•  636
    After the Philosophy of Mind: Replacing Scholasticism with Science
    Philosophy of Science 75 (1): 1-27. 2008.
    We provide a taxonomy of the two most important debates in the philosophy of the cognitive and neural sciences. The first debate is over methodological individualism: is the object of the cognitive and neural sciences the brain, the whole animal, or the animal--environment system? The second is over explanatory style: should explanation in cognitive and neural science be reductionist-mechanistic, inter-level mechanistic, or dynamical? After setting out the debates, we discuss the ways in which t…Read more
  •  281
    The search for ontological emergence
    with J. McGeever
    Philosophical Quarterly 49 (195): 182-200. 1999.
    We survey and clarify some recent appearances of the term ‘emergence’. We distinguish epistemological emergence, which is merely a limitation of descriptive apparatus, from ontological emergence, which should involve causal features of a whole system not reducible to the properties of its parts, thus implying the failure of part/whole reductionism and of mereological supervenience for that system. Are there actually any plausible cases of the latter among the numerous and various mentions of ‘em…Read more
  •  257
    For whom the bell arguments toll
    Synthese 102 (1): 99-138. 1995.
    We will formulate two Bell arguments. Together they show that if the probabilities given by quantum mechanics are approximately correct, then the properties exhibited by certain physical systems must be nontrivially dependent on thetypes of measurements performedand eithernonlocally connected orholistically related to distant events. Although a number of related arguments have appeared since John Bell's original paper (1964), they tend to be either highly technical or to lack full generality. Th…Read more
  •  250
    Complexity and Extended Phenomenological‐Cognitive Systems
    Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (1): 35-50. 2012.
    The complex systems approach to cognitive science invites a new understanding of extended cognitive systems. According to this understanding, extended cognitive systems are heterogenous, composed of brain, body, and niche, non-linearly coupled to one another. This view of cognitive systems, as non-linearly coupled brain–body–niche systems, promises conceptual and methodological advances. In this article we focus on two of these. First, the fundamental interdependence among brain, body, and niche…Read more
  •  237
    In this talk, we defend extended cognition against several criticisms. We argue that extended cognition does not derive from armchair theorizing and that it neither ignores the results of the neural sciences, nor minimizes the importance of the brain in the production of intelligent behavior. We also argue that explanatory success in the cognitive sciences does not depend on localist or reductionist methodologies; part of our argument for this is a defense of what might be called ‘holistic scien…Read more
  •  194
    In defence of ontological emergence and mental causation
    In Philip Clayton & Paul Sheldon Davies (eds.), The Re-Emergence of Emergence, Oxford University Press. pp. 203. 2006.
  •  183
    Why quantum mechanics favors adynamical and acausal interpretations such as relational blockworld over backwardly causal and time-symmetric rivals
    with Michael Cifone and William Mark Stuckey
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (4): 736-751. 2008.
    We articulate the problems posed by the quantum liar experiment (QLE) for backwards causation interpretations of quantum mechanics, time-symmetric accounts and other dynamically oriented local hidden variable theories. We show that such accounts cannot save locality in the case of QLE merely by giving up “lambda-independence.” In contrast, we show that QLE poses no problems for our acausal Relational Blockworld interpretation of quantum mechanics, which invokes instead adynamical global constrai…Read more
  •  127
    We use a new, distinctly “geometrical” interpretation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics (NRQM) to argue for the fundamentality of the 4D blockworld ontology. We argue for a geometrical interpretation whose fundamental ontology is one of spacetime relations as opposed to constructive entities whose time-dependent behavior is governed by dynamical laws. Our view rests on two formal results: Kaiser (1981 & 1990), Bohr & Ulfbeck (1995) and Anandan, (2003) showed independently that the Heisenberg…Read more
  •  119
    Metaphysics or science: The battle for the soul of philosophy of mind
    Philosophical Psychology 24 (4): 561-573. 2011.
    Philosophical Psychology, Volume 24, Issue 4, Page 561-573, August 2011
  •  115
    Similar problems keep reappearing in both the discussion about the “hard” problem of consciousness and in fundamental issues in quantum theory. We argue that the similarities are due to common problems within the conceptual foundations of both fields. In quantum physics, the state reduction marks the “coming into being” of a new aspect of reality for which no causal explanation is available. Likewise, the self-referential nature of consciousness constitutes a “coming into being” of a new quality …Read more
  •  96
    We introduce a new interpretation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics (QM) called Relational Blockworld (RBW). We motivate the interpretation by outlining two results due to Kaiser, Bohr, Ulfeck, Mottelson, and Anandan, independently. First, the canonical commutation relations for position and momentum can be obtained from boost and translation operators,respectively, in a spacetime where the relativity of simultaneity holds. Second, the QM density operator can be obtained from the spacetime s…Read more
  •  88
    Converging on emergence: Consciousness, causation and explanation
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 8 (9-10): 61-98. 2001.
    I will argue that emergence is an empirically plausible and unique philosophical/ scientific framework for bridging the ontological gap and the explanatory gap with respect to phenomenal consciousness. On my view the ontological gap is the gap between fundamental ingredients/parts of reality that are not conscious and beings/wholes that are conscious. The explanatory gap is the current lack of a philosophical/scientific theory that explains how non-conscious parts can become conscious wholes. Bo…Read more
  •  77
    Emergence and reduction in context: Philosophy of science and/or analytic metaphysics Content Type Journal Article Category Survey Review Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9671-4 Authors Michael Silberstein, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796
  •  72
    In this paper two different approaches to unification will be compared, Relational Blockworld (RBW) and Hiley’s implicate order. Both approaches are monistic in that they attempt to derive matter and spacetime geometry ‘at once’ in an interdependent and background independent fashion from something underneath both quantum theory and relativity. Hiley’s monism resides in the implicate order via Clifford algebras and is based on process as fundamental while RBW’s monism resides in spacetimematter …Read more
  •  72
    We introduce the Relational Blockworld (RBW) as a paradigm for deflating the mysteries associated with quantum non-separability/non-locality and the measurement problem. We begin by describing how the relativity of simultaneity implies the blockworld, which has an explanatory potential subsuming both dynamical and relational explanations. It is then shown how the canonical commutation relations fundamental to non-relativistic quantum mechanics follow from the relativity of simultaneity. Therefor…Read more
  •  55
    Several articles have recently appeared arguing that there really are no viable alternatives to mechanistic explanation in the biological sciences (Kaplan and Bechtel; Kaplan and Craver). We argue that mechanistic explanation is defined by localization and decomposition. We argue further that systems neuroscience contains explanations that violate both localization and decomposition. We conclude that the mechanistic model of explanation needs to either stretch to now include explanations wherein…Read more
  •  47
    Emergence, Theology, and the Manifest Image
    In Philip Clayton (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science, Oxford University Press. pp. 784-800. 2006.
    Accession Number: ATLA0001712279; Hosting Book Page Citation: p 784-800.; Language(s): English; General Note: Bibliography: p 799-800.; Issued by ATLA: 20130825; Publication Type: Essay
  •  46
    Panentheism, neutral monism, and advaita vedanta
    Zygon 52 (4): 1123-1145. 2017.
    It is argued that when it comes to the hard problem of consciousness neutral monism beats out the competition. It is further argued that neutral monism provides a unique route to a novel type of panentheism via Advaita Vedanta Hinduism.
  •  44
    Reduction, emergence and explanation
    In Peter K. Machamer & Michael Silberstein (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Science, Blackwell. pp. 80--107. 2002.
  •  43
    Quantum Mechanics
    In Editors Seibt and Burkhard (ed.), Philosophia Verlag Handbook of Mereology, . forthcoming.
  •  37
    The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Science (edited book)
    with Peter K. Machamer
    Blackwell. 2002.
    This volume presentsa definitive introduction to the core areas of philosophy of science.
  •  35
    Monism versus emergence? The one and the many
    Metascience 24 (1): 43-48. 2015.
    This will be an admittedly opinionated review that gives with one hand and takes with the other. Let me be clear though from the outset that there is much to admire and agree with here. Perhaps, the biggest complaint is the failure of the author to engage with other highly relevant literature in philosophy of science and metaphysics that would yield her natural allies or would provide natural foils that ought to be named and engaged. On the allies side, there are many people now writing in the v…Read more
  •  33
    Emergence and the mind-body problem
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 5 (4): 464-82. 1998.
    In the first part of the paper I argue that neither physicalism nor standard forms of dualism can provide an explanatory framework for consciousness or cognition - neither account can existence of conscious experience nor its relationship to cognition and the brain. Physicalism and fundamentalism fail to provide an explanatory framework for consciousness because they both share, at least with respect to the physical universe, the same misguided commitment to part/whole reductionism and microredu…Read more
  •  17
    We propose an adynamical, background independent approach to quantum gravity and unification whereby the fundamental elements of Nature are graphical units of space, time and sources. The transition amplitude for these elements of “spacetimesource” is computed using a path integral with discrete Gaussian graphical action. The unit of action for a spacetimesource element is constructed from a difference matrix K and source vector J on the graph, as in lattice gauge theory. K is constructed from g…Read more
  •  12
    Several articles have recently appeared arguing that there really are no viable alternatives to mechanistic explanation in the biological sciences. This claim is meant to hold both in principle and in practice. The basic claim is that any explanation of a particular feature of a biological system, including dynamical explanations, must ultimately be grounded in mechanistic explanation. There are several variations on this theme, some stronger and some weaker. In order to avoid equivocation and m…Read more