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)
In “Institutions and the Demands of Justice,” Liam Murphy ~1999! makes a distinction between two approaches to normative political theory. He labels these two positions “dualism” and “monism.” The former maintains that “the two practical problems of institutional design and personal conduct require, at the fundamental level, two different kinds of practical principle” ~1999: 254!. The most influential proponent of dualism is John Rawls. In A Theory of Justice Rawls defends his theory of “justice as fairness,” which (...) recognizes a division of responsibility between the principles that apply to the main social, economic and political institutions of society, and the principles that apply to individuals. Institutions are to be arranged so that citizens’ basic rights and liberties are protected and social and economic inequalities are to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged and attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity. The principles that apply to individuals include various principles of natural duty, as well as the principle of fairness. These principles impose on citizens a diverse array of duties and obligations, such as the duties of mutual respect and mutual aid. (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 subjecfs epistemicnorms 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)
Against the standard reading of Isaiah Berlin's thought that drives a wedge between his early and subsequent work, this article suggests that his late normative anti-reductionism has roots in the early writings on meaning, semantics and truth. Berlin's anti-reductionist objection to logical positivists in the realm of semantics evince a sensitivity to reductionism, a recognition of the irreducibility of propositional meaning, a plea for the embededness of language in a temporal continuum, an anti-dualist call, and a celebration of the (...) plural and open-ended character of propositions, all of which keep broad affinity with his mature value pluralism in ethics and politics. The unity of concerns in Berlin's work brings about two implications. First, it sheds light on the fact that Berlin's ethical and political pluralism rests on views about semantics and ontology as well. Second, it offers a basis on which to deflect some current moral realist readings of his value pluralism, offering instead a history-laden understanding of his pluralism that provides more compelling grounds to understand the relationship between the latter and liberalism in Berlin's work. (shrink)
The paper pores over the recent conceptions of normative judgement developed against the background of advances in psychology and neuroscience. It begins by analyzing what normative claim of morality and law consists of before presenting and criticizing the Social Intuitionist Model of normative judgement developed by Jonathan Haidt. The model poses serious challenges for well-established normative concepts, and the concept of normativity as objective reason for action in particular. A question is asked of what the relationship (...) between philosophical conceptions and the findings of neuroscience should be. The conclusion is that, in the face of new scientific facts, philosophers have no choice but to carefully revise their conceptual schemes. (shrink)
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)
Unger has recently argued that if you are the only thinking and experiencing 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 microphysicalism is not the only alternative to Dualism. (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)
_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 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)
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)
This paper considers normative naturalism, understood as the view that (i) normative sentences are descriptive of the way things are, and (ii) their truth/falsity does not require ontology beyond the ontology of the natural world. Assuming (i) for the sake of argument, I here show that (ii) is false not only as applied to ethics, but more generally as applied to practical and epistemic normativity across the board. The argument is a descendant of Moore's Open Question Argument and (...) Hume's Is-Ought Gap. It goes roughly as follows: to ensure that natural ontology suffices for normative truth, there must be semantically grounded entailments from the natural truths to the normative truths. There are none. So natural ontology does not suffice for normative truth. (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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
The paper discusses the sense in which the changes undergone by normative economics in the twentieth century can be said to be progressive. A simple criterion is proposed to decide whether a sequence of normative theories is progressive. This criterion is put to use on the historical transition from the new welfare economics to social choice theory. The paper reconstructs this classic case, and eventually concludes that the latter theory was progressive compared with the former. It also briefly (...) comments on the recent developments in normative economics and their connection with the previous two stages. (Published Online April 18 2006) Footnotes1 This paper suspersedes an earlier one entitled “Is There Progress in Normative Economics?” (Mongin 2002). I thank the organizers of the Fourth ESHET Conference (Graz 2000) for the opportunity they gave me to lecture on this topic. Thanks are also due to J. Alexander, K. Arrow, A. Bird, R. Bradley, M. Dascal, W. Gaertner, N. Gravel, D. Hausman, B. Hill, C. Howson, N. McClennen, A. Trannoy, J. Weymark, J. Worrall, two annonymous referees of this journal, and especially the editor M. Fleurbaey, for helpful comments. The editor's suggestions contributed to determine the final orientation of the paper. The author is grateful to the LSE and the Lachmann Foundation for their support at the time when he was writing the initial version. (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.
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)
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 earlier work I have claimed that emotion and some emotions are not `natural kinds'. Here I clarify what I mean by `natural kind', suggest a new and more accurate term, and discuss the objection that emotion and emotions are not descriptive categories at all, but fundamentally normative categories.
The impact of science on ethics forms since long the subject of intense debate. Although there is a growing consensus that science can describe morality and explain its evolutionary origins, there is less consensus about the ability of science to provide input to the normative domain of ethics. Whereas defenders of a scientific normative ethics appeal to naturalism, its critics either see the naturalistic fallacy committed or argue that the relevance of science to normative ethics remains undemonstrated. (...) In this paper, we argue that current scientific normative ethicists commit no fallacy, that criticisms of scientific ethics contradict each other, and that scientific insights are relevant to normative inquiries by informing ethics about the options open to the ethical debate. Moreover, when conceiving normative ethics as being a nonfoundational ethics, science can be used to evaluate every possible norm. This stands in contrast to foundational ethics in which some norms remain beyond scientific inquiry. Finally, we state that a difference in conception of normative ethics underlies the disagreement between proponents and opponents of a scientific ethics. Our argument is based on and preceded by a reconsideration of the notions naturalistic fallacy and foundational ethics. This argument differs from previous work in scientific ethics: whereas before the philosophical project of naturalizing the normative has been stressed, here we focus on concrete consequences of biological findings for normative decisions or on the day-to-day normative relevance of these scientific insights. (shrink)
This paper concerns non-causal normative explanations such as ‘This act is wrong because/in virtue of__’ (where the blank is often filled out in non-normative terms, such as ‘it causes pain’). The familiar intuition that normative facts aren't brute or ungrounded but anchored in non-normative facts seems to be in tension with the equally familiar idea that no normative fact can be fully explained in purely non-normative terms. I ask whether the tension could be resolved (...) by treating the explanatory relation in normative explanations as the sort of ‘grounding’ relation that receives extensive discussion in recent metaphysics. I argue that this would help only under controversial assumptions about the nature of normative facts, and perhaps not even then. I won't try to resolve the tension, but draw a distinction between two different sorts of normative explanations (one concerning ‘bearers’, the other concerning ‘sources’ of normativity) which helps to identify constraints on a resolution. One distinctive constraint on normative explanations in particular might be that they should be able to play a role in normative justification. (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)
abstract This article briefly examines Onora O'Neill's account of the relation between normative principles and practical ethical problems with an eye to suggesting that philosophers of practical ethics have reason to adopt fairly high moral ambitions to be edifying and instructive both as educators and as advisors on public policy debates.
How or in virtue of what does any one particular action differ from another? Available views on the issue of action individuation tend to emphasize the descriptive features of actions, such as where and when they occur, or what they cause or are caused by. I contend instead that actions are individuated by their normative features, such as what licenses them and what they license in turn. In this essay, deploying a suggestion from Sellars and Brandom, I argue specifically (...) that actions are individuated by their normative function or role. (shrink)
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)
Donald Davidson's theory of mind is widely regarded as a normative theory. This is a something of a confusion. Once a distinction has been made between the categorisation scheme of a norm and the norm's force-maker, it becomes clear that a Davidsonian theory of mind is not a normative theory after all. Making clear the distinction, applying it to Davidson's theory of mind, and showing its significance are the main purposes of this paper. In the concluding paragraphs, a (...) sketch is given of how a truly normative Davidsonian theory of mind might be formulated. (shrink)
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.
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)
Martine Nida-Rümelin has argued recently for subject-body dualism on the basis of reflections on the possibility of survival in fission cases from the literature on personal identity. The argument focuses on the claim that there is a factual difference between the claims that one or the other of two equally good continuers of a person in a fission case is identical with her. I consider three interpretations of the notion of a factual difference that the argument employs, and I (...) argue that on each of them the argument either begs the question or is unsound. (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)
This paper extends the discussion of guanxi beyond instrumental evaluations and advances a normative assessment of guanxi. Our discussion departs from previous analyses by not merely asking, Does guanxi work? but rather Should corporations use guanxi? The analysis begins with a review of traditional guanxi definitions and the changing economic and legal environment in China, both necessary precursors to understanding the role of guanxi in Chinese business transactions. This review leads us to suggest that there are distinct types of, (...) and uses for guanxi. We identify the potentially problematic aspects of certain forms of guanxi from a normative perspective, noting among other things, the close association of particular types of guanxi with corruption and bribery. We conclude that there are many different forms of guanxi that may have distinct impacts on economic efficiency and the well-being of ordinary Chinese citizens. Consistent with Donaldson and Dunfee (1999), we advocate a particularistic analysis of the different forms of guanxi. (shrink)
The view that psychological episodes have a physical nature (physicalism) and the view that they have a mental nature (Cartesian dualism) can be distinguished from the view that they have a purely normative nature. I explore some strands of a distinct, fourth view: psychological episodes are what they are because of the actual and possible relations of defeasible justification in which they stand; defeasible justification is an internal relation; it is not at bottom a normative matter; rule-following (...) presupposes such internal relations; to follow a rule is not to break it. (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)
In this paper, I offer a detailed critical reading of Robert Brandom’s project to give an expressive bootstrapping account of intentionality, cashed out as a normative-phenomenalist account of what I will call genuine normativity. I claim that there is a reading of Making It Explicit that evades the predominant charges of either reductionism or circularity. However, making sense of Brandom’s book in the way proposed here involves correcting Brandom’s own general account of what he is doing in it, and (...) thus presenting the argumentative structure of Making It Explicit in a new light. (shrink)
This paper considers the relation between the sources of normativity, reasons, and normative conflicts. It argues that common views about how normative reasons relate to their sources have important consequences for how we can understand putative normative conflicts.
I critically examine the view that Descartes’s independence conception (IC) of substance plays a crucial role in his “separability argument” for substance dualism. I argue that IC is a poisoned chalice. I do so by considering how an IC-based separability argument fares on two different ways of thinking about principal attributes. On the one hand, if we take principal attributes to be universals, then a separability argument that deploys IC establishes a version of dualism that is unacceptably strong. (...) On the other hand, if we take principal attributes to be tropes, then IC introduces challenges which undermine the argument. This is partly because the assumption of tropes makes it possible to distinguish several versions of substance dualism, versions which differ with respect to their degree of generality. I argue that taking principal attributes to be tropes makes it challenging to establish any of these versions by way of an IC-based separability argument. I conclude the paper by suggesting a way forward for the proponent of the separability argument. (shrink)
The ‘Wrong Kind of Reason’ problem for buck-passing theories (theories which hold that the normative is explanatorily or conceptually prior to the evaluative) is to explain why the existence of pragmatic or strategic reasons for some response to an object does not suffice to ground evaluative claims about that object. The only workable reply seems to be to deny that there are reasons of the ‘wrong kind’ for responses, and to argue that these are really reasons for wanting, trying, (...) or intending to have that response. In support of this, it is pointed out that awareness of pragmatic or strategic considerations, unlike awareness of reasons of the ‘right kind’, are never sufficient by themselves to produce the responses for which they are reasons. I argue that this phenomenon cannot be used as a criterion for distinguishing reasons-for-a-response from reasons-for-wanting-to-have-a-response. I subsequently investigate the possibility of basing this distinction on a claim that the responses in question (e.g. admiration or desire) are themselves inherently normative; I conclude that this approach is also unsuccessful. Hence, the ‘direct response’ phenomenon cannot be used to rule out the possibility of pragmatic or strategic reasons for responses; and the rejection of such reasons therefore cannot be used to circumvent the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem. (shrink)