Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Theologian Kevin J. Vanhoozer Explains How Mental States Possibly Arise

From the book Is There a Meaning in This Text?, page 249):

"A cell is a complex phenomenon that emerges out of small infrastructures (molecules and atoms) and demands its own science (biochemistry). Similarly, mental properties depend on a biological infrastructure, yet they are irreducible to that substratum. Mental states, that is, 'supervene' on physical states. This way of conceiving mind has the advantage of being the most adequate scientific explanation of consciousness and of conforming to a Christian understanding of human beings as created in the divine image. Both mind and meaning, the self and the sentence, are higher level phenomena--new beings, as it were--that are discontinuous, at least in some respects, with the lower forms from which they emerge."

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