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Forum Philosophicum

Volume 18, Issue 1, Spring 2013

Igor Gasparov
Pages 109-123

Substance Dualism and the Unity of Consciousness

In this paper I would like to defend three interconnected claims. The first stems from the fact that the definition of substance dualism recently proposed by Dean Zimmerman needs some essential adjustments in order to capture the genuine spirit of the doctrine. In this paper I will formulate the conditions for genuine substance dualism, as distinct from quasi-dualisms, and provide a definition for genuine substance dualism that I consider more appropriate than Zimmerman’s. The second is that none of the currently proposed forms of substance dualism are able to provide a satisfactory account of conscious subjectivity. To support this claim I present two arguments, the first against Cartesian Dualism, the other against Emergent Dualism. The third, I believe, derives from the two just mentioned: if the dualistic arguments against the ability of physicalist theories to provide a sound account of the unity of the subject of consciousness are persuasive enough, then, in order to acquire a more adequate account of the unity of the conscious subject, we will have to look more closely at such forms of quasi-dualism as spiritualism or a broadly Aristotelian view of human persons.

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