Review of 'The Emergent Self' by William Hasker
Steward (Helen)
Source: Mind, Vol. 111, No. 441 (Jan., 2002), pp. 114-119
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. The overall aim of The Emergent Self, William Hasker tells us in the Preface, is to present and defend a particular stance on the mind-body problem – a thesis which he calls 'emergent dualism'.
  2. Emergentism, as Hasker himself concedes, is not a doctrine of which it could be claimed that there is really any unitary, stable and widely agreed upon characterization; but there has been at least a kind of ontological consistency running through the various treatments it has received over the years, in that what is alleged to be emergent is generally conceived of as being a property or feature of a complex, causally interconnected system – typically, of course, the property of consciousness.
  3. The distinctive and undeniably intriguing idea at the heart of Hasker's view is that individuals as well as properties might under certain circumstances 'emerge' from the busy electrochemical activity that we have reason to believe subserves animal consciousness and higher functioning. We ourselves, indeed, he wishes to say, are such emergent individuals – distinct from our bodies and brains, though heavily dependent upon them, somewhat in the way that a magnetic field might be dependent upon the magnetic material which produces it, and in principle, perhaps capable of continued existence beyond the dissolution of our material forms.

Comment:

See William Hasker.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

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