A simple insight serves to clear away a common confusion surrounding the mind-body problem. The great success of the physical sciences has led many to assume that the formal descriptions contained in scientific theories also provide a metaphysical guide to the essential character of natural phenomena. The insight is that this leap is unwarranted, and therefore the metaphysical thesis of scientific materialism (or physicalism) is founded on a flawed conception of the natural world. To the extent dualists share this conception of the “body” side of the problem, they share the mistake as well. [UPDATE 6 June 2012: light editing]
Monday, November 29, 2010
Saturday, November 06, 2010
In The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, Sam Harris argues for moral realism, and a version of consequentialism in which the proper target for moral concern is the maximization of human well-being. Furthermore, he says the substance of well-being consists in the qualities of conscious experience, and modern neuroscience is giving us the tools to assess conscious states: hence answering moral questions is properly within the domain of science.