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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
Isaiah Berlin
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
C. Lloyd Morgan
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Samuel Alexander

Samuel Alexander was one of the "British Emergentists," so-named by Brian McLaughlin.

Other emergentists include John Stuart Mill, George Henry Lewes, C. Lloyd Morgan,
and C. D. Broad.

In his 1920 book Space, Time, and Deity Samuel Alexander initially cited Lloyd Morgan as the source of emergentism, but Lloyd Morgan reminded Alexander about Lewes' 1875 work.

Alexander wrote:

much of what I have to say has been already said by Mr. Lloyd Morgan in the concluding chapter of his work on Instinct and Experience. The argument is that mind has certain specific characters to which there is or even can be no neural counterpart. It is not enough to say that there is no mechanical counterpart, for the neural structure is not mechanical but physiological and has life. Mind is, according to our interpretation of the facts, an 'emergent' from life, and life an emergent from a lower physico-chemical level of existence. It may well be that, as some think, life itself implies some independent entity and is indeed only mind in a lower form. But this is a different question, which does not concern us yet. If life is mind, and is a non-physical entity, arguments derived from the conscious features of mind are at best only corroborative, and it is an inconvenience in these discussions that the two sets of arguments are sometimes combined. Accordingly. I may neglect such considerations as the selectiveness of mind which it shares with all vital structures.
Alexander describes the process of emergence:
The facts can best be descibed as follows. New orders of finites come into existence in Time; the world actualy or historically develops from its first or elementary condition of Space-Time, which possesses no quality except what we agreed to call the spatio-temporal quality of motion. But as in the course of Time new complexity of motions come into existence, a new quality emerges, that is, a new complex possesses as a matter of observed empirical fact a new or emergent quality. The case which we are using as a clue is the emergence of the quality of consciousness from a lower level of complexity which is vital. The emergence of a new quality from any level of existence means that at that level there comes into being a certain constellation or collocation of the motions belonging to that level, and this collocation possesses a new quality distinctive of the higher complex...
Alexander says life and mind both belong to "vital" levels.
...just as mind is a new quality distinct from life, with its own peculiar methods of behaviour, for the reason already made clear that the complex collocation which has mind, though itself vital, is determined by the order of its vital complexity, and is therefore not merely vital but also vital...
Alexander gives examples of the three hierarchical levels, one purely material or physical, one biological or "vital," and one with quality of mind and consciousness.
Material things have certain motions of their own which carry the quality of materials. In the presence of light they are endowed with the secondary quality of colour. Physical and chemical processes of a certain complexity have the quality of life. The new quality life emerges with this constellation of such processes, and therefore life is at once a physico-chemical complex and is not merely physical and chemical, for these terms do not sufficiently characterise the new complex which in the course and order of time has been generated out of them. Such is the account to be given of the meaning of quality as such. The higher quality emerges from the lower level of existence and has its roots therein, but it emerges therefrom, and it does not belong to that lower level, but constitutes its possessor a new order of existent with its special laws of behaviour. The existence of emergent qualities thus described is something to be noted, as some would say, under the compulsion of brute empirical fact...

Roughly speaking, the different levels of existence which are more obviously distinguishable are motions, matter as physical (or mechanical), matter with secondary qualities, mind, life.

On Meaning
'Meaning,' it is said, has no neural counterpart, but the use of meaning is the very life-blood of mind. Now it is important here to distinguish two senses of meaning, because the argument for animism has been used by different writers in the two senses. I may mean in the first place an object, as when I point with my finger to a person and say, I mean you. Meaning here signifies reference to an object, and in this sense every conscious process means or refers to an object other than the mental process itself. All mental action implies the relation of a subject to an object; and it makes no difference whether the object is a perceived one present to the senses; or an ideal one like a purpose consciously entertained, such as going to London as entertained in idea or in thought; or even an imaginary object such as √(— 1). What neural (or as it is sometimes irrelevantly asked what mechanical) equivalent can there be for this unique relation? This sense of meaning corresponds to what the logicians call the meaning of a word in extension. On the other hand, meaning may signify what the logician calls intension; a word is used with a meaning; a flower may mean for me a person who is fond of it; " there's pansies, that's for thoughts"; and in general our minds may have a sensory object before them, but what we mean by it is a thought which has no sensory embodiment. In the words, "when I say religion, I mean the religion of the Church of England as by law established," these two senses of the word meaning seem to be combined, but on the whole it is mainly in the second sense that the word is used.

Now meaning in extension raises a quite different problem from meaning in intension; and that problem is not the question of the relation of mind to its alleged neural basis. It is the question whether the relation of the conscious subject to an object which transcends it is unique, or whether it is not, as I shall maintain, found wherever two finites are compresent with each other. It is the problem of what is involved in the knowledge of what is not-mental. To be conscious of an object, to mean it, or to refer to it, may turn out in the end to be nothing but the fact that, to take a particular case, a table excites in my mind a conscious process of perceiving it. Accordingly in this sense of meaning, meaning does not belong here but to a later stage of our inquiry. Nor do I think that it would have seemed relevant were not the neural structure taken as alleged to be mechanical. For if it is a vital structure there is surely nothing very far-fetched in thinking that the stomata of leaves mean something beyond themselves, the air, to which they are adapted. I may then neglect meaning in the extensive sense for the present.

The other sense of meaning is undoubtedly relevant, and it offers real difficulty. For meaning is a conscious condition of mind. When I use a word, the meaning is in my mind (and of course besides this refers to something not in my mind). What then is meaning ? Any part of a complex whole means for me the rest of the complex. A word, for instance, has been intimately connected with the characters of the things it names, and it means those characters. That is what it is to use a word with a meaning. My perception of the word means my thought of what the word stands for. The sight of the orange means for me the feel of it; the sight of the marble means its coldness. The knight on the chess-board means the moves which I may make with that piece. The symbol √(— 1) means its mathematical interpretation. Now what is there in meaning so described which prevents us from believing that the conscious meaning corresponds to or, as I should say, is identical with a certain neural process? Doubtless if we imagine that our mind is made up of sensations connected together by mere indifferent lines of association, the solution is impossible. But if mental life is mental processes arranged in various complicated patterns, why should not a word set going in my brain, and also in my mind, that pattern of process which we call the meaning? I have answered the question in Anticipation when I pointed to the existence of imageless thought, customs of mind which may also be customs in the neural structure, not mere neural statical dispositions, but those neural exercises of a habit which are identical with the consciousness of a thought without its necessary embodiment in sense. When the exercise of the habit is more specific and detailed we may have the meaning turn into an illustration or concrete embodiment of the meaning, as when the word horse not only makes me think of horse but of the particular foal whose affection I attach to myself in the country by the offer of sugar. And when the marble looks cold the very essence of the condition of my mind is that the sight process is qualified by the ideal touch process, and the transition from the one to the other is in my mind. Even bare association of the orange with Sicily is more than the fact that I think of Sicily when I see an orange. Orange and Sicily no woven into a complex, of comparatively loose texture indeed as compared with the relation of cold to white in the marble, but still a texture in which the transition from the orange to Sicily is felt as a transition, and not as a mere juxtaposition. When I use a word like 'government,' a whole complicated neuro-psychical pattern is set going in my mind and brain, which is transitive and elusive, but none the less conscious, and only called transitive because it is wanting in definite detail. I may go on to fill out this transitive outline with the pictures of the coalition ministry. But it is still the elusive complex which stands out as the main occupation of my mind. The figures of the ministers are the fringes of it, not it the fringe of them. Thus mental connections to which correspond neural connections are as much conscious as what they connect, and meaning remains a unitary whole, while it still possesses its neural counterpart.

If meaning is thus neural as well as mental, it follows that a very slight change in an object, or stimulus, may produce an overwhelming difference in the mental response if that change is charged with meaning. The famous telegram argument for animism loses therefore all its force. A telegram 'our son is dead' may find the recipient sympathetic but calm. Alter the word 'our' to 'your,' a trifling change in the stimulus, and the recipient may be overcome with grief. On the other hand, change all the words into French, a large change in the stimulus, and the effect on the recipient is the same as when the telegram was in English. The facts present no difficulty in view of the constitution of the recipient's mind. The little change of a letter makes an enormous change in the meaning of the telegram. But the words mean the same in French as in English. No conclusion in favour of a mind independent of the neural process can be drawn unless we are prepared to say that a spark should physically produce the same effect when it falls on a sheet of iron as when it falls upon a mass of gunpowder, or that a red ball will not cause the same bruise when it hits my body as if it were painted white.

For Teachers
For Scholars
Notes

1.

Bibliography

Chapter 1.4 - The Philosophy Chapter 1.6 - The Scientists
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