Non-Cartesian substance dualism (NCSD) maintains that persons or selves are distinct from their organic physical bodies and any parts of those bodies. It regards persons as ‘substances’ in their own right, but does not maintain that persons are necessarily separable from their bodies, in the sense of being capable of disembodied existence. In this paper, it is urged that NCSD is better equipped than either Cartesian dualism or standard forms of physicalism to explain the possibility of (...) mental causation. A model of mental causation adopting the NCSD perspective is proposed which, it is argued, is consistent with all that is currently known about the operations of the human central nervous system, including the brain. Physicalism, by contrast, seems ill-equipped to explain the distinctively intentional or teleological character of mental causation, because it effectively reduces all such causation to ‘blind’ physical causation at a neurological level. (shrink)
It is widely thought that mind–body substance dualism is implausible at best, though mere “property” dualism is defensible and even flourishing. This paper argues that substance dualism is no less plausible than property dualism and even has two advantages over it.
In The Conscious Mind, D. Chalmers appeals to his semantic framework in order to show that conceivability, as employed in his "zombie" argument for dualism, is sufficient for genuine possibility. I criticize this attempt.
Substance dualism, that most unpopular of current theories of mind, continues to find interesting and able defenders.1 I shall focus on one set of arguments supplied by one of the current defenders, and I shall argue that these arguments fail. That in itself is a matter of some interest, since it is always reassuring to be able to demonstrate that unpopular doctrines are rightly unpopular. But I hope that a further interest will attach to the refutation, in that it (...) will invoke some relatively unfamiliar thoughts about the nature of perception. (shrink)
Dualism can be contrasted with monism, and also with physicalism. It is argued here that what is essential to physicalism is not just its denial of dualism, but the epistemological and ontological authority it gives to physical science. A physicalist view of the mind must be reductive in one or both of the following senses: it must identify mental phenomena with physical phenomena (ontological reduction) or it must give an explanation of mental phenomena in physical terms (...) (explanatory or conceptual reduction). There is little reason to call a view which is not reductive in either of these senses “physicalism”. If reduction is rejected, then a non-physicalist form of monism is still available, which may be called “emergentism”. (shrink)
Abstract Substance dualism is widely rejected by philosophers of mind, but many continue to accept some form of property dualism. The assumption here is that one can consistently believe that (1) mental properties are not physical properties, while denying that (2) mental particulars are not physical particulars. But is this assumption true? This paper considers several analyses of what makes something a physical particular (as opposed to a non-physical particular), and it is argued that on any plausible analysis, (...) accepting (1) requires accepting (2) as well. (shrink)
In this article, I examine and criticize John Searle's account of the relation between mind and body. Searle rejects dualism and argues that the traditional mind-body problem has a 'simple solution': mental phenomena are both caused by biological processes in the brain and are themselves features of the brain. More precisely, mental states and events are macro-properties of neurons in much the same way that solidity and liquidity are macro-properties of molecules. However, Searle also maintains that the mental (...) is 'ontologically irreducible' to the physical, a view which follows from his understanding of the status and nature of consciousness. Consciousness is essential to the mind; subjectivity is essential to consciousness; and no purely objective, physical description of consciousness could ever capture or explain its essentially subjective character. None the less, Searle maintains that irreducibility is a 'trivial' result of our 'definitional practices' and is entirely compatible with his theory. I contend that this latter claim is based on an equivocation: Searle's conclusion only seems to follow because he alters and trivializes what philosophers ordinarily mean by 'reduction'. I also maintain that Searle's position is reductionist in the ordinary, nontrivial sense. For this reason, his theory fails to accommodate the subjective character of consciousness and fails to solve the traditional mind-body problem. Finally, I briefly discuss Searle's claim that he is not an epiphenomenalist, and argue that given the assumptions of his view there is no interesting causal role for consciousness in the physical world. (shrink)
This paper presents and evaluates Jaegwon Kim’s recent argument against substance dualism. The argument runs as follows. Causal interaction between two entities requires pairing relations. Pairing relations are spatial relations, such as distance and orientation. Souls are supposedly nonspatial, immaterial substances. So it is hard to see how souls could enter into paired causal relations with material substances. I show that Kim’s argument against dualism fails. I conclude by sketching a way the substance dualist could meet (...) Kim’s central challenge of explaining how souls and bodies are uniquely paired, allowing for them to enter into specific causal relationships, forming a singular soul–body unit. (shrink)
_René Descartes proposed an interactive dualism that posits an interaction between the_ _mind of a human being and some of the matter located in his or her brain. Isaac Newton_ _subsequently formulated a physical theory based exclusively on the material/physical_ _part of Descartes’ ontology. Newton’s theory enforced the principle of the causal closure_ _of the physical, and the classical physics that grew out of it enforces this same principle._ _This classical theory purports to give, in principle, a complete deterministic (...) account of the_ _physically described properties of nature, expressed exclusively in terms of these_ _physically described properties themselves. Orthodox contemporary physical theory_ _violates this principle in two separate ways. First, it injects random elements into the_ _dynamics. Second, it allows, and also requires, abrupt probing actions that disrupt the_ _mechanistically described evolution of the physically described systems. These probing_ _actions are called Process 1 interventions by von Neumann. They are psycho-physical_ _events. Neither the content nor the timing of these events is determined either by any_ _known law, or by the afore-mentioned random elements. Orthodox quantum mechanics_ _considers these events to be instigated by choices made by conscious agents. In von_ _Neumann’s formulation of quantum theory each such intervention acts upon the state of_ _the brain of some conscious agent. Thus orthodox von Neumann contemporary physics_ _posits an interactive dualism similar to that of Descartes. But in this quantum version the_ _effects of the conscious choices upon our brains are controlled, in part, by the known_ _basic rules of quantum physics. This theoretically specified mind-brain connection allows_ _many basic psychological and neuropsychological findings associated with the apparent_ _physical effectiveness of our conscious volitional efforts to be explained in a causal and_ _practically useful way.. (shrink)
In the standard thought experiments, dualism strikes many philosophers as true, including many non-dualists. This ‘striking’ generates prima facie justification: in the absence of defeaters, we ought to believe that things are as they seem to be, i.e. we ought to be dualists. In this paper, I examine several proposed undercutting defeaters for our dualist intuitions. I argue that each proposal fails, since each rests on a false assumption, or requires empirical evidence that it lacks, or overgenerates defeaters. By (...) the end, our prima facie justification for dualism remains undefeated. I close with one objection concerning the dialectical role of rebutting defeaters, and I argue that the prospects for a successful rebutting defeater for our dualist intuitions are dim. Since dualism emerges undefeated, we ought to believe it. (shrink)
Unger has recently argued that if you are the only thinking and experienc- ing subject in your chair, then you are not a material object. This leads Unger to endorse a version of Substance Dualism according to which we are immaterial souls. This paper argues that this is an overreaction. We argue that the specifically Dualist elements of Unger’s view play no role in his response to the problem; only the view’s structure is required, and that is available to (...) Unger’s opponents. We outline one such non-Dualist view, suggest how to resolve the dispute, respond to some objections, and argue that ours is but one of many views that survive Unger’s challenge. All these views are incompatible with microphysicalism. So Unger’s discussion does contain an insight: if you are the only conscious subject in your chair, then microphsyicalism is false. Unger’s mistake was to infer Substance Dualism from this; for microphysi- calism is not the only alternative to Dualism. (shrink)
Arguing against the prevailing view that Cartesian dualism is fundamental to understanding Descartes' philosophy, Gordon Baker and Katherine Morris present a controversial examination of Descartes' philosophy. As the first full-length study of Descartes' conception of the person, Baker and Morris depart radically from traditional representations of Descartes'argument about the persona, the cogito, and the alleged "mind/body" dualism. Contesting the nearly institutionalized view that Cartesian duality is central to understanding Descartes, Baker and Morris illuminate how this "reading" has been (...) ascribed mistakenly and erroneously to Descartes. Controversially, they show how this interpretation has led to abuse both within philosophy and beyond it. Refusing to draw a distinction between the mind and the body in traditional ways, Baker and Morris open up interesting ways of conceptualizing both ourselves and philosophy itself. (shrink)
René Descartes proposed an interactive dualism that posits an interaction between the mind of a human being and some of the matter located in his or her brain. Isaac Newton subsequently formulated a physical theory based exclusively on the material/physical part of Descartes’ ontology. Newton’s theory enforced the principle of the causal closure of the physical, and the classical physics that grew out of it enforces this same principle. This classical theory purports to give, in principle, a complete deterministic (...) account of the physically described properties of nature, expressed exclusively in terms of these physically described properties themselves. Orthodox contemporary physical theory violates this principle in two separate ways. First, it injects random elements into the dynamics. Second, it allows, and also requires, abrupt probing actions that disrupt the mechanistically described evolution of the physically described systems. These probing actions are called Process 1 interventions by von Neumann. They are psycho-physical events. Neither the content nor the timing of these events is determined either by any known law, or by the afore-mentioned random elements. Orthodox quantum mechanics considers these events to be instigated by choices made by conscious agents. In von Neumann’s formulation of quantum theory each such intervention acts upon the state of the brain of some conscious agent. Thus orthodox von Neumann contemporary physics posits an interactive dualism similar to that of Descartes. But in this quantum version the effects of the conscious choices upon our brains are controlled, in part, by the known basic rules of quantum physics. This theoretically specified mind-brain connection allows many basic psychological and neuropsychological findings associated with the apparent physical effectiveness of our conscious volitional efforts to be explained in a causal and practically useful way.. (shrink)
This paper is divided into two main sections. The first articulates what I believe Strawson's position to be. I contrast Strawson's usage of 'physicalism' with the mainstream use. I then explain why I think that Strawson's position is one of property dualism and substance monism. In doing this, I outline his view and Locke's view on the nature of substance. I argue that they are similar in many respects and thus it is no surprise that Strawson actually holds a (...) view on the mind much like one plausible interpretation of Locke's position. Strawson's use of terminology cloaks this fact and he does not himself explicitly recognize it in his paper. In the second section, I outline some of Strawson's assumptions that he uses in arguing for his position. I comment on the plausibility of his position concerning the relation of the mind to the body compared with mainstream physicalism and various forms of dualism. Before embarking on the two main sections, in the remainder of this introduction, I very briefly sketch Strawson's view. (shrink)
b>: Replacing faulty nineteenth century physics by its orthodox quantum successor converts the earlier materialist conception of nature to a structure that does not enforce the principle of the causal closure of the physical. The quantum laws possess causal gaps, and these gaps are filled in actual scientific practice by inputs from our streams of consciousness. The form of the quantum laws permits and suggests the existence of an underlying reality that is built not on substances, but on psychophysical events, (...) and on objective tendencies for these events to occur. These events constitute intrinsic mind-brain connections. They are fundamental links between brain processes described in physical terms and events in our streams of consciousness. This quantum ontology confers upon our conscious intentions the causal efficacy assigned to them in actual scientific practice, and creates a substance- free interactive dualism. This putative quantum ontology has previously been shown to have impressive explanatory power in both psychology and neuroscience. Here it is used to reconcile the existence of physically efficacious conscious free will with causal anomalies of both the Libet and Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky types. (shrink)
After drawing a distinction between two kinds of dualism -- numerical dualism (defined in terms of identity) and modal dualism (defined in terms of supervenience) -- we argue that Descartes is a numerical dualist, but not a modal dualist. Since most contemporary dualists advocate modal dualism, the relation of Descartes' views to the contemporary philosophy of mind are more complex than is commonly assumed.
To the extent that dualism is even taken to be a serious option in contemporary discussions of personal identity and the philosophy of mind, it is almost exclusively either Cartesian dualism or property dualism that is considered. The more traditional dualism defended by Aristotelians and Thomists, what I call hylemorphic dualism, has only received scattered attention. In this essay I set out the main lines of the hylemorphic dualist position, with (...) particular reference to personal identity. First I argue that overemphasis of the problem of consciousness has had an unhealthy effect on recent debate, claiming instead that we should emphasize the concept of form. Then I bring in the concept of identity by means of the notion of substantial form. I continue by analyzing the relation between form and matter, defending the traditional theses of prime matter and of the unicity of substantial form. I then argue for the immateriality of the substantial form of the human person, viz. the soul, from an account of the human intellect. From this follows the soul's essential independence of matter. Finally, although the soul is the immaterial bearer of personal identity, that identity is still the identity of an essentially embodied being. I explain how these ideas are to be reconciled. Footnotesa I am grateful to Stephen Braude, John Cottingham, John Haldane, David Jehle, Joel Katzav, Eduardo Ortiz, and Fred Sommers for helpful comments and discussion of a draft of this essay. I would also like to thank Ellen Paul, whose suggestions have helped greatly to improve the essay's style and content. (shrink)
In Consciousness Explained, Dennett elaborates and defends a materialist?functionalist account of the human mind, and of consciousness in particular. This defence depends crucially on his prior rejection of dualism. Dennett rejects this dualist alternative on three grounds: first, that its version of mind?to?body causation is in conflict with what we know, or have good reason to believe, from the findings of physical science; second, that the very notion of dualistic psychophysical causation is incoherent; and third, that dualism puts (...) the mind beyond the reach of scientific investigation. In each case, his reasoning is unconvincing, and indeed leaves the dualist entirely unscathed. In contrast, without an adequate basis for his rejection of dualism, Dennett himself is left with a theory which is vulnerable to a number of familiar objections. (shrink)
1. Consider the basic outlines of the mind-body debate as it is found in contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy. The central question is “whether mental phenomena are physical phenomena, and if not, how they relate to physical phenomena.”1 Over the centuries, a wide range of possible solutions to this problem have emerged. These are the various “isms” familiar to any student of the debate: Cartesian dualism, idealism, epiphenomenalism, central state materialism, non- reductive physicalism, anomalous monism, and so forth. Each (...) purports to specify, among other things, the metaphysical relationship between the mental and the physical. They do so by specifying whether, or in what way, mental entities are identical to, reducible to, realized by, supervenient upon, or in causal interaction with physical entities. Thus, a convenient way to survey the range of positions is to enter them in a table (see Table 1). Rows correspond to the major kinds of metaphysical relation which might obtain between mental and physical entities. Each columns corresponds to one of the generic positions available in the debate. The particular theories defended by individual philosophers are usually just specific versions of generic positions. Thus Malebranche’s occasionalism is a version of causal dualism, distinguished by a peculiar account of the way in which causal interaction between mental and physical is actually effected. The central philosophical challenge is to determine which of these positions correctly describes the mental/physical relationship. Positions are evaluated for internal consistency, their fit with “intuitions,” their compatibility with scientific developments, and so forth. The mind-body debate, in this simple form, is set out in any number of.. (shrink)
Contemporary arguments for forms of psycho-physical dualism standardly depart from phenomenal aspects of consciousness ('what it is like' to have some particular conscious experience). Conceptual aspects of conscious experience, as opposed to phenomenal or visual/perceptual ones, are often taken to be within the scope of functionalist, reductionist, or physicalist theories. I argue that the particular conceptual structure of human consciousness makes this asymmetry unmotivated. The argument for a form of dualism defended here proceeds from the empirical (...) premise that conceptual structure in a linguistic creature like us is a combinatorial and compositional system that implicates a distinction between simple and complex, or 'atomic' and 'molecular' concepts. The argument is that conceptual atoms, qua atoms, are irreducible to anything else. If so, and if the atoms are essentially semantic, a form of dualism follows: though positively inviting naturalistic inquiry into the semantic and mental aspects of nature, it requires that we look at the mental as a primitive domain of nature. Schematically, then, the argument is as follows: (1) Human consciousness/thought is conceptually structured. (2) The human conceptual system is a 'particulate' system at a syntactic and semantic level of representation (the notion of a 'particulate' system is developed in Section 2). (3) This implies the existence of conceptual 'particles', concepts that have no further semantic decomposition ('atoms'). (4) A conceptual atom cannot be explained in terms of anything that does not involve its own intrinsic properties (Section 3). (5) Physicalism as normally conceived is inconsistent with (3) and (4) (Section 4). (shrink)
Descartes's dualism, and his argument for it, are often understood in terms of the modal notion of separability. I argue that the central notions, substance and real distinction, should not be understood this way. Descartes's well-known argument for dualism relies implicitly on views he spells out in the Principles of Philosophy, where he explains that a substance has a nature that consists in a single attribute, and all its qualities are modes of that nature. The argument relies ultimately (...) on a deeply rationalistic view of substance. (shrink)
This paper evaluates a form of dualism, which is referred to here as the dualism of conceptual scheme and undifferentiated reality. According to this dualism, although reality appears to be divided into distinct things from the perspective of our system of concepts, it is actually not. I justify the view that this dualism is incoherent.
As part of his case for emergent dualism, William Hasker proffers a _unity-of-_ _consciousness_ (UOC) argument against materialism. I formalize the argument and show how the warrant for two of its premises accrues from the warrant one assigns to two distinct theses about unified conscious experience. I then argue that though both unity theses are plausible, the materialist has little to fear from Hasker.
Frank Jackson formulated his knowledge argument as an argument for dualism. In this paper I show how the argument can be modified to also establish the irreducibility of the secondary qualities to the properties of physical theory, and ultimately.
Beginning with Descartes' caution not “imprudently” to “take some other object in place of myself”, I consider first the problems of self-identification confronted by various amnesiacs , both ordinary and Cartesian. Noting that cogitationes as such do not individuate, I proceed to examine conclusions drawn from certain sorts of “body-switching” thought experiments. This, in turn, gives rise to a general critique of “psychological connectedness” or “unity of consciousness” as a candidate criterion of personal identity. I conclude that our ability to (...) apply any notion of personal identity is parasitic upon the existence of a conceptual apparatus for individuating, identifying, and reidentifying objects. Finally, I argue that, if ‘person’ is a proper sortal predicate to begin with, Descartes' res cogitans cannot be understood as a species of the (metaphysical) genus res , distinct from res extensa and only problematically in “interaction” with it. Cartesian dualism is a multiply untenable doctrine. (shrink)
In this essay, we explore a fresh avenue into mind-body dualism by considering a seemingly distant question posed by Frege: "Why is it absurd to suppose that Julius Caesar is a number?". The essay falls into three main parts. In the first, through an exploration of Frege’s Julius Caesar problem, we attempt to expose two maxims applicable to the mind-body problem. In the second part, we draw on those maxims in arguing that “full blown dualism” is preferable to (...) more modest, property-theoretic, versions. Finally, in the third part we close by suggesting that full blown dualism need not be spooky, resurrecting a broadly Lockean, rather than Cartesian, metaphysical picture. (shrink)
Directed to scholars and senior-level graduate students, this book is an iconoclastic survey of the history of dualism and its impact on contemporary cognitive psychology. It argues that much of modern cognitive or mentalist psychology is built upon a cryptodualism--the idea that the mind and brain can be thought of as independent entities. This dualism pervades so much of society that it covertly influences many aspects of modern science, particularly psychology. To support the argument, the history of (...) class='Hi'>dualism is extended over 100,000 years--from the Paleolithic times until modern philosophical and psychological thinking. The questions regarding this topic that are answered in the book are: 1) Does dualism influence the scientific theories of psychology? 2) If so, should dualism be put aside in the search for a more objective analysis of human mentation? (shrink)
One of the things C. D Broad argued many years ago is that certain 'scientific' arguments against dualist interactionism come back in the end to a metaphysical bias in favor of materialism. Here the authors pursue this basic strategy against another 'scientific' argument against dualism itself. The argument is called 'the argument from continuity'. According to this argument the fact that organisms and species develop by insensible gradations renders dualism implausible. The authors try to demonstrate that this argument (...) fails to establish the implausibility of dualism. (shrink)
Philosophers.all too often think that statements about human bodily movements are basic and unproblematic. It is argued here that just the opposite is the case: with human beings action descriptions are the basic ones and bodily movement descriptions are the problematic ones. They are problematic because they are the offspring of the Cartesian dualist's notion of a human body as something ?conceptually separable? from anything mental, a notion which in fact is wholly empty. This claim is supported by examining three (...) proposed methods for coming up with descriptions of such a body ? by looking to commonplace bodily movement statements, to a scientist's statements about bodies in motion, and to the results of a philosophical thought?experiment. All these methods fail to pick out a conceptually separable component of a human being. Philosophical bodily movement talk, it is concluded, is vacuous, for nothing about a human being provides a referent for it. (shrink)
The paper argues that dualism can explain mental causation and solve the exclusion problem. If dualism is combined with the assumption that the psychophysical laws have a special status, it follows that some physical events counterfactually depend on, and are therefore caused by, mental events. Proponents of this account of mental causation can solve the exclusion problem in either of two ways: they can deny that it follows that the physical effect of a mental event is overdetermined by (...) its mental and physical causes, or they can accept that the physical effect is overdetermined but claim that this is unproblematic because the case is sufficiently dissimilar to prototypical cases of overdetermination. (shrink)
This paper examines some consequences of the (quasi-)epiphenomenalism implied by a property dualistic view of phenomenal consciousness. The focus is upon the variation of phenomenal content over time. A thought-experiment is constructed to support two claims. The weaker claim exhibits an incompatibility which arises in certain logically possible situations between a conscious subject’s epistemic norms and the requirement that one be aware of one’s conscious experience. This could be interpreted as providing some epistemic grounds for the postulation of bridging laws (...) between the physical/functional and phenomenal domains. The stronger claim has it that the ontology of property dualism is not properly able to account for the certainty I have of being phenomenally conscious. The problem is viewed as resulting from the neglect of the intensional context involved in a proper representation of the argument for property dualism. It is argued that only a transcendental move can do justice to this certainty I have. (shrink)
Abstract In Causing Actions, Pietroski defends a distinctive view of the relationship between mind and body which he calls Personal Dualism. Central to his defence is the Argument from Differential Vagueness. It moves from the claim that mental events have different vagueness of spatiotemporal boundaries from neural events to the claim that mental events are not identical to neural events. In response, I argue that this presupposes an ontological account of vagueness that there is no reason to believe in (...) this context. I further argue that Pietroski's reasons for rejecting the possibility that mental events are vaguely constituted from neural events are inadequate. I go on to show how Pietroski's Personal Dualism is ill-equipped to deal with the problem of mental causation because of its apparently necessary appeal to ceteris paribus laws. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the view, defended by some philosophers, that it is part of the meaning of mental that being mental is incompatible with being physical. I call this outlook metalinguistic dualism (MLD for short), and I distinguish it from metaphysical theories of the mind-body relation such as Cartesian dualism. I argue that MLD is mistaken, but I don't try to defend the contrary view that mentalistic terms can be definitionally reduced to nonmental (...) ones. After criticizing arguments by certain philosophers which purport to establish MLD, I formulate a criterion for a phenomenon's being mental. I then show that this criterion is neutral between monistic and dualistic theories of the mind-body relation. Since if MLD were true it should be impossible to construct such a criterion, I conclude that it is false (i.e., if it is intended as a descriptive thesis about our language). The significance of my paper is that if I am right then I remove one important type of objection to aposteriori, noneliminative forms of the identity theory of mind, namely that such theories ought to be rejected merely on the basis of semantical considerations about the word mental. Beyond that, I believe that my criterion of mental phenomena correctly captures our intuitions about the nature of the distinction between mental and nonmental phenomena. (shrink)
There seems to exist an indirect link between computer science and theology via psychology, which is founded on dualism. First, these theories from psychology, computer science and theology are considered that acknowledge the existence of (at least) two different kinds of reality, or, possibly, two different realms of the same reality. In order to express a root of incompatibility of science and theology, a distinction is drawn between ontological and epistemological dualism. It seems that computer science combines ontological (...) monism with epistemological monism, theology combines ontological and epistemological dualism, and psychologytakes a position of epistemological monism and is quite hesitant about the ontological status of the phenomena it analyzes. A direct transition from the computer metaphor to theology is almost impossible: there is no overlap of platforms between these domains. (shrink)
Through the ages, Christians have almost automatically been Mind-Body dualists. The Bible portrays us as spiritual beings, and one obvious way to be a spiritual being is to be (or to have) an immaterial soul. Since it is also evident that we have bodies, Christians naturally have thought of themselves as composite beings, made of two substances—a material body and a nonmaterial soul. Despite the historical weight of this position, I do not think that it is required either by Scripture (...) or by Christian doctrine as it has developed through the ages. So, I want to argue that there is a Christian alternative to Mind-Body Dualism, and that the reasons in favor of the alternative outweigh those in favor of Mind-Body Dualism. (shrink)
v. 1. Dualism in the Archaic and Early Classical periods of Greek history -- v. 2. Dualism in the political and social history of Greece in the fifth and fourth century B.C. -- v. 3. Dualism in Greek literature and philosophy in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. -- v. 4. Dualism in the ancient Middle East -- v. 5. A cultural history of Dualism -- v. 6. Dualism in the Hellenistic world -- v. (...) 7. Dualism in the Palestinian-Syrian region during the first century A.D. until. ca. 140 -- v. 8. Gnostic dualism in Asia Minor during the first centuries A.D. (2 v.) -- v. 10. Dualism in Roman history: 1. Imperialistic dualism -- v. 11. Dualism in Roman history: 2. Dualism in interior politics and social life -- v. 12. Dualism in Roman history: 3. The Christian church in conflict with the Roman Empire and with Judaism -- v. 13. Dualism in Roman history: 4. The struggle between orthodoxy and heterodoxy in the early Christian church -- v. 14. Dualism in Roman history: 5. Enemies of the Roman Order -- v. 15. Imperialism in medieval history I : dualism in Byzantine history, 476-638 and dualism in Islam, 572-732 -- v. 16. Imperialism in medieval history II : dualism in German history I -- v. 17. Imperialism in medieval history III : dualism in German history II -- v. 18. The dualism of the Christian and Muslim worlds during the middle ages -- v. 20. Gnostic-dualistic tendencies in the history of medieval Europe -- v. 21. Dualism and non-dualism in medieval theology and philosophy. (shrink)
The explanatory gap . Consciousness is a mystery. No one has ever given an account, even a highly speculative, hypothetical, and incomplete account of how a physical thing could have phenomenal states. (Nagel, 1974, Levine, 1983) Suppose that consciousness is identical to a property of the brain, say activity in the pyramidal cells of layer 5 of the cortex involving reverberatory circuits from cortical layer 6 to the thalamus and back to layers 4 and 6,as Crick and Koch have suggested (...) for visual consciousness. (See Crick (1994).) Still, that identity itself calls out for explanation! Proponents of an explanatory gap disagree about whether the gap is permanent. Some (e.g. Nagel, 1974) say that we are like the scientifically naive person who is told that matter = energy, but does not have the concepts required to make sense of the idea. If we can acquire these concepts, the gap is closable. Others say the gap is uncloseable because of our cognitive limitations. (McGinn, 1991) Still others say that the gap is a consequence of the fundamental nature of consciousness. (shrink)
I have argued in a number of writings that the philosophical part (though not the neurobiological part) of the traditional mind-body problem has a fairly simple and obvious solution: All of our mental phenomena are caused by lower level neuronal processes in the brain and are themselves realized in the brain as higher level, or system, features. The form of causation is.
Chalmers argues that zombies are possible and that therefore consciousness does not supervene on physical facts, which shows the falsity of materialism. The crucial step in this argument – that zombies are possible – follows from their conceivability and hence depends on assuming that conceivability implies possibility. But while Chalmers’s defense of this assumption – call it the conceivability principle – is the key part of his argument, it has not been well understood. As I see it, Chalmers’s defense of (...) the conceivability principle comes in his response to the so-called objection from a posteriori necessity. The defense aims at showing that there is no gap between conceivability and possibility since no such gap can be generated by necessary a posteriori truths. I will argue that while Chalmers is right to the extent that there is no gap between conceivability and possibility within the standard Kripkean model of a posteriori necessity, his general conclusion is not justified. This is because the conceivability principle might be inconsistent with a posteriori necessity understood in some non-Kripkean way and Chalmers has not shown that no such alternative understanding of a posteriori necessity is available. (shrink)
An important part of the mind-brain problem arises because sentience and consciousness seem inherently resistant to scientific explanation and understanding. The solution to this dilemma is to recognize, first, that scientific explanation can only render comprehensible a selected aspect of what there is, and second, that there is a mode of explanation and understanding, the personalistic, quite different from, but just as viable as, scientific explanation. In order to understand the mental aspect of brain processes - that aspect we know (...) about as a result of having relevant neurological processes occur in our own brain - we need to avail ourselves of personalistic explanation, irreducible to scientific explanation. The problem of explaining and understanding why experiential or mental aspects of brain processes or things should be correlated with certain physical processes, things or states of affairs is a non-problem because there is no kind of explanation possible in terms of which an explanation could be couched. A physical theory, amplified to include the experiential, might be predictive but would, necessarily, cease to be explanatory; and an amplified personalistic explanation could not succeed either. There is, in short, an explanation as to why there cannot be an explanation of correlations between physical and mental aspects of processes going on inside our heads. (shrink)
I have argued in many places that a carefully articulated version of Descartes’s argument to show that he is essentially an immaterial soul is sound. It is conceivable that I who am currently conscious continue to exist without my body, and that can only be if there is currently a nonbodily part of me which alone is essential for me. Recent counterarguments of Alston and Smythe, Moser and van der Nat, Zimmerman, and Shoemaker are rejected.
Three theses about the mind, when conjoined with a certain understanding of lawlike connection, escape the objection that they constitute an epiphenomenalism and so conflict with our conviction of the efficacy of the mental. Certain alternatives to the given picture of the mind, one of them an Identity Theory, are in various respects less defensible. The given picture can be defended against considerations deriving from a contextual conception of the mental, and from an elaborated objection having to do with the (...) holism of the mental. The Identity Theory mentioned above appears to be inconsistent, and a further picture of the mind, with very different presuppositions, has the disability among others that it does not provide for mental efficacy. Also, the presuppositions raise great problems. (shrink)