Property dualism

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Property dualism: the exemplification of two kinds of property by one kind of substance Property dualism.jpg
Property dualism: the exemplification of two kinds of property by one kind of substance

Property dualism describes a category of positions in the philosophy of mind which hold that, although the world is composed of just one kind of substancethe physical kind—there exist two distinct kinds of properties: physical properties and mental properties. In other words, it is the view that non-physical, mental properties (such as beliefs, desires and emotions) inhere in or supervene upon certain physical substances (namely brains).

Philosophy of mind branch of philosophy on the nature of the mind

Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology, nature, and relationship of the mind to the body. The mind–body problem is a paradigm issue in philosophy of mind, although other issues are addressed, such as the hard problem of consciousness, and the nature of particular mental states. Aspects of the mind that are studied include mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness, the ontology of the mind, the nature of thought, and the relationship of the mind to the body.

Substance theory, or substance–attribute theory, is an ontological theory about objecthood positing that a substance is distinct from its properties. A thing-in-itself is a property-bearer that must be distinguished from the properties it bears.

Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental aspects and consciousness, are results of material interactions.

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Substance dualism, on the other hand, is the view that there exist in the universe two fundamentally different kinds of substance: physical (matter) and non-physical (mind or consciousness), and subsequently also two kinds of properties which adhere in those respective substances. Substance dualism is thus more susceptible to the mind-body problem. Both substance and property dualism are opposed to reductive physicalism.

Matter substance that has rest mass and volume, or several other definitions

In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atoms, which are made up of interacting subatomic particles, and in everyday as well as scientific usage, "matter" generally includes atoms and anything made up of them, and any particles that act as if they have both rest mass and volume. However it does not include massless particles such as photons, or other energy phenomena or waves such as light or sound. Matter exists in various states. These include classical everyday phases such as solid, liquid, and gas – for example water exists as ice, liquid water, and gaseous steam – but other states are possible, including plasma, Bose–Einstein condensates, fermionic condensates, and quark–gluon plasma.

Mind combination of cognitive faculties that provides consciousness, thinking, reasoning, perception, and judgement in humans and potentially other life forms

The mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking, judgement, language and memory. It is usually defined as the faculty of an entity's thoughts and consciousness. It holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions.

Consciousness state or quality of awareness or of being aware of an external object or something within oneself

Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness or of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined variously in terms of sentience, awareness, qualia, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or soul, the fact that there is something "that it is like" to "have" or "be" it, and the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives."

Emergent materialism

Emergentism is the idea that increasingly complex structures in the world give rise to the "emergence" of novel properties that are something over and above (i.e. cannot be reduced to) their more basic constituents (see Supervenience ). The concept of emergence dates back to the late 19th century. John Stuart Mill notably argued for an emergentist conception of science in his 1843 System of Logic.

In philosophy, emergentism is the belief in emergence, particularly as it involves consciousness and the philosophy of mind, and as it contrasts with reductionism. A property of a system is said to be emergent if it is a new outcome of some other properties of the system and their interaction, while it is itself different from them. Emergent properties are not identical with, reducible to, or deducible from the other properties. The different ways in which this independence requirement can be satisfied lead to variant types of emergence.

Supervenience

In philosophy, supervenience refers to a relation between sets of properties or sets of facts. X is said to supervene on Y if and only if some difference in Y is necessary for any difference in X to be possible. Equivalently, X is said to supervene on Y if and only if X cannot vary unless Y varies. Here are some examples.

Emergence Phenomenon in complex systems where interactions produce effects not directly predictable from the subsystems

In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence occurs when an entity is observed to have properties its parts do not have on their own. These properties or behaviors emerge only when the parts interact in a wider whole. For example, smooth forward motion emerges when a bicycle and its rider interoperate, but neither part can produce the behavior on their own.

Applied to the mind/body relation, emergent materialism is another way of describing the non-reductive physicalist conception of the mind that asserts that when matter is organized in the appropriate way (i.e., organized in the way that living human bodies are organized), mental properties emerge.

In the philosophy of mind, emergentmaterialism is a theory which asserts that the mind is an irreducible existent in some sense, albeit not in the sense of being an ontological simple, and that the study of mental phenomena is independent of other sciences. It primarily maintains that the human mind's evolution is a product of material nature and that it cannot exist without material basis.

Non-reductive physicalism

Non-reductive physicalism is the predominant contemporary form of property dualism according to which mental properties are mapped to neurobiological properties, but are not reducible to them. Non-reductive physicalism asserts that mind is not ontologically reducible to matter, in that an ontological distinction lies in the differences between the properties of mind and matter. It asserts that while mental states are physical in that they are caused by physical states, they are not ontologically reducible to physical states. No mental state is the same one thing as some physical state, nor is any mental state composed merely from physical states and phenomena.

Anomalous monism

Most contemporary non-reductive physicalists subscribe to a position called anomalous monism (or something very similar to it). Unlike epiphenomenalism, which renders mental properties causally redundant, anomalous monists believe that mental properties make a causal difference to the world. The position was originally put forward by Donald Davidson in his 1970 paper Mental Events, which stakes an identity claim between mental and physical tokens based on the notion of supervenience.

Anomalous monism is a philosophical thesis about the mind–body relationship. It was first proposed by Donald Davidson in his 1970 paper "Mental Events". The theory is twofold and states that mental events are identical with physical events, and that the mental is anomalous, i.e. under their mental descriptions, relationships between these mental events are not describable by strict physical laws. Hence, Davidson proposes an identity theory of mind without the reductive bridge laws associated with the type-identity theory. Since the publication of his paper, Davidson has refined his thesis and both critics and supporters of anomalous monism have come up with their own characterizations of the thesis, many of which appear to differ from Davidson's.

Donald Davidson (philosopher) American philosopher

Donald Herbert Davidson was an American philosopher. He served as Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley from 1981 to 2003 after having also held teaching appointments at Stanford University, Rockefeller University, Princeton University, and the University of Chicago. Davidson was known for his charismatic personality and the depth and difficulty of his thought. His work exerted considerable influence in many areas of philosophy from the 1960s onward, particularly in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and action theory. While Davidson was an analytic philosopher, and most of his influence lies in that tradition, his work has attracted attention in continental philosophy as well, particularly in literary theory and related areas.

Biological naturalism

Biological Naturalism states that consciousness is a higher level function of the human brain's physical capabilities. Brain chrischan.jpg
Biological Naturalism states that consciousness is a higher level function of the human brain's physical capabilities.

Another argument for non-reductive physicalism has been expressed by John Searle, who is the advocate of a distinctive form of physicalism he calls biological naturalism. His view is that although mental states are not ontologically reducible to physical states, they are causally reducible (see causality). He believes the mental will ultimately be explained through neuroscience. This worldview does not necessarily fall under property dualism, and therefore does not necessarily make him a "property dualist". He has acknowledged that "to many people" his views and those of property dualists look a lot alike. But he thinks the comparison is misleading. [1]

Epiphenomenalism

Epiphenomenalism is a doctrine about mental-physical causal relations which holds that one or more mental states and their properties are the by-products (or epiphenomena) of the states of a closed physical system, and are not causally reducible to physical states (do not have any influence on physical states). According to this view mental properties are as such real constituents of the world, but they are causally impotent; while physical causes give rise to mental properties like sensations, volition, ideas, etc., such mental phenomena themselves cause nothing further - they are causal dead ends. [2]

Huxley explained mental properties as like the steam on a locomotive Turner - Rain, Steam and Speed - National Gallery file.jpg
Huxley explained mental properties as like the steam on a locomotive

The position is credited to English biologist Thomas Huxley (Huxley 1874), who analogised mental properties to the whistle on a steam locomotive. The position found favour amongst scientific behaviourists over the next few decades, until behaviourism itself fell to the cognitive revolution in the 1960s. Recently, epiphenomenalism has gained popularity with those struggling to reconcile non-reductive physicalism and mental causation.

Epiphenomenal qualia

In the paper "Epiphenomenal Qualia" and later "What Mary Didn't Know" Frank Jackson made the so-called knowledge argument against physicalism. The thought experiment was originally proposed by Jackson as follows:

Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like 'red', 'blue', and so on. She discovers, for example, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, and exactly how this produces via the central nervous system the contraction of the vocal cords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence 'The sky is blue'. [...] What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a color television monitor? Will she learn anything or not? [3]

Jackson continued:

It seems just obvious that she will learn something about the world and our visual experience of it. But then it is inescapable that her previous knowledge was incomplete. But she had all the physical information. Ergo there is more to have than that, and Physicalism is false. [3]

Panpsychist property dualism

Panpsychism is the view that all matter has a mental aspect, or, alternatively, all objects have a unified center of experience or point of view. Superficially, it seems to be a form of property dualism, since it regards everything as having both mental and physical properties. However, some panpsychists say that mechanical behaviour is derived from the primitive mentality of atoms and molecules as are sophisticated mentality and organic behaviour, the difference being attributed to the presence or absence of complex structure in a compound object. So long as the reduction of non-mental properties to mental ones is in place, panpsychism is not strictly a form of property dualism; otherwise it is.[ citation needed ]

David Chalmers has expressed sympathy for panpsychism (or a modified variant, panprotopsychism) as a possible resolution to the hard problem of consciousness, though he regards the combination problem as an important obstacle for the theory. [4] Other philosophers who have taken interest in the view include Thomas Nagel, [5] Galen Strawson, [5] [6] Timothy Sprigge, [5] William Seager, [7] and Philip Goff. [8]

Other proponents

Saul Kripke

Kripke has a well-known argument for some kind of property dualism. Using the concept of rigid designators, he states that if dualism is logically possible, then it is the case.

Let 'Descartes' be a name, or rigid designator, of a certain person, and let 'B' be a rigid designator of his body. Then if Descartes were indeed identical to B, the supposed identity, being an identity between two rigid designators, would be necessary.

See also

Notes

  1. Searle, John (1983) "Why I Am Not a Property Dualist", "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-12-10. Retrieved 2007-03-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link).
  2. Churchland 1984 , p. 11
  3. 1 2 Jackson 1982, p. 130
  4. Chalmers, David J. (2003). "Consciousness and its Place in Nature" (PDF). In Stich, Stephen P.; Warfield, Ted A. The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind (1st ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. ISBN   978-0631217756. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 October 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 Goff, Philip; Seager, William; Allen-Hermanson, Sean (2017). "Panpsychism". In Zalta, Edward N. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  6. Strawson, Galen (2006). "Realistic monism: Why physicalism entails panpsychism" (PDF). Journal of Consciousness Studies. 13 (10/11): 3–31. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  7. Seager, William (2006). "The Intrinsic Nature Argument for Panpsychism" (PDF). Journal of Consciousness Studies. 13 (10–11): 129–145. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  8. Goff, Philip (2017). "The Case for Panpsychism". Philosophy Now. Retrieved 3 October 2018.

Related Research Articles

Epiphenomenalism is a position on the mind–body problem which holds that physical and biochemical events within the human body are causal with respect to mental events. According to this view, subjective mental events are completely dependent for their existence on corresponding physical and biochemical events within the human body and themselves have no causal efficacy on physical events. The appearance that subjective mental states influence physical events is merely an illusion. For instance, fear seems to make the heart beat faster, but according to epiphenomenalism the biochemical secretions of the brain and nervous system —not the experience of fear—is what raises the heartbeat. Because mental events are a kind of overflow that cannot cause anything physical, yet have non-physical properties, epiphenomenalism is viewed as a form of property dualism.

In philosophy, physicalism is the metaphysical thesis that "everything is physical", that there is "nothing over and above" the physical, or that everything supervenes on the physical. Physicalism is a form of ontological monism—a "one substance" view of the nature of reality as opposed to a "two-substance" (dualism) or "many-substance" (pluralism) view. Both the definition of "physical" and the meaning of physicalism have been debated.

Mind–body dualism Philosophical theory that mental phenomena are non-physical and that matter exists independently of mind

Mind–body dualism, or mind–body duality, is a view in the philosophy of mind that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical, or that the mind and body are distinct and separable. Thus, it encompasses a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, and between subject and object, and is contrasted with other positions, such as physicalism and enactivism, in the mind–body problem.

Functionalism is a viewpoint of the theory of the mind. It states that mental states are constituted solely by their functional role in, i.e. causal relations with, other mental states, sensory inputs and behavioral outputs. Functionalism developed largely as an alternative to the identity theory of mind and behaviorism.

David Chalmers Australian philosopher and cognitive scientist

David John Chalmers is an Australian philosopher and cognitive scientist specializing in the areas of philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. He is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University. He is also a University Professor, Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science, and a Director of the Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness at New York University. In 2013, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Eliminative materialism Philosophical view that states-of-mind as commonly understood do not exist

Eliminative materialism is the claim that people's common-sense understanding of the mind is false and that certain classes of mental states that most people believe in do not exist. It is a materialist position in the philosophy of mind. Some supporters of eliminativism argue that no coherent neural basis will be found for many everyday psychological concepts such as belief or desire, since they are poorly defined. Rather, they argue that psychological concepts of behaviour and experience should be judged by how well they reduce to the biological level. Other versions entail the non-existence of conscious mental states such as pain and visual perceptions.

The knowledge argument is a philosophical thought experiment proposed by Frank Jackson in his article "Epiphenomenal Qualia" (1982) and extended in "What Mary Didn't Know" (1986). The experiment is intended to argue against physicalism—the view that the universe, including all that is mental, is entirely physical. The debate that emerged following its publication became the subject of an edited volume—There's Something About Mary (2004)—which includes replies from such philosophers as Daniel Dennett, David Lewis, and Paul Churchland.

Panpsychism

In philosophy, panpsychism is the view that consciousness, mind, or soul (psyche) is a universal and primordial feature of all things. Panpsychists see themselves as minds in a world of mind.

The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how and why sentient organisms have qualia or phenomenal experiences—how and why it is that some internal states are felt states, such as heat or pain, rather than unfelt states, as in a thermostat or a toaster. The philosopher David Chalmers, who introduced the term "hard problem" of consciousness, contrasts this with the "easy problems" of explaining the ability to discriminate, integrate information, report mental states, focus attention, etc. Easy problems are easy because all that is required for their solution is to specify a mechanism that can perform the function. That is, their proposed solutions, regardless of how complex or poorly understood they may be, can be entirely consistent with the modern materialistic conception of natural phenomena. Chalmers claims that the problem of experience is distinct from this set and that the problem of experience will "persist even when the performance of all the relevant functions is explained".

Jaegwon Kim is a Korean-American philosopher who is now an emeritus professor at Brown University, but who also taught at several other leading American universities. He is best known for his work on mental causation, the mind-body problem and the metaphysics of supervenience and events. Key themes in his work include: a rejection of Cartesian metaphysics, the limitations of strict psychophysical identity, supervenience, and the individuation of events. Kim's work on these and other contemporary metaphysical and epistemological issues is well represented by the papers collected in Supervenience and Mind: Selected Philosophical Essays (1993).

Physical causal closure is a metaphysical theory about the nature of causation in the physical realm with significant ramifications in the study of metaphysics and the mind. In a strongly stated version, physical causal closure says that "all physical states have pure physical causes" — Jaegwon Kim, or that "physical effects have only physical causes" — Agustin Vincente, p. 150.

Biological naturalism

Biological naturalism is a theory about, among other things, the relationship between consciousness and body, and hence an approach to the mind–body problem. It was first proposed by the philosopher John Searle in 1980 and is defined by two main theses: 1) all mental phenomena from pains, tickles, and itches to the most abstruse thoughts are caused by lower-level neurobiological processes in the brain; and 2) mental phenomena are higher-level features of the brain.

Mind–body problem open question in philosophy of how abstract minds interact with physical bodies

The mind–body problem is a philosophical problem concerning the relationship between thought and consciousness in the human mind, and the brain as part of the physical body. It is distinct from the question of how mind and body function chemically and physiologically since that question presupposes an interactionist account of mind-body relations. This question arises when mind and body are considered as distinct, based on the premise that the mind and the body are fundamentally different in nature.

In philosophy and certain models of psychology, qualia are defined to be individual instances of subjective, conscious experience. The term qualia derives from the Latin neuter plural form (qualia) of the Latin adjective quālis meaning "of what sort" or "of what kind" in a specific instance like "what it is like to taste a specific apple, this particular apple now".

Interactionism or interactionist dualism is the theory in the philosophy of mind which holds that matter and mind are two distinct and independent substances that exert causal effects on one another. It is one type of dualism, traditionally a type of substance dualism though more recently also sometimes a form of property dualism.

William Seager (philosopher) philosopher

William Edward Seager is a Canadian philosopher. He is a Professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. His academic specialties of the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of science

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