The double challenge to naturalistic conceptions of the mind
The so-called explanatory gap between the physical and the mental, i.e., the claim that we have no satisfactory explanation of how or why a given physical or organic process generates or corresponds to a given experience or phenomenal feeling, has prompted still ongoing discussions. A number of naturalistic programs are in course trying to bridge that gap both conceptually and experimentally, in what seems a hopeless attempt to others. In particular, due to its fuzziness, the recourse to the concept of emergence has not been able to conceptually close the gap. However, while most philosophers acknowledge its existence, very few draw ontological conclusions from it. Now, two very different mental states are usually conflated in the debate: phenomenal experience – including perception, emotions, and feelings – which reveals an unavoidable subjective character, and mental acts that attain objective truth. Naturalistic explanations of mind face thus the further challenge of accounting for the existence of timeless principles and propositions. This strongly Platonic argument was one of the main arguments put forward against psychologism by the phenomenological school founded by Edmund Husserl since its beginnings. It has also been recently brought to light by Thomas Nagel, who despite supporting naturalism, acknowledges that naturalistic accounts of the mind need to widen their conceptual tools if they are to explain the whole of reality.
Franck, J. F. (2019)., The double challenge to naturalistic conceptions of the mind, in H. L. . Mesones arroyo (ed.), Psychiatry and neuroscience update, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 65-71.
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