Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Strawson reviews

Two good reviews of Galen Strawson et al’s “Consciousness and it’s place in Nature” by Jerry Fodor and Leo Stubenberg have come out recently. They raise some issues which I’ve discussed in previous posts.

Stubenberg considers the relation between the microexperiential and the macroexperiential and how the latter arises from the former poses "the most serious threat to panpsychism.” My take on this, in response to one of the papers in the book, is here.

Fodor in his enjoyable review ponders whether the putative brute emergence of consciousness from the brain need be considered any more miraculous than the operation of any other basic law : “The idea that the basic laws are the laws about the smallest things has been central to the ‘scientific world-view’ ever since there started to be one. On the other hand, as far as I can see, it’s not any sort of a priori truth.”

I discussed this issue here and concluded that it seems implausible, arbitrary and unparsimonious to suppose that experience arises as a result of fundamental laws whose operation is wholly dependent on uniquely complex and specialised systems such as the brain.

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