Idealism and the Mind-Body Problem

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Idealism and the Mind-Body Problem

by David Chalmers


Quote:When I was in graduate school, I recall hearing “One starts as a materialist, then one becomes a dualist, then a panpsychist, and one ends up as an idealist”.I don’t know where this comes from, but I think the idea was something like this.

First, one is impressed by the successes of science, endorsing materialism about everything and so about the mind.

Second, one is moved by problem of consciousness to see a gap between physics and consciousness, thereby endorsing dualism,where both matter and consciousness are fundamental.

Third, one is moved by the inscrutability of matter to realize that science reveals at most the structure of matter and not its underlying nature, and to speculate that this nature may involve consciousness, thereby endorsing panpsychism.

Fourth, one comes to think that there is little reason to believe in anything beyond consciousness and that the physical world is wholly constituted by consciousness, thereby endorsing idealism. Some recent strands in philosophical discussion of the mind–body problem have recapitulated this progression: the rise of materialism in the 1950s and 1960s, the dualist response in the 1980s and 1990s, the festival of panpsychism in the 2000s, and some recent stirrings of idealism

.In my own work, I have taken the first two steps and have flirted heavily with the third. In this paper Iwant to examine the prospects for the fourth step: the move to idealism.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2018-12-03, 11:19 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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  • OmniVersalNexus
(2018-12-03, 11:14 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Idealism and the Mind-Body Problem

by David Chalmers

I'm currently reading this. I especially enjoy the conclusion:

Quote:I do not claim that idealism is plausible. No position on the mind–body problem is plausible.
Materialism is implausible. Dualism is implausible. Idealism is implausible. Neutral monism is
implausible.

It's a difficult read but certainly worth the effort.
(This post was last modified: 2024-05-21, 11:31 AM by sbu.)
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  • Sciborg_S_Patel

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