mdsimpson92 wrote:Which is why I prefer something closer to dual aspect theory.
One interesting consequence of dual aspect theory is that we would expect any mental description to have a corresponding physical description, which matches up well to the findings of neuroscience.
However it also seems to predict that any physical description would have a corresponding mental description, which is such a bad fit for our overall observations of the world that we find it jarring.
The inherent problem with that is describing what the hell the substance is anyways.
I'd love to read a philosophically informed overview of the concept of substance throughout history. I hope someone's written it.(*) I have a sneaking suspicion that the best we can do with substance - which is itself our phenomenal apprehension and description, not the thing in itself - is to describe how we see it behaving.
On a positive note, both neutral and dual-aspect monism plays better into proto-panpsychism, which has fairly interesting issues by itself. Though as I mentioned before with a different article, physicalism practically requires panpsychism for it to work in describing the mental.
I thought so at one time but I think I'm reverting to eliminative physicalism (I hate the term materialism, it's a misnomer that encourages wrong ideas).
Think of it this way: you won't understand an economy by physically describing a stock exchange building and the people's bodies and desks in it, but we don't think there's "economic substance" that functions as a medium for the economy distinct from physical substance, or as an inherent aspect of a neutral substance that has both physical and economic qualities.
This still leaves us with the problem of qualia - the hard problem of consciousness - but I don't see that positing mental substance or neutral substance with mental properties does anything more than kick the problem down the road. You're saying, this "stuff" has innate mental properties and we're not sure how. You're treating it as a black box, still not actually explaining it. And you're not just admitting but insisting that it's inexplicable in principle.
This is, in my mind, worse and not better than temporarily
treating brain process as a black box in which conscious awareness somehow arises in what way we're not sure how - reverting to talk of substance here reminds me of the way we once thought in terms of fire and water as elements, as things with fiery and watery qualities in and of themselves, rather than digging beneath and finding out why fire and water behave as they do. I don't see the harm in saying that we simply don't fully understand consciousness in the way that we once didn't fully understand fire and water. Why rush to cobble up easy "phew, we can stop thinking about it now" answers through talk about "substance"?
(* I guess this
is a start. Good old Snodfart!)