Volume 20, Issue 1, 2018
Symposium on Dualism and Physicalism
J. P. Moreland
The Fundamental Limitations of Cognitive Neuroscience for Stating and Solving the Ubiquitous Metaphysical Issues in Philosophy of Mind
According to Nancey Murphy, advances in science have made substance dualism a position with very little justification. However, contra Murphy’s claims, I defend the following thesis: When the central issues in philosophy of mind are made clear, it becomes evident that cognitive neuroscience which is rooted in the empirical data offers very little help, if at all, for selecting, clarifying and arguing about the central metaphysical issues, especially questions about the existence and nature of consciousness and the soul. Thus, the Autonomy Thesis seems warranted in philosophy of mind. To defend this thesis, I, first, show that the central metaphysical issues in philosophy of mind are largely autonomous with respect to neuroscientific discoveries; second, respond to claims made by Murphy that, if true, would undermine my thesis.