Emergentism and Consciousness: Going Beyond Property Dualism
Taliaferro (Charles)
Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 4
Paper - Abstract

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Summary1

  1. According to property dualists like O'Connor there are some mental properties (states, events, activities, etc.) that are not identical with physical properties (states, events, activities, etc.). On such a view, although the ache of a headache is inextricably bound up with and caused by certain brain processes, it is not the very same thing as a brain process. This kind of view has been defended by many others. According to Charles Taliaferro, however, property dualism faces several formidable problems.
    • First, it faces the problem of accounting for the emergence of conscious states from physical states and processes. As Colin McGinn has so aptly put it, just "how can technicolour phenomenology arise from soggy grey matter?"
    • Second, insofar as property dualists hold that the mental and physical are not identical, there is a gap between the two that is very difficult to bridge.
    • A further difficulty facing property dualism, according to Taliaferro, is the apparent contingency of the mind-body relation. It is very difficult to understand how it is that the mind and body are necessarily (i.e., causally) so related in the face of their apparent contingency.
  2. In his essay "Emergentism and Consciousness," Taliaferro seeks to account for the appeal of property dualism and to offer a reply to some forceful objections to substance dualism advanced by Colin McGinn. Taliaferro argues that substance dualism can be supported by a comprehensive metaphysic, theism, which has greater credibility than naturalists like McGinn usually recognize.

Comment:

Section I: Cartesian Dualism



In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 4.


Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

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  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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