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So, 25 years later, whatever became of the Hard Science of mind?

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Jerry Fodor

The one that was supposed to waste traditional philosophy? At Mind Matters Today,

Back in 1992, philosopher of mind Jerry Fodor said,

“…we’re all materialists for much the reason that Churchill gave for being a democrat: the alternatives seem even worse. The new research project [science of mind] is therefore to reconcile our materialism to the psychological facts: to explain how something that is material through and through could have whatever properties minds actually do have….

Thinking of philosophical materialism as a science must have seemed like a step forward at the time.

Over twenty-five years later, there have been dozens of theories of consciousness jostling for the podium, most of them “worse than wrong,” even in the eyes of a sympathetic observer (2016). Not only has the materialist approach failed but in recent years, its failure has brought serious intellectual figures round to such views as consciousness is an illusion or that everything is conscious.

It is past time to consider non-materialist approaches. Certainly, they cannot do any worse. Information theory may help them do much better though they will likely disconfirm naturalism as a guide to the universe. More.

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2 Replies to “So, 25 years later, whatever became of the Hard Science of mind?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Going back even further than 25 years ago,, Quantum Mechanics has now undermined Einstein’s notions of what is possible in experimental physics in regards to how it relates to mind, i.e. ‘the experience of the now’ and also in regards to free will.

    Albert Einstein vs. Quantum Mechanics and His Own Mind

  2. 2
    tarmaras says:

    Speaking of non-materialist approaches, this can’t hurt (selected quotes):

    “A common argument against the mind-body duality is that mind is an epiphenomenon of chemical reactions in the brain much like the fluidity of water is a consequence of molecular interactions. This argument seems quite appealing because if we reduce water to its molecules, we don’t see fluidity in each molecule; fluidity is only a property of the collection of molecules. The mind-brain reductionist similarly argues that the mind’s properties—sensation, thinking, feeling, willing—are features of the brain, although individual molecules that make up the brain don’t have these properties.

    Theoretical Problems in Reduction

    This still leaves theoretical gaps in understanding how reactions produce the mind (claims about mind-body identity are based on experimental observations). The theoretical problems in the reductionist argument arise at two levels. First, it is in drawing a parallel between the fluidity of water and mental experiences, because the mind describes the world (objects and other minds) while fluidity is a description of the water itself. Second, the notion that molecules are independent objects represents a classical distortion of atomic theory.

    In this article, I will discuss the features of the mind and how they present theoretical problems vis-a-vis classical physics, followed by a discussion of how quantum theory presents a different view of matter that can explain the mind, although it would require us to eschew reductionism. Therefore, when reduction is used, the theory cannot explain the mind and the theory that can explain the mind must discard reduction.

    I will conclude by describing a solution to the mind-body interaction problem based on some ideas from the Vedic theory of matter, and discuss how the Vedic theory requires us to treat nature as information which is logically prior to material objects.”


    “The problem of mind-body interaction (which results in the thesis of mind-body reduction) is solved by treating matter as symbols of information rather than meaningless objects. The mind-body interaction is the interaction between subtle and gross matter in Vedic philosophy and it is mediated by the presence of information in two different forms—as material symbols and as mental ideas.

    The treatment of matter as symbols of information is already indicated by the pervasive problems of indeterminism, inconsistency and incompleteness in science. When these problems are solved by a revision to the materialist view, the problem of mind-body interaction will not exist, which in turn will entail that the reductionist thesis is also unnecessary. This path of ideological evolution represents a positive development in science, as it expands science to include a scientific study of the mind.”

    Full article here:

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