Well, you’re not reading me very carefully, are you? What I said in the article about consciousness is, ‘Religions distinguished us from animals and from physical objects by positing immaterial spirits. And the mysteries of consciousness are still spirit-like. But we know that consciousness is dependent on the brain. We’re not just objects but we’re also not essentially free-floating, supernatural subjects or “spirits.”’

Do you see anywhere there where I say I know exactly what consciousness is or that consciousness is identical to the brain? I said consciousness is dependent on the brain and I referred to the mysteries of consciousness as still being spirit-like.

For the record, as you can see from numerous articles on my blog, including my debates with the eliminativist R. Scott Bakker, I think consciousness and other properties of the self, including freewill, mental representations, values, intelligence, and personality are emergent properties, so I’m a property dualist. I have no problem with the idea that the nature of consciousness is highly mysterious, although I’ve taken a crack at solving the hard problem (the last two links below).

More generally, I’d say the mind supervenes or depends on the brain and on the rest of the body and on our behaviour and perhaps our social relations. The talk of those mental properties is due to the applicability of a model or to what Dennett called the intentional stance. Mental properties aren’t likely fundamental to the physical universe, but real patterns emerge at a higher, more simplified level of natural (or artificial) interactions, which call for psychological, normative, and social generalizations.

So I think you were reading some stricter physicalism into that article.






Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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