Platform for a Mind body dualism

In our common sense account of consciousness we’re dualists. Here’s a simple everyday example:

I think “matter,” then I write the word “matter.” You read “matter,” now you think “matter.”

“Matter” is a thought by which we refer to a category we’ve arrived at for physical things in general. “Matter” is not itself something physical.

By giving my thought physical form (by speaking or writing it) I can transfer that thought to you.  

What this says:

Thoughts differ from physical things. Dualistic thinking is called for.

Thoughts and physical things can interact in both directions.

What it excludes--physicalist objections to dualism to shun:

Monism: Only what’s physical can be real, so thoughts are either purely physical or they’re not real. This is prejudice, not based on evidence. Banish it from consideration.

Non-interactionism: We can’t explore dualism without knowing how mind and matter communicate. Actually, it’s the other way round: only by thinking about them dualistically are we likely to find out how mind and matter interact. Begin by taking interactionism for granted, we know it happens.

Best way to start learning more about consciousness? I suggest, find other manifestations of consciousness in the universe that we can examine from the outside. So far astronomy has not found any manifestations of it in the galactic-scale universe, which seems to operate entirely in accordance with physical laws. And we've not found any manifestations of it elsewhere in the solar-system. We seem more likely to identify other manifestations of it here on Earth.

Where on Earth? In living creatures like us, of course. Also perhaps in how we became conscious—processes we refer to as evolution. Which is more likely, that creatures with consciousness would evolve through conscious, or unconscious, processes? Given that the product is conscious, I think it’s more  rational to asssume those processes involve consciousness too, that they had to learn how to transact in terms of consciousness before they could make us conscious. True, our existing theory of evolution involves only purely-physical mechanisms but it was arrived at on volition-denying reductionist grounds (Comte’s Positivism), so needn’t concern us when we look specifically for how volition could have evolved.


The above is the platform I propose for setting out to study consciousness from a dualist perspective. The argument leading up to it I think has been rational.  From this point on, though, I see no single rational path drawing us on. I have concluded we lack concepts showing us how to proceed further. We instead have to speculate in terms of whatever other concepts we have.

We could proceed by fleshing out our intuitions, but that risks merely projecting outwards what we take for granted about our own consciousness, eg "My awe at the universe comes in three levels of intensity, so there must be three levels of consciousness in the universe outside ourselves." My path has been to wonder, from how other living creatures evolved, what thinking processes that implied? I explore that in my pamphlet “Children of the Genome” available through Amazon or as a pdf by request with an email address to shaunj at evolved self com.

What I think goes nowhere is the argument being conducted along purely physicalist lines, as Sapolsky does in "Determined." Physicalism precludes any dualist considerations.

Do you know of anyone else studying evolution and consciousness from a dualist point of view? Please let me know of any such, refer this site to them.