Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Physicalism and the progress of science

People sometimes use the progress of science to argue for physicalism about the mind. But it seems to me that Dostoevskii made more progress in understanding the human mind by existential reflection than anybody has by studying the brain directly. More generally, if we want to understand human minds, we should turn to literature and the spiritual masters rather than to neuroscience.

Thus, any argument for physicalism about the mind from the progress of science is seriously flawed. And perhaps we even have some evidence against physicalism. For it is a surprising fact that we learn more about the mind by the methods of the humanities than by study of the brain if the mind is the brain.


Wesley C. said...
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Wesley C. said...

A bit of a weird question, but what are your thoughts on the compatibility of LFW with a Groundhog Day Loop situation, where you repeat the last day many times after waking up, and the people keep doing the same things and making the same choices over and over again. The only exception being yourself (as you know you're in the loop) and any person you directly interact with significantly differently than before.

Would such a scenario where people repeat the same choices to the point you can literally predict what a person will do next be incompatible with Libertarian Free Will, or could it be accommodated?

Alexander R Pruss said...

It's like when people toss a fair coin and it keeps coming up heads. It's super unlikely, but logically possible.