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October 19, 2005



Liked the song 'Two Sides'. I think you (Chalmers) are one of the most erudite philosophers of mind out there. Your paper:

looks like a kind of virtuoso display of philosophical prowess, though unfortunately I do not yet have the philosophy knowledge to fully understand it ;) Inspirational though. I do agree with your basic anti-materialist philosophical conclusion.

I did recently read and enjoy your paper on the basic philosophical positions one can take:

The trouble with giving lists of possible positions in philosophy of course, is that the truth may be a possibility no one ever thought of ;) But I did agree with you that the answer is probably one of the non-materialist possibilities. I tend to lean towards something similar to Type-E Dualism myself. I think that's probably closest to the truth. Type-D Dualism sounds too much like a modern throw-back to substance dualism (doesn't really explain anything, simply pushes the mystery elsewhere). Type-F Monism, whilst superficially very seductive and appealing at first, seems too simplistic upon closer inspection (only two aspects to ultimate reality which tie fairly old philosophical categories neatly together - sorry, don't buy it).

What I feel is missing from the metaphysical picture so far is the nature of mathematics. People have been concentrating on the relationship between phenomenal and physical properties, but what is the relationship between mathematics and these other properties? Where do mathematical entities fit into the picture? Mathematical properties seem to have a strange sort of non-physical existence every bit as mysterious phenomenal properties. Yet I don't see explanations of mathematical properties in any of these theories.

I like something similar to Type E-Dualism for the phenomenal/physical relationship, but with a more sophisticated kind of monism at a deeper level (perhaps something vaguely like Type-F monism but involving mathematical entities rather than physical ones). Having Type-E Dualism for the phenomenal/physical relationship but deploying monism at a deeper level by bringing in other metaphysical properties (like mathematical entities) can make the Type-E position more appealing, because the deeper level can be used to explain how the mental and physical worlds tie together (something the plain vanilla type-E Dualism on its own has trouble with).


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