[SydPhil] USyd Postgrad Colloquium May 26: Xavier Symons, "John Duns Scotus on Mind Expanding Substances"

Elena Walsh elenawalsh at gmail.com
Wed May 21 18:38:24 AEST 2014

Dear all,
The next USyd philosophy postgraduate colloquium will be held on Monday May
26 @ 2pm in the Muniment room (Quadrangle building, University of Sydney).
 All very welcome!!

Talk details:

*John Duns Scotus on Mind Expanding Substances (Xavier Symons)*

In this paper I will argue that the extended mind thesis (EMT), expounded
by Clarke and Chalmers (2008, 1998), is also found in the writings of John
Duns Scotus (1308). Scotus asserted that a thing’s physical location ‘in’ the
head was irrelevant to it’s being part of the mind. I will begin with a
discussion of Scotus’s theory of intuitive cognition, the notion that we
intellectually intuit the existence and presence of objects in the world
around us. According to Scotus, the objects of such cognitions play direct
causal roles in the process. Following this I will discuss Scotus’s
criteria for something being ‘in’ the mind. He argued that something is
‘in’ the mind if it bears a direct causal relation to the ‘passive
intellect’ (the ‘*knowing*’ part of the mind). It is not necessary for
something to actually ‘inhere’ in the mind; it is sufficient for it to have
this causal relation. Insofar as this is true objects that directly cause
cognition are ‘in’ the mind, despite not inhering in it. To this extent,
the idea that mind is ‘in the skin’ (as Clarke and Chalmers put it) breaks
down. I conclude my paper with the suggestion that we can profit from
Scotus’s heavily ‘metaphysical’ treatment of the EMT.

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