Agostino. Confessioni by Margaret R. Miles

By Margaret R. Miles

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As noted earlier, the dualist emphasis on the correlation between the mental and physical is taken by Shoemaker and others as evidence of a materialist identity theory. 41 40 41 Davidson, Actions and Events, p. 231. Such an anomalous position amounts to claiming that each mental event is identical with some physical event, b u t that while laws of nature may be formulated governing all physical events, there are no laws that connect the mental with the physical. While the anomalous theory need not construe the identity of specific mental a n d physical events as vague, it m a y well d o so.

P. 10. The appeal to unity 45 THE APPEAL TO UNITY Churchland's thought experiment may seem even more odd than Dennett's, but the function of both and the appeal to the success of science is to pave the way for a unified theory of what exists. In the eyes of its critics, dualism produces a bifurcated, cloven picture of nature with no clear way to theoretically corral the mental and physical, whereas a materialism like Churchland's gives us a way of by-passing altogether the problem of how the mental interacts with the physical.

At this juncture, some idealists have claimed that there is an overriding conscious mind, God or the Absolute, in which the sense experiences unfold that constitute trees, oceans, and the entirety of material reality. To those schooled in some forms of philosophical Hinduism or of Buddhism, whether formally or through growing up in a culture in which either religion flourishes, idealism will not seem as odd as it does to the average " modern " westerner. To many, A. C. Ewing's Idealism: A Critical Survey is still a superb introduction to idealism (London: Methuen, 1933).

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