The neutrality of evolution for theories of consciousness

Document Type: 
ASSC Conference Item
Article Type: 
Theoretical
Disciplines: 
Philosophy
Topics: 
Theory of Consciousness
Keywords: 
consciousness, epiphenomenalism, evolution, qualia, William James
Deposited by: 
Professor William S. Robinson
Date of Issue: 
2006
Authors: 
0
Event Dates: 
23-26 June 2006
Event Location: 
Oxford, UK
Event Title: 
10th annual meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness
Event Type: 
ASSC Conference
Presentation Type: 
Poster
Refereed: 
No
Number of Pages: 
5
Abstract: 
This poster considers the relation between biological evolution and three theories of conscious, qualitative events: Epiphenomenalism, interactionism, and physicalism. It is sometimes supposed that evolutionists must be physicalists. This poster argues, in contrast, that while each of the three theories can be made compatible with evolution, this compatability can be achieved only by adding an assumption to evolutionary considerations (a different assumption for each case). It further argues that, for each of these additional assumptions, (1) the theory that needs it cannot explain it, and (2) it cannot be supported by any evidence drawn from evolutionary biology. Evolutionary considerations are thus neutral with respect to the choice among the three theories.
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