Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Something Stinks....

Philosophers of mind have been debating for many years whether there are subjective properties of experience --- it is sometimes said that those subjective properties are what make it true that there is "something it's like" to have an experience. (Have a look, for an example, at Thomas Nagel's "What Is it Like to Be a Bat?", Philosophical Review, pp. 435-50.) Well the article in Time magazine (linked from the title of this post), called "My Nose, My Brain, My Faith," reports on some new research suggesting that there may be something it's like to believe and to disbelieve, at least insofar as the brain regions associated with believing and disbelieving also seem to be active when we respond positively or negatively to smells. But philosophers have not traditionally thought that these states have a subjective character.

3 comments:

arezoo said...

So does that imply that you can not believe in something stinky(or fishy)?
A conclusion: in order to make people believe in whatever you say, use pleasant perfumes! (A hint for philosophy professors.)

Christopher Hom said...

Easier option: stop bathing and present the negation of your lectures.

Mark Diep said...

That's a good one, Chris.

Perhaps an easier option: stop bathing and come to lecture with a 4-word sentence: "Philospher X is wrong." No lectures needed.

Arezoo's option can be applied here as well, except I would wear *cologne*.