Publications of Place that refer to Davidson (1970). Mental events.
Place, U. T. (1978b). Natural kinds and psychophysical laws: Comments on the McGinn-Hopkins symposium (PAS 1978) [Unpublished paper].
[References]  [Is reply to]
Download: 1978b Natural Kinds and Psychophysical Laws - Comments on the McGinn-Hopkins Symposium.pdf
Place, U. T. (1987a). Skinner re-skinned. In S. Modgil, & C. Modgil (Eds.), B. F. Skinner, Consensus and Controversy (Part XI, Skinner and the 'Virtus dormitiva' argument, pp. 235-243). Falmer Press.
In 'Skinner Skinned' Dennett (1978, chapter 4) discusses two arguments, the virtus dormitiva and intentionality arguments, which he sees as the only solid ground underlying the various arguments which Skinner gives for repudiating the use of mentalistic explanations in a scientific psychology; and of these he endorses only the intentionality argument. I argue (a) that what Skinner finds objectionable in mentalistic idioms is their dispositional character, (b) that both the virtus dormitiva and intentionality argument are arguments against the use of dispositional property ascriptions in scientific explanation, and (c) that, since dispositional property ascriptions are essential to any causal explanation, Dennett has failed to provide any good reason for endorsing Skinner's repudiation of mentalism. It is suggested that mentalism is objectionable only insofar it involves the use of idioms which presuppose what Skinner (1969) calls 'rule-governed' behaviour to explain behaviour that is 'contingency-shaped'.
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Download: 1987a Skinner Re-skinned.pdf
Place, U. T. (1987c). Causal laws, dispositional properties and causal explanations. Synthesis Philosophica, 2(3), 149-160.
The role in causal explanation of sentences ascribing dispositional properties to the entities involved is discussed in the light of (a) the counterfactual theory of causal necessity originally proposed by Hume (1777) and more recently by Mackie (1962; 1974), (b) Ryle's (1949) hypothetical analysis of dispositional statements. and (c) Goodman's (1965) observation that counterfactuals are "sustained", not only by causal law statements universally quantified over entities of a given kind, but by dispositional statements which are restricted in their scope to a single individual. It is argued that what is required in order to support a causal counterfactual is universal quantification over a period of time which may be as short as you like, provided (a) that it covers the moment when the event hypothesised in the counterfactual is assumed to have occurred and (b) that its restriction to that period can be rationally justified.
[References]  [6 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1987c Causal Laws, Dispositional Properties and Causal Explanations.pdf with corrections added after publication
Place, U. T. (1988e). The problem of mental content from the standpoint of linguistic empiricism [Presentation prepared for the Course on Functionalism and Content, Inter-university Post-graduate Centre, Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia (since 1991 Croatia), 7-15 September 1988] Inter-university Post-graduate Centre.
Download: 1988e The Problem of Mental Content from the Standpoint of Linguistic Empiricism .pdf
Place, U. T. (1994d). Sharpness: an interesting exception to the rule that dispositional properties require explanation in terms of their owner's microstructure [Conference presentation, presented to the Twentieth Annual Conference on the Philosophy of Science at the Inter University Centre, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 12th April 1994]. Inter University Centre, Dubrovnik.
The most common form of distinctively scientific causal explanation is an explanation of the dispositional properties shared by instances of a universal or kind. Such explanations typically invoke the structural properties of the property-bearer. In the majority of cases and in all cases where a specifically scientific explanation is required, what are invoked are features of the microstructure of the property-bearer which are not accessible to ordinary observation at the level of common sense. An interesting exception is the case of the sharpness of a knife or needle. Sharpness is a property and a concept with a number of unusual features. Most property-concepts are either purely dispositional, as in the case of such things as the brittleness of glass, the flexibility of rubber or the magnetic properties of an iron bar, or they are structural properties, such as the external shape and internal arrangement of an object. Sharpness, by contrast, is a property with two aspects, a purely dispositional aspect, the property-bearer's propensity to cut or pierce, and a structural aspect, the fineness and hardness of its edge or point. However, the relation between these two aspects is a causal relation between "distinct existences", not a relation of identity. The dispositional property, aptness to cut or pierce, depends on and is explained by the structural properties, the fineness and hardness of the edge or point. In this it differs from most other dispositional properties. For in this case, the structural properties on which the dispositional property depends are features of the macrostructure rather than the microstructure of the property-bearer. They are thus available to common observation by the man- or woman-in-the-street in a way that the microstructural properties on which most dispositional properties depend are not. Hence the absorption of both cause and its effect into a single common-sense concept. Causal relations and the causal explanations which invoke them have two components: (a) a categorical component, some kind of contact or proximity between the causal agent and the causal patient, and (b) a dispositional component which provides the "cement" which, in the explanation, takes the form of a 'covering law' and governs the interaction between the two. In this respect, the causal relation whereby aptness to cut or pierce is generated by the structural properties of fineness and hardness of edge or point is no exception. Of the two structural properties which stand as cause to the dispositional property as effect, one, the fineness of the edge or point, is categorical; the other, its hardness, is dispositional. From a philosophical standpoint the 'sharpness' example raises two interesting questions: (1) In what sense does the effect, the aptness to cut or pierce, constitute a "distinct existence" from its causes, the fineness and hardness of the edge or point, as Hume's principle requires? (2) What light, if any, is thrown by this example on the problem of the source of the dispositional properties of an elementary particle which has no microstructure (the 'charm' of the quark)?
Download: 1994d Sharpness.pdf
Place, U. T. (1995a). The Searle fallacy: a reply to John Beloff (and in passing to John Searle). The British Psychological Society, History and Philosophy of Psychology Newsletter, 21, 5-18.
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Download: 1995a The Searle Fallacy a Reply to John Beloff (and in passing to John Searle).pdf
Place, U. T. (1995b). 'Is consciousness a brain process?' Some misconceptions about the article. In B. Borstner, & J. Shawe-Taylor (Eds.), Consciousness at the crossroads of cognitive science and philosophy: Selected proceedings of the final meeting of the Tempus Project 'Phenomenology and Cognitive Science', Maribor, Slovenia, 23-7 August, 1994 (pp. 9-15). Imprint Academic.
[References]  [1 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1995b 'Is Consciousness a Brain Process' Some Misconceptions about the Article.pdf
Place, U. T. (1997g). We needed the analytic-synthetic distinction to formulate mind-brain identity then: we still do [Conference presentation, presented at a Symposium on 'Forty years of Australian Materialism', June 21st 1997]. Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds.
Quine's (1951/1980) repudiation of the analytic-synthetic distinction undermines three principles fundamental to the view expounded in ‘Is consciousness a brain process?' (Place 1956): the idea that problems, such as that of the relation between mind and body, are partly conceptual confusions to be cleared away by philosophical analysis and partly genuine empirical questions to be investigated and answered decisively by the relevant empirical science, the distinction between the meaning of what the individual says when she describes her private experiences and the nature of the actual events she is describing as revealed by science, and the claim that, unless the connection is obscured by the different ways in which the two predicates come to be applied, co-extensive predicates become conceptually (intensionally) connected, and sentences asserting their identity become analytic. It is argued that, if the object is, as it should be, to assimilate this case to other cases of type-identity in science, rather than perpetuate the problem, these principles are still needed.
Download: 1997g We Needed the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction to Formulate the Mind-Brain Identity Then We Still Do.pdf
Place, U. T. (1999e). Token- versus type-identity physicalism. Anthropology and Philosophy, 3(2), 21-31.
The observation that identity is a relation between two names or descriptions which refer to the same individual (token-identity) or the same kind or class of things (type-identity) suggests that, unless the descriptions in question are specified, physicalism, understood as the claim that every mentally specified state or process is identical with some physically specified state or process, is empty hand-waving. It can be argued on behalf of the type-identity physicalist that future psycho-physiological research will allow us to specify which types of mentally-specified states or processes are identical with which physically-specified states or processes. No such possibility can be envisaged if token-identity physicalism (Davidson 1970/1980) is true. Consequently, the case for token-identity physicalism must rest on an a priori argument. But the argument which Davidson offers is inconclusive. Token-identity physicalism is, therefore, in serious danger of being side-lined, should evidence supporting the stronger type-identity thesis be forthcoming.
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Download: 1999e Token- versus Type-Identity Physicalism.pdf
Place, U. T. (1999g). Intentionality naturalized: dispositions and quotations [Unpublished paper].
Download: 1999g Intentionality Naturalized - Dispositions and Quotations.pdf
Place, U. T. (2000d). The two-factor theory of the mind-brain relation. Brain and Mind, 1, 29-43. doi:10.1023/A:1010087621727
The analysis of mental concepts suggests that the distinction between the mental and the nonmental is not ontologically fundamental, and that, whereas mental processes are one and the same things as the brain processes with which they are correlated, dispositional mental states depend causally on and are, thus, "distinct existences" from the states of the brain microstructure with which 'they' are correlated. It is argued that this difference in the relation between an entity and its composition/underlying structure applies across the board. All stuffs and processes are the same thing as is described by a description of their microstructure. In all cases where the manifestation of a disposition extends beyond the "skin" of the dispositional property bearer, dispositions invariably depend causally on the structure, usually the microstructure, of the bearer.
[References]  [1 referring publications by Place]  [Reprinting collections]
Download: 2000d The Two Factor-Theory of the Mind-Brain Relation.pdf