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Faculty of Humanities

Analysis of Mind Conference

Abstracts

Gregory Landini

“Truth-Tracking in Russell’s Analysis of Mind”

The paper explores Russell’s attempt to preserve a correspondence notion of Truth within the naturalist reconstruction set out in in his four-dimensionalist and behaviorist-sympathetic analysis of mind. Ideas from Principia’s Appendix C will be found to be helpful.

Lydia Patton

“Mnemic Phenomena: History, Physiology, and Perception in Russell’s Analysis of Mind

In Lecture IV of Analysis of Mind, Russell argues for a version of the Semon-Hering theory: that organisms inherit prior responses to stimuli. This theory was developed by Richard Semon and Ewald Hering to account for a range of psychological and physiological phenomena. The view was central to the dispute between Hering and Hermann von Helmholtz, in a debate usually conceived as between empiricism (Helmholtz) and nativism (Hering). The true stakes of the debate, though, was about the influence of an organism’s history on its present experience. Helmholtz argued that organisms must learn from their environment starting with a comparatively blank slate, while Semon and Hering argued for inherited instinctual responses coded in an organism’s ancestral history: in other words, for an early version of the law that ‘ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny’. Russell’s account in Analysis of Mind is an interesting mixture of Helmholtzian empiricism and Semon-Hering nativism. This unlikely background informs several perplexing aspects of Russell’s account of perception in Lecture VII. The analysis of perception, imagination, sensation and the like in Lecture VII is clarified by understanding Russell’s position on how physics, physiology, and psychology – and the history of the perceiving subject – play a part in the analysis of perception.

Christopher Pincock

“Propositional Attitudes in Russell’s Analysis of Mind

In 1913 Russell famously abandoned his Theory of Knowledge manuscript due to Wittgenstein’s objections to Russell’s theory of judgment. In this paper I consider Russell’s account of belief in Analysis of Mind (1921) with these earlier objections in mind. I argue that the main features of Russell’s new account of belief can be motivated by tracing Russell’s reactions to Wittgenstein’s work from 1913 through 1921. In particular, Russell comes to endorse Wittgenstein’s claim that “ ‘A believes that p’ … [is] of the form ‘ “p” says p’: and this does not involve a correlation of a fact with an object, but rather the correlation of facts by means of the correlation of their objects” (Tractatus, 5.542). But, unlike Wittgenstein, Russell used empirical investigations to clarify how such correlations were achieved.

Leopold Stubenberg

“Experience: Having It and Knowing It”

I look at how Russell handles experience (in the what-its-like sense) prior to The Analysis of Mind, in The Analysis of Mind, and after The Analysis of Mind. Take an experience of red, for example. I will ask three questions about it: (1) Do I learn where in the world the quality of redness is? (2) Do I learn what my experience of red is, what it consists of? (3) Do I learn how I attain immediate knowledge of my experience of red? Prior to the neutral monism of The Analysis of Mind, Russell had an elegant account of experience that answered all of these questions. Things are rather less clear in The Analysis of Mind. Russell himself saw fit to present an new account of experience in the Inquiry. I’ll suggest that (i) the account in The Analysis of Mind may be more promising than it seems; (ii) that the account of the Inquiry is too sketchy to be satisfactory; and (iii) that Russell’s early account—e.g., in The Problems of Philosophy—is perhaps not as explanatorily rich as one might have hoped.