Volume 8, Issue 2, 2010

The "Background" Category and Its Place in the Material World
Dwight Holbrook, School of English History, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

However robust the mind's cognitive strategies of objectifying and rendering in object terms conscious experience, there is nevertheless that which resists object/substantivity categorization, namely an exteriority that comes out of perception itself and that is here termed "the background". In seeking out, in this inquiry, the non-objectified and non-thingness part of the observed world, we must first of all distinguish this background from such misrepresentations as mere "seeming". The background - while not thing-like or detectable as data - will be defended as existing concretely and empirically to the observer, notwithstanding our objectifying and substantive way of framing our understanding of the world. It will be shown to have verifiability despite being knowable only from the first-person perspective. The aim is to demonstrate its presence by way of a number of its features, and to show that far from being a mere subjective quality, it stands as real as do spatial objects - or whatever arises spatially as a discretable information source in the empirical world.

Panpsychism, Aggregation and Combinatorial Infusion
William Seager, Division of Humanities, University of Toronto, at Scarborough, Canada

Deferential Monadic Panpsychism (DMP) is a view that accepts that physical science is capable of discovering the basic structure of reality. However, it denies that reality is fully and exhaustively described purely in terms of physical science. Consciousness is missing from the physical description and cannot be reduced to it. DMP explores the idea that the physically fundamental features of the world possess some intrinsic mental aspect. It thereby faces a severe problem of understanding how more complex mental states emerge from the mental features of the fundamental features. Here I explore the idea that a new form of aggregative emergence, which I call "combinatorial infusion" could shed light on this problem and bolster the prospects for this form of panpsychism

Bergson's Time and the Time Operator
Ioannis Antoniou and Theodoros Christidis, Mathematics Department, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece

Bergson's views on time are supported by the time operator qualifying complex systems, where time is essentially different from the clock time used to register the events. Irreversibility, unpredictability, and innovation characterize complex systems in contrast with the reversibility, predictability and lack of novelties of the regular motions of integrable systems. The idea for this work came from our teacher Ilya Prigogine who emphasized repeatedly that the time operator actually incorporates Bergson's views on time. We construct a time operator which incorporates Bergson's intuitive views on durations, indeterminism, innovations and irreversibility and the significance of events in terms of innovation and aging only. Bergson however has emphasized that the significance of durations depends on consciousness and memory, a discussion beyond the proposed time operator. Moreover we discuss the relation of Bergson's Time with the internal times of Husserl and Heidegger.

The Via Negativa: Not the Way to Physicalism
Robert C. Bishop, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Wheaton College, Wheaton, USA

A recent defense of the causal argument for physicalism is to define the physical in terms of the non-mental. This move is designed to defuse Hempel's dilemma, one version of which is taken to the problem that the physical cannot be successfully defined in terms of either present day or a future completed physics. I argue that the inductive support offered for this non-mental move simply begs the question for physicalism.

Last revision: 10 jan 2011