The power of natural selection

Macpherson, F. (2002) The power of natural selection. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 9(8), pp. 30-35.



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In a recent paper, Steven Horst argued that if traditional physicalist accounts of consciousness cannot explain why there are conscious phenomena in the world then teleological accounts of consciousness that appeal to the notion of natural selection cannot do so either. I agree with Horst's conclusion but his reasoning fails to address a rebuttal to his argument made by the major proponent of such theories, namely, Fred Dretske. Dretske argues that artificial selection can create new features and that, in an analogous fashion, natural selection can too. I show that Dretske's rebuttal is inadequate because crucial features of the analogy fail. Teleological accounts of consciousness that appeal to natural selection can only explain the prevalence of consciousness.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Macpherson, Professor Fiona
Authors: Macpherson, F.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BD Speculative Philosophy
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Journal of Consciousness Studies
Publisher:Imprint Academic
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2003 Imprint Academic
First Published:First published in Journal of Consciousness Studies 9(8):30-35
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the publisher

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