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Abstract: Dualists think that not all the facts are physical facts. They think that there are facts about phenomenal consciousness2 that cannot be explained in purely physical terms—facts about what it’s like to see red, what it’s like to feel sandpaper, what it’s like to run 10 miles when it’s 15° F out, and so on. These phenomenal facts are genuine ‘extras’, not fixed by the physical facts and the physical laws. To use the standard metaphor: even after God settled the physical facts and laws, he had more work to do to put the phenomenal facts in place. Some dualists think that the additional work involves the creation of a special kind of nonphysical substance. More common these days are dualists who think that the additional work merely involves the creation and positioning of special nonphysical properties, and that is the only form of dualism that I will be explicitly concerned with here. The property dualist’s claim is that phenomenal properties, or at least protophenomenal properties, are among the basic furniture of the world
Abstract: Any time you have philosophers working on a problem, you know you’ve got troubles. If a question has attracted the attention of the philosophers that means that either it is intractably difficult with convolutions and labyrinthine difficulties that would make other researchers blanch, or that it is just flat out impossible to solve. Impossible problems masquerade as intractable problems until someone either proves the problem is impossible (which can only happen in mathematics), or someone shows all solutions to the problem violate laws of physics (like the perpetual motion machine, for example), or until enough people fail so that declaring defeat is a reasonable move. The problem of consciousness is prototypical of this latter case. Indeed, one might say that it is the Platonic ideal of such a problem. The mere fact that philosophers wrestle with the problem of consciousness should be regarded by psychologists of all stripes as extremely bad news. If the philosophers can’t make any headway, psychologists are doomed
Abstract: This paper is about a certain family of philosophical positions on the mind-body problem. The positions are dualist, but only in a minimal sense of that term employed by philosophers: according to the positions in question, mental entities are immaterial and distinct from all physical things
Abstract: This paper is divided into two main sections. The first articulates what I believe Strawson's position to be. I contrast Strawson's usage of 'physicalism' with the mainstream use. I then explain why I think that Strawson's position is one of property dualism and substance monism. In doing this, I outline his view and Locke's view on the nature of substance. I argue that they are similar in many respects and thus it is no surprise that Strawson actually holds a view on the mind much like one plausible interpretation of Locke's position. Strawson's use of terminology cloaks this fact and he does not himself explicitly recognize it in his paper. In the second section, I outline some of Strawson's assumptions that he uses in arguing for his position. I comment on the plausibility of his position concerning the relation of the mind to the body compared with mainstream physicalism and various forms of dualism. Before embarking on the two main sections, in the remainder of this introduction, I very briefly sketch Strawson's view
Abstract: In recent philosophy of mind, epiphenomenalism—that strain of dualism according to which the mind is caused by the body but does not cause the body in turn—has undergone something of a renaissance. Contemporary epiphenomenalists bear only partial resemblance to their more extravagantly metaphysical ancestors, however. Traditional epiphenomenalists thought that (at least) two sorts of mental properties were epiphenomenal—intentional properties such as the meaning or representational content of the propositional attitudes (beliefs, desires and so on); and conscious properties such as awareness and the qualitative nature of experience. Contemporary epiphenomenalists, on the other hand, are largely sanguine about the prospects for intentionality to be brought within the purview of a physicalist worldview; what forces their dualism is one particular feature of consciousness—what irks them are qualia, the..