Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nature is a condition of mind, not the reverse

The Correlationism Debate Continues
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects

Those of us on the realist side have been charged with “misreading Kant” or “misinterpreting him”, but all we’ve done is take him at his word. For in order to account for times prior to life and especially humans, we have to posit a time belonging to things themselves. But this is explicitly forbidden by Kant’s position. Claims pertaining to things in themselves cannot but appear dogmatic to the Kantian. [...]

The issue is that according to the well supported theories of evolution and neurology, Nature is a, if not the, condition of mind, not the reverse. But the correlationist claims just the opposite: that mind is the condition of Nature, not the reverse. Nature, for the correlationist, is purely a phenomena such that the idea of phenomena giving rise to the conditions (mind) is not intelligible or consistent. If all of these distinctions are being flattened then this is because this flattening is what is required of by our best biological theories concerning the emergence of life and the human. This would be a prime example of a situation where our science requires a significant revision of how certain philosophical problems have been posed, but strangely, oddly, this gets ignored by a certain style of philosophy as if these discoveries make no difference and we can continue talking about the world blithely as if Darwin makes no difference as to how we conceive the nature of mind.

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