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Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False
| Thinking hard|
or hardly thinking?
|Major trains of thought|
|The good, the bad|
and the brain fart
|Come to think of it|
Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False is a book with a stupidly long title written by American philosopher Thomas Nagel. The book was published in September 2012.
Nagel proposes that the modern materialist approach to life fails to explain consciousness. Nagel's argument takes the form of a modus tollens. He claims that if neo-Darwinian materialism is true, then psychophysical reductionism must be true. Psycophysical reductionism, Nagel argues, is false. Therefore, neo-Darwinian materialism can't be correct. From this he argues that mental activity is a fundamental feature of biological systems that has developed through evolution and the materialistic "Darwinian" version of evolution through natural selection fails to explain it. It is, of course, a gigantic God of the gaps argument. It's also somewhat untrue: the development of consciousness can be explained quite well by evolution through natural selection. One might postulate that linked biological systems function more effectively and are hence selected for, and that "consciousness" is the product of a very complex web of systems. Explanations like this one have yet to go through the rigors of the scientific method and be proven (or disproved) in experiments, but they show that the gap in Nagel's God of the Gaps argument is not so big, after all.