Volume 16, Issue 1, 2018

Consciousness, Embodiment, and the Cycle of Holism
J. Scott Jordan, Department of Psychology, Illinois State University, Normal, USA

The present paper examines the contemporary interest in the relationship between embodiment and consciousness. Inspired by recent findings in language processing, linguistics, cognitive psychology, robotics, and neuroscience, researchers have developed embodied approaches to consciousness that tend to focus on either the causality or the phenomenology of cognitive systems. Further embodied positions focus on living systems as a potential medium for consciousness. In conclusion, this paper places the current embodiment movement in the historical context of the continually shifting emphases on reductionism versus holism, and proposes the embodiment movement will have staying power if it finds a way to describe consciousness that renders it constitutive of what we are.

Epiphenomenalism and Agency
David Hommen, Chair of Theoretical Philosophy, University of Düsseldorf, Germany

A prominent objection against epiphenomenalism - the doctrine that mental phenomena are causally ineffcacious - is that it is incompatible with the phenomenon of human agency. It is essential for our being agents, so the argument goes, that our mental states contribute to the causation of our actions. In this paper, I wish to refute that objection and argue that epiphenomenalism, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, is fully compatible with human agency.

An Existential Critique of Consciousness and a Solution to the Existence-Brain Problem
Gordon Globus, Department of Psychiatry, University of California at Irvine, USA

The stout defense of consciousness by Seager (2017) in this journal is critiqued from an existential perspective. The existence/brain problematic is then considered in the Heideggerian context of world thrownness. Based in a version of quantum brain theory, a counter-intuitive "monadological" solution to the existence/brain problem is presented and discussed in relation to Fuchs' (2017) quantum Bayesianism (QBism).

Structure without Law: From Heisenberg's Matrix Mechanics to Structural Nonrealism
Arkady Plotnitsky, Department of English, Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA

The article introduces a new concept of structure, defined, echoing Wheeler's concept of "law without law," as a "structure without law", and a new philosophical viewpoint, that of structural nonrealism, both of which, the article argues, emerged with Heisenberg's discovery of quantum mechanics and Bohr's interpretation of it in terms of complementarity. The article takes advantage of the circumstance that any instance of quantum data or, in present-day terms, quantum information is a "structure" - an organization of elements, ultimately bits, of classical information, manifested in measuring instruments. While, however, this organization can, along with the observed behavior of measuring instruments, be described by means of classical physics, it cannot be predicted by means of classical physics, but only probabilistically or statistically by means of quantum mechanics or quantum field theory (or possibly some alternative theories within their scope). By contrast, the emergence of this information and of this structure cannot, in the present view, be described by either classical or quantum theory, or possibly by any other means, which leads to the concept of "structure without law" and the viewpoint of structural nonrealism.

Essay Review: Thinking Emergence as Interaffecting - Eugene Gendlin's Process Model
Donata Schoeller, Institute of Philosophy, University of Koblenz, Germany, Neil Dunaetz, Independent Scholar, Gardnerville, USA

Prior to A Process Model Gendlin's theoretical and practical work focused on the interfacing of bodily-felt meaningfulness and symbolization. In A Process Model, Gendlin does something much wider and more philosophically primary. The hermeneutic and pragmatist distinction between the concept of experience, on the one hand, and actual experiential process, on the other, becomes for Gendlin the methodological basis for a radical reconceptualization of the body. Wittgenstein's formulation of "meaning" as "language-use in situations" is spelled out by Gendlin in embodied terms, yielding a profound new grasp of language, meaning, situation, language-use and culture as interactional body-process. Gendlin, in building his text, answers the pragmatist critique of a wrong progression of thinking where the results of an inquiry are read back to be its premises. With his central concept "eveving" ("everything interaffected by everything") Gendlin shows how the seeming determinacy of preceding structure is opened in the actual occurring. He thereby elaborates a new conception of continuity where the possibility for responsive novelty is emergent in the event itself. The conceptual development of the text itself instances this kind of emergent novelty. We will somewhat follow Gendlin's own path in using language-in-situations as entry-point into his more fundamental process-thinking, thereby asking ourselves how to engage his new kind of model. In the last part, we introduce some of the philosophical roots of Gendlin's Process Model.

Last revision: 4 July 2018