1st Edition

Philosophy of Mind 50 Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Thought Experiments

By Torin Alter, Amy Kind, Robert J. Howell Copyright 2024
    348 Pages
    by Routledge

    348 Pages
    by Routledge

    Imaginative cases, or what might be called puzzles and other thought experiments, play a central role in philosophy of mind. The real world also furnishes philosophers with an ample supply of such puzzles.

    This volume collects 50 of the most important historical and contemporary cases in philosophy of mind and describes their significance. The authors divide them into five sections: consciousness and dualism; physicalist theories and the metaphysics of mind; content, intentionality, and representation; perception, imagination, and attention; and persons, personal identity, and the self. Each chapter provides background, describes a central case or cases, discusses the relevant literature, and suggests further readings. Philosophy of Mind: 50 Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Thought Experiments promises to be a useful teaching tool as well as a handy resource for anyone interested in the area.

    Key Features:

    • Offers stand-alone chapters, each presented in an identical format:
      • Background
      • The Case
      • Discussion
      • Recommended Reading
    • Each chapter is self-contained, allowing students to quickly understand an issue and giving instructors flexibility in assigning readings to match the themes of the course.
    • Additional pedagogical features include a general volume introduction as well as smaller introductions to each of the five sections and a glossary at the end of the book.

    General Introduction

    Part I: Consciousness and Dualism
    1. The Floating Man
    2. Leibniz’s Mill
    3. The Disembodied Pain
    4. The Hard Problem of Consciousness
    5. What it’s Like to be a Bat
    6. Mary and the Black-and-White Room
    7. Zombies
    8. Yogis
    9. The Coffee Tasters
    10. The Hornswoggle Problem
    11. The Slugs and the Tiles

    Part II: Physicalist Theories and the Metaphysics of Mind
    12. The Exclusion Problem
    13. The Puzzle of the Special Sciences
    14. The Super Spartans
    15. Mad Pain and Martian Pain
    16. The Blockhead
    17. The Imitation Game
    18. The Chinese Room
    19. Eloise and the Tree
    20. Inverted Qualia
    21. Hempel’s Dilemma
    22. Brains within Brains

    Part III: Content, Intentionality, and Representation
    23. Rabbits and Rabbit Stages
    24. Swampman
    25.Twin Earth and Arthritis Man
    26. Otto’s Notebook
    27. The Brain in a Vat
    28. Puzzling Pierre
    29. The Shopping List

    Part IV: Perception, Imagination, and Attention
    30. Molyneux’s Problem
    31. The Missing Shade of Blue
    32. Imagining Chiliagons
    33. Color Swatches and Speckled Hens
    34. The Skywalk
    35. Pine Trees and Cyrillic Text
    36. Synesthesia
    37.Change Blindness
    38. Blindsight, Distracted Driving, and Pneumatic Drills

    Part V: Persons, Personal Identity, and the Self
    39. The Prince and the Cobbler
    40. The Chariot and the Candle
    41. The Body-Swap Puzzle
    42. Mind Uploading
    43. The Puzzle of Too Many Minds
    44. Split Brains and the Unity Puzzle
    45. Sharing Feelings, Combining Minds
    46. The Elusive Self
    47. The Essential Indexical
    48. The Queen and the Gametes
    49. Trekkies, Mr. Oreo, and the Narrative Self
    50. The Puzzle of Transformative Choice


    Torin Alter is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama, USA. Most of his publications concern consciousness and the mind–body problem, including The Matter of Consciousness: From the Knowledge Argument to Russellian Monism (Oxford UP, 2023) and A Dialogue on Consciousness (Oxford UP, 2009; co-written with Robert J. Howell).

    Robert J. Howell is Yasser El-Sayed Chair of Philosophy at Rice University, USA. He has published extensively in the philosophy of mind and is the author of Self-Awareness and the Elusive Subject (Oxford UP, 2023) and Consciousness and the Limits of Objectivity (Oxford UP, 2013).  With Torin Alter, he has co-authored A Dialogue on Consciousness (Oxford UP, 2009) and The God Dialogues (Oxford UP, 2011).

    Amy Kind is the Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College, USA. She has published extensively in the philosophy of mind, with much of her work taking up issues relating to imagination. She has also authored and edited numerous books, including Philosophy of Mind: The Basics (Routledge, 2020).