The Crazyist Metaphysics of MindEric Schwitzgebel
Crazyism about X is the view that something that it would be crazy to believe
must be among the core truths about X. In
this essay, I argue that crazyism is true of the metaphysics of mind. A position is “crazy” in the intended sense if it is contrary to
common sense and we are not epistemically compelled to believe it. Views crazy in the intended sense include,
for example, that there is no
mind-independent material world, that the United States has a stream of
conscious experience distinct from the experiences of the individuals composing
it, that chimps or the intelligent-seeming aliens of science fiction fantasy
entirely lack conscious experience, that mental events are causally
inefficacious. Well developed
metaphysical theories will inevitably violate common sense, I argue, because
common sense is incoherent in matters of metaphysics. No coherent and detailed view could respect it all.
Common sense is thus impaired as a ground of choice.Nor can scientific evidence or abstract theoretical virtue compellingly
favor any one metaphysical approach over all competitors. Something bizarre must be true about the mind, but which bizarre
propositions are the true ones, we are in no good position to know.
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