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WIP Talk: Marleen Rozemond
November 26, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
On Monday, November 26 we will have a work-in-progress talk from our very own Marleen Rozemond, titled “Why mills can’t think: Leibniz on perception as internal action”.
Abstract: Leibniz offers a famous thought experiment in the Monadology to argue against the possibility of thinking matter: if you imagine a thinking machine the size of the mill so that you can walk into it, you won’t see anything to explain perception, he claims. All you see is parts pushing each other. “Perception” is his general term for “mental states”. But what makes him confident that parts pushing each other can’t explain perception? Interpreters have usually thought that the argument appeals to a type of “unity of consciousness” argument that goes back to Plotinus. I argue instead that the argument relies on the idea that perception is “internal action”, whereas motion is “external action”. I explain the argument drawing on the Aristotelian scholastic notion of immanent action and a Neoplatonic argument that goes as far back as Proclus.