Is Searle a Property Dualist?

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Filosofiska institutionen

Abstract: It has often been argued that John Searle’s theory of mind, biological naturalism, due to its commitment to mental irreducibility amounts to no more than disguised property dualism. I suggest that a thorough analysis of Searle’s somewhat unusual views on the nature of reduction reveals this irreducibility to be not a metaphysical relation between mental properties and physical but one concerned only with the semantics of the respective terms used to refer to these. As a result, I argue, irreducibility in his sense is insufficient to support a metaphysical conclusion like property dualism. Finally, to reinforce this point I give a concrete example of a potential physicalist view which is compatible with the analysis of irreducibility as semantic but not as metaphysical and hence on my reasoning remains open to Searle.

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