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Emergentism and Sadra’s psychology; a common physicalistic challenge

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This paper first explores in detail a regenerated theory in philosophy of mind, known among contemporary philosophers as ‘emergentism’. By distinguishing strong and weak versions of the theory, I explain two important explanatory challenges presented by physicalists against this theory. In the following, I provide a brief overview of Sadr al-Muta’allihin’s theory of the incipience and degrees of the soul, examining similarities and differences between this theory and strong emergentism. Then, underlining the main aspects of similarity between the two theories, I consider the challenges presented by physicalists against emergentism as reconstructible against Sadra’s theory. Surveying some explanations by Sadraean philosophers of the soul-body relationship, I ultimately argue that Sadra’s theory is inadequate in face of the objections and doubts raised by contemporary physicalists. My assessment is that Sadra’s philosophy is in need of further development to meet those explanatory challenges.
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Keywords: Emergentism; Sadr al-Muta’allihin; corporeal incipience of the soul; mental causation; mind-body problem; physicalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Iranian Institute of Philosophy: IRIP, Tehran, Iran

Publication date: July 3, 2019

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