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From the Knowledge Argument to Mental Substance
Resurrecting the Mind

  • Date Published: February 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107087262

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  • This book presents a strong case for substance dualism and offers a comprehensive defense of the knowledge argument, showing that materialism cannot accommodate or explain the 'hard problem' of consciousness. Bringing together the discussion of reductionism and semantic vagueness in an original and illuminating way, Howard Robinson argues that non-fundamental levels of ontology are best treated by a conceptualist account, rather than a realist one. In addition to discussing the standard versions of physicalism, he examines physicalist theories such as those of McDowell and Price, and accounts of neutral monism and panpsychism from Strawson, McGinn and Stoljar. He also explores previously unnoticed historical parallels between Frege and Aristotle, and between Hume and Plotinus. His book will be a valuable resource for scholars and advanced students of philosophy of mind, in particular those looking at consciousness, dualism, and the mind-body problem.

    • Provides a comprehensive defense of the knowledge argument
    • Argues that physicalists have no response to the hard problem of consciousness
    • Offers an original defense of conceptualism for the non-basic
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'From the Knowledge Argument to Mental Substance is an extremely ambitious and original book, crystallizing several decades of Howard Robinson's work in the philosophy of mind … In a field that is sometimes concerned with relatively small details of technical arguments, Robinson's highly ambitious and very novel approach is refreshingly different.' The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107087262
    • length: 286 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Power of the Knowledge Argument:
    1. Introducing the knowledge argument
    2. Dennett's denial of Mary's ignorance
    3. The abilities hypothesis and other functionalist strategies
    4. Why Frank should not have jilted Mary: the inadequacy of representationalism as a strategy against KA
    5. The phenomenal concept strategy: more enigma than argument
    6. Davidson, non-reductive physicalism and naturalism without physicalism
    7. Mysterianism, neutral monism and panpsychism
    8. Conclusion: the real power of the knowledge argument – qualia, qualities and our conception of the physical world
    Part II. Why Physicalism Entails Epiphenomenalism:
    9. Reductionism and the status of the special sciences
    10. Vagueness, realism, language and thought
    11. Composite objects, the special sciences, conceptualism and realism
    12. Why there are (probably) no physical individuals
    13. Dennett and the human perspective
    Part III. Arguments for Mental Substance:
    14. Some current arguments for substance dualism
    15. An argument for the existence of mental substance
    16. Plotinus, Locke and Hume on the unity of individual substances
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Howard Robinson, Central European University, Budapest
    Howard Robinson is University Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Central European University, Budapest, Senior Fellow at the Rutgers Center for Philosophy of Religion, New Brunswick, and a Visiting Scholar at Fordham University, New York. He is the author of Matter and Sense: A Critique of Contemporary Materialism (Cambridge, 1982) and Perception (1994).

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