What does It Mean to be a Mechanism? Stephen Morse, Non-reductivism, and Mental Causation

Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (1):143-159 (2017)

Authors
Katrina L. Sifferd
Elmhurst College
Abstract
Stephen Morse seems to have adopted a controversial position regarding the mindbody relationship: John Searle’s non-reductivism, which claims that conscious mental states are causal yet not reducible to their underlying brain states. Searle’s position has been roundly criticized, with some arguing the theory taken as a whole is incoherent. In this paper I review these criticisms and add my own, concluding that Searle’s position is indeed contradictory, both internally and with regard to Morse's other views. Thus I argue that Morse ought to abandon Searle’s non-reductive theory. Instead, I claim Morse ought to adopt a non-eliminative reductive account that can more easily support his realism about folk psychological states, and the existence of causally effective mental states in a purely physical world.
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DOI 10.1007/s11572-014-9329-y
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References found in this work BETA

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