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How Dualists Should (Not) Respond to the Objection from Energy Conservation

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The principle of energy conservation is widely taken to be a serious diffculty for interactionist dualism (whether property or substance). Interactionists often have therefore tried to make it satisfy energy conservation. This paper examines several such attempts, especially including E. J. Lowe's varying constants proposal, showing how they all miss their goal due to lack of engagement with the physico-mathematical roots of energy conservation physics: the first Noether theorem (that symmetries imply conservation laws), its converse (that conservation laws imply symmetries), and the locality of continuum/field physics. Thus the 'conditionality response', which sees conservation as (bi)conditional upon symmetries and simply accepts energy non-conservation as an aspect of interactionist dualism, is seen to be, perhaps surprisingly, the one most in accord with contemporary physics (apart from quantum mechanics) by not conflicting with mathematical theorems basic to physics. A decent objection to interactionism should be a posteriori, based on empirically studying the brain.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: International Academy of Philosophy Mauren, Liechtenstein

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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