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Forum Philosophicum

Volume 16, Issue 2, Autumn 2011

Zbigniew Jan Marczuk
Pages 1-15
DOI: 10.5840/forphil20111621

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.

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