فیزیکالیسم و اگزیستانسیالیسم

نوع مقاله : مقاله علمی- پژوهشی

نویسنده

دانشیار گروه فلسفه، دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی، واحد تهران شمال، تهران، ایران

چکیده

این مقاله به نزاع میان اگزیستانسیالیسم1 و فیزیکالیسم بر سر اصالت یا عدم اصالت «تفکر و آزادی انسان» و به تعبیری امکان یا عدم امکان تقلیل و تأویل نحوة تفکر،‌ کنش­ها، انتخاب­ها و تصمیمات آدمی بر اساس شرایط و امور فیزیکی، بیولوژیک، ‌مغزی و نورولوژیک پرداخته است. به بیان ساده­تر، نحوة تفکری که از آن، به اعتبارهایی متفاوت و در قرون هفده تا بیست، به تعابیر گوناگونی چون طبیعت­گرایی (ناتورالیسم)، ماده­گرایی (ماتریالیسم) و قول به اصالت امر فیزیکی (فیزیکالیسم) یاد می­شود، می­کوشد بر اساس روشی تقلیل­گرایانه (Reductionist) حقیقت وجودی انسان و آن بارقه­ای را که نحوة هستی خاص آدمی است و در زبان اسطوره­ای افلاطون از آن به «روح»، در زبان و ادب فارسی «جان»، در زبان کانت «قوة خیال استعلایی»، در زبان کی­یرکه­گور و اگزیستانسیالیسم «اگزیستانس»، و در زبان هایدگر «دازاین» تعبیر می­گردد، به منزلة محصول و معلول امور مادی، طبیعی یا فیزیکی تلقی کرده، قدرت تفکر و توانایی انتخاب یا آزادی آدمی را نه به عنوان اموری اصیل­ -یعنی تقلیل­ناپذیر (Irreducible)- بلکه نتیجة فرعی امور طبیعی، فیزیکی و فرآیندهای بیولوژیک بنمایاند. این مقاله مدعی است که در چالش میان فیزیکالیسم و تقلیل­گرایی از یکسو با اگزیستانسیالیسم و معتقدان به وجود اگزیستانس یا دازاین از سوی دیگر، چالش­گاه اصلی و محل نزاع غالباً به خوبی تعیین نگشته، لذا بحث در خصوص این چالش نظری در مسیر مناسبی سیر نکرده است. نگارنده، علاوه بر کوشش به منظور نشان دادن دقیق محل نزاع مذکور، در صدد است تا اصلی­ترین مبانی فیزیکالیسم را مورد تردیدهای جدی قرار دهد.

تازه های تحقیق

Existentialism and Physicalism

Bijan Abdolkarimi

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Islamic Azad University (North Tehran Branch), Tehran- Iran, E-mail: abdolkarimi12@gmail.com

 

Abstract

This article is about the dispute between existentialism and physicalism concerning the in/authenticity of the human being's thought and freedom. It deals with the impossibility of reducing human thought, practice, choice, and decision to their physical, biological, brain-based or neurological aspects. In other words, the way of thinking which can be called naturalism, materialism, or physicalism based on different criteria (from seventeenth-century until twentieth century) tries to interpret human existence (“soul” in the mythological language of Plato, “transcendental imagination” in Kant’s philosophy, “existence” in Kierkegaard’s thought and existentialism and “Dasein” in Heidegger’s view) as a product of physical, natural or material processes and does not regard human freedom of choice as authentic (or irreducible) but as a secondary product of biological natural phenomena. This article claims that the main matter of the dispute is not specifically determined in the debate between physicalism or reductionism on the one hand and the philosophers believing in existence or Dasein on the other hand. This vagueness has caused the discussion about the theoretical challenge not to undergo a smooth path. In order to make clear the exact parameters of the central matter of dispute, I try to challenge the fundamentals of physicalism.

Keywords: physicalism, existentialism, human existence, freedom, free will, thinking

 

 

 

 

1. Introduction

Emphases on concepts like thinking and freedom as the most fundamental characteristics of existence is a basic theoretical foundation of existentialism and the other schools which are in opposition to materialism, naturalism, and physicalism. The physicists regard the human way of thinking, power of selection, decision-making, feelings, emotions and value system as the outputs of some biological/ neurological processes. Therefore the human being, in a physicalist view, is not an entity with such characteristics as having meta-natural or irreducible thought and freedom. Then the “free will” or “thinking” cannot be considered as meta-natural features in a physicalist framework. Based on such a worldview, physicalism can be regarded as one of the most important opposite schools of existentialism or any other school which regards human existence or his freedom as authentic and having an essential difference from other beings and their characteristics.

2. Two fundamental anthropologies

1. Materialism, naturalism or physicalism: Human being is a material/natural/ physical entity without any non-material/meta-natural/supra-physical characteristics.

2. Existentialist schools: There are some authentic features in human existence such as the ability to think, freedom, the power of selection, love, altruism, and hope which cannot be reduced to any other ontological level (material or physical/natural elements).

3. Physicalist arguments

1. As long as we cannot find a way for making the complete identification of the biological/physical situation of two people possible, the existentialists or the opponents of physicalism cannot claim that the human practice and thought are not objective phenomena.

   2. If existence has some independent essence, how is that it changes with the changes in the material elements?

   3. The problem of the function of senses: What is known as consciousness or feeling of freedom/free will in human should be regarded as a secondary element, not a real phenomenon, because it is the output of biological processes and Physico-chemical phenomena.

   4. A system is not equivalent to its elements. The composition of elements, their order and their relation to each other are significant factors in the development of a system as a whole.

4. A critical view of physicalism

1. Physicalists do not believe in different ontological levels and hold that only one ontological level which is the material/natural/physical level exists. This main assumption of physicalists which is considering only one ontological level is not substantiated.

   2. Contemporary physicalists and materialists argue that the modern science affirms physicalism. First, it is true that modern science has some materialistic/physicalist bases but it cannot be concluded that modern science affirms materialism/physicalism. According to modern rationality and based on the scientific/epistemological model proposed by such thinkers as Galileo, Descartes, and Newton, a certain framework was accepted for scientific research in which only a certain ontological level (the physical level) is explored, but it cannot be concluded that there are no other ontological levels.

   3. The definite acceptance of experimental methods of modern sciences based on which materialists argue and analyze can be easily questioned

   4. The very impossibility of identification of human circumstances which is contrary to the repeatability of experiments about natural phenomena shows that unlike other natural beings, humans are historical beings and one of the features of human historicity is the singularity and unrepeatability of the life events of every individual.

   5. There is plenty of evidence which shows that the human mind decides based on its own findings rather than the adjacent physical setting.

   6. Our observations are influenced by our epistemological experiences and even by our expectations. In addition, all these experiences and expectations are developed in a certain social, cultural and historical paradigm in which we live. The physical world is a single world but the historical-cultural world is not.

   7. It is true that the system always has some characteristics which are not equivalent to any element or some of the elements, but through this true proposition, it cannot be concluded that there are no ontological levels in the universe and all the universe can be reduced to the physical.

   8. From an ontological point of view, physicalism means that there is no mode of being other than physical/material being, but from an anthropological point of view, physical means that human is not anything more than a physical mechanism. Nowadays, quantum physics has refuted the belief in atomic events imageability and shows that the atomic structures are not observable or expressible through the tangible empirical qualities, neither can they be described based on time, place and causality. And this is in complete opposition to the fundamental assumptions of physicalism.

5. Conclusion

I have summarized the main challenges facing the doctrines of physicalism/materialism. Casting serious doubts on the fundamentals of physicalism does not mean to totally confirm the pre-modern philosophy of mind and psychology. However, the expansion of the secular dogmatism along with theological dogmatism and suppression of ontological questioning and exploring the concept of Being is a matter of concern.

 

 

References

-        Basil, j. Hiley (1987) Quantoum Implications(Essays in Honour of David Bohm), London, Routledge & Kegan paul.

-        Bernie, S. Siegel (1986) Love, Medicine and Miracles, Harper Collins Publishers, U.S.A.

-        Davies, Paul (1984) Superfource, New York, Simon & Schuster.

-        Hawking, S. (1988) A Brief History of Time, London: Bantam Dell Publishing Group.

-        Herbert, Nick, (1987) how large is starlight?

-        Jammer, M. (1989) The Conceptual Development of Quantum Mechanics, 2nd ed: New York: American Institute of Physics, Thomas Publication.

-        Jeans, J. (1948) The Mysterious Universe, Cambridge University Press.

-        O`Regan, Brendan (1987) Institute of Noetic Sciences’special report.

-        Rogo, D. Scott (1982) Miracles: A Parascientific Inquiry into Wondrous Phenomena, New York: The Dial Press.

کلیدواژه‌ها


عنوان مقاله [English]

Existentialism and Physicalism

نویسنده [English]

  • Bijan Abdolkarimi
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Islamic Azad University (North Tehran Branch), Tehran- Iran
چکیده [English]

This article is about the dispute between existentialism and physicalism concerning the in/authenticity of the human being's thought and freedom. It deals with the impossibility of reducing human thought, practice, choice, and decision to their physical, biological, brain-based or neurological aspects. In other words, the way of thinking which can be called naturalism, materialism, or physicalism based on different criteria (from seventeenth-century until twentieth century) tries to interpret human existence (“soul” in the mythological language of Plato, “transcendental imagination” in Kant’s philosophy, “existence” in Kierkegaard’s thought and existentialism and “Dasein” in Heidegger’s view) as a product of physical, natural or material processes and does not regard human freedom of choice as authentic (or irreducible) but as a secondary product of biological natural phenomena. This article claims that the main matter of the dispute is not specifically determined in the debate between physicalism or reductionism on the one hand and the philosophers believing in existence or Dasein on the other hand. This vagueness has caused the discussion about the theoretical challenge not to undergo a smooth path. In order to make clear the exact parameters of the central matter of dispute, I try to challenge the fundamentals of physicalism.

کلیدواژه‌ها [English]

  • physicalism
  • Existentialism
  • human existence
  • freedom
  • free will
  • Thinking
-      Abdolkarimi, Bijan (2005) "A Look at the Ontological, Epistemological and Anthropological Foundations of the Sociology of Knowledge", in Proceedings of the Conference on Society and Knowledge, with the efforts of Ezzatollah Fooladvandi, Tehran and Qom, the Unity of Domain and University [In Persian].
-      Basil, j. Hiley (1987) QuantumImplications(Essays in Honor of David Bohm), London, Rutledge & Kegan Paul.
-      Bernie, S. Siegel (1986) Love, Medicine and Miracles, Harper Collins Publishers, U.S.A, 1986.
-      Davies, Paul (1984) Superfource, New York, Simon & Schuster.
-      Dehpahlevan, Shahin (2014) "Consciousness from the Perspective of Physicalism", M.Sc., Supervisor: Bijan Abdolkarimi, Department of Philosophy, Islamic Azad University (North Tehran Branch) [In Persian].
-      Golshani, Mehdi (2011) An Analysis of the Philosophical Perspectives of Contemporary Physicists, Tehran, Institute of Humanities and Cultural Studies (Fifth Edition) [In Persian].
-      Hawking, S. (1988) A Brief History of Time, London: Bantam Dell Publishing Group.
-      Herbert, Nick (1987) how large is starlight?
-      Jammer, M. (1989) TheConceptual Development of Quantum Mechanics, 2nd ed: New York: American Institute of Physics, Thomas Publication.
-      Jeans, J. (1948) The Mysterious Universe, Cambridge University Press.
-      Nabavi, Masoud, Askar Ghorbani, and Hassan Ghasemi (2004) The Genesis and Development of Neurology, Tehran, Human Publication and Publication [In Persian].
-      O`Regan, Brendan (1987) institute of Noetic Sciences’ special report.
-      Rogo, D. Scott (1982) Miracles: A Parascientific Inquiry into Wondrous Phenomena, New York: The Dial Press.
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