The mind/matter issue is centuries old, and is probably here to stay.
The philosophy of naturalism says that mind is not a distinct category of existence (ontology), but is rather some kind of emergent property or state of purely material elements. Â It actually proposes not that matter ‘makes’ or ‘gives way to’ mind, but that mind actually is nothing more than matter behaving in a certain way. Â It’s the classic naturalistic insistence that – at the end of the day – there is only one kind of substance/stuff, and it’s natural. Â All phenomena can be explained in terms of the most indivisible units of matter.
One of the most interesting corollaries of this view is that the view that if everything can be explained in terms of, say, atomic behaviour, then this would include the view of naturalism itself. Â Naturalism can be explained by atomic behaviour. Â After all, at the end of the day, there’s no ‘evidence’ that ideas or truths or values or logical contradictions are in any sense ‘real’; and it can all be explained in terms of atomic activity.
If true, then all views (whether ‘facts’, ‘opinions’, ‘hunches’ or just plain silliness) and all statements which express them…
- God is a meanie
- I am God
- The universe is all that there is
- You’re a kind person
- I hate orang-utans because they’re so darn smart
- Spiders make better webs than I can
- It’s mean to eat animals – coz they’ve got feelings too, ya know?
- Everything is meaningless
- We make our own meaning – yay for us!
- Naturalism is true
- Naturalism is self-refuting
- We are an evolved species
- Evolution is a jerk
…are all meaningless at bottom, and are the result of atomic collisions or some other material phenomena.
The funny thing is that not only is there not one shred of ‘evidence’ that naturalism is true (well certainly not ‘natural’ evidence, anyway!), but the sheer weight of reason, passion for truth, logic and the experience of thinking and relating gives us every reason to take it for nothing other than (at best) a bad joke or (at worst) an evil distortion of the truth.