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Churchland, Patricia S.. Brain-Wise
2002, MIT Press.
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Added by: Sara Peppe

Publisher’s Note: Progress in the neurosciences is profoundly changing our conception of ourselves. Contrary to time-honored intuition, the mind turns out to be a complex of brain functions. And contrary to the wishful thinking of some philosophers, there is no stemming the revolutionary impact that brain research will have on our understanding of how the mind works. Brain-Wise is the sequel to Patricia Smith Churchland’s Neurophilosophy, the book that launched a subfield. In a clear, conversational manner, this book examines old questions about the nature of the mind within the new framework of the brain sciences. What, it asks, is the neurobiological basis of consciousness, the self, and free choice? How does the brain learn about the external world and about its own introspective world? What can neurophilosophy tell us about the basis and significance of religious and moral experiences? Drawing on results from research at the neuronal, neurochemical, system, and whole-brain levels, the book gives an up-to-date perspective on the state of neurophilosophy – what we know, what we do not know, and where things may go from here.

Comment: This book is a very deep and clear work about mind. This latter one is examined considering brain sciences. This book is a good way to familiarise whit the mind-related philosophical debate.

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Nida-Rumelin, Martine. What Mary couldn’t know: Belief about phenomenal states
1995, In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Conscious Experience. Ferdinand Schoningh. pp. 219--41.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Nora Heinzelmann

Introduction: Everyone familiar with the current mind-body debate has probably heard about Frank Jackson’s neurophysiologist Mary. So I tell her story very briefly. Mary knows everything there is to know about the neurophysiological basis of human colour vision but she never saw colours herself (she always lived in a black-and-white environment). When Mary is finally released into the beauty of the coloured world, she acquires new knowledge about the world and – more specifically – about the character of the visual experiences of others. This appears clear at first sight. In the ongoing philosophical debate, however, there is no agreement about whether Mary really gains new knowledge and about whether this would, if it were so, represent a problem for physicalism. Those who defend the so-called argument from knowledge (or ‘knowledge argument’) think that it does.

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