Volume 12, Issue 2, 2014

Science, the Boddy and Hidden Nature: On the Variations of Naturalism
Michael Hampe, Chair of Phiosophy, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

This article begins with a look at the scientific naturalism that aimed to naturalize the normative. A non-scientific form of experiencing nature will then be considered, namely the experience of one's own body and the emotions arising in this body. Finally, the issue of religious naturalisms will be addressed.

Why Physicalism ?
William Seager, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto at Scarborough, Canada

Physicalism is the view that everything that exists is ultimately physical. It is the dominant metaphysics of nature in the current age despite facing a number of formidable challenges. Here I examine the reasons we have for believing in physicalism. It will turn out that the undeniable success of physicalism heretofore may in fact undercut the claim that physicalism deserves wholesale, even if provisional, acceptance. My argument stems from noting the disparity between "ontological" physicalism - a doctrine solely about the nature of things - and "epistemic" physicalism, a doctrine asserting the physical explicability of everything. The reasons we have for accepting physicalism necessarily stem from the history of success of epistemic physicalism. The problem of consciousness throws up a roadblock on this path toward physicalism, which then undercuts the grounds we have for endorsing ontological physicalism. This argument can be expressed in Bayesian form, which makes clearer the perhaps precarious position in which modern physicalism finds itself. I end with some more or less tentative suggestions for alternative metaphysical frameworks.

Beyond Reduction: Fom Naturalism to Cognitive Pluralism
Steven Horst, Department of Philosophy, Wesleyan University, Middletown, USA

One of the most popular and long-lived approaches to naturalizing the mind is the attempt to reduce mental phenomena to physical, biological, or neural phenomena. Reductionism has held a special allure among philosophers for a number of reasons: the intuitive appeal of part-whole explanations, reductive explanation's resemblance to the axiomatic method in mathematics, its apparent promise as a strategy for unifying different knowledge domains, and the fact that true reductions, when successful, are almost unique in yielding both metaphysical necessity and complete explanations. Reductionism was a very influential view in philosophy of science, both in early modernity and through much of the twentieth century, and some central contemporary issues in philosophy of mind - the explanatory gap and the hard problem of consciousness - are framed as claims that conscious mental states (and perhaps they alone) are not reducible to physical phenomena.
In fact, however, most philosophers of science today would agree that true intertheoretic reductions are rare even in the natural sciences. I propose an explanation of both the appeal and the failure of reductionism in terms of a cognitivist approach to philosophy of science called "Cognitive Pluralism", and then explore what implications post-reductionist philosophy of science has for philosophy of mind. If it is "explanatory gaps all the way down", what are the implications for dualism and for reductive, non-reductive and eliminative physicalisms? Is the mind-matter gap different from the other explanatory gaps? And, if the Cognitive Pluralist analysis is correct, is there any hope more generally for a "unified science", or that scientific theories generally can provide answers to metaphysical questions?

20th Century Versions of Dual-Aspect Thinking
Harald Atmanspacher, Collegium Helveticum, Zürich, Switzerland

In the philosophy of mind and in psychology as well as cognitive science, the program of naturalizing the mind is conventionally understood as the attempt to reduce whatever appears mental to physical explanations. In recent decades this has become a central motif in cognitive neuroscience and consciousness studies, where it features as the reduction of conscious states to brain behavior. On the long run, the resulting physicalism can be viewed as a counterposition against both idealist positions and Cartesian dualism.
But is physicalism the only alternative? At least since Spinoza, there is a tradition of dual-aspect thinking in which both the physical and the mental are construed as aspects of an underlying reality, which is itself neutral with respect to the mind-matter distinction. I will present and compare some selected variants of dual-aspect thinking in the 20th century, such as Bertrand Russell's neutral monism, the holistic dual-aspect monism of Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Gustav Jung, David Bohm's implicate order, and naturalistic dualism according to David Chalmers. They can all be viewed as versions of a naturalism that aims at a concept of nature beyond the duality of the mental and the physical.

Experience Unbound: Neutral Monism, Contextual Emergence and Extended Science
Michael Silberstein, Department of Philosophy, Elizabethtown College, USA

The goal of this paper is to defend the following claims: (1) neutral monism is the best metaphysical alternative when it comes to the question of how the mental and physical relate (Sect. 1), (2) neutral monism is not just more metaphysics, properly understood, it already has a budding scientific expression in the form of embodied, embedded and extended cognitive science (Sect. 2), (3) neutral monism and extended cognitive science are both best viewed as instances of contextual emergence (Sect. 3), (4) adopting (1)-(3) above in earnest deflates many ancient metaphysical conundrums and puts the world right again safe from philosophers. Which is to say that (1)-(3) is good metaphysics and good science.

Last revision: 8 Januar 2014