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Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem download ebook

by David Ray Griffin

Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem download ebook
ISBN:
0520209443
ISBN13:
978-0520209442
Author:
David Ray Griffin
Publisher:
University of California Press; 1 edition (February 10, 1998)
Language:
Pages:
264 pages
ePUB:
1560 kb
Fb2:
1479 kb
Other formats:
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Category:
Humanities
Subcategory:
Rating:
4.1

In this book, David Ray Griffin tackles the mind-body problem - a problem that neither materialism nor dualism has hitherto been able to fully resolve. I thought "Unsnarling the World-Knot" was a very good read (I have read many books by Griffin and he is always good).

In this book, David Ray Griffin tackles the mind-body problem - a problem that neither materialism nor dualism has hitherto been able to fully resolve. He then proceeds to outline his "regulative principles" and then differentiates between "soft-core commonsense" and "hard-core commonsense. That being said, I do feel that the book had several short-comings

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Unsnarling the World-knot book. David Ray Griffin develops a third form of realism, one that resolves the basic problem (common to dualism and materialism) of the continued acceptance of the Cartesian view of matter. In dialogue with various philosophers, including Dennett, Kim, McGinn, Nagel, Seager, Searle, and Strawson, Griffin shows that materialist physicalism is even more problematic than dualism.

The mind-body problem, which Schopenhauer called the 'world-knot', has been a central problem for philosophy since the time of Descartes. Among realists - those who accept the reality of the physical world - the two dominant approaches have been dualism and materialism, but there is a growing consensus that, if we are ever to understand how mind and body are related, a radically new approach is required.

The mind-body problem, which Schopenhauer called the "world-knot," has been a central problem for philosophy since the time of Descartes

The mind-body problem, which Schopenhauer called the "world-knot," has been a central problem for philosophy since the time of Descartes. Among realists-those who accept the reality of the physical world-the two dominant approaches have been dualism and materialism, but there is a growing consensus that, if we are ever to understand how mind and body are related, a radically new approach is required.

The mind-body problem, which Schopenhauer called the world-knot, has been a central problem for philosophy since the time of. .Unsnarling the World-Knot : Consciousness, Freedom and the Mind-Body Problem. by David Ray Griffin.

Unsnarling the World-Knot : Consciousness, Freedom and the Mind-Body Problem.

David Ray Griffin is Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University. Among his many books are Religion and Scientific Naturalism: Overcoming the Conflicts; Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem; and Evil Revisited: Responses and Reconsiderations.

David Ray Griffin,Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1998, 266 pages + xvGoogle Scholar. Kisor Kumar Chakrabarti,Classical Indian Philosophy of Mind: The Nyāya Dualist Tradition Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999Google Scholar.

Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1998. University of Manchester. Full text views reflects the number of PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views. Abstract views reflect the number of visits to the article landing page.

The mind-body problem, which Schopenhauer called the "world-knot," has been a central problem for philosophy since the time of Descartes. Among realists—those who accept the reality of the physical world—the two dominant approaches have been dualism and materialism, but there is a growing consensus that, if we are ever to understand how mind and body are related, a radically new approach is required.David Ray Griffin develops a third form of realism, one that resolves the basic problem (common to dualism and materialism) of the continued acceptance of the Cartesian view of matter. In dialogue with various philosophers, including Dennett, Kim, McGinn, Nagel, Seager, Searle, and Strawson, Griffin shows that materialist physicalism is even more problematic than dualism. He proposes instead a pan-experientialist physicalism grounded in the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Answering those who have rejected "pan-psychism" as obviously absurd, Griffin argues compellingly that pan-experientialism, by taking experience and spontaneity as fully natural, can finally provide a naturalistic account of the emergence of consciousness—an account that also does justice to the freedom that we all presuppose in practice.
Reviews:
  • Rainshaper
In this book, David Ray Griffin tackles the mind-body problem - a problem that neither materialism nor dualism has hitherto been able to fully resolve. In order to accomplish this task, he first defines the problem and what he calls "wishful-and-fearful thinking." He then proceeds to outline his "regulative principles" and then differentiates between "soft-core commonsense" and "hard-core commonsense." Hard-core commonsense are those commonsense notions that we must inevitably presuppose in practice even if we deny them in theory ("free will" being the primary example). Griffin makes a compelling argument that a metaphyiscal position must account for our hard-core commonsense notions. Accordingly, he shows how Whitehead's process metaphysics (which he refers to in this book as "panexperientialism") can account for our hard-core commonsense notions. Moreover, he argues that panexperientialism has more explanatory power than materialism, especially concerning our present scientific knowledge (e.g. quantum theory).

I thought "Unsnarling the World-Knot" was a very good read (I have read many books by Griffin and he is always good). That being said, I do feel that the book had several short-comings:

1) I don't feel that Griffin fully explained (at least to my satisfaction) how an objective "actual occasion of experience" causes a new subjective "actual occasion of experience" to emerge - an emergence that somehow enables the new momentary actual occasion of experience to have the capacity for partial self-determination. The "somehow" is the operative term here. How exactly does this happen?

2) I don't feel he adequately explained why moral responsibility requires freedom. If free will is, given the same situation and circumstances, simply the ability to choose otherwise, then why does this "random choice" imply moral responsiblity? IOW, if I had known better (meaning if I had had better information), then I would have made a better choice. Having better information is the key, not making a "random choice." Therefore, I don't really see how this is an improvement over causal determinism. If we can't hold an individual morally responsible because all his choices are predetermined, then why should we hold an individual morally responsible simply because he has the capacity to make "random choices?"

3) Although he dismantles eliminative materialism (which is not very difficult to do...after all, the proponents of this form of materialism deny the existence of consciousness!) and supervenient theory (which basically entails epiphenomenalism), he never addresses "type identity" (or "token identity") theories of mind. IOW, if mental states are identical to physical states, then how does this invalidate materialism?

4) I wished he would have explained in more detail what he meant by the terms "idealistic realism" and "realistic idealism." (He seemed to indicate that these views are compatible with our hard-core commonsense notion that there exists a real world independent of our perception of it.)
  • Gugrel
Books like this don't come along too often. I've been reading about consciousness and physics for about twenty years as an adult and this work was life-changing for me. This is the case because it presents the most thoughtful, non-paradoxical and commonsensical approach to the "hard problem" of consciousness that I have yet to encounter. It also inspired me to start work on my own book on similar (but broader) topics, with the panexperientialism paradigm as my foundation.

David Chalmers' own wonderful work, The Conscious Mind, first introduced me to the notion of panpsychism. Yet, as another reviewer points out, Chalmers does not focus on this discussion and I am not aware of him having returned to it since.

Griffin's work is, while fairly difficult itself, a great introduction to the staggering works by Alfred North Whitehead, which are generally extremely difficult to read and comprehend. Whitehead famously did not spend much time editing or re-working his own drafts and it shows. While he has a knack for one-liners at times, he was certainly not writing for easy comprehension. Griffin and his colleagues in the "process philosophy" school of thought have done much over the last 80 years to make Whitehead's ideas more accessible.

With Griffin's own body of work growing quite large, I am at a loss to explain why he is not better known. He certainly deserves more recognition and I am very happy to see this new paperback of a book that was heretofore practically impossible to find since its original 1997 publication.

For anyone with a serious interest in the philosophy of mind and ontology (metaphysics), this book is a must-read. And I hope others are inspired enough to put pen to paper and start spreading the panexperientialist worldview because it is a much grander, welcoming and compassionate worldview than the current physicalist/scientistic worldview.
  • Tehn
If you had on only book in Western philosophy to read, it should be this one. Griffin writes clearly and accessibly about the toughest "knots" that Western philosophy has got itself tangled in, and then proceeds to untie them in satisfying and totally convincing ways. This book restored my sense that philosophy is something worth doing, that it is equipped to answer the big questions like "does human life have meaning and purpose?" (yes!) and "can I trust that there is not only meaning but creativity in the universe?" (yes again!). Griffin's lucid exposition of Process Philosophy offers a rational and cogent grounding for any number of more exploratory metaphysical positions and practices, such as mindfulness meditation, or the "Integral Life Practice" of Terry Patten and Ken Wilbur. In fact, Griffin offers a philosophically sound (and academically acceptable) bedrock on which to build a creative and intentional (and even "evolutionary") worldview, and from which to reach out cautiously for the more free-wheeling (and sometimes outrageous) leaps of Ken Wilber and Company's "Integral" thought.