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Kind, Amy, , . Pessimism About Russellian Monism
2015, Torin Alter & Yujin Nagasawa (eds.), Consciousness in the Physical World: Perspectives on Russellian Monism: 401-421
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Greg Miller

Abstract: From the perspective of many philosophers of mind in these early years of the 21st Century, the debate between dualism and physicalism has seemed to have stalled, if not to have come to a complete standstill. There seems to be no way to settle the basic clash of intuitions that underlies it. Recently however, a growing number of proponents of Russellian monism have suggested that their view promises to show us a new way forward. Insofar as Russellian monism might allow us to break out of the current gridlock, it’s no wonder that it’s become ‘hot stuff.’ To my mind, however, the excitement about Russellian monism is misplaced. Though some version of Russellian monism might well be true, I do not believe that it enables us to break free of the dualism/physicalism divide. As I will argue, once we properly understand what’s required to flesh out an adequate monistic story, we will see that we are in an important way right back where we started.

Comment: This text is a criticism of the view known as Russellian Monism. The text highlights that the physicalism/dualism dichotomy remains even in this ‘alternative’ view. The text is intermediate because it requires students to understand the complexity of the debate leading up to this paper. The paper itself is very accessible.

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Mørch, Hedda Hassel, , . Does Dispositionalism Entail Panpsychism?
2018, Topoi 1(16)
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Greg Miller

Abstract: According to recent arguments for panpsychism, all (or most) physical properties are dispositional, dispositions require categorical grounds, and the only categorical properties we know are phenomenal properties. Therefore, phenomenal properties can be posited as the categorical grounds of all (or most) physical properties—in order to solve the mind–body problem and/or in order avoid noumenalism about the grounds of the physical world. One challenge to this case comes from dispositionalism, which agrees that all physical properties are dispositional, but denies that dispositions require categorical grounds. In this paper, I propose that this challenge can be met by the claim that the only (fundamentally) dispositional properties we know are phenomenal properties, in particular, phenomenal properties associated with agency, intention and/or motivation. Versions of this claim have been common in the history of philosophy, and have also been supported by a number of contemporary dispositionalists (and other realists about causal powers). I will defend a new and updated version of it. Combined with other premises from the original case for panpsychism—which are not affected by the challenge from dispositionalism—it forms an argument that dispositionalism entails panpsychism.

Comment: This paper argues that dispositional essentialism about properties entails a form of panpsychism because, as a matter of fact, the only dispositional properties we know of are phenomenal properties. This paper is a development of an early argument from Galen Strawson, but it is also entirely novel and intersects with the lively debate about Russellian Monsim. This paper is harder than an introductory text, but students who already understand the debate will not find this text difficult. Students will only need to be familiar with debates about dispositions and powerful properties.

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Pérez, Diana, , . Why should our mind-reading abilities be involved in the explanation of phenomenal consciousness?
2008, Análisis filosófico 28(1)
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Juan R. Loaiza

Abstract: In this paper I consider recent discussions within the representationalist theories of phenomenal consciousness, in particular, the discussions between first order representationalism (FOR) and higher order representationalism (HOR). I aim to show that either there is only a terminological dispute between them or, if the discussion is not simply terminological, then HOR is based on a misunderstanding of the phenomena that a theory of phenomenal consciousness should explain. First, I argue that we can defend first order representationalism from Carruthers’ attacks and ignore higher order thoughts in our account of phenomenal consciousness. Then I offer a diagnostic of Carruthers’ misunderstanding. In the last section I consider further reasons to include mindreading abilities in an explanation of phenomenal consciousness.

Comment: This text connects three topics in philosophy of mind in a clear way: representationalism (especially Fodor’s LOT), consciousness, and mind-reading. It serves as an example of how to integrate different problems while proposing a provocative claim about them.

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Wilkes, Kathleen Vaughan, , . Is consciousness important?
1984, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (September):223-43.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: The paper discusses the utility of the notion of consciousness for the behavioural and brain sciences. It describes four distinctively different senses of ‘conscious’, and argues that to cope with the heterogeneous phenomena loosely indicated thereby, these sciences not only do not but should not discuss them in terms of ‘consciousness’. It is thus suggested that ‘the problem’ allegedly posed to scientists by consciousness is unreal; one need neither adopt a realist stance with respect to it, nor include the term and its cognates in the sciences’ conceptual apparatus. The paper briefly examines Nagel’s [1974] article, since this presents the strongest counter to the thesis proposed

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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