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Humanities Colloquium - Markus Gabriel (Bonn): The mind is nowhere to be found. Solving the location problem

When Mar 17, 2014
from 12:15 PM to 01:00 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminar Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97362
Attendees Universitätsoffen / Open to university members
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The “location problem” is the problem that we have not been able to identify “the mind” or “the mental” with anything specifiable purely in terms of spatio-temporal objects. One way of looking at this would be to regard this as a “weak” or “empirical problem” and just expect the solution from futuristic (neuro-)science-cum-unified-physics.

However, there are various “hard” problems. Against any weak “solution”, I will argue that the hardest problem derives from the very concept of the mind. In this context I will present a specific version of social externalism, that is, the view that some features of the mind are fundamentally social. My main thesis will be that the mind is social to the extent to which it consists of an indefinitely extendible activity of self-modeling, where “human”, “subject”, “consciousness”, “brain” or “reason” are self-models situated on the same logical level as many of our so-called “folk-psychological” self-descriptions (such as “emotional”, “envious”, “happy”, “bored”, “optimistic” etc.). In this context, I will argue that this is why the “Geisteswissenschaften” are fully warranted in describing themselves as studies of “the mind” or of “Geist”, as they investigate historically developing self-descriptions of agents belonging to social spheres.