Physicalism and the Decline and Recovery of Dualism

This is the fifth in the series calling physicalism into question. The belief in physicalism as the complete explanation for reality led to the removal of dualism from consideration by most scientists and philosophers. But is that rejection based on a circular argument and is the renewed interest in Descartian dualism justified?

Image: Wikipedia. French philosopher Rene Descartes made many major contributions to science and philosophy but is best known for believing the soul and the body are separate substances. Dualism, as this idea is called, as Descartes intended helped science deal with the body and all physical reality as a kind of undirected machine. Descartes’ idea fell out of favor with the emergence of inclusive physicalism but with the continuing difficulty of a mechanistic explanation of consciousness dualism is making something of a comeback.

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Is consciousness produced by the physical material of the brain or is it “something more?” The issue is a major dividing line between physicalists and anti-physicalists with big implications for our culture and values.

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Gerald R. Baron

Gerald R. Baron

Husband, father, grandfather, semi-retired, farm advocate, author, communicator. Deeply curious about science, nature, spirit and history.

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