Naturalism: characterised, compared and contrasted
In contemporary philosophy:
- a rejection of ‘supernaturalism'
- an endorsement of ‘scientific explanation'
- an avowal of ‘physicalism'
In traditional philosophy
- a commitment to the intelligibility of the world
- an endorsement of the power of natural reason
- an avowal of the integral unity of substances
Philosophical and other Knowledge
- metaphysics as science
- metaphysics as prior to and independent of empirical knowledge
- metaphysics as interpretative of empirical and other knowledge
Naturalism and the Mind
- Ontology as the shadow of stable commitments.
- Ontology as constrained by metaphysical requirements (criteria of being)
- Realism about the mind, as involving causality1 (powers active and passive)
Physicalism and non-physicalism
- Arguing from realism to physicalism (Davidson, Lewis, Kim)
- Arguing against physicalism - from sensibility and from intelligibility
Arguments from Consciousness
- The identity and individuation2 conditions of qualia are ineliminably phenomenal.
- No material entity or property is such that its identity and individuation3 conditions are ineliminably phenomenal.
- Therefore qualia are not material entities or properties.
- Consciousness is essentially subjective - there it is something it is like to be conscious, and something it is like to be the particular conscious subject that one is.
- In consciousness one is aware of an object (the self) whose existence and character are indubitable, transparent and self-intimating.
Arguments from Conceptuality
From concepts as fine-grained:
- The identity and individuation4 conditions of concepts (and of the thoughts in which they are expressed) are strongly and ineliminably intensional.
- No material entity or property is such that its identity and individuation5 conditions are strongly and ineliminably intensional.
- Therefore, concepts and the thoughts in which they are expressed are not material.
From concepts as universals6:
- Thought is essentially constituted by the exercise of concepts and awareness of them as objects of reflection and analysis.
- Concepts are universals7
- No materially instantiated property is universal.
- Therefore, the occurrence of concepts in thought cannot involve their material instantiation.
- What is essentially constituted by elements that occur non-materially is itself non-material.
- Therefore, thought is non-material.
Arguments from Rationality
From rational constraints
- The conditions on having beliefs and desires include non-empirical, a priori rational requirements,
- No material attribute is constrained in this way
- Therefore, the having of beliefs and desires is not a material attribute.
From logical relations
- Logical relations between concepts and the propositions into which they enter as constituents are defined in terms of truth-preserving implications.
- The relations between material entities and properties are not (and cannot be) defined in terms of truth-preserving implications.
- Therefore, concepts and the propositions into which they enter are not material entities or properties.
From inductive reasoning
- Inductive reasoning about empirical facts draws upon capacities to identify the natures of things and to discern intrinsic (non-contingent) relations between these.
- No material process draws upon capacities to identify the natures of things and to discern intrinsic (non-contingent) relations between these.
- Therefore, inductive reasoning about empirical facts is not a material process.
- The description and interpretation of psychological phenomena (and their intentional products) requires interpretative-cum-evaluative modes of description, explanation and assessment.
- The description and interpretation of (purely) material entities and properties does not require interpretative-cum-evaluative modes of description, explanation and assessment.
- Therefore, psychological phenomena are not (purely) material.
- intrinsic vs extrinsic intelligibility
- potential vs actual intelligibility
- The [intellectual] soul has no matter. ... We may proceed from the specific notion of the human soul, inasmuch as it is intellectual. For it is clear that whatever is received into something is received according to the condition of the recipient. Now a thing is known in as far as its form is in the knower. But the intellectual soul knows a thing in its nature absolutely [ie not as something particular but as having such and such a nature] ... Therefore, the intellectual soul itself is an absolute form, and not something composed of matter and form. For if the intellectual soul were composed of matter and form, the forms of things would be received into it as individuals, and so it would only know the individual; just as it happens with the sensitive powers which receive forms in a corporeal organ. For matter is the principle by which forms are individuated. It follows, therefore, that the intellectual soul, and every intellectual substance which has knowledge of forms absolutely, is exempt from composition of matter and form.
Aquinas, Summa Theologiae Ia, q.75, a5
Back to causation8
- The integration of intellect, sensibility and agency.
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