Consciousness and the Insignificance of Materialism

Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick (2001)

Max Emil Deutsch
University of Hong Kong
Materialism about the mind is the view that the mind and its properties are physical. Many believe that there is a serious problem for materialism about the mind stemming from the phenomenon of conscious experience. It is alleged by some that conscious experiences possess features that cannot be possessed by any physical thing. And, even many materialists agree that conscious experiences possess features that make it difficult to see how conscious experiences could be physical things. Consciousness and the Insignificance of Materialism examines this supposed clash between consciousness and physicality. The conclusion reached is that the clash is an illusion. It is an illusion fostered by certain false assumptions, made by materialists and anti-materialists alike, about the nature of physicality. However, it is argued that this is a hollow victory for materialism about the mind. Once the nature of physicality is appropriately characterized, materialism about the mind is revealed as true, but uninterestingly true. In other words, materialism about the mind is an insignificant view concerning the nature of the mind and mentality
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