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Title: Physicalism, mind, and the ontology of properties
Author: Kaida, Daisuke
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2011
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In this thesis, I will try to find out how we can accommodate human mind in a physical world. What is significant in my attempt is that I try to approach this problem with a prospect that the theory of mental causation and consciousness will be subsumed under the general theory of properties. With this general orientation, I will do the following three things in this thesis: (1) I will trace and develop the theories of mental causation and consciousness that have been conducted in the philosophy of mind. (2) I will trace and develop the general theories of properties that have been conducted in analytic metaphysics. (3) I will try to show that there is a prospect of combining the theory of mental causation and consciousness with the general theory of properties (or rather subsume the former under the latter). In Chapter 2, I will clarify what physicalism should be. I formulate a minimal version of physicalism. The reason why I take physicalism is also stated. In Chapter 3, I survey the history of non-reductive physicalism, and examine a version of non-reductive physicalism, Anomalous Monism. I will show that Anomalous Monism cannot explain the causal efficacy of mental properties. In Chapter 4, I will examine Jaegwon Kim’s attack on non-reductive physicalism – the causal exclusion problem. I will survey several defences from non-reductive physicalist camp and show that none of them is successful. In Chapter 5, I will examine Kim’s solution to the causal exclusion problem. After I defend Kim’s position from possible objections, I will make clear some consequences of Kim’s position. These chapters are devoted to setting the background for discussing mental causation. Chapter 6, 7, 8, and 9 compose a main part of the thesis. Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 are devoted to the ontology of properties. In these chapters, I will try to formulate and defend a Causal Trope Theory of Properties, which is a causal theory of properties combined with a trope theory. Chapter 6 starts with the examination of John Heil’s view on the ontology of properties and objects. I will then expound my own view on properties and compare it with Heil’s view. After that, I will try to defend the Causal Trope Theory against a rival theory, Humean Theory. In Chapter 7, I will defend my own view (a version of a dispositionalist view) from a typical and influential categoricalist view on properties – Prior, Pargetter, and Jackson’s view. I will also attack the categoricalist view. After I set the background for the mental causation problem and the general theory of properties, I will go on to apply these results to the mental causation problem. In Chapter 8, I will show how David Robb’s argument brings in new aspects of the problem. I will show that Robb’s view has a similar consequence as Kim’s but it gives us a more precise ontological picture. In Chapter 9, I will examine Shoemaker’s view on mental causation. I will show that Shoemaker’s view is the most prospective and successful option so far. In Chapter 10, I will survey the main theories of consciousness (qualia) and intentionality. After I explain why consciousness (or qualia) is a serious problem for physicalists, I try to defend the representation theory of consciousness. I will show that if we can explain consciousness by intentionality, and explain intentionality in a physicalistic framework, then we can understand consciousness in a physicalistic framework. I also focus on the normativity character of intentionality and try to defend a teleological approach to intentionality. Finally, in Chapter 11, I will show how the problem of consciousness (qualia) could be viewed as some versions of the problem concerning the general theory of properties. I will show that which view in the general theory of properties we take has some effects on which view in the theory of qualia we should take. It will be shown that the view about the theory of properties which I take in Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 and the view in the theory of consciousness (the representation theory of consciousness) which I take in Chapter 10 are good combination, and that I have good reason to support the representation theory of consciousness discussed in Chapter 10. In the appendix, I will, quite briefly, consider another problem of mental causation, the problem of the extrinsicness of mental properties. I will show why this problem is not a problem for physicalism alone and suggest a possible way to solve it.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available