File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2001/bhaskar.0101, message 16

Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2001 15:17:11 +0000
Subject: BHA: SEPM

Hi all,

I had occasion to look up Bhaskar's first elaboration of his 'synchronic
emergent powers materialist' account of mind again the other day, and
noticed what I had not noticed before (or if I did, forgot) that Bhaskar
at that stage (1979) left the way open for idealism (The Possibility of
Naturalism, 124-5).

He says in PON there are two possibilities on his account:  1). that
'mind just is a complex or set of powers ... historically emergent from
and present only in association with (certain complex forms of) matter.'
2). that 'there is a substance, whose nature is at present unknown,
which is the bearer of those powers'. Here again there are two
possibilities: 2a) that the substance is material - suggested by
neurophysiological evidence;  2b) that it is immaterial - suggested by
paranormal phenomena. On 2a) SEPM 'reduces to a form of materialism,
which could be characterised as a stratified monism'. On 2b) it reduces
'to a species of dualistic interactionism.'

The scientific data, he said in 1979, is conflicting and does not
allow us to decide between these. 

In FEW (2000) he might seem to be committed to 2b) - as concretely
singularised spirit or godstuff the 'soul' constellationaly contains the
mind and enters and departs bodies (as a set of dispositions). But in
that case he would be committed to 'dualistic interactionism' whereas he
still speaks of 'stratified monism'. So perhaps he's still committed to
1), except that 'matter' is now at bottom 'spirit'....


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