Volume 16, Issue 2, Autumn 2011
Zbigniew Jan Marczuk
Dennett’s Account of Mind versus Kim’s Supervenience Argument
This paper challenges Daniel Dennett’s attempt to reconcile the performance of mind and brain within a physicalist framework with Jaegwon Kim’s argument that a coherent physicalist framework entails the epiphenomenalism of mental events. Dennett offers a materialist explanation of consciousness and argues
that his model of mind does not imply reductive physicalism. I argue that Dennett’s explanation of mind clashes with Jaegwon Kim’s mind-body supervenience
argument. Kim contends that non-reductive physicalism either voids the causal powers of mental properties, or it violates physicalist framework. I conclude
that Dennett’s account of mind does not escape or overcome Kim’s mind/body supervenience problem. If Kim’s argument does not prove Dennett’s explanation
of mind to be either a form of reductive materialism, or a logically inconsistent view, it is due to the ambiguity of concepts involved in Dennett’s theory.