Most of the great philosophical dualisms are based on the ancient Greek division into the "apparent" material world and Plato's "real" world of immaterial ideas. Note that the traditional dualisms have usually consisted of two different substances, including the most famous dualism of modern times, the Cartesian mind-body dualism . These dualisms have not normally been thought to be an explicit function of time, although the emergence of life from physics and chemistry was surely understood to happen when life first evolved from matter, and purpose entered the universe. Vitalism is the claim that a dualistic additional power, force, or substance is required for life to emerge from matter. Emergence does not require the emerging level to consist of a fundamentally different substance from the base level. The higher level might simply have properties or capabilities that are not under the "bottom up" control of the lower level. This is property dualism. The most important capability of an emergent level is its ability to exert downward causal control over some or all of the lower levels. Information philosophy and physics now can fill in the timeline of the first emergence of multiple higher levels in a hierarchy starting from the base physical level. In addition, it can show exactly how the information needed for higher levels is fundamentally lacking in the lower levels, often erased by indeterministic quantum processes there. Otherwise, the upper level is said to be reducible to the lower level. All the information needed for the upper level is said to be determined "bottom up" by processes and events in the lower level. All the causes of events in the upper level are traceable to lower level events. Reductionist physicalists like Jaegwon Kim argue for the causal closure of the world. Causal closure is the idea that everything that is caused to happen in the world is caused by (earlier) physical events in the world. This eliminates the possibility of a "non-reductive" physicalism, in which higher level emergence properties and capabilities are not reducible to purely physical causes. Closure under physical causes denies the emergence of levels, in particular a non-reducible mental level, capable of downward causation.
Mental Processes as Immaterial Information ProcessingCan information provide the basis for a different kind of mental substance? Abstract information is neither matter nor energy, yet it needs matter for its concrete embodiment and energy for its communication. Information is immaterial.
It is the modern spirit, the ghost in the machine. Immaterial information is perhaps as close as a physical or biological scientist can get to the idea of a soul or spirit that departs the body at death. When a living being dies, it is the maintenance of biological and mental information that ceases. The matter remains. Information philosophy proposes a mind-body dualism in which thoughts (pure information processing) in our minds have genuine causal power over the body. This is not a metaphysical mind. It is purely biological and entirely dependent on the brain, which is one of the multiple realizations of physical/material "hardware" that can implement the "software" of our ideas. For example, when one person teaches another some new technique, or transmits some purely intellectual knowledge, the other person is another physical realization, different hardware now running the same software. To make this case, we need to establish the following: