I argue that Hobbes isn't really a materialist in the early 1640s (in, e.g., the Third Objections to Descartes's Meditations). That is, he doesn't assert that bodies are the only substances. However, he does think that bodies are the only substances we can think about using imagistic ideas.
After a brief history of Brentano's thesis of intentionality, it is argued that intentionality presents a serious problem for materialism. First, it is shown that, if no general materialist analysis (or reduction) of intentionality is possible, then intentional phenomena would have in common at least one nonphysical property, namely, their intentionality. A general analysis of intentionality is then suggested. Finally, it is argued that any satisfactory general analysis of intentionality must share with this analysis a feature which entails the (...) existence of a nonphysical "level of organization". (shrink)
This paper discusses the materialist views of Margaret Cavendish, focusing on the relationships between her views and those of two of her contemporaries, Thomas Hobbes and Henry More. It argues for two main claims. First, Cavendish's views sit, often rather neatly, between those of Hobbes and More. She agreed with Hobbes on some issues and More on others, while carving out a distinctive alternative view. Secondly, the exchange between Hobbes, More, and Cavendish illustrates a more general puzzle about just what (...) divided materialists from their opponents. Seemingly straightforward disagreements about whether incorporeal substances exist turn out to be more complex ones in which the nature of those things is disputed at the same time as their existence. (shrink)
I consider Leibniz's thoughts about Hobbes's materialism, focusing on his less-discussed later thoughts about the topic. Leibniz understood Hobbes to have argued for his materialism from his imagistic theory of ideas. Leibniz offered several criticisms of this argument and the resulting materialism itself. Several of these criticisms occur in texts in which Leibniz was engaging with the generation of British philosophers after Hobbes. Of particular interest is Leibniz's correspondence with Damaris Masham. Leibniz may have been trying to (...) communicate with Locke, but ended up discussing Masham's version of the argument for materialism that Leibniz attributed to Hobbes. (shrink)
A philosophy might take its general inspiration from (1) commonsense; (2) careful observation; (3) philosophical argumentation; (4) the sciences; (5) "higher" sources of illumination. It is argued in this paper that it is bedrock commonsense, and the sciences, which are the most reliable foundations for a philosophy. This result is applied to the discussion and defense of a materialist theory of the mind.
Short version of 'Real materialism', given at Tucson III Conference, 1998. (1) physicalism is true (2) the qualitative character of experience is real, as most naively understood ... so (3) the qualitative character of experience (considered specifically as such) is wholly physical. ‘How can consciousness possibly be physical, given what we know about the physical?’ To ask this question is already to have gone wrong. We have no good reason (as Priestley and Russell and others observe) to think that (...) we know anything about the physical that gives us any reason to find any problem in the idea that consciousness is wholly physical. (shrink)
Orthodox neural materialists think mental states are neural events or orthodox material properties of neutral events. Orthodox material properties are defining properties of the “physical”. A “defining property” of the physical is a type of property that provides a necessary condition for something’s being correctly termed “physical”. In this paper I give an argument against orthodox neural materialism. If successful, the argument would show at least some properties of some mental states are not orthodox material properties of neural events. (...) Opposing philosophical orthodoxy, I show there are no posteriori identities -- identities that cannot be known of a priori. (shrink)
This is a short (1,000 word) introduction to Hobbes's materialism, covering (briefly) such issues as what the relevant notion of materialism is, Hobbes's debate with Descartes, and what Hobbes's arguments for materialism were.
It is often thought that materialism about themind can be clarified using the concept of supervenience. But there is a difficulty. Amaterialist should admit the possibility ofghosts and thus should allow that a world mightduplicate the physical character of our worldand enjoy, in addition, immaterial beings withmental properties. So materialists can't claimthat every world that is physicallyindistinguishable from our world is alsomentally indistinguishable; and this is wellknown. What is less understood are thedifferent ways that immaterial add-ons can maketrouble for (...) supervenience-theoreticformulations of materialism. In this paper, Ishall present a problematic kind of add-on thathas been ignored and look at threesupervenience-theoretic attempts to formulatematerialism in that light. (shrink)
There is an enduring story about empiricism, which runs as follows: from Locke onwards to Carnap, empiricism is the doctrine in which raw sense-data are received through the passive mechanism of perception; experience is the effect produced by external reality on the mind or ‘receptors’. Empiricism on this view is the ‘handmaiden’ of experimental natural science, seeking to redefine philosophy and its methods in conformity with the results of modern science. Secondly, there is a story about materialism, popularized initially (...) by Marx and Engels and later restated as standard, ‘textbook’ history of philosophy in the English-speaking world. It portrays materialism as explicitly mechanistic, seeking to reduce the world of qualities, sensations, and purposive behaviour to a quantitative, usually deterministic physical scheme. Building on some recent scholarship, I aim to articulate the contrarian view according to which neither of these stories is true. On the contrary, empiricism turns out to be less ‘science-friendly’ and more concerned with moral matters; materialism reveals itself to be, in at least a large number of cases, a ‘vital’, anti-mechanistic doctrine which focuses on the unique properties of organic beings. This revision of two key philosophical episodes should reveal that our history of early modern philosophy is dependent to a great extent on ‘special interests’, whether positivistic or Kantian, and by extension lead us to rethink the relation and distinction between ‘science’ and ‘philosophy’ in this period. (shrink)
This is a book about sensory states and their apparent characteristics. It confronts a whole series of metaphysical and epistemological questions and presents an argument for type materialism: the view that sensory states are identical with the neural states with which they are correlated. According to type materialism, sensations are only possessed by human beings and members of related biological species; silicon-based androids cannot have sensations. The author rebuts several other rival theories (dualism, double aspect theory, eliminative (...) class='Hi'>materialism, functionalism), and explores a number of important issues: the forms and limits of introspective awareness of sensations, the semantic properties of sensory concepts, knowledge of other minds, and unity of consciousness. The book is a significant contribution to the philosophy of mind, and has much to say to psychologists and cognitive scientists. (shrink)
How should the metaphysical hypothesis of materialism be formulated? What strategies look promising for defending this hypothesis? How good are the prospects for its successful defense, especially in light of the infamous “hard problem” of phenomenal consciousness? I will say something about each of these questions.
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.
One of the principal tasks Dennett sets himself in _Consciousness Explained _is to demolish the Cartesian theatre model of phenomenal consciousness, which in its contemporary garb takes the form of _Cartesian materialism_: the idea that conscious experience is a _process of presentation_ realized in the physical materials of the brain. The now standard response to Dennett is that, in focusing on Cartesian materialism, he attacks an impossibly naive account of consciousness held by no one currently working in cognitive science (...) or the philosophy of mind. Our response is quite different. We believe that, once properly formulated, Cartesian materialism is no straw man. Rather, it is an attractive hypothesis about the relationship between the computational architecture of the brain and phenomenal consciousness, and hence one that is worthy of further exploration. Consequently, our primary aim in this paper is to defend Cartesian materialism from Dennett. (shrink)
Eliminative Materialism holds that propositional attitude folk psychology is a radically false theory of human, cognition, communication and behaviour. The paper reviews the argument that Eliminative Materialism is self-defeating. Although the argument is unsuccessful, it is argued that Eliminative Materialism ought to be considered epistemically self-undermining. Eliminative Materialism's truth would undermine the epistemic warrant of the theories (from cognitive neuroscience) typically taken as motivating the eliminativist thesis. Eliminative materialism fails to recognise that, in the psychological (...) sciences, the mind is both the object and instrument of study. Radically changing the instrument changing the instrument changes the background conditions and epistemic underpinnings of all inquiry. (shrink)
A dialog between Donald MacKay and Mario Bunge, printed in the journal Neuroscience over the course of two years beginning in 1977, provides a conscise summary of MacKay's views on the mind-body relationship. In this dialog, MacKay contrasts the dualistic interactionism theory of Popper and Eccles with Bunge's emergentist materialism theory, and then builds a case for a third alternative based on the notion of mental events embodied in, but not identical to, brain events. Although neuroscience has made tremendous (...) progress in the past two decades, MacKay's attempt to trace a path between interactionism and materialism is still worth considering. (shrink)
Leibniz's mill argument in 'Monadology' 17 is a well-known but puzzling argument against materialism about the mind. I approach the mill argument by considering other places where Leibniz gave similar arguments, using the same example of the machinery of a mill and reaching the same anti-materialist conclusion. In a 1702 letter to Bayle, Leibniz gave a mill argument that moves from his definition of perception (as the expression of a multitude by a simple) to the anti-materialist conclusion. Soon afterwards, (...) in the Preface to the New Essays, Leibniz gave a different mill argument. That argument depends upon there being no arbitrary and inexplicable connections in nature, because God would not create such things. Later, in the 'Monadology', Leibniz again used the mill example in arguing against materialism. That passage too, I argue, uses an argument from inexplicability rather than from Leibniz's definition of perception. (shrink)
Contemporary Materialism presents an important collection of recent work on materialism in connection with metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and theories of value. This anthology charts the contemporary problems, positions and themes on the topic of materialism. It illuminates materialism's complex intersection with related subjects such as cognition and psychology. By gathering a wide-range of philosophical interventions around the subject of materialism, this anthology provides a valuable discussion of how materialism can effectively (...) serve the purposes of philosophical assessment. To further assist the reader, it also contains an extensive bibliography on contemporary materialism. (shrink)
The materialist approach to the body is often, if not always understood in ‘mechanistic’ terms, as the view in which the properties unique to organic, living embodied agents are reduced to or described in terms of properties that characterize matter as a whole, which allow of mechanistic explanation. Indeed, from Hobbes and Descartes in the 17th century to the popularity of automata such as Vaucanson’s in the 18th century, this vision of things would seem to be correct. In this paper (...) I aim to correct this inaccurate vision of materialism. On the contrary, the materialist project on closer consideration reveals itself to be, significantly if not exclusively, (a) a body of theories specifically focused on the contribution that ‘biology’ or rather ‘natural history’ and physiology make to metaphysical debates, (b) much more intimately connected to what we now call ‘vitalism’ (a case in point is the presence of Théophile de Bordeu, a prominent Montpellier physician and theorist of vitalism, as a fictional character and spokesman of materialism, in Diderot’s novel D’Alembert’s Dream), and ultimately (c) an anti-mechanistic doctrine which focuses on the unique properties of organic beings. To establish this revised vision of materialism I examine philosophical texts such as La Mettrie’s Man a Machine and Diderot’s D’Alembert’s Dream; medical entries in the Encyclopédie by physicians such as Ménuret and Fouquet; and clandestine combinations of all such sources (Fontenelle, Gaultier and others). (shrink)
I shall be concerned in this paper with the consideration of panpsychism and of materialism in new forms as alternatives. Extended reference will be made to C. S. Peirce's view of perception as realistic in intention and yet not quite clear as to its mechanism and how it attains objective import. I shall say little about Whitehead as a representative of panpsychism as I have just finished a detailed criticism of his epistemological framework. I shall, however, make comments on (...) William James's radical empiricism as tied in with his view of perception as direct and immediate--roughly speaking, the alternative to Locke's representation of "unperceived things" --and bring in my own theory of sensations as guiding perceiving. Russell's neutral monism, connected historically with James's radical empiricism, will be touched on here in connection with his rejection of materialism. Phenomenalism and materialism exclude each other. Materialism, as an ontology, requires a realistic epistemology. I shall also make some comments on Dewey's biological experientialism. One can often best explain a perspective by means of contrasts. (shrink)
This paper examines and rejects some purported refutations of eliminative materialism in the philosophy of mind: a quasi-transcendental argument due to Jackson and Pettit (1990) to the effect that folk psychology is “peculiarly unlikely” to be radically revised or eliminated in light of the developments of cognitive science and neuroscience; and (b) certain straight-out transcendental arguments to the effect that eliminativism is somehow incoherent (Baker, 1987; Boghossian, 1990). It begins by clarifying the exact topology of the dialectical space in (...) which debates between eliminativist and anti-eliminativist ought to be framed. I claim that both proponents and opponents of eliminativism have been insufficiently attentive to the range of dialectical possibilities. Consequently, the debate has not, in fact, been framed within the correct dialectical setting. I then go onto to show how inattentiveness to the range of dialectical possibilities undermines both transcendental and quasi-transcendental arguments against eliminativism. In particular, I argue that the quasi-transcendentalist overestimates the degree to which folk psychology can be insulated from the advance of neuroscience and cognitive science just in virtue of being a functional theory. I argue further that transcendental arguments are fallacious and do not succeed against even the strongest possible form of eliminativism. Finally, I argue that that transcendental arguments are irrelevant. Even if such arguments do succeed against a certain'very strong form of eliminativism, they remain complete non-starters against certain weaker forms of eliminativism. And I argue that if any of these weaker forms is true, folk psychology is in trouble enough to vindicate Paul Ckurchland's claim that our common sense psychological framework is “a radically false and misleading conception of the causes of human behavior and the nature of cognitive activity”. (shrink)
In this paper I examine nonreductive materialism (physicalism). This is a position that Terry Horgan favors in his papers and is probably the most widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind in recent decades. In contrast to this, I will argue that nonreductive materialism is an unstable position and will suggest that we can show this using Horgan's own work on the concept of superdupervenience.
In a recent article, Grover Maxwell presents a case for a kind of mind-brain identity theory which he claims precludes materialism. His case is based on some views about meaning which I find plausible. However, I will argue that, by adopting certain assumptions about the nature of sensory experience, and extending some of Maxwell's views about meaning in a plausible way, the issue of a materialistic identity theory is reopened. Ultimately, I will agree that such a theory is not (...) true, but more is needed to show this than Maxwell gives us. But the question of materialism is not thereby closed, because it has become axiomatic these days that materialism does not require an identity theory. So I will go on to consider if all forms of materialism have been ruled out by Maxwell's theory, as extended by me. I will end with a tentative affirmative answer but also with a proposal which, if it can be worked out, would reverse the decision. (shrink)
This powerful critique of Marx's historical materialism - as a theory of power, as an account of history, and as a political theory -has been revised to take note of the profound intellectual and political changes that have occurred since the first edition was published. Reviews from the first edition 'Giddens draws upon a formidable knowledge of anthropology, archaeology, geography, and philosophy to demonstrate the limitations of Marxism and to formulate his own interpretation of the history of societies ... (...) He does a masterful job of setting his theory within a historical and critical framework of writings on Marx. His clarity of thought and his deft and often humorous handling of the unavoidable jargon of sociology and Marxist political theory makes this book a critical work of the highest quality.' Journal of International Law and Politics 'By contrast with many practictioners in the rather murky area of social theory, Giddens clearly seeks to make himself understood, and he has the useful quality of provoking one to argument. He has let light into some dark places.' The Times Higher Education Supplement 'Although Marx, Durkheim, and Weber continue to fill more index space than any other authors, Critique is Giddens's most explicit and committed statement of his own conceptualization of social theory ... It is his most original and therefore most vulnerable book, at once a cause for celebration and an invitation to critical reappraisal of the author's entire theoretical project.' Environment and Planning. (shrink)
Argument that Marx has a realist ontology and a correspondence theory of truth. His views are compared to both Hegel's and Kant's. This interpretation departs from more Hegelian, 'idealist' interpretations that often rely on misunderstanding some of the work of the early Marx. There is also a discussion and partial defence of Lenin's Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.
The doctrine of eliminative materialism holds that belief-desire psychology is massively referentially disconnected. We claim, however, that it is not at all obvious what it means to be referentially (dis)connected. The two major accounts of reference both lead to serious difficulties for eliminativism: it seems that elimination is either impossible or omnipresent. We explore the idea that reference fixation is a much more local, partial, and context-dependent process than was supposed by the classical accounts. This pragmatic view suggests that (...) elimination is not the prime model for understanding the complex relations between the mind and brain sciences, and that we have little ground for concluding that in general psychological kinds do not exist. We suggest that reference changes are better seen as continuous rather than completely eliminative. (shrink)
This paper characterizes a form of materialism which is strongly anti?reductionist with regard to mental predicates. It argues against the functionalist views of writers such as Brian Loar on the basis that the counterfactual interdependencies of intentional states are governed by constraints of rationality embodied in semantic links which cannot be captured in non?intentional, functionalist terms. However, contrary to what is commonly supposed, such anti?reductionism requires neither instrumentalism about the mental nor opposition to a causal explanatory view of intentional (...) explanation. The paper therefore aims to show that a realist causal explanatory view of psychological states is compatible with a non?reductive materialism (a position excluded by Brian Loar in his recent book Mind and Meaning). (shrink)
This book tells for the first time the long and complex story of the involvement of Locke's suggestion that God could add to matter the power of thought in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding in the growth of French materialism. There is a discussion of the 'affaire de Prades', in which Locke's name was linked with a censored thesis at the Faculty of Theology in Paris. The similarities and differences between English "thinking matter" and the French "matiere pensante" of (...) the philosophes are also discussed. (shrink)
The concept of 'the body', in the supposed contrast of mind and body, is not to be distinguished from the concept of the person, hence dualism is an incorrect conception of the supposed contrast, which is consistent with some form of materialism.
Contemporary materialist theories purporting to account for experience are seriously flawed, for they fail to accommodate the full range of human experience, especially paranormal experience. Substance Dualism (SD) is re-examined in light of this experience,including telepathy and clairvoyance, mediumship, the near-death experience, and reincarnation cases involving children’s memories. A different kind of materialism postulating degrees of fi neness and vibration—one prefigured by the ancient Stoics and developed hereunder the heading Transcendental Materialism (TM)—is also explored. The inadequacies of both (...) reductive and non-reductive materialism are shown. McGinn, Chalmers, and Searle are given special attention. (shrink)
The following paper will attempt (i) to set forth a form of materialism that is ‘Spinozistic’ in maintaining that there is a conceptual, but not an ontological distinction between mental and physical phenomena; (ii) to undermine objections to this based on (a) ‘functionalism’ and (b) the conception of (and identity conditions for) an event that has been advocated by Goldman, Brandt, and Kim; and (iii) to explain why, according to the identity ‘theory’, the apparent failure of the indiscernibility of (...) identicals is merely apparent. (shrink)
Eighteenth-century France witnessed the rise of matter itself—in forms ranging from atoms to anatomies—as a privileged object of study. Voluptuous Philosophy redefines what is at stake in the emergence of an enlightened secular materialism by showing how questions of figure—how should a body be represented? What should the effects of this representation be on readers?—are tellingly and consistently located at the very heart of 18th-century debates about the nature of material substance. French materialisms of the Enlightenment are crucially invested (...) not only in the development of a sophisticated theoretical apparatus around the notion of matter but in the production of specific relationships between readers and the "matter" of the texts that they consume. How, the book asks, did the period's fascination with a markedly immaterial and ephemeral event—the reading of works of fiction—come to coincide with what appears to be a gradual materialization of human subjects: men and women who increasingly manage to envision themselves transfigured, as the century wears on, into machines, animals, and even, in the work of the Marquis de Sade, tables and chairs? In what way did the spread of new philosophies of matter depend upon the ability of readers to perceive certain figures of speech as literally and immediately true—to imagine themselves as fully material bodies even as they found themselves most deeply compelled by disembodied literary forms? More broadly, in what sense does the act of reading literature alter and transfigure our perceptions of what is, and can be, real? Voluptuous Philosophy articulates the gradual coming into being of literature as a distinct arena of textual production with the rise of an enlightened reader who remains abstracted from the bodily symptoms that any given piece of writing may induce in him. The very definition of "the literary" as an autonomous field, this book suggests, may, ironically, be dependent upon the simultaneous construction of a material world that remains fully immune to its effects. (shrink)
Wilfrid Sellars has proposed a materialist account of sensation which relies in part on the postulation of special kinds of individuals. This postulational strategy appears to be analogous to the one that introduces such entities as electrons. After setting out Sellars' account, I focus on his application of the postulational strategy. I argue that this application requires the discovery of new effects for familiar properties; that this kind of discovery is disanalogous to what postulation usually does; and that this kind (...) of discovery cannot really be arrived at by postulation. I conclude that Sellars has not provided a successful, materialist account of sensation. (shrink)
Subjective idealism today -- Scientific cognition and the external world -- 80 years on, Lenin's "What is to be done?" -- Studies on dialectical materialism -- Some lessons from our summer school on dialectical materialism.
Between Feminism and Materialism is a bold attempt to make sense of the relationship between feminist theory and capitalism. Addressing a number of philosophical problems that have engaged feminists over the last few decades--universals and reason, nature and essentialism, identity and non-identity, sex and gender, power and patriarchy, local and global--this innovative book breaks through feminist waves and explains the paradoxes of feminist theory by demonstrating the on-going relevance of dialectics and the concepts of exploitation, ideology, and reification. Drawing (...) on first, second, and third "waves" of feminist theory, this exciting combination of existentialism, phenomenology, and critical theory delivers a proactive feminism ready to respond to the challenges presented by our thoroughly modern times. (shrink)
Introduction; "One surely will be found one day to make an ontology with what I am telling you": the road to a post-Lacanian materialism -- Part One. Jacques Lacan: between the sacred and the secular -- 1. Conflicted matter: the challenge of secularizing materialism -- 2. Turning the sciences inside out: revisiting "Science and truth" -- 3. On deep history and psychoanalysis: phylogenetic time in Lacanian theory --Part Two. Alain Badiou: between form and matter -- 4. What matter(s) (...) in ontology: the Hebb-event and materialism split from within -- 5. Phantom of consistency: Kant troubles -- Part Three. Quentin Meillassoux: between faith and knowledge -- 6. The world before worlds: the ancestral and Badiou's anti-Kantian transcendentalism -- 7. Hume's revenge: a Dieu, Meillassoux? -- Postface: from critique to construction: toward a transcendental materialism. (shrink)
The human mind is essentially a metamind. Autonomy, knowledge, preference, acceptance, consciousness, and the content of thought all incorporate metamental ascent to a higher level beyond first level belief and desire. The primary function or role of metamental ascent is conflict resolution and higher order evaluation. An infinite regress of metamental ascent is avoided by a mental loop of keystone states which refer back to themselves yielding autonomy and knowledge without paradox. The metamental loop is, moreover, compatible with materialism, (...) even eliminative materiahsm. Vector activation in the brain averages neural impulses, and conflict resolution in the brain, like interpersonal conflict resolution, is obtained from weighted averaging. The resolution of the conflict is a fixed point vector of integrative weights which yields itself back forming a neural loop. Thus, neurophysiology recapitulates metamentality. (shrink)
In the first post World War II identity theories (e.g., Place 1956, Smart 1962), mind brain identities were held to be contingent. However, in work beginning in the late 1960's, Saul Kripke (1971, 1980) convinced the philosophical community that true identity statements involving names and natural kind terms are necessarily true and furthermore, that many such necessary identities can only be known a posteriori. Kripke also offered an explanation of the a posteriori nature of ordinary theoretical identities such as that (...) water = H2O. We identify the kinds and substances involved in theoretical identities by certain of their contingent properties. What we discover when we discover a theoretical identity is the underlying nature of the kind that we identify by those contingent properties. Now, of course, it was being a posteriori, not being contingent, that mattered to the identity theorists anyway, so the necessity of identity is not, in itself, damaging to mind brain identity theories. However, Kripke also argued persuasively that the alleged mind brain identities could not be treated in the same way as ordinary theoretical identities. We "identify" pain by feeling it, and surely how it feels is an essential property of pain, not a contingent property. Thus, a mind body identity theory must provide a different explanation of why its identities are a posteriori. A new wave of materialists has appeared on the scene with a new strategy for explaining  the a posteriori nature of its alleged identities. The strategy is to locate the explanation for the a posteriori nature of mind body identities, not on the side of the world, but on the side of the mind -in different ways of thinking about or imagining, or in different concepts. Thus, on this new view, there is only one property—this brain process type, which is identical with this pain.. (shrink)
Materialists who do not deny the existence of mental phenomena usually claim that the mental supervenes on the physical, i.e. that there cannot be a change in the mental life of a man without there being a change in the man's body. This modal claim is usually understood in terms of logical necessity. I argue that this is a mistake, resulting from assumptions inherited from logical empiricism, and that it should be understood in terms of synthetic necessity.
Some materialists argue that we can eliminate mental entities such as sensations because, like electrons, they are theoretical entities postulated as parts of scientific explanations, but, unlike electrons, they are unnecessary for such explanations. As Quine says, any explanatory role of mental entities can be played by "correlative physiological states and events instead." But sensations are not postulated theoretical entities. This is shown by proposing definitions of the related terms, 'observation term,' and 'theoretical term,' and then classifying the term 'sensation.' (...) The result is that although 'sensation' is a theoretical term, it is also a reporting term because it is used to refer to phenomena we are aware of. Consequently sensations are not postulated and cannot be eliminated merely because they are unnecessary for explanation. (shrink)
Are judgements and wishes reallybrain events (or brain states) which will be affirmedby a completed scientific account of how humanbehavior is caused? Materialists, other thaneliminativists, say Yes. But brain events do notcause muscle contractions, hence bodily movements,directly. They do so, if at all, by triggeringintermediate causes, viz. firings in motor nerves. Soit is crucial, this paper argues, whether they arecharacterized as biological events –performances of naturally-selected-for operations – orinstead as complex microphysical events. ``Acauses B, B causes C, so A causes (...) C'' is defensible forbiological brain events, but fails for microphysical ones. (shrink)
This appeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59:473-93, as a response to four papers in a symposium on my book The Conscious Mind . Most of it should be comprehensible without having read the papers in question. This paper is for an audience of philosophers and so is relatively technical. It will probably also help to have read some of the book. (There is a corresponding precis of the book, written for the symposium.) The papers I'm responding to are: Chris (...) Hill & Brian McLaughlin, There are fewer things in reality than are dreamt of in Chalmers' philosophy Brian Loar, David Chalmers' The Conscious Mind Sydney Shoemaker, On David Chalmers' The Conscious Mind Stephen Yablo, Concepts and consciousness Contents. (shrink)
Introduction -- Phenomenal consciousness -- Phenomenal consciousness and self-representation -- The connection between phenomenal consciousness and creature consciousness -- Consciousness of things -- Real world puzzle cases -- Why consciousness cannot be physical and why it must be -- What is the thesis of physicalism? -- Why consciousness cannot be physical -- Why consciousness must be physical -- Physicalism and the appeal to phenomenal concepts -- Some terminological points -- Why physicalists appeal to phenomenal concepts -- Various accounts of phenomenal (...) concepts -- My own earlier view on phenomenal concepts -- Are there any phenomenal concepts? -- Phenomenal concepts and burgean intuitions -- Consequences for a priori physicalism -- The admissible contents of visual experience : the existential thesis -- The singular (when filled) thesis -- Kaplanianism -- The multiple contents thesis -- The existential thesis revisited -- Still more on existential contents -- Consciousness, seeing and knowing -- Knowing things and knowing facts -- Nonconceptual content -- Why the phenomenal character of an experience is not one of its nonrepresentational properties -- Phenomenal character and representational content, part I -- Phenomenal character and representational content, part II -- Phenomenal character and our knowledge of it -- Solving the puzzles -- Mary, Mary, how does your knowledge grow? -- The explanatory gap -- The hard problem -- The possibility of zombies -- Change blindness and the refrigerator light illusion -- A closer look at the change blindness hypotheses -- The no-seeum view -- Sperling and the refrigerator light -- Phenomenology and cognitive accessibility -- A further change blindness experiment -- Another brick in the wall -- Privileged access, phenomenal character, and externalism -- The threat to privileged access -- A Burgean thought experiment -- Social externalism for phenomenal character? -- A closer look at privileged access and incorrigibility -- How do I know that I am not a zombie? -- Phenomenal externalism. (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)
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)
A Physicalist Manifesto is the fullest treatment yet of the comprehensive physicalist view that, in some important sense, everything is physical. Andrew Melnyk argues that the view is best formulated by appeal to a carefully worked-out notion of realization, rather than supervenience; that, so formulated, physicalism must be importantly reductionist; that it need not repudiate causal and explanatory claims framed in non-physical language; and that it has the a posteriori epistemic status of a broad-scope scientific hypothesis. Two concluding chapters argue (...) in unprecedented detail that contemporary science provides no significant empirical evidence against physicalism and some considerable evidence for it. Written in a brisk, candid, and exceptionally clear style, this book should appeal to professionals and students in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that we would not be logically obliged or rationally inclined to reject the ontology of contentful psychological states postulated by folk psychology even if the explanations advanced by folk psychology turned out to be generally inaccurate or inadequate. Moreover, it is argued that eliminativists such as Paul Churchland do not establish that folk psychological explanations are, or are likely to prove, generally inaccurate or inadequate. Most of Churchland's arguments—based upon developments within connectionist neuroscience—only cast (...) doubt upon the adequacy of 'sentential' theories of cognitive processing, not upon scientifically developed forms of folk psychological explanation of behavior, such as those offered by contemporary social psychology. Finally, it is noted that Churchland's brand of eliminativism rests upon a crude reductive criterion of theoretical adequacy that has little to recommend it, and suggested that the recognized theoretical limitations of contemporary social psychology may be precisely due to its historical commitment to this reductive criterion. (shrink)
I argue that a certain version of physicalism, which is viewed by both its admirers and its detractors as non-reductionist, in fact entails two claims which, though not reductionist in the currently most popular sense of 'reductionist', conform to the spirit of reductionism sufficiently closely to compromise its claim to be a comprehensively non-reductionist version of physicalism. Putatively non-reductionist versions of physicalism in general, I suggest, are likely to be non-reductionist only in some senses, but not in others, and hence (...) to disappoint those who wish to be physicalists but still to remain soft and cuddly non-reductionists. (shrink)
For nearly six decades, the conscious observer has played a central and essential rôle in quantum measurement theory. I outline some difficulties which the traditional account of measurement presents for material theories of mind before introducing a new development which promises to exorcise the ghost of consciousness from physics and relieve the cognitive scientist of the burden of explaining why certain material structures reduce wavefunctions by virtue of being conscious while others do not. The interactive decoherence of complex quantum systems (...) reveals that the oddities and complexities of linear superposition and state vector reduction are irrelevant to computational aspects of the philosophy of mind and that many conclusions in related fields are ill founded. (shrink)