Merricks on whether being conscious is intrinsic

Mind 107 (428):841-843 (1998)
Abstract
Trenton Merricks argues against the following doctrine: Microphysical Supervenience (MS) Necessarily, if atoms A1 through An compose an object that exemplifies intrinsic qualitative properties Q1 through Qn, then atoms like A1 through An (in all their respective intrinsic qualitative properties), related to one another by all the same restricted atom-to-atom relations as A1 through An, compose an object that exemplifies Q1 through Qn. (Merricks 1998, p. 59) Imagine a person, _P_. Microphysical Supervenience entails that there is an object, the finger-complement, wholly composed of all of _P_'s atoms except those in _P_'s left index-finger. After all, when we slice off _P_'s finger, we leave atoms micro- indiscernible from those in the finger-complement, and _those_ atoms compose an object, maimed _P_. Moreover, if _being conscious_ is an intrinsic property, then Microphysical Supervenience entails that the finger-complement is conscious, for maimed _P_ is conscious. But this, argues Merricks, is "simply incredible". It cannot be the case that every large collection of _P_'s atoms forms a conscious object, for then there would be "a mighty host" of conscious objects sitting in _P_'s chair (Merricks 1998, p.63). Even if there is a finger-complement, it is not conscious. So _being_ _conscious_ does not supervene upon microphysical arrangements: if _being conscious_ is an intrinsic qualitative property then Microphysical Supervenience is false. Merricks argues that _being conscious_ is indeed intrinsic, and thus that Microphysical Supervenience _is_ false. He has two reasons for supposing _being conscious_ to be intrinsic, and I object to both of these
Keywords Consciousness  Intrinsic  Metaphysics  Supervenience  Merricks, T
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