"The Possibility of Materialism"

Is a materialist account of conscious experience even possible? David Chalmers famously answered ‘No’, setting out an argument based upon a distinction between the ‘easy’ problems of explaining our mental processes and the ‘hard problem’ of accounting for experience itself.

I've been working on a critique of that argument for a number of years. It has altered rather dramatically along the way, but I’m glad to say that it has now reached its final version. It’s a longish paper, so I’ve also put together a short précis and a slide presentation. And if you want it really short, I’ve distilled the key points down to 500 words.

Humberto Maturana once wrote that the sign that you have succeeded in explaining something is not that you have an argument which compels an opponent to agree, but that you stop asking the same question over and over again. After spending so many years attempting to get to grips with Chalmers’ argument against materialism, I feel that I have at last reached that point …

Possibility-of-Materialism.pdfPoM-Precis.pdfPoM-slides.pdf

Comments welcome: you can contact me at mike@holli.co.uk. My home page can be found here.


Mike Holliday : 3 June 2016