, Volume 105, Issue 3, pp 281-307

The Self-Consciousness Argument: Why Tooley's Criticisms Fail

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Abstract

Ontological functionalism's defining tenet is that mental properties canbe defined wholly in terms of the general pattern of interaction ofontologically prior realizations. Ideological (or nonreductive)functionalism's defining tenet is that mental properties can only bedefined nonreductively, in terms of the general pattern of theirinteraction with one another. My Self-consciousness Argumentestablishes: (1) ontological functionalism is mistaken because itsproposed definitions wrongly admit realizations (vs. mentalproperties) into the contents of self-consciousness; (2)ideological (nonreductive) functionalism is the only viable alternativefor functionalists. Michael Tooley's critique misses the target:he offers no criticism of (1) – except for an incidental, andincorrect, attack on certain self-intimation principles – and,since he himself proposes a certain form of nonreductive definition, hetacitly accepts (2). Finally, as with all other nonreductivedefinitions, Tooley's proposal can be shown to undermine functionalism'sultimate goal: its celebrated materialist solution to theMind-Body Problem. The explanation of these points will require adiscussion of: Frege-Russell disagreements regarding intensionalcontexts; the relationship between self-consciousness and thetraditional doctrine of acquaintance; the role of self-intimationprinciples in functionalist psychology; and the Kripke-Lewiscontroversy over the nature of theoretical terms.