Philosophy Part 3: Knowledge of mental states and behaviour – insights from Heidegger and others.

Wittgenstein illustrates that mental states are not private, universally identical brain processes or mental events. They are socially meaningful, recognisable patterns of behaviour characteristic of human beings. We can never understand or know such states by looking in the brain or constructing models or theories of what particular mental states consist of and how they…

Philosophy Part 2: How should we think about mental states? The contribution of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

There are two broad approaches to the ‘mental’ that Wittgenstein’s ideas challenge. One is that all our feelings, thoughts and behaviours are caused by, or ‘epiphenomena’ of, a specific brain state or process. This is sometimes referred to as ‘physicalism’ (‘epiphenomenalism’ being one variant of physicalism). On this view- the one that much neuroscience is…

Philosophy Part 1: Why philosophy matters!

This is the first of a series of blogs presenting a philosophical analysis of the modern mental health system and what it is concerned with. 20th century philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, much of whose later work concerns our thinking about the ‘mind’, suggested that the role of philosophy is to identify and clear-up conceptual confusions. Many…