Show Summary Details
Page of

On the interface problem in philosophy and psychiatry 

On the interface problem in philosophy and psychiatry
Chapter:
On the interface problem in philosophy and psychiatry
Author(s):

Tim Thornton

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199238033.003.0007
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE (www.oxfordmedicine.com). © Oxford University Press, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 September 2019

A significant family of antireductionist approaches to the philosophy of mind argues that mental states answer to distinct normative and rational constitutive principles which have no echo in physical theory. The mind is, in Bermúdez’s phrase, autonomous. But, at the same time, human actions are part of the natural world and thus susceptible to explanations at a variety of levels, from that of whole persons down, via cognitive psychology and neurology, to the basic biology, chemistry, and physics of the cellular level. But if the mind is autonomous, how can person-level explanation interface with lower-level explanations? This is the interface problem and it has been regarded by some philosophers, such as Sellars, as the framing problem for philosophy as a whole. In this chapter, I argue that the interface problem is sustained as a global problem for a priori philosophy by a tension between the antireductionism of normative properties to nomological science and a construal of nomological science as a metaphysical benchmark. It is this which leads to a dualism of norm and nature which neither an appeal to supervenience nor the ‘stance stance’ popularized by Dennett can bridge. But, I suggest, the dualism can be at least partially and progressively dismantled by marshalling recent ideas which question the metaphysical pretensions of nomological science, its completeness and explanatory basicness. This gives way to a conception of the interface problem as a substantial but merely local matter for psychiatry and other sciences of the mind rather than the framing problem for philosophy or philosophy of psychiatry.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.