Institut Jean Nicod

Home page > Seminars & Conferences > Archives > Séminaires > 2012-2013 > IJN Colloquium > 12 Oct. 2012 : Eric Schwitzgebel (UC Riverside)

12 Oct. 2012 : Eric Schwitzgebel (UC Riverside)

Eric Schwitzgebel (University of California Riverside) will give a talk in the IJN Colloquium on Friday October 12, from 11AM to 1PM (29 rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris, Pavillon Jardin, ground floor Meeting Room).

The title of his talk is "The Crazyst Metaphysics of Mind"

Paper available here: eschwitz/SchwitzAbs/CrazyMind.htm.


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 hypothetical 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.