BEYOND MATERIALISM: MENTAL CAPACITY AND NATURALISM, A CONSIDERATION OF METHOD
Version of Record online: 21 DEC 2005
Volume 37, Issue 1, pages 74–91, January 2006
How to Cite
SKINNER, J. (2006), BEYOND MATERIALISM: MENTAL CAPACITY AND NATURALISM, A CONSIDERATION OF METHOD. Metaphilosophy, 37: 74–91. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9973.2006.00416.x
- Issue online: 21 DEC 2005
- Version of Record online: 21 DEC 2005
Abstract: This article challenges the neo-Darwinist physicalist position assumed by currently prevalent naturalizing accounts of consciousness. It suggests instead an evolutionary (Deweyan) understanding of cognitive emergence and an acceptance of mental capacity as a phenomenon in its own right, differing qualitatively from, although not independent of, the physical and material world. I argue that if we accept that consciousness is an adaptation enabling survival through immediate individual intuition of the world, we may accept this metaphysics as a given. Methodological focus can then shift to investigating the, as yet untheorized, nature of consciousness itself as capacity/interconnectivity/potential. The article accepts Joseph Margolis's recent advocacy of a pragmatist approach that is “natural but not naturalizable” (Margolis 2002, 7), that is, an anti-reductionist as opposed to an eliminativist position, but it seeks to develop this position further and to give it new direction.