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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellows' Seminar - The Invisibility of Everyday Psychology

21st March 2016, 13:00 to 14:00, Seminar Room, Cosin's Hall, Institute of Advanced Study, Dr David Macarthur (University of Sydney)


In contemporary philosophy we have a problem, or a set or related problems, in thinking about the mind. Many now reject Cartesian dualism and its conception of a non-physical mind in time but not in space, and there is widespread agreement that we are not to identify the mind with some physical thing e.g. the brain or neurological processes in the brain. Rather the mind is generally understood as a set of functionally characterized states of a person which play certain roles in some psychological theory. If, as is widely assumed, this theory is also a naturalistic theory – a conception consistent with the human as part of nature – then it is almost inevitable that mental states are understood according to our best scientific theory of human behaviour i.e. “psychology” in the sense of a science. In this talk Dr David Macarthur wants to suggest that to see the mind as a “posit” of a scientific psychology to explain “behaviour” is a falsification of the mind that retains central elements of the Cartesian dualism it was supposed to replace. In fact, the mind lies open to view in human behaviour but we have trouble admitting that we see it there. This talk is an attempt to explain why and to argue that the narrative arts, in particular, can help to make our everyday psychology visible.

Fellows' seminars take place on Monday lunchtimes in the seminar room at Cosin's Hall.

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

The aim of these seminars is to develop new thinking on the big issues that are of current concern/interest for the Fellows . Each Fellow is asked to present a core idea that informs their current work, or a problem that they are tackling, that could benefit from cross-disciplinary thinking. These seminars are informal and designed to encourage discussion.

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.