Mind and Materialism

Mind and Materialism

Mind and Materialism

Mind and Materialism

Excerpt

This book is primarily a consideration of the view of the nature of mind which has become orthodox, both in philosophy and fields such as artificial intelligence and cognitive science. That view is materialism, and the main aim of this book is to show that it cannot succeed. One cannot fail to be alive to, and to sympathise with, the underlying motives which have led so many thinkers to espouse some variety or other of materialism, but the conviction on which this book rests is that there can be no hope of progress towards a solution to the mind/body problem until the ontology of materialism is rejected. To this end a fairly detailed examination of the main current materialist positions is undertaken.

Sympathy with the underlying motivation behind materialism must rest in part on an appreciation of the difficulties which any dualist position confronts. I do not pretend that there is a convincing answer to all of these difficulties, and consequently this book is not put forward as a solution to the mind/body problem. Nevertheless, criticism of the materialist position does highlight, I maintain, the strengths of a recognisably Cartesian position. It seems to me that these strengths have not been appreciated in contemporary philosophy, and I argue for the claim that no purported solution to the mind/body problem can possibly succeed unless it appreciates those strengths.

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