John Searle Interview on “Conversations with History”

I wonder how many people other than John Searle think that he, Searle, has solved the mind-body problem, at least in principle.  One can see him assert this with astonishing confidence in the linked interview at the right.

Nevertheless, he also admits in a series of audiotaped lectures on philosophy of mind commercialized under the auspices of The Learning Company that he has no solution to the problem of free will, and no solution in principle even in sight.  He has no clue about how to solve this problem.  So his confidence as regards his “new monism” and the overcoming of mind-body dualism is completely misplaced, not somewhat misplaced, it’s just completely wrong and stupid, as he likes to say of other positions.   I like the fact that Searle can distinguish between a conscious mind and a computer, something not everyone can do, apparently.   Otherwise, I find Searle to be highly irksome and somewhat dimwitted.

Apart from expressing my general displeasure with Searle, I did want to draw attention to this series of videotaped interviews called “Conversations with History,” which is undertaken by Harry Kreisler at U.C. Berkeley, also linked to the right of this page.

I am getting a bit of respite from my usual listening to bloggingheadstv by listening to some of these interviews.  I found it a bit remarkable that Martha Nussbaum (also in “Conversations with History”) has identified exactly ten socio-political prerequisites for a satisfactory life for women.  The fact that there are exactly ten seems suspicious.  Why not eleven or nine, or twenty-three?  But perhaps ten is the correct number.

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3 Responses

  1. Howdy there, and welcome to WordPress!
    Searle’s cowboy style of philosophy is interesting at first, but it begins to grate on the ears (or eyes) after a while. He likes to claim that consciousness is biological, but who the hell knows what that means? Are there people who deny this?

    • I would deny that consciousness is completely biological. I think there are two realms, roughly speaking an immaterial mental realm and a material biological realm, that interact with one another.

  2. Fair enough. I just don’t understand how Searle can think that he has somehow solved the problem by simply uttering that consciousness is biological. Most of us believed that already, but that really isn’t the hard part. It’s working out a biological theory of qualia or intentionality that buggers us.

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