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Stockholm Philosophy Colloquium: Beate Krickel (TU Berlin)


Date: Thursday 21 April 2022

Time: 16.00 – 17.45

Location: D299

Where is the mind? – Why this question makes sense only if understood normatively

Beate Krickel (TU Berlin) - a joint paper with Birgit Beck (TU Berlin)


Is the mind only in the brain, or can the body and the physical and social environment be part of the mind? The search for the location of the mind is often framed in terms of the distinction between causation and constitution: constituents are what the mind is made of, and thus determine where the mind is. In contrast, causes merely provide inputs to the mind. In this talk, we will argue that the search for the location of the mind is misguided. First, all existing accounts of constitution either fail to provide insights into the location of the mind, or they rely on pragmatic considerations. Second, the location of the mind is irrelevant for everyday concerns and scientific and medical questions. Still, we argue that a distinction between “mere causes” and “constituents” can play an important role for the sciences, psychiatry, and medicine if constitution is understood as a normative concept: whether something is a constituent of the mind or not depends on whether it should be considered a constituent. This normative dimension of constitution is spelled out in terms of importance in a given context.