What is the Matter with Mind

Dissertation, The University of Oklahoma (1994)
Nonreductive physicalism is the conjunction of the following three statements. Firstly, mental properties are real. Secondly, mental properties are neither reducible to nor identifiable with physical properties, and thirdly, mental properties are causally efficacious with respect to physical properties. Nonreductive physicalists hold these assumptions to be true not only for mental properties but all special science and macrophysical properties. I will defend the following three theses: first, if certain widely held assumptions are true e.g., no downward causation, microdetermination or, the doctrine that motivates these assumptions is true namely, microphysical determinism then nonreductive physicalism must fail i.e., the three statements can not jointly be true. Therefore, we must accept that reductionism, epiphenomenalism or eliminativism is unavoidable not only for mental properties, but for all but the most basic physical properties. Second, certain quantum mechanical phenomena show that in fact all the trouble making assumptions are false. Thirdly, a true picture of the physical world not only opens up the possibility of mental causation and higher-order causation in general, but also offers an empirical example of a kind of "emergentism" or holism that could provide us with a model for explaining the nature of the mental and its causal role.
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