In passing remarks, some commentators have noted that for Nagel, physicalism is true. It has even been argued that Nagel seeks to find the best path to follow to achieve future physicalism. I advance these observations by adding that for Nagel, we should discuss the consciousness problem not in terms of physical and mental issues but in terms of our desire to include consciousness in an objective/scientific account, and we can achieve this only by revising our self-conception, i.e., folk psychology, (...) to develop a more detached view of experience. Through the project of objective phenomenology, Nagel aims to achieve some sort of objective, detached, and scientific explanation of the subjective nature of experience. This project seeks to make the truth of physicalism intelligible and consciousness more amenable to scientific study, potentially raising an even broader concept than the one physicalism originally proposes. (shrink)
Conscious experience has been said to be outside of, or alien to, physics, and unexplained in a physical world. However, it is argued here that experience is entirely expected in a physical world that can only be defined by its power to determine patterns of experience. Something physical is something with the type of causal power that can contribute to determining the content of an experience if a subject is present at the right place and time. Physical powers also interact (...) with other physical powers, distant from any given subject, to form chains, and it is these interactions that physics handles mathematically. Nevertheless, actual causation is always defined by reference to determination of experience. The apparent puzzle of why there should be a link between experience and the physical may relate in part to the fact that experience is always immediately causally proximal, always 'here and now', at least as far as we can ascertain. Proximality, and with it the potential for mentality, cuts across existential/ ontological categories. Experience also requires a concept of an intrinsic individual, in order for there to be individual points of view. The practical problem for consciousness studies is to identify intrinsically individual causal units with event domains in human brains, that can have points of view and content that could fit with human experiences, in a way consistent with current physics. It is suggested that the 'causal diamond' concept of the here and now explored by Savitt (2015) and Arthur (2019), together with principles of field theory, may provide a useful starting point. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to match anomalous monism with some of Donald Davidson's theories about metaphorical meaning. In particular, I will use anomalous monism to justify Davidson's scepticism toward the paraphrase and to suggest an insight of the metaphor from the speaker's side, in contrast with the whole Davidson's theory of meaning, formulated – as is well known – from the interpreter's side.
Chalmers (2018) raises three challenges for Michael Graziano's attention schema theory. Our aim in this paper is to bolster Graziano's attention schema theory with some tools and insights from the predictive processing framework, in order to respond to the challenges raised by Chalmers and more generally strengthen the theory. We will first introduce the attention schema theory and the three challenges raised by Chalmers, before outlining our application of predictive processing to the theory and how it can resolve these challenges, (...) thus offering a solution to the meta-problem. (shrink)
This thesis evaluates several powerful arguments that not only deny that brain states and conscious states are one and the same thing, but also claim that such an identity is unintelligible. I argue that these accounts do not undermine physicalism because they don’t provide any direct or independent justification for their tacit assumptions about a link between modes of presentation and explanation. In my view intelligibility of psychophysical identity should not be based exclusively on the analysis of meaning. The main (...) concern then should be why expect that fully intelligible explanation must be based on the descriptions of the causal roles as modes of presentation. To this effect I propose that we examine "psychological concepts". The psychological concepts are concepts that use descriptions of the functional roles but are about qualities of our experiences. I propose to analyze them in quality space models in order to unveil why phenomenal concepts are expected to refer via descriptions of the causal or functional roles. The quality space should be understood here as a multidimensional space consisting of several axes of relative similarity and differences among the structures of ordering in different modalities of conscious experience. On my proposal it is possible that some axes in the quality space consist of their own quality spaces so we could “zoom in” and “zoom out” into the descriptions of the functional roles and see more clearly what the explanation of certain aspects of consciousness looks like when thought of in terms of psychological concepts. (shrink)
The meta-problem is 'the problem of explaining why we think that there is a problem of consciousness' (Chalmers, 2018, p. 6). This presupposes that we think there is a problem in the first place. We challenge the breadth of this 'we', arguing that there is already sufficient empirical evidence to cast doubt on the claim. We then add to this body of evidence, presenting the results of a new cross-cultural study extending the work of Sytsma and Machery (2010).
I am glad that David Chalmers has now come round to the view that explaining the 'problem intuitions' about consciousness is the key to a satisfactory philosophical account of the topic. I find it surprising, however, given his previous writings, that Chalmers does not simply attribute these intuitions to the conceptual gap between physical and phenomenal facts. Still, it is good that he doesn't, given that this was always a highly implausible account of the problem intuitions. Unfortunately, later in his (...) paper Chalmers slides back into his misguided previous emphasis on the conceptual gap, in his objections to orthodox a posteriori physicalism. Because of this he fails to appreciate how this orthodox physicalism offers a natural solution to the challenges posed by consciousness. (shrink)
Following Chalmers, I take the most promising response to the meta-problem to be a realizationist one on which (roughly) consciousness plays a role in realizing the processes that explain why we think that there is a hard problem of consciousness. I favour an interactionist dualist version of realizationism on which experiences are non-physical states that non-redundantly cause problem judgments. This view is subject to the challenges of specifying laws that would enable experiences to cause problem judgments and of explaining why (...) it's not a lucky coincidence that experiences' causal and rational powers converge on problem judgments. I propose a strategy for solving the meta-problem and meeting these challenges. According to it, a fundamental teleological law operates on normative features of experiences in ways that bias experiences towards causing effects that they rationalize, including problem judgments. I conclude by applying the strategy to other luck-avoidance challenges. (shrink)
We develop a partial solution to the meta-problem of consciousness that builds on our previous psychological account of an apparent explanatory gap. Drawing from empirical work on explanatory cognition and conceptual development, we sketch a profile of cognitive systems for which primitive concepts facilitate explanatory gaps. This account predicts that there will be multiple explanatory gaps. We suggest that this is borne out by the existence of primitivist theories in multiple philosophical domains.
We view the mind-body problem in terms of the two interconnected problems of phenomenal consciousness and mental causation, namely, how subjective conscious experience can arise from physical neurological processes and how conscious mental states can causally act upon the physical world. In order to address these problems, I develop here a non-physicalist framework that combines two apparently antithetical views: the materialist view of the mind as a product of the brain and the metaphysical view of consciousness rooted in an underlying (...) hidden reality. I discuss how this framework resolves the problem of mental causation while being simultaneously consistent with fundamental physical principles. I will elucidate how the framework ties in to the perspective of 'meaning' that acts as the bridge between physical neurological processes and the conscious mind. Moreover, we will see how both our awareness of the self and our representation of the external world are connected to this perspective. (shrink)
In the past decade Walter Freeman has contributed to the development of the dissipative quantum model of the brain and its testing against laboratory observations. In this paper the model is briefly reviewed with particular reference to the brain-mind relation and its quantum gauge field structure which determines the macroscopic functional behaviour of the brain. Memory appears to be memory of meanings constructed by learning which results from intentional actions. The consciousness act finds its realization in the unavoidable adjustments in (...) the brain/environment relation, out of which the aesthetic experience is generated when the harmonious to-be-in-the-world is realized. Criticality, fractal self-similarity, chaoticity are manifestations of the coherent gauge field dynamics characterized by the free energy minimization condition. (shrink)
Walter Freeman was a pioneer of novel and viable enquiries to understand our brains and minds, without much concern about whether or not his points of view matched established mainstream positions. Alongside his successful career as a neurobiologist, he was curious and forceful enough to pick up and work with ideas, concepts, and tools from areas as diverse as medieval philosophy, phenomenology, nonlinear dynamics, and even quantum field theory. These fields of knowledge, scattered as they appear on the surface, all (...) come together in two essential convictions in Walter's work: a proper science of the brain needs to take seriously brain activity at all levels, specifically including its large-scale dynamics -- against an overly reductive 'neuron doctrine', and perception and action are intrinsically coupled in a recursive way, an 'action-perception cycle' -- against purely representational accounts of mental activity. (shrink)
Walter Freeman established a unique approach for interpreting brain processes, perception, cognition, and intentionality. Freeman's neurodynamics approach evokes the concepts of mass action and synchrony in neural populations, and even today is far ahead of the field of dynamical systems in hierarchical brain models. He summarized the essence of his views on the physiology of perception in a landmark paper on the pages of Scientific American in 1991. He spelled out the main components of his neurodynamics theory in that essay, (...) which became a classic in brain theory and cognition. His approach has been hailed by many and attracted a large number of scientists all over the world. At the same time there were fellow scientists who objected to Freeman's approach and dismissed its basic tenets. This love or hate relationship followed Freeman until his death in his home in Berkeley, on 24 April 2016. In the present contribution we review the progress of Freeman's theory of neurodynamics over the past 25 years. We describe his work in light of new developments in experimental and theoretical approaches to brain dynamics, establishing new directions in computational neuroscience, cognitive monitoring, computational and mathematical modelling, field theories of cognition and intelligence, and his quest towards inventing novel engineering applications. (shrink)
Freeman's studies on the physiology of the mammalian olfactory system were based on his characterization of activity of neural masses, based on a sigmoid relationship at the mesoscopic scale between population spiking activity as a result of continuous inputs. His early development of computational models to describe oscillatory responses of neural masses allowed him to predict physiological and anatomical properties, some of which required decades of research to be confirmed. His models of neural masses therefore allow us to link between (...) basic physiology and cognitive processes. Through the study of brain physiology at the mesoscopic level, we can understand how internally generated meaning-based responses to sensory input become action and how action leads to perception. (shrink)
Neurophenomenology is intended to be a remedy for the hard problem of consciousness. There are, however, serious doubts as to whether it addresses the hard problem per se or is merely meant as a way for a more practical marriage between the domain of experience and neuroscience. If the latter is true, closing the gap would, at best, result in developing better models of phenomenality and better models of neuronal activity. The technology of neurofeedback, which helps subjects to selfregulate their (...) own neural activation, is considered as a pragmatic tool to overcome some of the obstacles being faced by neurophenomenology. In this epistemological and methodological context, our aim in this paper is to discuss whether the neurofeedback paradigm can help to close the explanatory gap. In the face of doubts concerning the issue we also propose analysing NFB in terms of personal neuroscience as another perspective for linking mental and neural events. (shrink)
A central thesis of Frankish's argument for illusionism is the claim that illusionism is possibly true. This is what the realist about phenomenal consciousness must deny. Frankish's argument for that premise is based on a widely shared understanding of phenomenal consciousness as being a matter of certain events instantiating special properties. I argue that the illusionist's reasoning is difficult to avoid if one accepts this common account. A positive argument for the thesis that the mere possibility of illusionism can be (...) excluded is developed. It uses a proposal about how the notion of phenomenal consciousness should be taken to pick out the phenomenon it refers to. Given that account it becomes obvious that the illusionist cannot be understood as seriously accepting his own theory. The belief in illusionism thus turns out to be an illusion. (shrink)
Frankish's illusionism aims to replace the hard problem with the illusion problem; to explain why phenomenal consciousness seems to exist and why the illusion is so powerful. My aim, though broadly illusionist, is to explain why many other false assumptions, or delusions, are so powerful. One reason is a simple mistake in introspection. Asking, 'Am I conscious now?' or 'What is consciousness?' makes us briefly conscious in a new way. The delusion is to conclude that consciousness is always like this (...) instead of asking, 'What is it like when I am not asking what it is like?' Neuroscience and disciplined introspection give the same answer: there are multiple parallel processes with no clear distinction between conscious and unconscious ones. Consciousness is an attribution we make, not a property of only some special events or processes. Notions of the stream, contents, continuity, and function of consciousness are all misguided as is the search for the NCCs. (shrink)
Using a parallel with stage magic, it is argued that far from being seen as an extreme alternative, illusionism as articulated by Frankish should be considered the front runner, a conservative theory to be developed in detail, and abandoned only if it demonstrably fails to account for phenomena, not prematurely dismissed as 'counterintuitive'. We should explore the mundane possibilities thoroughly before investing in any magical hypotheses.
Classical cognitive scientists have operated with a strict separation of cognition from consciousness. At the same time they have attempted to explain consciousness using the same concepts of computation and representation as they employ to explain unconscious cognition. This has led some philosophers to argue that an unbridgeable gap separates subpersonal cognition from first-personal conscious experience. I shall argue that the appearance of such a gap is due to an assumption that classical cognitive science inherits from behaviourism that cognitive processes (...) function independently from consciousness. My aim in this paper will be to argue against this assumption. I will develop an embodied theory of cognitive processes as constituted by temporally extended, skilled, and practical engagements with the world. Such a conception of cognitive processes challenges any separation of conscious from non-conscious cognitive processes. It does so by showing how both conscious and nonconscious cognitive processes mutually constrain each other as dynamical processes evolving over different spatial and temporal scales. In virtue of the mutual constraints that hold between conscious and non-conscious cognitive processes, I argue against the view that cognition and consciousness can be separated. I finish up by showing how this move opens the door to a deflation of the hard problem. (shrink)
This paper critically evaluates Jonathan Lowe's arguments for his non-Cartesian substance dualism. Sections 1 and 2 set out the principal claims of NCSD. The unity argument proposed in Lowe is discussed in Section 3. Throughout his career Lowe offered spirited attacks on reductionism about the self. Section 4 evaluates the anti-reductionist argument that Lowe offers in Subjects of Experience, an argument based on the individuation of mental events. Lowe offers an inventive proposal that the semantic distinction between direct and indirect (...) reference delineates the metaphysical boundary between self and world, and uses this as a further argument against reductionism about the self. This proposal is discussed in Sections 5 and 6. (shrink)
We agree with critics that enactive, sensorimotor, and ecological accounts of conscious experience do not in and of themselves fully deflate the hard problem of consciousness. As we noted in our earlier work, even if an extended account of cognition and intentionality allows us to be rid of qualia by deflating the dualism between intentionality and phenomenal experience, the heart of the hard problem, namely subjectivity, still remains. We argue that in order to resolve or deflate the hard problem the (...) hypothesis of extended consciousness needs to be understood as an expression of neutral monism and can quite naturally be understood that way. (shrink)
I argue that the hard problem of consciousness should be viewed from the perspective of the philosophy of science. In this context, the hard problem can be reformulated as a serious anomaly for the currently dominating research programme in the cognitive neurosciences. I cite empirical evidence from dream research to argue that for this research programme, consciousness is a phenomenon located inside the brain, but for whose constitution no plausible underlying constitutive mechanisms can at the moment be pointed out. Evidence (...) from dream research demonstrates the anomaly in a particularly clear and challenging form, and the empirical facts of dreaming also demonstrate that externalist, embodied, and enactive explanations of consciousness will not be able to solve the problem. (shrink)
Many scholars interpret the close correlation between neuronal and mental phenomena as causal in nature --with physiological events producing psychological states and processes. This interpretation is suggestive but by no means the most parsimonious or logically sound account and there is an increasing number of challenges to this view. The current article discusses these, briefly reviews alternative accounts and elaborates on one such alternative account in particular. Proposed already a century ago, we take it up here because we consider it (...) to have significant promise. We develop it into a new metaphor that we hope will prove useful in informing our understanding of --and approach to --the mind-body problem. (shrink)
The nature of consciousness continues to intrigue psychologists. Although much understanding has been progressed within the past few decades, psychological notions of consciousness continue to be based on a materialist reductionist model, which implies conscious processes are a function of neurological processes occurring in the brain. Yet, increased attention and empirical investigation of neardeath experiences poses challenges to this materialist reductionist position, and suggests consciousness may not be reliant on functioning neurological processes. This article will review the current state of (...) knowledge about NDEs, and discuss some challenges they pose to materialist reductionist models of consciousness. It will conclude by suggesting acknowledgment and acceptance of NDEs as valid phenomena worthy of advanced empirical investigation, presents an opportunity for the discipline of psychology to significantly contribute to ongoing debates about the nature of consciousness. (shrink)
Este texto tem como objetivo apresentar a principal motivação filosófica para se defender uma teoria causal da memória, que é explicar como pode um evento que se deu no passado estar relacionado a uma experiência mnêmica que se dá no presente. Para tanto, iniciaremos apresentando a noção de memória de maneira informal e geral, para depois apresentar elementos mais detalhados. Finalizamos apresentando uma teoria causal da memória que se beneficia da noção de veritação (truthmaking).
Knowledge and skill are intimately connected. In this essay, I discuss the question of their relationship and of which (if any) is prior to which in the order of explanation. I review some of the answers that have been given thus far in the literature, with a particular focus on the many foundational issues in epistemology that intersect with the philosophy of skill.
Many philosophical naturalists eschew analysis in favor of discovering metaphysical truths from the a posteriori, contending that analysis does not lead to philosophical insight. A countercurrent to this approach seeks to reconcile a certain account of conceptual analysis with philosophical naturalism; prominent and influential proponents of this methodology include the late David Lewis, Frank Jackson, Michael Smith, Philip Pettit, and David Armstrong. Naturalistic analysis is a tool for locating in the scientifically given world objects and properties we quantify over in (...) everyday discourse. This collection gathers work from a range of prominent philosophers who are working within this tradition, offering important new work as well as critical evaluations of the methodology. Its centerpiece is an important posthumous paper by David Lewis, "Ramseyan Humility," published here for the first time. The contributors first address issues of philosophy of mind, semantics, and the new methodology's a priori character, then turn to matters of metaphysics, and finally consider problems regarding normativity. Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism is one of the first efforts to apply this approach to such a wide range of philosophical issues. _Contributors: _David Braddon-Mitchell, Mark Colyvan, Frank Jackson, Justine Kingsbury, Fred Kroon, David Lewis, Dustin Locke, Kelby Mason, Jonathan McKeown-Green, Peter Menzies, Robert Nola, Daniel Nolan, Philip Pettit, Huw Price, Denis Robinson, Steve Stich, Daniel Stoljar The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket. (shrink)
In Constructing the World, Chalmers seeks to articulate and defend an important epistemic accessibility thesis, the Scrutability of Truth, which is crucial to Chalmers’ rationalist approach to meaning and modality. Chapters 3 and 4 of the book are devoted to persuading us that the move from weaker to stronger forms of Scrutability is intuitively plausible. In these comments, I want to question this move. The plausibility of strong forms of Scrutability hinges on controversial views about epistemic norms for answering ‘what (...) is x?’ questions that semantic externalists have good reason to reject. (shrink)
As the title, The Entangled State of God and Humanity suggests, this webinar dispenses with the pre-Copernican, patriarchal, anthropomorphic image of God while presenting a case for a third millennium theology illuminated by insights from archetypal depth psychology, quantum physics, neuroscience and evolutionary biology. It attempts to smash the conceptual barriers between science and religion. The published work of C.G. Jung, Wolfgang Pauli, David Bohm and Teilhard de Chardin outline a process whereby matter evolves in increasing complexity from sub-atomic particles (...) to the human brain and the emergence of a reflective consciousness leading to a noosphere evolving towards an Omega point. The noosphere is the envelope of consciousness and meaning superimposed upon the biosphere a concept central to the evolutionary thought of Jesuit palaeontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (The Phenomenon of Man). -/- His central ideas, like those of Jung with his archetypes, in particular that of the Self, provide intimations of a numinous principle implicit in cosmology and the discovery that in and through humanity, evolution becomes not only conscious of itself but also directed and purposive. Although in Jung’s conception it was a “late-born offspring of the unconscious soul”, consciousness has become the mirror which the universe has evolved to reflect upon itself and in which its very existence is revealed. The implication for process theology is that God and humanity are in an entangled state so that the evolution of God cannot be separated from that of humankind. A process (Incarnational) theology inseminated by the theory of evolution is one in which humankind completes the individuation of God towards the wholeness represented for instance in cosmic mandala symbols (Jung, Collected Works, vol. 11). Jung believed that God needs humankind to become conscious, whole and complete, a thesis explored in my book The Individuation of God: Integrating Science and Religion (Wilmette, IL: Chiron Publications 2012). (shrink)
E. J. Lowe argues that the mental event token cannot be identical to the complex neural event token for they have different counterfactual properties. If the mental event had not occurred, the behavior would not have ensued, while if the neural event had not occurred, the behavior would have ensued albeit slightly differently. Lowe's argument for the neural counterfactual relies on standard possible world semantics, whose evaluation of such counterfactuals is problematic. His argument for the mental counterfactual relies on a (...) premise that is plausibly false. My arguments support other counterfactuals, which are consistent with identity theories. (shrink)
Lowe argues for a dualistic account of mental causation. He claims that the agent’s decision as well as a neural event both causally determine the resulting behavior in parallel and complementary ways. The decision determines that the arm arising occurs at all but it does not determine the detailed physical parameters of the movement. The neural cause determines the detailed parameters but does not deter-mine that the movement occurs. Lowe’s main argument for this view is the argument from counterfactual implications, (...) which also undermines the psychoneural token-identity thesis. He argues that if the mental event token (the decision to raise an arm) had not occurred, the arm would not have risen, while if the neural event token (the complex neural event, which causes the arm to rise) had not occurred, the arm would still have risen albeit slightly differently. I first raise two counterexamples. Parallel arguments can be constructed to show that token identity fails at other micro-macro junctures. A token splash of hot water could be argued not to be identical with the token event of the motions of H 2 O molecules characterized by appropriate kinetic energy. A token expression of the will of the people could be argued not to be identical with the token event of such and such voting behavior on an election day. I then diagnose the problems with Lowe’s arguments for either counterfactual. The argument for the mental counterfactual relies on a premise that is quite plausibly false. The argument for the neural counterfactual is questionable because it involves the application of the possible-worlds semantics to counterfactuals with disjunctive antecedents. His argument against the token-identity thesis thus fails and his dualistic ac-count of mental causation is called into question. (shrink)
Emergentists such as Samuel Alexander and C. Lloyd Morgan held that the mental is causally efficacious, supervenes on the physical, but does so mysteriously. We must accept the emergent mind, in Alexander's phrase, with "natural piety". Emergentism emerged late last century and all but disappeared in the twentieth. This dissertation attempts to revive the position. ;To explain psycho-physical supervenience is to provide a proof of the mental facts from the physical facts, such that mental vocabulary only occurs in the proof (...) in the form of a priori bridge principles connecting mental goings on with the physical facts. Offering a proof of the mental facts from the physical facts would be one way to justify supervenience, thus simultaneously vindicating and explaining it. ;Those philosophers who try to "naturalize intentionality" can be seen as seeking such proofs for intentional states. Various theories of this kind are considered: those of Fodor, Millikan, Lewis, and others. It is argued in chapters 2 and 3 that these theories are either false or unknowable. ;The case for eliminativism is examined in chapter 4, where it is argued that eliminativism is, of necessity, not a rational thesis to adopt. ;A view found in the writings of Davidson and Dennett is the topic of chapter 5. This is a kind of third-person Cartesianism: a person's mind is completely revealed by the deliverances of a suitably equipped interpreter. This position would elegantly vindicate supervenience without explaining it, at the price of a kind of anti-realism about the mind. It is argued that the price is not worth paying. ;In the sixth chapter it is argued that if the phenomenal aspects of the mind supervene, they do so mysteriously. An argument is then presented for psycho-physical supervenience. It was argued earlier that if supervenience holds for intentional states, it cannot be adequately explained. Therefore physicalism is true, but the mind-body problem has no solution. (shrink)
Abstract An examination of John Pollock's theory of artificial intelligence and philosophy of mind raises difficulties for his mechanist concept of person. Token physicalism, agent materialism, and strong artificial intelligence are so related that if the first two propositions are not well?established, then there is no justification for believing that an artificial consciousness can be designed and built. Pollock's arguments are shown to be inconclusive in upholding a functionalist theory of persons as supervenient but purely physical entities. In part this (...) is the result of Pollock's thin definition of the concept of supervenience, according to which any complex supervenes on its proper parts. The limitations of this account are apparent when contrasted with richer conceptions of supervenience, such as Joseph Margolis?. But on Margolis? theory, the mind and its expressions supervene on or rise above their material embodiments in the sense that they cannot be fully explained in physical terms, which contradicts Pollock's token physicalism and agent materialism. The consequence for Pollock's project to explain the mind as mechanical, and to manufacture artificial persons, is that these systems can at best aspire to impressive innovations in weak artificial intelligence, but realistically cannot aspire to strong or mentalistic artificial intelligence. (shrink)
This study has two goals. The first is to identify three desiderata required for a successful defense of a version of nonreductive physicalism: semantic externalism, token‐identity between mental and physical events, and nonrelational type‐individuation of physical states. In this context, the paper also presents a refutation of recent challenges to content‐externalism by those who attempt to resuscitate internalism by focusing on narrow content associated with the fundamental phenomenology, rather than the intentionality, of mental states. The second goal is to defend (...) the token‐identity thesis from Tyler Burge's argument to the effect that token‐identity is incompatible with semantic externalism. An account is also offered as to why Burge's argument, albeit fallacious, might seem persuasive under a certain interpretation of possible worlds. (shrink)
There is “something more” to money, as this incisive review shows. The target article's shortcoming is its overextension of the “drug” metaphor as a blend of features that do not fit the rationalistic economics and behavioral psychologies summarized as tool theories, but this may be resolved by viewing money as a particular case of the more general evolutionary phenomenon of emergent subsystem autonomy. (Published Online April 5 2006).
Jaegwon Kim argues that one should distinguish naturalism from materialism, and that both should be construed as ontological rather than epistemological. I agree, on both counts. Although I have sometimes tended to slur together materialism and naturalism in of my writings (as is done in much recent philosophy), I do think that it is important to distinguish them. It is a serious philosophical task to get clearer about how each position is best articulated, and about ways that one could embrace (...) naturalism without embracing materialism. British emergentism, for example, seems reasonably classified as a position that is naturalist but not materialist (and evidently the British emergentists themselves construed their view this way). Here are two key tenets of British emergentism, both of which seem to disqualify the view from being a form of materialism without thereby disqualifying it as a form of naturalism: (E.1) There are emergent properties in nature, in the following sense: although (i) these properties are supervenient on certain other properties, the relevant supervenience facts are ontologically sui generis (and hence are unexplainable). (E.2) Emergent properties are fundamental force generating properties , in this sense: they produce additional fundamental forces that affect the distribution of matter, above and beyond the fundamental forces posited in physics. A position worth of the label “materialism,” it seems to me, should preclude both of these emergentist theses. My notion of superdupervenience is intended as a condition that any version of materialism should satisfy, and is supposed to be incompatible with theses (E.1) and (E.2). Although sometimes, as in Horgan and Timmons (1992) and Horgan (1994), the condition is articulated in terms of the need for supervenience to be explainable “in a naturalistically acceptable way” (thereby slurring the naturalism/materialism distinction), what I had in mind was that supervenience relations must be explainable in a materialistically acceptable way.. (shrink)
Jackson says that the form of physicalism that I recommend, with certain emendations he believes are necessary, turns out to be none other than the “Australian” type-type identity theory of J.J.C. Smart and others. About this, too, I have no serious disagreement, although Jackson’s claim appears to depend, at least in part, on a certain chosen reading of the texts involved. In fact, one point of similarity may be worth noting. As I take it, one special feature of the “Australian” (...) type identity theory is the claim that mental-physical identities are contingent, not necessary. Suppose M has a single physical realizer, P. On my account, the statement that M = P is not metaphysically or logically necessary. It is contingent since the statement that P realizes M is contingent. This is so because for P to realize M is for it to fulfill the causal specification that defines M, and what causal relations P actually enters into is a question that depends on the laws prevailing in a given world. Thus, P may be a realizer of M in this world but perhaps not in another in which different laws hold; in some worlds M may have no realizers at all. None of this is in violation of the idea that identities are necessary. For, according to me, if M has realizers, M is a functional property defined by a causal specification. This means that “M” is not a rigid designator, though it is, as we might call it, “nomologically rigid” or “semi-rigid”. (shrink)
RÉSUMÉ:Selon une thése importante, il est en principe possible de déduire de manière a priori la plupart des vérités macroscopiques d’une (hypothétique) description complète du monde en termes microphysiques P, et donc de construire des explications réductrices a priori. Contre cette thèse, je montre que l’explication réductrice requiert des informations sur les phénomènes à réduire qui ne peuvent pas être extraites a priori des seules informations microphysiques. De telles réductions ont deux parties : une «reductionRO» («role-occupant») établit qu’une macropropriété M (...) joue un rôle causal spécifié en termes macroscopiques, alors qu’une «réductionMM» («micro-macro») montre qu’une micropropriété donne lieu à M.ABSTRACT: It has been argued that most truths about macroscopic states of affairs are entailed by a (hypothetical) complete description P of the world in microscopic terms. In principle, micro-reductive explanations of non-microphysical truths could be constructed a priori. Against this claim, I show that reductive explanation requires knowledge about the phenomena to be reduced which cannot be a priori extracted from microphysical information alone. Such reductions proceed in two steps: a “reductionRO” (“role-occupant”) establishes that a macroproperty M plays a certain causal role (specified in macro-terms), while a “reductionMM” (“micro-macro”) establishes that some microproperty gives rise to M. (shrink)
In this paper I examine Jaegwon Kim’s view that emergent properties are irreducible to the base properties on which they supervene. Kim’s view assumes a model of ‘functional reduction’ which he claims to be substantially different from the traditional Nagelian model. I dispute this claim and argue that the two models are only superficially different, and that on either model, properly understood, it is possible to draw a distinction between a property’s being reductively identifiable with its base property and a (...) property’s being reductively explainable in terms of it. I propose that we should take as the distinguishing feature of emergent properties that they be truly novel properties, i.e., ontologically distinct from the ‘base’ properties which they supervene on. This only requires that emergent properties cannot be reductively identified with their base properties, not that they cannot be reductively explained in terms of them. On this conception the set of emergent properties may well include mental properties as conceived by nonreductive physicalists. (shrink)
Ross & Spurrett (R&S) fail to take metaphysics seriously because they do not make a clear enough distinction between how we understand the world and what the world is really like. Although they show that the behavioral and cognitive sciences are genuinely explanatory, it is not clear that they have shown that these special sciences identify properties that are genuinely causal.