Renegade husband and wife philosophers Pat and Paul Churchland met forty years ago in a college Plato class. Their instincts as philosophers — then and now — run outside the philosophy mainstream. Where most philosophers looked to reason and logic to apprehend the human mind, the Churchlands looked — and look — to science.
There is no independent “mind”, these two practically say, just the human brain, three pounds of tissue and water, firing away behind all our emotions, beliefs, actions. Consciousness itself, they say, is straight biology, a machine.
Once, that sounded esoteric. Now, it’s on the frontline of debate over law, soul and life.
This hour On Point: Pat and Paul Churchland on the mind as science.
Paul and Patricia Churchland, professors of philosophy at the University of California at San Diego.
Colin McGinn, professor of philosophy at the University of Miami.