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June 2009 (Updated April,2011)


This is a collection of terms and definitions which I used in my research work entitled A Philosophical study of the Concept of Mind (with special reference to René Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle). You can find the reference abbreviation with page no. in the end of the definition. Suggestions are invited for further improvement.-

Dr Desh Raj Sirswal



Access consciousness A type of consciousness in which the content of a mental state can play a role in cognition and behaviour. (PIM-613)

Absent qualia objection An objection to functionalism purporting to show that some physical system might be functionally identical to human beings but lack certain mental properties such as qualia. (PIM-613)

Analytic functionalism A third form of functionalism is concerned with the meanings of theoretical terms in general. This view is most closely associated with David Lewis  and is often referred to as analytic functionalism. The basic idea of analytic functionalism is that theoretical terms are implicitly defined by the theories in whose formulation they occur and not by intrinsic properties of the phonemes they comprise. In the case of ordinary language terms, such as “belief”, “desire”, or “hunger”, the idea is that such terms get their meanings from our common-sense “folk psychological” theories about them, but that such conceptualizations are not sufficient to withstand the rigor imposed by materialistic theories of reality and causality. Such terms are subject to conceptual analyses which take something like the following form:

Mental state M is the state that is preconceived by P and causes Q.

For example, the state of a indefinite sub-critical tensor is caused by sitting on a tack (for example) and causes one to bemoan the collapse of the quantum wavefunction. These sorts of functional definitions in terms of causal roles are claimed to be analytic and a priori truths about the submental states and the (largely fictitious) propositional attitudes they describe. Hence, its proponents are known as analytic or conceptual functionalists. The essential difference between analytic and psychofunctionalism is that the latter emphasizes the importance of laboratory observation and experimentation in the determination of which mental state terms and concepts are genuine and which functional identifications may be considered to be genuinely contingent and a posteriori identities. The former, on the other hand, claims that such identities are necessary and not subject to empirical scientific investigation.( article Functionalism (philosophy of mind) (WIKI)

Anatmavada The Buddha denies the existence of any permanent entity either physical or mental. He considers the human person as a psychophysical complex. Atman is nothing more except the composition of five skandhas. We call this theory about self as Anatmavada.

Anomalous monism A term  coined by Donald Davidson for a version of token identity theory, characterized by the claims that mental and physical events interact, that all mental events are physical events, but not all mental properties are reducible since, in general, there will be no strict laws connecting mental with physical properties. (PIM-613)

A priori truths Sentences or propositions, which once we have understood them, can be known to be true without further experiment of empirical confirmation. (PIM-613) 

Argument from conceivability An argument for substance dualism purporting to show that since it is conceivable that minds could exist apart from bodies, mind is a distinct substance. (PIM-613)

Atman Sanskrit  term which means “self” or “soul”. In Upanishadas which means and in the Vedanta philosophy, Atman as the individual soul and Brahman, the ruler of all things, are held to be identical. Shankara gives one of the standard analyses of this identity. (PT-26)

A Treatise of Human Nature  The famous book of David Hume published in 1739 and 1740. He was disappointed by its reception, saying with some exaggeration that ‘it fell dead-born from the press’. It has three parts.


Behaviorism A physicalist view that mental properties could be identified with behaviour or tendencies to act in certain ways under certain conditions. Three forms of behaviourism may be identified-ontological, logical and methodological. Ontological  behaviorism rejects the existence of inner mental states or properties, preferring instead dispositions to behave.  Logical behaviorism seeks to “translate” mental concepts into language containing only references to behaviour or dispositions to behave. Methodological behaviorism claims that the only evidence relevant to psychological theorizing is external, observable evidence. (PIM-613)

Buddha, Gautama (563 BCE to 483 BCE) Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha, was born in the sixth century B.C. in what is now modern Nepal. His father, Suddhodana, was the ruler of the Sakya people and Siddhartha grew up living the extravagant life of a young prince. According to custom, he married at the young age of sixteen to a girl named Yasodhara. His father had ordered that he live a life of total seclusion, but one day Siddhartha ventured out into the world and was confronted with the reality of the inevitable suffering of life. The next day, at the age of twenty-nine, he left his kingdom and newborn son to lead an ascetic life and determine a way to relieve universal suffering. For six years, Siddhartha submitted himself to rigorous ascetic practices, studying and following different methods of meditation with various religious teachers. But he was never fully satisfied. One day, however, he was offered a bowl of rice from a young girl and he accepted it. In that moment, he realised that physical austerities were not the means to achieve liberation. From then on, he encouraged people to follow a path of balance rather than extremism. He called this The Middle Way. That night Siddhartha sat under the Bodhi tree, and meditated until dawn. He purified his mind of all defilements and attained enlightenment at the age of thirty-five, thus earning the title Buddha, or “Enlightened One”. For the remainder of his eighty years, the Buddha preached the Dharma in an effort to help other sentient beings reach enlightenment. (BS)

Buddhist psychology The Buddhist psychology is mainly concerned with the transitory mental phenomena with no presupposition of a Self or mind as a substantive agent behind them. It repudiates the existence of any enduring entity called soul or self by other thinkers. It is purely empirical and non-metaphysical.


Cartesian Adjective derived from the Latin name of Rene Descartes : Renatus Cartesius. 

Cartesian coordinate system In mathematics, a Cartesian coordinate system (also called rectangular coordinate system) specifies each point uniquely in a plane by a pair of numerical coordinates, which are the signed distances from the point to two fixed perpendicular directed lines, measured in the same unit of length. (WIKI)

Cartesian dualism The view that the mind and body are two separate substances: the self is as it happens associated with a particular body, but is self-subsistent, and capable of independent existence. (DP-54)

Carteisan linguistics Cartesian Linguistics is a famous work of Naom Chomsky . In this he argued that the very complex cognitive performances of human beings cannot entirely be the product of abilities acquired by learning. Linguistic competence is a case in point: as evidence for this he notes the rapidity with which a child grasps the rules of a language and is able to formulate an indefinite number of new but correct sentences. The similarities between the deep structures of different language provide further evidence. (PDP-93)

Category-mistake Gilbert Ryle first introduced this term in his book The Concept of Mind. According to him, we often commit category mistake by attributing same qualities or properties to the entities belonging to two different logical types. For example, Descartes advocates the view that mind exists independent of body. Here mind and body, Ryle holds, belong to two different logical types; still the notion of existence is attributed to both. This result, according to Ryle, in a category mistake. (PT-50)

Causal relation A causal relation is an interpropositional relation in which the situation expressed by some proposition(s) is communicated as bringing about the situation expressed by some other proposition(s) (an external relation, or  the usage of some other proposition(s) in a reasoning or argument from a premise (an internal relation).(WCR)

Causal or covariance theory of content A theory of mental content claming that the meaning or content of a thought depends on those features of the environment that cause the thought. (PIM-613)

Chomsky, Avram Noam (1928-) An American linguist and philosopher whose grammar has revolutionised the scientific study of language. According to Chomsky, the speaker of language have innate ability to create infinite number of sentences that are intelligible. His important works are Carteisan Linguistics, Language and Mind etc.(PT-54)

Citta (self) Sanskrit term which means “mind stuff”. A key term in the interpretation of the ego in the Yoga system. (PT-55)

Cogito argument It is the fundamental and indubitable foundation of Cartesianism. Descartes claims to have constructed a valid philosophical system from this indubitable first principle of philosophy. He reached this ‘first principle’ of philosophy by employing the ‘doubting method’. According to Descartes, the doubting method can demolish any idea that can be doubted, but his ‘doubting method’ could not but establishes the very existence which cannot be doubted, i.e. the mind, whose important attribute is consciousness. Thus Descartes arrives at this fundamental axioms of his philosophy, ‘I think, therefore I am.’  (PT-57)


Cognitive Science The scientific study of processes of awareness, thought, and mental organisation often by means of computer modeling or artificial intelligence research. (PDP-65)

Computational theory of mind A theory about the nature and functioning of propositional attitudes. The theory holds that a propositional attitude is to be in a computational relation to an inner representation or formula. The meaning of the representation corresponds to or is enclosed by the syntax. Sometimes called the representational theory of mind. (PIM-613)

Conceptual role theory of content A theory of mental content that claims that the meaning of a thought depends on the thought’s connections to other thoughts; these connections are the thought’s conceptual role. (PIM-613)

Consciousness is often used colloquially to describe being awake and aware—responsive to the environment, in contrast to being asleep or in a coma. In philosophical and scientific discussion, however, the term is restricted to the specific way in which humans are mentally aware in such a way that they distinguish clearly between themselves (the thing being aware) and all other things and events. This “self-awareness” may involve thoughts, sensations, perceptions, moods, emotions, and dreams.(OCP)


Descartes, René (1569-1650) A French philosopher, mathematician and a physicist, who is regarded as the father of modern western philosophy. According to Descartes the mind can exist independent of the body and the body can exist independent of the mind. The most important attribute of the mind is consciousness or thought, while the most important attribute of the body is extension. He also conceived that mind and body are relative substances , whereas the God is the only absolute substance on which these two relative substances are dependent for their  existence. Descartes employed methodological scepticism to arrive at the first and fundamental foundation of philosophy call cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am). His important works include: Meditations on First Philosophy and Discourse on Method.(PT-74)

Disjunction problem An objection to causal or covariance theories. The objection claims that causal theories cannot account for cases in which a thought is mistakenly caused, thus leading to the claim that the meaning of a thought is disjunctive. (PIM-613)

Disposition A disposition is a habit , a preparation, a state of readiness, or a tendency to act in a specified way. The terms dispositional belief  and occurrent belief  refer, in the former case, to a belief  that is held in the mind  but not currently being considered, and in the latter case, to a belief that is currently being considered by the mind. In Bourdieu ‘s theory of fields dispositions are the natural tendencies of each individual to take on a certain position in any field. There is no strict determinism through one’s dispositions. In fact, the habitus is the choice of positions according to one’s dispositions. However, in retrospect a space of possible can always be observed. (WIKI)

Dualism A theory concerning the fundamental types into which individual substances are to be divided. It asserts that substances are either material or mental, neither type being reducible to the other. (PT-80) The view that there are things or properties that are not physical in nature. Substance dualism holds that minds are a unique substance distinct from physical substance. Property dualism holds that although there is only physical substance, there are irreducible mental properties. (PIM-613)

Dynamical systems theory Dynamical systems theory is an area of applied mathematics used to describe the behavior of complex dynamical systems, usually by employing differential equations or difference equations. When differential equations are employed, the theory is called continuous dynamical systems. When difference equations are employed, the theory is called discrete dynamical systems. When the time variable runs over a set which is discrete over some intervals and continuous over other intervals or is any arbitrary time-set such as a cantor set then one gets dynamic equations on time scales. Some situations may also be modelled by mixed operators such as differential-difference equations. (WIKI)

Eliminativism  The view that, because mental states and properties are items posited by a protoscientific theory (called folk psychology),  the science of the future is likely to conclude that entities such as beliefs, desires, and sensations do not exist. The alternate most often offered is physicalist and the position is thus often called ‘eliminative materialism’.(DPM)

Eliminative materialism The view that folk psychology is a radically false and misleading theory; a mature neuroscience will have no need of the commonsense categories, such as belief or desire, and hence not attribute causal roles to such states. (PIM-613)

Epistemology The philosophical discipline that studies the conditions and sources of knowledge and justified belief. (PIM-613)

Explanatory gap The issue of whether our physicalist understanding of the mind can explain why qualitative features of mind are correlated with the particular neutral processes that they are, or, more generally, why neutral processes should give rise to any qualitative properties. (PIM-614)


Folk psychology Our commonsense view of the mind utilized in the prediction and explanation of behavior. It is characterised by a number of claims, including the existence of internal mental states, such as propositional attitudes and sensations, and the claim that intentional states are often the causes of behavior. A realist view. (PIM-614)

Functionalism The view that the defining feature of mental states is their causal role; in particular, mental states are type identified by their causal connections to the environment, other mental states, and behavior. Most contemporary functions are token identity theorists. (PIM-614)


Ghost in the machine The “ghost in the machine” is British philosopher Gilbert Ryle ‘s derogatory description of René Descartes ‘ mind-body dualism . The phrase was introduced in Ryle’s book The Concept of Mind (1949) to highlight the perceived absurdity of dualist systems like Descartes’ where mental activity carries on in parallel to physical action, but where their means of interaction are unknown or, at best, speculative. (WIKI)


Hume, David (1711-1776) A Scottish empiricist philosopher who denied the existence of material as well as spiritual substances. According to him, Reality is nothing but a stream of sense impressions. These unconnected, discrete sensory units are neither mental nor material, but neutral entities. Hume’s philosophy is also known as pure sensationalism, atomism, neutral monism. Hume conceived that what we suppose cause and effect relation between two entities or events is purely psychological. It is based on ‘habit and custom’. He also held the view that there is no conscious self. What is called self is nothing but, ‘a bundle of sense-impressions’. His important works are; A Treatise of Human Nature, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. (PT-117-18)


Idea and impression Hume’s theory of knowledge is a detailed application of his claim that belief is ‘more properly an act of the sensitive than of the cogitative part of our natures. The contents of the mind he calls ‘perceptions’, and he divides them into impressions (sensations and feelings) and ideas (the copies or images of these). The mind has its own laws, namely those of association, where ideas lead on from one another and are called forth by impressions, and where the feelings 9or passions) lead from one to another as when pleasure leads to love and love to benevolence. Our key beliefs are the products of these associative laws of the imagination, not of reasoning as rationalist philosophers suppose. (PDP-257-58)

Idealism 1.The Platonist view that the ideas or forms (in Plato’s sense) alone possess genuine realism. The  word was first used by Leibniz, for Plato’s ontology, to construct is with Epicurus’s materialism.2.a view which rejects materialism and naturalism in favour of a religious or otherwise valueoriented world-view.3.the view that only minds and mental representations exist; there is no independently existing external material worlds. Berkeley’s  metaphysics is idealistic in this sense.4. (in the popular sense) having ideals to guide one’s life.(PDP-264)

Identity theory The view that mental states and brain states are contingently identical. The claim is that this identity is not a matter of definition but scientific discovery. (PT-121)

Intentionality A property of at least some mental states, especially propositional attitudes. Mental states having this property are said to have content or be about something. The problem of intentionality is to explain how mental states have this property. States having such content called intentional states. (PIM-614)

Introspection Awareness by an individual of his own state and  condition, with particular reference to his mental and emotional activity. (PT-130)

Internalism The view that the content of a thought is determined by internal properties. Externalism, on the other hand, holds that content depends in part on features in the physical or social environment. (PIM-614)

Introspective consciousness Introspection. The awareness of our own mental states and contents of  those states. (PIM-614)

Inverted spectrum objection An objection to functionalism purporting to show that since two people could be functionally identical yet have different qualia, functionalism’s relational treatment of the mental is inadequate. (PIM-614)


Knowledge argument An argument purporting to show that there are non-physical properties, since one could know all the physical facts relevant to certain types of qualia yet learn something new on experiencing the qualia for the first time. (PIM-614)

Knowing How and Knowing That It is an influential paper and also the chapter of The Concept of Mind. It distinguished knowing how to do something from knowing that such and such is the case; as well as argument against sense-data as objects in perception, and images as objects in memory and imagination. (PDP-496)


Law of causation The law of causation, which also was repudiated by Hume is the most fundamental principle of mental life according to Buddhism.

Law of karma One of the most important theories in classical Indian philosophy. According to this doctrine, an individual’s birth is decided on the basis of his deeds and actions of his earlier birth. Every individual has to reap the fruits of his past deeds and actions. Thus this doctrine substantiates the view that there is rebirth. All the orthodox and some heterodox systems accept this view. (PT-142)

Linguistic philosophy An approach to philosophy that holds a careful study how language is actually used, taught, and developed in everyday discourse can illuminate and even transform or dissolve, time honoured philosophical problems. (PT-150)

Locke’s theory of experience Locke argues that all ideas are ultimately derived from experience; and experience is twofold: external experience (sensation) and inner experience (reflection). Through sensation we receive ideas of sensible qualities of physical objects. Through reflection we receive ideas of the operations of the mind, such as perceiving, thinking, doubting, willing, and so on. (PDP-319)

Logical positivism Logical positivism (also called logical empiricism and neo-positivism) is a school of philosophy that combines empiricism, the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge of the world, with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions in epistemology. (WIKI)


Manas (mind) Manas is regarded as the intellect function of consciousness.

Materialism The theory that matter alone exists. It immediately implies a denial of the existence of minds, spirits, divine beings, etc., in so far as these are taken to be non-material. It was proposed by the ancient atomists (Democritus, Epicurus) and in  the modern era by Gassendi, Hobbes, Meslier, La Mettrie, Helvetius, Holbach, etc. Its current versions, formulated with greater conceptual refinement, are often called PHYSICALISM. It has been said that during  the 1960s (and since), materialism became one of the few orthodoxies of American academic philosophy, and analytic philosophy elsewhere has shown a similar tendency. The doctrine is older than the word of which the earliest use can be traced to the 1660s.(PDP-342)

Materialism and Idealism The philosophy of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter, and is considered a form of physicalism. Fundamentally, all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions; therefore, matter is the only substance. Idealism is the philosophical theory that maintains that the ultimate nature of reality is based on mind or ideas. It holds that the so-called external or “real world” is inseparable from mind, consciousness, or perception.(WIKI)

Mental-causation An adequate conception of mind and its relationship to matter should explain how it is possible for mental events to interact with the rest of the world, and in particular to themselves have a causal influence on the physical world. It is easy to think that this  must be impossible: it takes a physical effect. Yet everyday experience and theory alike sho that it is commonplace. Consciousness could hardly have evolved if it had had no uses. In general, it is a measure of the success of any theory of mind and body that it should enable us to avoid epiphenomenalism. (DPD-230)

Mental state In psychology, mental state is an indication of a person’s mental health. In the philosophy of mind, a mental state is the kind of state or process that is unique to thinking and feeling beings. These can be representational states, see propositional attitude, or qualitative states, see qualia. (WIKI)

Metaphysics The term metaphysics is derived from the Greek term ‘meta-ta-phusica’, means ‘beyond physical existence’. This term was first introduced by Aristotle into philosophy. (PT-165) The discipline in philosophy that attempts to understand and explain the nature and structure of the most general features of the worlds. (PIM-614)

Mind-body problem The philosophical problem of how the mind is related to the body, and of what properties, functions, and occurrences, should be regarded as, respectively mental or physical. This problem is central to both the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of psychology. (PT-167)

Monism Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry, where this is not to be expected. Thus, some philosophers may hold that the Universe is really just one thing, despite its many appearances and diversities; or theology may support the view that there is one God, with many manifestations in different religions. (WIKI)


Multiple realizability A type of property or states is said to be multiply realizable if different instances of that property can be brought or realized by different types of physical state. For example, pain can be multiply realized in creatures having very different physical structures. The multiple realizability of mental states and properties is thought to be one of the principal objections to type identity theory. (PIM-614)

Myth  From the Greek term mythos meaning ‘legend’. Hence, a narrative account taken to be true, but not known to be true. The elaboration of dramatic narratives involving superhuman powers provided the first explanations of the origin and operation of the universe. Myth has some relation to metaphor and can be treated as allegory.(PT-172)


Non –reductive physicalists Since the 1970a non-reductive variants of physicalism have been advanced; all that translalatability into physicalist language is always possible. In the philosophy of mind, this is often formulated by saying that mental properties are determined by or SUPERVENIEVENT on physical ones, but not reducible to them. (DPD-424)


Ordinary-Language Philosophy Wittgenstein’s emphasis on the way language is used in ordinary situations heralded the beginning of a new philosophical movement. “Ordinary-language” philosophers try to dissolve philosophical problems by showing that they are based on some misinterpretation of ordinary language. More positively, they investigate ordinary language with an eye to discovering important ways in which it works. The movement was centered at Oxford University and hence is sometimes known as “Oxford philosophy.” Among the leading practitioners of ordinary language philosophy at Oxford were Gilbert Ryle and J. L. Austin.( RSME-1)

Occam ’s razor A common feature of the types of systematically misleading that have been discussed is that they lead to the presumption of the existence of new sorts of objects.

– Non-existent beings,

– Universals,

– Meanings.

In each case, entities are multiplied needlessly. Thus Occam’s injunction not to multiply entities without necessity can be understood in terms of grammatical forms. “Do not treat all expressions which are grammatically like proper names or referentially used ‘the’-phrases, as if they were therefore proper names or referentially used ‘the’-phrases.” ( RSME-7)

Ontology The discipline in philosophy that attempts to identify the kinds of things that exist. (PIM-614)


Personal Identity A Philosophical problem concerning the identity of a person. According to this problem what does it mean to say that at this time is the same person as that at that time. (PT-199)

Phenomenal consciousness That type of consciousness characterized by the feeling or the what-it –is-like-to-be in that state. Phenomenal consciousness is particularly associated with qualia. (PIM-614)

Philosophy of mind The philosophy of mind seeks to answer such question as: Is mind distinct from matter? Can we define what it is to be conscious, and can we give principled reasons for deciding whether other creatures are conscious, or whether machines might be made so that they are conscious? What are thinking, feelings, experience, remembering? Is it useful to divide the functions of the mind up, separating memory from intelligence, or rationality from sentiment, or do mental functions from an integrated whole? The dominant philosophies of mind in the current western tradition include varieties of physicalism and functionalism. (PDP-235)

Philosophical analysis Philosophical analysis is a general term for techniques typically used by philosophers in the analytic tradition  that involve “breaking down” (i.e. analyzing) philosophical issues. Arguably the most prominent of these techniques is the analysis of concepts (known as conceptual analysis). (WIKI)

Philosophical Behaviourism  Philosophically the doctrine behaviourism is that mental states are logical constructions out of dispositions to behaviour, or in other words, that describing the mental aspects of a person is shorthand for describing the various dispositions to behaviour that the person possesses. The most influential work promoting this point of view was The Concept Mind (1949) by Ryle which behaviourism as the best defense against the Cartesian myth of the ghost in the machine. (PDP-38)

Philosophy of language Philosophy of language is the reasoned inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language. As a topic, the philosophy of language for analytic philosophers is concerned with four central problems: the nature of meaning , language use, language cognition , and the relationship between language and reality . For continental philosophers , however, the philosophy of language tends to be dealt with, not as a separate topic, but as a part of logic , history  or politics . (WIKI)

Physicalism The view that only physical things and their properties exist; sometimes called materialism. (PIM-614)

Physical Properties Physical properties can be observed or measured without changing the composition of matter. Physical properties are used to observe and describe matter. Physical properties include: appearance, texture, color, odor, melting point, boiling point, density, solubility, polarity, and many others. The three states of matter are: solid, liquid, and gas. The melting point and boiling point are related to changes of the state of matter. All matter may exist in any of three physical states of matter.(WPPC)

Place, Ullin (1924 – 2000)  Ullin Place (1924 – 2000) was a British philosopher and psychologist. Along with J. J. C. Smart, he developed the identity theory of mind. Place was born in Yorkshire and studied under Gilbert Ryle at Oxford University. There, he became acquainted with philosophy of mind in the logical behaviorist tradition, of which Ryle was probably the major exponent. Ryle’s teachings profoundly influenced the thought of Place, instilling in him the fundamental idea that mind is nothing more than, in Ryle’s famous words, a “ghost in the machine.” Although he would later abandon logical behaviorism as a theory of the mind in favor of the type-identity theory, Place nevertheless continued to harbor sympathies toward the behavioristic approach to psychology in general. He even went so far as to defend the radical behaviorist theses of B.F. Skinner, as expressed in Verbal Behavior, from the criticisms of Noam Chomsky and the growing movement of cognitive psychology. (WIKI)

Place, as well as John Smart, nevertheless established his place in the annals of analytic philosophy by founding the theory which would eventually help to dethrone and displace philosophical behaviorism – the identity theory. In Is Consciousness a Brain Process?, Place formulated the thesis that mental states were not to be defined in terms of behavior. Rather one must identify them with neural states. With this bold thesis, Place became one of the fathers of the current materialistic mainstream of the philosophy of mind. (WIKI)

Property A feature or characteristic of something. In philosophy of mind, we speak of mental properties and physical properties. (PIM-614)

Propositional attitudes Mental states characterised by both their content, given by a proposition, and the attitude ,such as belief, hope, fear, desire. States having propositional content are called intentional states. (PIM-614)

Physical property A physical property is any aspect of an object or substance that can be measured or perceived  without changing its identity. Physical properties can be intensive or extensive. An intensive property does not depend on the size or amount of matter in the object, while an extensive property does. In addition to extensiveness, properties can also be either isotropic if their values do not depend on the direction of observation or anisotropic otherwise. Physical properties are referred to as observables. It is not a modal property. (WIKI)


Qualia “Qualia”, singular “quale” from the Latin for “what sort” or “what kind,” is a term used in philosophy to describe the subjective quality of conscious experience. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, or the redness of an evening sky. Daniel Dennett writes that qualia is “an unfamiliar term for something that could not be more familiar to each of us: the ways things seem to us.” (WIKI) Mental states, such as pains, itches, sensations, characterised by their phenomenal quality, or what it is like to have such states. (PIM-614)


Realism In philosophy of mind, the view that the propositional attitudes are real, existent  mental states that both have content and cause behavior. (PIM-614)

Reductive physicalist Physicalism used to be reductive. The view was that all statements about non-physical entities or properties could be translated into statements in the physical sciences (or, less restrictively into statements assigning physical predicates to physical objects/or else should be rejected. (PDP-424)

Representational theory of mind The representational theory of mind is the prevailing theory attempting to explain  the nature of ideas, concepts and other mental content in contemporary philosophy of mind, cognitive science and experimental psychology. According to the representational theory of mind, thinking occurs within an internal system of representation. The propositional attitudes of the mind are token mental representations (i.e., mental particulars with semantic properties). (WIKI)

Rupa The corporeal aggregate which includes the body, the sense organs, the sensible objects and sensations.

Ryle, Gilbert (1900-1976) English philosopher and classicist. Ryle was born in Brighton, educated at Oxford, and after teaching from 1924 to 1945 at Christ Church, became professor at Oxford. His earliest interests were in the phenomenological tradition of Husserll and Heidegger. But from the 1930s onwards he absorbed the influence of the later work of Wittgenstein, becoming a fierce advocate of the kind of attention to language demanded by Wittgenstein and J.L.Austin. His The Concept of Mind (1949) is a sustained attack on the Cartesian philosophy of mind, or dogma of the ‘ghost in the machine.’ The behaviourism it substitutes is a little too brisk, but Ryle did a great deal to lay the groundwork for late developments such as functionalism. The brio and verse of his work are unusual in analytical philosophy, and come out further in Dilemmas (1953), and Plato’s Progress (1966). (PD-324)


Samjan (cognition) Determinate perceptions of objects which have names. It includes all our articulate knowledge of objects.

Samskara (Sanskrit for: transmigration) The doctrine characteristic of all Indian religions of an almost endless cycle of death and birth. (PT-227)

Scepticism  The view that nothing can be known with certainty; that at best, there can only be some private probable opinion. (PDP-502)

Self  An obsolescent technical term for a person, but a person thought of as incorporeal and essentially conscious. (PT-230)

Skandhas  Buddha provides a five fold classification of what he thought was really going on when we experience something. They are: Rupa, Vedana, Samja, Samskara and Vijnana.

Situated robotics In artificial intelligence and cognitive science, the term situated refers to an agent which is embedded in an environment. In this used, the term is used to refer to robots, but some researchers argue that software  agents can also be situated if:

  • they exist in a dynamic (rapidly changing) environment, which
  • they can manipulate or change through their actions, and which
  • they can sense or perceive.

Being situated is generally considered to be part of being embodied, but it is useful to take both perspectives. The situated perspective emphasizes the environment and the agent’s interactions with it. These interactions define an agent’s embodiment. (WIKI)

Solipsism The belief that only oneself and one’s experience exists. Solipsism is the extreme consequence of believing that knowledge must be founded on inner, personal states of experience, and then failing to find a bridge whereby they can inform us of anything beyond themselves. Solipsism of the present moment extends its scepticism even to one’s own past states, so that all that is left is me, now. Russell reports meeting someone who claimed that she was a solipsist, and was surprised that more people were not so as well. (PDP-344)

Speculative 1. Theoretical (in contrast to practical),2. Non-empirical (in contrast to empirical), 3.Conjectional, uncertain (PDP-532)

Substance The philosophical term ‘substance’ corresponds to the Greek ousia, which means ‘being’, transmitted via the Latin substantia, which means ‘something that stands under or grounds things’. According to the generic sense, therefore, the substances in a given philosophical system are those things which, according to that system, are the foundational or fundamental entities of reality. Thus, for an atomist, atoms are the substances, for they are the basic things from which everything is constructed.(SEP)

Supervenience Generally, a set of properties G if and only if any difference in F properties implies a difference in the G properties. In philosophy of mind: Any difference in mental properties implies a difference in physical properties. There are weaker and stronger versions of the notion of supervenience. (PIM-614)

Systematically Misleading Expressions There are many expressions occurring in ordinary language which have two features: They are perfectly well understood by those who use them in a non-philosophical way. Their grammatical form improperly characterizes the facts which they record. Such expressions are called “misleading” because their improper form is not apparent in everyday usage. The misleadingness is “systematic” because “all expressions of that grammatical form would be misleading in the same way and for the same reason.” (RSME-1)


Teleological theory of content A theory of mental content that holds the content of a thought depends on the evolutionary purposes responsible foe the selection of the thought type. (PIM-614)

The Concept of Mind The Concept of Mind is published in 1949 by Gilbert Ryle. Its “principle argument was directed against the Cartesian view of the mind as a kind of non-physical entity related in some mysterious way to the physical body- a view stigmatized as the myth of ‘the ghost in the machine’. In its place he favoured a philosophical behaviourism: statements that use mental terms are like promissory notes which can be reduced in the hard cash of physical terms in statements about behaviour and behavioural dispositions.”(PDP-496)

The law of dependent origination There is a spontaneous and universal laws of causation which conditions the appearance  of all  events, mental and physical. This law (dharma or dhamma) works automatically without the help of any conscious guide.

The official doctrine There is a doctrine  about the nature and place of the mind  which is prevalent among theorists , to which most philosophers , psychologists  and religious teachers subscribe with minor reservations. Although they admit certain theoretical difficulties in it, they tend to assume that these can be overcome without serious modifications being made to the architecture of the theory.” Ryle believes that the central principles of the doctrine are unsound and conflict with the entire body of what we know about the mind. “With the doubtful exceptions of the mentally-incompetent and infants-in-arms, every human being has both a body and a mind. The body and the mind are ordinarily harnessed together, but after the death of the body, tradition holds that the mind continues to exist and function. According to the official doctrine each person has direct and unchangeable cognisance. In consciousness, self-consciousness and introspection, he is directly and authentically apprised of the present states of operation of the mind.(from Ghost in the machine) (WIKI)

Thought experiments Thought experiments are devices of the imagination used to investigate the nature of things. We need only list a few of the well-known thought experiments to be reminded of their enormous influence and importance in the sciences: Newton’s bucket, Maxwell’s demon, Einstein’s elevator, Heisenberg’s gamma-ray microscope, Schrödinger’s cat. The same can be said for their importance in philosophy. Much of ethics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind is based firmly on the results of thought experiments. Again, a short list makes this evident: Thompson’s violinist, Searle’s Chinese room, Putnam’s twin earth, Parfit’s people who split like an amoeba. The 17th century saw some of its most brilliant practitioners in Galileo, Descartes, Newton, and Leibniz. And in our own time, the creation of quantum mechanics and relativity are almost unthinkable without the crucial role played by thought experiments. Contemporary philosophy, even more than the sciences, would be severely impoverished without them.(SEP)

Type identity theory A physicalist view that holds that mental states types are reducible to or identical with types of brain states. (PIM-614)


Vedana  It comprises of three kinds of feelings: pleasure, pain, and natural feeling. Feelings are caused by sense contacts.

Vijnana (wisdom) According to Buddhist doctrine of Pratityansmutpada (the dependent origination) Vijnana is considered to be on of links in the causal chain of existence. (PT-258)


Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1889-1951) Ludwig Wittgenstein is one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, and regarded by some as the most important since Immanuel Kant. His early work was influenced by that of Arthur Schopenhauer and, especially, by his teacher Bertrand Russell and by Gottlob Frege, who became something of a friend. This work culminated in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, the only philosophy book that Wittgenstein published during his lifetime. It claimed to solve all the major problems of philosophy and was held in especially high esteem by the anti-metaphysical logical positivists. The Tractatus is based on the idea that philosophical problems arise from misunderstandings of the logic of language, and it tries to show what this logic is. Wittgenstein’s later work, principally his Philosophical Investigations, shares this concern with logic and language, but takes a different, less technical, approach to philosophical problems. This book helped to inspire so-called ordinary language philosophy. This style of doing philosophy has fallen somewhat out of favor, but Wittgenstein’s work on rule-following and private language is still considered important, and his later philosophy is influential in a growing number of fields outside philosophy(.IEP)

Sources Details:

Abbreviation               Details

BS                                  Buddhist Studies, citation 27-06-2009

DP                                 The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy by Simon Blackburn, Indian

Edition, Oxford University Press,2006.

DPM                              Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind

IEP                                Duncan J. Richter , “Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)”, The

                               Internet  Encyclopedia of Philosophy,,


OCP                       “Consciousness” by Owen Flanagan in Honderich, ed. The Oxford Companion to

                                 Philosophy, University of Oxford Press, 1995, p. 152.

PIM                         PROBLEM IN MIND Ed. By Jack S. Crumley II, Mayfiled Publishing

Comapany,London & Toronto,2000.

PDP                     The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy edited by Thomas Mautner, Penguin Books,


PM                      Problems in Mind edited by Jack S. Crumley II, Mayfield Publishing Company,

London & Tornto,2000.

PT                       PHILOSOPHY TERMONOLOGY complied by Kanika K.,Lakshay Publication,

Delhi, 2003.

RSME                 Ryle on Systematically Misleading Expressions by G. J. Mattey

Fall, 2005 / Philosophy 156, cited on 22-06-2009.

SEP                  Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, First published Sat Dec 28, 1996; substantive

                          revision Sun Mar 25, 2007:,

Cited on 23-06-2009.

                         Substance, First published Sun Oct 3, 2004

                , 27-06-2009.

WCR                What is a causal relation?

cited on 22-10-2009.

WIKI             Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

WPPC          What are Physical Properties and Changes?

Date of citation 22-06-2009.

Page Details:

Compiled By Dr Desh Raj Sirswal

Date:27-06-2009, Saturday

Last Update: 28-04-2011


© Desh Raj Sirswal 2007-2011

One Comment

    • Raju Babu
    • Posted जनवरी 4, 2012 at 5:51 पूर्वाह्न
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    Thank You sir for your thoughtful work. I would like to request you to collect the glossary from Indian Philosophical point view or Eastren philosophical pont.

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