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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Anaximander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
George Berkeley
Isaiah Berlin
Richard J. Bernstein
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
Lawrence Cahoone
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
Arthur Fine
John Martin Fischer
Frederic Fitch
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Heraclitus
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Walter Kaufmann
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Christoph Lehner
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Jules Lequyer
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
Thomas Nagel
Otto Neurath
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
Parmenides
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Protagoras
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
Isabelle Stengers
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
C.F. von Weizsäcker
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Walter Baade
Bernard Baars
Leslie Ballentine
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Mara Beller
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Gregory Chaitin
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Olivier Darrigol
Charles Darwin
Richard Dawkins
Terrence Deacon
Lüder Deecke
Richard Dedekind
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Gerald Edelman
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Philipp Frank
Steven Frautschi
Edward Fredkin
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A. O. Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Mark Hadley
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Donald Hebb
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Art Hobson
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Martin J. Klein
William R. Klemm
Simon Kochen
Hans Kornhuber
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Leopold Kronecker
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
John McCarthy
Warren McCulloch
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Abraham Pais
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Jürgen Renn/a>
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Tilman Sauer
Jürgen Schmidhuber
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Lee Smolin
Ray Solomonoff
Roger Sperry
John Stachel
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
Max Tegmark
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Giulio Tononi
Peter Tse
Vlatko Vedral
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
Stephen Wolfram
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek
Konrad Zuse
Fritz Zwicky

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
William Barrett

William Barrett helped to introduce existentialism to American philosophers with his book Irrational Man in 1958.

In 1986 his book The Death of the Soul described the "scientistic" attempts to reduce humans to machines and the brain to a computer.

Barrett traced this approach back to Alfred North Whitehead who called it "scientific materialism."

For both Whitehead and Barrett, the recovery of the soul seemed to require traditional religious and theological explanations of an immaterial soul, which was the solution for René Descartes, who introduced dualism and the "mind-body problem in the first place.

Psychology has struggled for decades to establish a "science of the mind," first by "introspecting" what is going on inside the mind, then adopting "behaviorism" which denies the existence of the unobservable immaterial mind and allows only verifiable "observations of human behavior," then replacing behaviorism with "cognitive science," and finally neuroscience, which is now measuring observable changes inside the brain that are correlated with various aspects of consciousness.

Barrett makes the case that in the "modern age" this "scientistic" psychology has "banished consciousness."

When did this Modern Age begin? Historical epochs merge into one another, and it may be arbitrary to seek for points of absolute beginning. When, for example, did the Middle Ages begin? When end? It would be futile here to seek an absolute point of division between the past and the epoch that succeeded it. But sometimes there are points at which we can see clearly that by this time something new has already arrived and is bound to transform human history radically. Accordingly, we may take the beginning of our Modern Age to be the early-seventeenth century. For that was the century that created modern science and its accompanying technology; and these two, science and technology, have become, as we have seen, the driving forces within modern civilization.

What is modern science? As often as we have asked and answered this question, we need to rethink it again as we approach the end of the millennium in which that science has decisively transformed human life. We shall have more to say on this question in a later chapter. Suffice it here simply to note that, whatever else it may be, science is an exhibition of the power of the human mind, of its freedom and originality to construct concepts that are not passively found in nature but nevertheless serve to organize our experience of nature. Thus the existence of a body of science is in itself a powerful evidence of human freedom.

Yet here a curious paradox arises. Mechanics was a central part of the new physics; until mechanics was firmly established, physics could not get under way. But the science of mechanics was no sooner founded than a widespread ideology of mechanism followed in its wake. Man is a machine, so the lament goes. The molecules in nature blindly run according to the inalterable mechanical laws of nature; and as our molecules go, so do we. The human mind is a passive and helpless pawn pushed around by the forces of nature. Freedom is an illusion. And this lament was to rise to a crescendo of pessimism during the nineteenth century.

In short, no sooner has science entered the modern world than it becomes dogged by its shadow, scientism. What is this peculiar phenomenon we call scientism? It is not science, any more than the shadow is anywhere identical with the substance of a thing. Nor is science ever evidence of scientism. At most, science merely serves to heat up the imagination of certain minds—and they are not few—who are too prone to sweeping and unqualified generalizations in the first place. ^Scientism is pseudoscience or misinterpreted science. Its conclusions are sweeping and large, and therefore sometimes pretend to be philosophical. But it is not a part of philosophy, if by philosophy we mean the effort to think soberly within the restrictions that human reflection must impose for itself. No; scientism is neither science nor philosophy, but that peculiarly modern invention and malady—an ideology. And as such, along with other ideologies that beset us, it has become a permanent part of our modern culture.

The science which the seventeenth century sought was chiefly physics, the understanding of physical nature. But at the same time, as the science of nature blossoms, the theories of mind that sprout among philosophers become more paradoxical and at odds with each other. It is as if the thinkers who had reared this dazzling structure of the new science were more and more puzzled to understand the mind that had produced it. The situation has not improved since. In the three and a half centuries since modern science entered the world, we have added immeasurably to our knowledge of physical nature, in scope, depth, and subtlety. But our understanding of human consciousness in this time has become more fragmentary and bizarre, until at present we seem in danger of losing any intelligent grasp of the human mind altogether.

It may be worthwhile, then, to take a step backward and try to see how this situation has come about. For this purpose we need not burden the reader with heavy and excessive historical detail. We shall be pursuing a single theme throughout, and we shall make use of only as much history as may serve to establish its thematic clarity. Nor shall we be seeking here to establish any new "theory of mind,” whatever that might be. Such theories, in their ingenuity, sometimes lose their grasp on the very fact of consciousness itself as they seek to replace it by something different; and what we shall be trying here to do is simply to lay hold of the fact itself, the fact of consciousness as a human reality that seems on the way to getting lost in the modern world.

References
Banishing Consciousness, foreword to The Death of the Soul
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