David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (11):58-62 (2002)
Velmans’ paper raises three problems concerning mental causation: (1) How can consciousness affect the physical, given that the physical world appears causally closed? 10 (2) How can one be in conscious control of processes of which one is not consciously aware? (3) Conscious experiences appear to come too late to causally affect the processes to which they most obviously relate. In an appendix Velmans gives his reasons for refusing to resolve these problems through adopting the position (which he labels ‘physicalism’) that ‘consciousness is nothing more than a state of the brain’. The rest of the paper, then, is an attempt to solve these problems without embracing a reductionist physicalism. Velmans’ solution to the first problem is ‘ontological monism combined with epistemological dualism’: First-person and third-person accounts are two different ways of knowing the same facts. This kind of reply is not new; it is, for example, a twist on the position expressed in Davidson (1970). True, there are substantial differences: For one, Davidson reconciles the tension between descriptions of events in mentalistic and physicalist language, not between firstand third-person descriptions of states; for another, Davidson actually provides an argument for his position, although to do so he assumes that there are no psycho-physical (or indeed, psycho-psycho) laws, something which I suspect Velmans would be reluctant to do. Nevertheless, they have in common the idea that the causal efficacy of the mental is not at odds with the causal closure of physics, since a mind-involving causal story is just another way of talking about the same facts that a purely physical causal story talks about. This ‘dual-aspect’ approach is a popular tactic for resolving the mind--body problem, but it has some well-known problems, and it is unfortunate Velmans doesn’t reply to these standard objections. For example, a frequently discussed issue in connection with theories of mental causation is the problem of overdetermination (see, e.g., Unger, 1977; Peacocke, 1979).
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Max Velmans (2002). How Could Conscious Experiences Affect Brains? Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (11):3-29.
Max Velmans (2004). Why Conscious Free Will Both is and Isn't an Illusion. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):677.
Max Velmans (2002). Making Sense of Causal Interactions Between Consciousness and Brain. Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (11):69-95.
Max Velmans (2001). A Natural Account of Phenomenal Consciousness. Communication and Cognition: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly Journal 34 (1):39-59.
David Hodgson (2008). A Role for Consciousness. Philosophy Now 65:22-24.
Max Velmans (2003). Preconscious Free Will. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (12):42-61.
Robert Rentoul (1992). Consciousness, Brain and the Physical World: A Reply to Velmans. Philosophical Psychology 5 (2):163-166.
Prof Max Velmans (2007). How to Separate Conceptual Issues From Empirical Ones in the Study of Consciousness. In Rahul Banerjee & Bikas Chakrabarti (eds.), [Book Chapter] (in Press). Elsevier
Prof em Dr Hans-Ulrich Hoche (2006). 'Reflexive Monism' Versus 'Complementarism': An Analysis and Criticism of the Conceptual Groundwork of Max Velmans's 'Reflexive Model' of Consciousness. [Journal (Paginated)] (in Press).
Douglas E. Ehring (2003). Part-Whole Physicalism and Mental Causation. Synthese 136 (3):359-388.
Max Velmans (2007). Where Experiences Are: Dualist, Physicalist, Enactive and Reflexive Accounts of Phenomenal Consciousness. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (4):547-563.
Max Velmans (1996). Consciousness and the "Causal Paradox". Behavioral and Brain Sciences 19 (3):538-542.
Max Velmans (1990). Is the Mind Conscious, Functional or Both? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4):629-630.
Professor Max Velmans (2003). Is the World in the Brain, or the Brain in the World? (A Commentary on Lehar, S. Gestalt Isomorphism and the Primacy of Subjective Conscious Experience: A Gestalt Bubble Model, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, in Press). Velmans, Professor Max (2003) is the World in the Brain, or the Brain in the World? (A Commentary on Lehar, S. Gestalt Isomorphism and the Primacy of Subjective Conscious Experience.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads22 ( #132,874 of 1,726,181 )
Recent downloads (6 months)11 ( #61,095 of 1,726,181 )
How can I increase my downloads?