Axiomathes

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 41–51

Searle on the unity of the world

Original Paper
  • 123 Downloads

Abstract

According to mentalism some existing things are endowed with (subjectively) conscious minds. According to physicalism all existing things consist entirely of physical particles in fields of force. Searle holds that mentalism and physicalism are compatible and true—“the world is one”. The aim of this paper is to show that Searle fails to make the compatibility between mentalism and physicalism intelligible. The paper has three parts: first, I criticize drawing an analogy between solidity and consciousness as macro-features of systems with micro-features. Second, I argue that Searle’s defence of the ontological irreducibility of consciousness is terminologically confused and that his argument for the trivial nature of that irreducibility is unsuccessful. Third, I defend Nagel’s argument for the causal irreducibility of conscious minds by answering some of Searle’s objections to it.

Keywords

Physicalism/Naturalism Reduction Mind–Body problem Searle’s ontology 

References

  1. Chalmers DJ (1996) The conscious mind: in search of a fundamental theory. Oxford University Press, New York, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  2. Jackson F (1982) Epiphenomenal qualia. Philos Q 32:127–136 [Reference taken from Searle 1992]CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Kripke S (1972, 1980) Naming and necessity. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  4. Lepore E, Van Gulick R (eds) (1991) John Searle and his critics. Basil Blackwell, Cambridge, MA and OxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. Nagel T (1974) What is it like to be a bat? Philos Rev 4(LXXXIII): 435–450Google Scholar
  6. Fotion N (2000) John Searle. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  7. Sandis, C (Unpublished) Mind the gap: Searle on the freedom of the will. Paper read at the Conference The philosophy of John Searle, Amherst, NY, 05/12/2003Google Scholar
  8. Searle JR (1969) Speech acts: an essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  9. Searle JR (1983) Intentionality: an essay in the philosophy of mind. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  10. Searle JR (1984) Minds, brains and science. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  11. Searle JR (1992) The rediscovery of the mind. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  12. Searle JR (1995) The construction of social reality. Free Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  13. Searle JR (1997) Mystery of consciousness. New York Review Book, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  14. Searle JR (1998) Mind, language and society: philosophy in the real world. Basic Books, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  15. Searle JR (2001) Rationality in action. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  16. Searle JR (2002) Consciousness and language. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  17. Smith B (ed) (2003) John Searle. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  18. Willard D (Unpublished) Non-reductive and Non-eliminative Physicalism?Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information ScienceUniversitat des SaarlandesSaarbrückenGermany

Personalised recommendations