John Scarle on the problem of consciousness. Biological naturalism or biological dualism?


For thirty years, Searle has been arguing that the mind-brain problem has a very simple solution that all we know it’s true. According to this solution, mental phenomena are caused by neurophysiological processes in the brain and, at the same time, they are features of the brain. Searle’s label to this proposal is «Biological Naturalism», an anti-reductionist conception of phenomenal consciousness that treats it as a systemic causally emergent property of certain kinds of neuronal activity. In the following pages we will weigh up the extent to which biological naturalism provides a coherent response to the problem of consciousness focusing on the ontological shortcomings of Searle’s theoretical framework, shortcomings caused by his superficial treatment of the notion of causality.
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Arias Domínguez, A. (2016). John Scarle on the problem of consciousness. Biological naturalism or biological dualism?. ArtefaCToS. Revista De Estudios Sobre La Ciencia Y La tecnología, 6, 181–200. Retrieved from


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Author Biography

Asier Arias Domínguez

Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Departamento de Teoría del Conocimiento, Estética e Historia del pensamiento