The absurdity of mind as machine

History dissolves the mind-body problem

Our inability to explain consciousness and intentionality is an entirely modern problem. Before the modern epoch, very few would have thought it sensible to ask whether it was the soul or the organism to which mental acts belonged, argues David Bentley Hart. Since every attempt to fit mental phenomena into a physicalist narrative must prove a failure, we should consider revising our governing physicalist paradigm.


Despite rumors to the contrary, there is no such thing as an empirical science of consciousness. Nor could there be. There are, of course, cognitive sciences, and our knowledge of the correlations between certain mental states and certain brain states is advancing at a fairly persistent pace. But correlation is not causation; and here the two sides of the correlation are so qualitatively unlike one another that all that empirical investigation can tell us is that minds and bodies are not functionally separable in our normal experience (which, frankl

Continue reading

Enjoy unlimited access to the world's leading thinkers.

Start by exploring our subscription options or joining our mailing list today.

Start Free Trial

Already a subscriber? Log in

Join the conversation