How Dualists Should (Not) Respond to the Objection from Energy Conservation

Mind and Matter 17 (1):95-121 (2019)
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The principle of energy conservation is widely taken to be a se- rious difficulty for interactionist dualism (whether property or sub- stance). Interactionists often have therefore tried to make it satisfy energy conservation. This paper examines several such attempts, especially including E. J. Lowe’s varying constants proposal, show- ing how they all miss their goal due to lack of engagement with the physico-mathematical roots of energy conservation physics: the first Noether theorem (that symmetries imply conservation laws), its converse (that conservation laws imply symmetries), and the locality of continuum/field physics. Thus the “conditionality re- sponse”, which sees conservation as (bi)conditional upon symme- tries and simply accepts energy non-conservation as an aspect of interactionist dualism, is seen to be, perhaps surprisingly, the one most in accord with contemporary physics (apart from quantum mechanics) by not conflicting with mathematical theorems basic to physics. A decent objection to interactionism should be a posteri- ori, based on empirically studying the brain.

Author Profiles

J. Brian Pitts
University of Lincoln
Alin C. Cucu
University of Lausanne


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