Abstract Details

Juxtaposing David Bohm's 'New Theory of the Relationship of Mind and Matter' and Russelian Monism In Order to Make Progress on the Problem of 'Direct Phenomenal Concepts'  Nikolaus Von Stillfried (Phenoscience Laboratories, Braunschweig, Germany)   C1

In a relatively little discussed article David Bohm proposed that '(...) even an electron has at least a rudimentary mental pole, represented mathematically by the quantum potential.' [1, 2]. My talk will sketch a number of interesting and potentially fruitful trajectories of thought which result when this essentially identity-theoretical proposal is reappraised from the point of view of the dual-aspect conceptualization embodied by Russelian Monism, and vice versa. I will in particular focus on the novel perspectives this investigation may offer toward the problem of 'direct phenomenal concepts' (see e.g. [3] p. 251). The challenge here is how to explain how something purely phenomenal can be lawfully associated with a certain physical structure. For example, why does the physical (e.g. verbal) expression of my introspectively formed belief 'I am conscious' actually correlate with the existence of consciousness as a referent of introspection? This question has hitherto only been unsatisfactorily addressed in the context of Russelian Monism, because one does not seem to be able to successfully escape the Charybdis of interactionism violating the causal closure of the physical world without coming fatally close to the Scylla of having to accept an implausibly unlikely epiphenomenal coincidence and vice versa. Against the backdrop of the existing explanatory strategies for the correlation between wave-function structure and positions and momenta of particles in Bohmian pilot wave theory on the one hand, and the ontologically decisive substance-property relation proposed by Russelian Monism on the other, a 'third way' may, however, be emerging. For this to be a path that can be travelled on would require, however, that the wave-aspect of quanta can be understood as their substance and the particle-aspect of quanta as a purely relational property. Various arguments pro and contra this view will be presented. References: 1. Bohm, D.J., A New Theory of the Relationship of Mind and Matter. Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1986. 80(2): p. 113-135. 2. Bohm, D.J., A new theory of the relationship of mind and matter. Philosophical Psychology, 1990. 3(2/3): p. 271-286. 3. Chalmers, D.J., The Character of Consciousness. 2010, New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.