Faith and Philosophy

Volume 15, Issue 1, January 1998

J. P. Moreland
Pages 68-91

Searle’s Biological Naturalism and the Argument from Consciousness

In recent years, Robert Adams and Richard Swinburne have developed an argument for God’s existence from the reality of mental phenomena. Call this the argument from consciousness (AC). My purpose is to develop and defend AC and to use it as a rival paradigm to critique John Searle’s biological naturalism. The article is developed in three steps. First, two issues relevant to the epistemic task of adjudicating between rival scientific paradigms (basicality and naturalness) are clarified and illustrated. Second, I present a general version of AC and identify the premises most likely to come under attack by philosophical naturalists. Third, I use the insights gained in steps one and two to criticize Searle’s claim that he has developed an adequate naturalistic theory of the emergence of mental entities. I conclude that AC is superior to Searle’s biological naturalism.