be graded on accuracy, completeness, and conciseness. 1 Explain the difference between law-based approach to psychology and a mechanism-based approach to psychology (Cummins). Law-based approaches and mechanistic approaches do not strictly imply that psychology reduces to some lower-level science or that psychology is autonomous, but depending on which view you adopt the argumentative terrain is different (Shapiro, Hardcastle). Explain how a law-based approach would resist or accept reductionism and how a mechanism-based approach would resist or accept reductionism. 2 Explain how, in a modular mental architecture, neural localization is connected to characteristic breakdown. Prinz argues against these two features of modules. Explain his arguments. How could a modularity theorist (like Carruthers) defend these two features against Prinz’s arguments? 3 What is the Frame Problem, and how is it a problem for the Classical Model of the mind, which posits perceptual modules and a central system? How is informational encapsulation is meant to solve the Frame Problem? Explain the concern that wide encapsulation either doesn’t do the job or isn’t proprietary to modularity (Carruthers, Prinz). 4 A powerful, though controversial, style of argument for nativism is the Poverty of the Stimulus type of argument (Margolis & Laurence). Using an example of your choosing, explain how these arguments are supposed to work. How would an empiricist (like Prinz) challenge the Poverty of the Stimulus argument you lay out. What sort of evidence would we need in order to decide which perspective – nativist or empiricist – is right with respect to this example? 5 What is the Hard Problem of Consciousness, and if we accept that there is a Hard Problem of Consciousness which views about consciousness would this rule out? If we reject the Hard Problem of consciousness, which views about consciousness would this rule out? What is the relationship between the Hard Problem and the Explanatory Gap? Do they necessarily hang together, or could one be true and the other false?

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