Posted: Apr 16, 2013 9:00 pm
by Teuton
Chrisw wrote:Physical laws are the unifying principle that constitutes naturalism.

According to Chalmers' naturalistic (property) dualism, there are additional psychophysical laws which are not implied by and thus not deducible from the purely physical laws.

"This position qualifies as a variety of dualism, as it postulates basic properties over and above the properties invoked by physics. But it is an innocent version of dualism, entirely compatible with the scientific view of the world. Nothing in this approach contradicts anything in physical theory; we simply need to add further bridging principles to explain how experience arises from physical processes. There is nothing particularly spiritual or mystical about this theory—its overall shape is like that of a physical theory, with a few fundamental entities connected by fundamental laws. It expands the ontology slightly, to be sure, but Maxwell did the same thing. Indeed, the overall structure of this position is entirely naturalistic, allowing that ultimately the Universe comes down to a network of basic entities obeying simple laws, and allowing that there may ultimately be a theory of consciousness cast in terms of such laws. If the position is to have a name, a good choice might be naturalistic dualism."

(Chalmers, David. "Naturalistic Dualism." In The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness, edited by Max Velmans and Susan Schneider, 359-368. Oxford: Blackwell, 2007. p. 360)

"The arguments do not lead us to a dualism such as that of Descartes, with a separate realm of mental substance that exerts its own influence on physical processes. The best evidence of contemporary science tells us that the physical world is more or less physically closed: for every physical event, there is a physical sufficient cause. If so, there is no room for a mental 'ghost in the machine' to do any extra causal work. ...
The dualism implied here is instead a kind of property dualism: conscious experience involves properties of an individual that are not entailed by the physical properties of that individual, although they may depend lawfully on those properties. Consciousness is a feature of the world over and above the physical features of the world. This is not to say it is a separate 'substance'; the issue of what it would take to constitute a dualism of substances seems quite unclear to me. All we know is that there are properties of individuals in this world—the phenomenal properties—that are ontologically independent of physical properties. ...
Where we have new fundamental properties, we also have new fundamental laws. Here the fundamental laws will be psychophysical laws, specifying how phenomenal (or protophenomenal) properties depend on physical properties. These laws will not interfere with physical laws; physical laws already form a closed system. Instead, they will be supervenience laws, telling us how experience arises from physical processes. We have seen that the dependence of experience on the physical cannot be derived from physical laws, so any final theory must include laws of this variety.
Of course, at this stage we have very little idea what the relevant fundamental theory will look like, or what the fundamental psychophysical laws will be. But we have reason to believe that such a theory exists. There is good reason to believe that there is a lawful relationship between physical properties and conscious experience, and any lawful relationship must be supported by fundamental laws. The case of physics tells us that fundamental laws are typically simple and elegant; we should expect the same of the fundamental laws in a theory of consciousness. Once we have a fundamental theory of consciousness to accompany a fundamental theory in physics, we may truly have a theory of everything. Given the basic physical and psychophysical laws, and given the distribution of the fundamental properties, we can expect that all facts about the world will follow. Developing such a theory will not be straightforward, but it ought to be possible in principle. …
This view is entirely compatible with a contemporary scientific worldview, and is entirely naturalistic. On this view, the world still consists in a network of fundamental properties related by basic laws, and everything is to be ultimately explained in these terms. All that has happened is that the inventory of properties and laws has been expanded, as happened with Maxwell. Further, nothing about this view contradicts anything in physical theory; rather, it supplements this theory. A physical theory gives a theory of physical processes, and a psychophysical theory tells us how those processes give rise to experience.
To capture the spirit of the view I advocate, I call it naturalistic dualism. It is naturalistic because it posits that everything is a consequence of a network of basic properties and laws, and because it is compatible with all the results of contemporary science. And as with naturalistic theories in other domains, this view allows that we can explain consciousness in terms of basic natural laws. There need be nothing especially transcendental about consciousness; it is just another natural phenomenon. All that has happened is that our picture of nature has expanded. Sometimes 'naturalism' is taken to be synonymous with 'materialism', but it seems to me that a commitment to a naturalistic understanding of the world can survive the failure of materialism. …Some might find a certain irony in the name of the view, but what is most important is that it conveys the central message: to embrace dualism is not necessarily to embrace mystery."

(Chalmers, David J. The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. pp. 124-25 + 127-28)