Someone who denies dualism can consistently affirm the obvious truth that each of us has subjective experiences. These are different issues altogether. In fact, I don’t know of any non-dualist who denies that people have subjective experiences. Not even the more radical behaviorists went to that extreme.
In the modern age it may not be “hard to imagine” that the subjective/objective distinction has no “metaphysical significance,” but it surely does not follow from a philosophical rejection of the mind-body dualism. Rejecting mind-body dualism, with its implication of mind as entity apart from body, does have metaphysical implications; but this is distinct from questions regarding the significance of the distinction between subjective experience and objective reality.
In a recent review of John Gray’s book, The Immortalization Commission (Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death), Clancy Martin (professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri, Kansas City) praises Gray for an interesting account of the weird and fascinating search for evidence of life after death. But Martin is bothered by what he claims is a basic fallacy in Gray’s dismissal of the likelihood of any positive results from the on-going search for life after death.
The mystery and pro-offered ‘explanations’ of the “mystery of the mind-body connection” are relevant only when certain questionable assumptions and inferences are made. When I point out that the ‘theories’ designed to deal with this mystery may be superfluous I am not “simply suspending judgment on such theories.”
In an article titled “A conversation: consciousness and the connection to the universe” Deepak Chopra interviewed Dr. Stuart Hameroff of the Center for Consciousness Studies of the University of Arizona.
The interview is interesting on a number of points, e.g., Hammeroff’s attempt to explain perceptual consciousness in terms of quantum physics. This is an ambitious project that cries for scrutiny and critique. But presently I shall focus on another aspect of the interview. The interviews discloses some fundamental misconceptions and fallacies committed by both men. They fall into old traps and confusion.
What Mr. Gardner says concerning the possibility of an afterlife and the “mystery” of free will reminds me that even very intelligent persons can go off on the wrong track. Even a genius can sometimes affirm ideas, which in other contexts we might associate with the assertions of mad men.
Wittgenstein’s remarks in this section (Part II, Section V) of the Philosophical Investigations do not ostensibly advance a philosophical behaviorism. At most, his remarks raise interesting questions about some of the assumptions of the dualist regarding our talk about behavior and our talk about mental states. The argument that he makes is one that, if successful, undermines some important premises of the dualist thesis.