The Emergent Mind
Dissertation, Princeton University (1993)
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
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