Mind, philosophy of

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-V038-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved August 04, 2020, from

4. Issues in empirical psychology

Empirical psychology has figured in philosophy not only because its foundations have been discussed in the above ways, but also because some of its specific findings have been relevant to traditional philosophical claims. Thus, experiments on Split brains have undermined traditional conceptions of Personal identity (see also Mind, bundle theory of), and research on the reliability of people’s self-attribution of psychological states has cast doubts on introspection as a source of specially privileged knowledge about the mind. The work of Freud on psychopathology (see Mental illness, concept of; Psychoanalysis, post-Freudian; Psychoanalysis, methodological issues in) and of Chomsky in linguistics (see Linguistics, philosophy of), suggests that the states of most explanatory interest are not introspectively accessible (see Knowledge, tacit; Unconscious mental states). Chomsky’s ideas also seem to revive Rationalism’s postulation of innate knowledge that was long thought to have been discredited by Empiricism (see also Nativism; Innate knowledge; Language, innateness of). And they have stimulated research beyond knowledge of grammar, into infant cognition (see Cognition, infant) generally (some of which treats the Molyneux problem of whether newly sighted people would be able to recognize shapes that they had previously only touched). Much recent work has concentrated on cognition in non-human animals (see Animal language and thought; Animal thought, recent work on). Other questions about the basic categories in which people understand the world have benefited from work on how these categories are understood and evolve in childhood (see Piaget, J.; Cognitive development; Moral development). A particularly important issue for the philosophy of mind concerns the origin of our mental concepts, a topic of lively current research (see Mind, child’s theory of) that affects our understanding of Folk psychology.

Citing this article:
Jackson, Frank and Georges Rey. Issues in empirical psychology. Mind, philosophy of, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-V038-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2020 Routledge.

Related Searches


Related Articles