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Alvarez, Maria, , . How many kinds of reasons?
2009, Philosophical Explorations: 12 (2): 181-193.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Abstract: Reasons can play a variety of roles in a variety of contexts. For instance, reasons can motivate and guide us in our actions (and omissions), in the sense that we often act in the light of reasons. And reasons can be grounds for beliefs, desires and emotions and can be used to evaluate, and sometimes to justify, all these. In addition, reasons are used in explanations: both in explanations of human actions, beliefs, desires, emotions, etc., and in explanations of a wide range of phenomena involving all sorts of animate and inanimate substances. This diversity has encouraged the thought that the term ‘reason’ is ambiguous or has different senses in different contexts. Moreover, this view often goes hand in hand with the claim that reasons of these different kinds belong to different ontological categories: to facts (or something similar) in the case of normative/justifying reasons, and to mental states in the case of motivating/explanatory reasons. In this paper I shall explore some of the main roles that reasons play and, on that basis, I shall offer a classification of kinds of reasons. As will become clear, my classification of reasons is at odds with much of the literature in several respects: first, because of my views about how we should understand the claim that reasons are classified into different kinds; second, because of the kinds into which I think reasons should be classified; and, finally, because of the consequences I think this view has for the ontology of reasons.

Comment: This paper discusses roles of reasons that they can play and whether different kinds of reasons are also ontologically different. It is a very good introductory paper on reasons, suitable for an introductory course on ethics or philosophy of action.

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Antony, Louise, , . The Mental and The Physical
2009, in Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge. 555-567
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio, Contributed by:

Summary: In this paper the author addresses physicalism and the problem of whether physicalism can account for consciousness and intentionality of our mental states. After providing a good survey of problems posed by this phenomenon as well as possible physicalist responses, she concludes that there still is no satisfying explanation of how the nature of our mental states fits into an “otherwise physical world”.

Comment: Good as a background introductory reading on the nature of mental states. More precisely, good as introduction on the problem of physicalism and whether it can account for intentionality and consciouness of our mental states.

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Bennett, Karen, , . Mental Causation
2007, Philosophy Compass 2 (2):316-337.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Concerns about ‘mental causation’ are concerns about how it is possible for mental states to cause anything to happen. How does what we believe, want, see, feel, hope, or dread manage to cause us to act? Certain positions on the mind-body problem – including some forms of physicalism – make such causation look highly problematic. This entry sketches several of the main reasons to worry, and raises some questions for further investigation.

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Gertler, Brie, , . Self-Knowledge
2011, New York: Routledge.
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Added by: Lukas Schwengerer, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: The problem of self-knowledge is one of the most fascinating in all of philosophy and has crucial significance for the philosophy of mind and epistemology. In this outstanding introduction Brie Gertler assesses the leading theoretical approaches to self-knowledge, explaining the work of many of the key figures in the field: from Descartes and Kant, through to Bertrand Russell and Gareth Evans, as well as recent work by Tyler Burge, David Chalmers, William Lycan and Sydney Shoemaker.Beginning with an outline of the distinction between self-knowledge and self-awareness and providing essential historical background to the problem, Gertler addresses specific theories of self-knowledge such as the acquaintance theory, the inner sense theory, and the rationalist theory, as well as leading accounts of self-awareness. The book concludes with a critical explication of the dispute between empiricist and rationalist approaches.

Comment: This is a good introductory overview for the metaphysics and epistemology of self-knowledge. The book provides an excellent discussion on the nature and scope of (purportedly) special self-knowledge. As such it can be used as a starting point for an advanced undergraduate course on self-knowledge. Moreover, the book features a comprehensive overview of three main approaches to an epistemology of self-knowledge (acquaintance, inner sense, rationalist), which makes it a suitable background reading.

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Hurley, Susan, , . Varieties of Externalism
2010, in The Extended Mind, ed. Richard Menary, MIT Press. 101-153.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Abstract: Externalism comes in varieties. While the landscape isn’t tidy, I offer an organizing framework within which many of the forms it has taken (though perhaps not all) can be located. This taxonomy should be useful in itself. I’ll also use it to survey and compare arguments for different kinds of externalism, while probing related intuitions.

Comment: This paper offers a comprehensive taxonomy of types of externalism about mental states. It assumes some background knowledge of philosophy of mind and language, including a lot of the vocabulary of debates about content, but remains one of the easiest introductions to the positions in the debate between internalism and extended mind theory.

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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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