Structure and the Metaphysics of Mind: How Hylomorphism Solves the Mind-Body Problem

ISBN : 9780198749561

William Jaworski
384 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Mar 2016
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Structure and the Metaphysics of Mind is the first book to show how hylomorphism can be used to solve mind-body problems-persistent problems understanding how thought, feeling, perception, and other mental phenomena fit into the physical world described by our best science. Hylomorphism claims that structure is a basic ontological and explanatory principle. Some individuals, paradigmatically living things, consist of materials that are structured or organized in various ways. Those structures are responsible for individuals being the kinds of things they are, and having the kinds of powers or capacities they have. From a hylomorphic perspective, mind-body problems are byproducts of a worldview that rejects structure. Hylomorphic structure carves out distinctive individuals from the otherwise undifferentiated sea of matter and energy described by our best physics, and it confers on those individuals distinctive powers, including the powers to think, feel, and perceive. A worldview that rejects hylomorphic structure lacks a basic principle which distinguishes the parts of the physical universe that can think, feel, and perceive from those that can't, and without such a principle, the existence of those powers in the physical world can start to look inexplicable and mysterious. But if mental phenomena are structural phenomena, as hylomorphism claims, then they are uncontroversially part of the physical world, for on the hylomorphic view, structure is uncontroversially part of the physical world. Hylomorphism thus provides an elegant way of solving mind-body problems.


1 Structure in the world
2 Individuals, properties, and events
3 Tropes
4 The identity theory of powers
5 Competing theories of powers
6 Structured individuals and their parts
7 The problems of composition
8 Structured activities and embodiment
9 Hylomorphic necessitation and supervenience
10 Explanation and lower-level determination
11 Physicalism and other mind-body theories
12 Williams' worry: Is hylomorphism just a form of physicalism?
13 Hylomorphism and mind-body problems
14 Why hylomorphism?

About the author: 

William Jaworski is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University. He is the author of Philosophy of Mind: A Comprehensive Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell) and a range of papers dealing with topics in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion.

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