Mind-body unity, dual aspect, and the emergence of consciousness

Philosophical Psychology 13 (3):393 – 403 (2000)
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Abstract

Dual aspect theory has conceptual advantages over alternative mind-body notions, but difficulties of its own. The nature of the underlying psychophysical ground, for one, remains problematic either in terms of the principle of complementarity or if mind and matter are taken to be aspects of something like energy, movement, or information. Moreover, for a dual aspect theory to be plausible it should avoid the four perils of all mind-body theories: epiphenomenalism, reductionism, gross panpsychism, and the problems of emergence. An alternative dual aspect theory, patterned process theory, is introduced and defended in neurological and individuality terms. The concept is grounded in a brain model of hierarchies wherein consciousness is conceived to be a cognitive aspect of the highest emergent brain inter-module activity, which is situated in the context of a living organism coping with a changing environment. The notion of individuals as psychophysical units unfolding as patterned processes is shown to constitute an integrative approach to brain, consciousness, and behavior that can avoid the conceptual perils and meet the ontological requirements of dual aspect reality and thereby advance the foundations of an integrative mind-body science.

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