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Structure and the Metaphysics of Mind

Structure and the Metaphysics of Mind is the first book to show how hylomorphism can be used to solve mind-body problems-persistent problems understanding how thought, feeling, perception, and other mental phenomena fit into the physical world described by our best science. Hylomorphism claims that structure is a basic ontological and explanatory principle. Some individuals, paradigmatically living things, consist of materials that are structured or organized in various ways. Those structures are responsible for individuals being the kinds of things they are, and having the kinds of powers or capacities they have. From a hylomorphic perspective, mind-body problems are byproducts of a worldview that rejects structure. Hylomorphic structure carves out distinctive individuals from the otherwise undifferentiated sea of matter and energy described by our best physics, and it confers on those individuals distinctive powers, including the powers to think, feel, and perceive. A worldview that rejects hylomorphic structure lacks a basic principle which distinguishes the parts of the physical universe that can think, feel, and perceive from those that can't, and without such a principle, the existence of those powers in the physical world can start to look inexplicable and mysterious. But if mental phenomena are structural phenomena, as hylomorphism claims, then they are uncontroversially part of the physical world, for on the hylomorphic view, structure is uncontroversially part of the physical world. Hylomorphism thus provides an elegant way of solving mind-body problems.
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Table of Contents

Introduction ; 1. Structure in the world ; 2. Individuals, properties, and events ; 3. Tropes ; 4. The identity theory of powers ; 5. Competing theories of powers ; 6. Structured individuals and their parts ; 7. The problems of composition ; 8. Structured activities and embodiment ; 9. Hylomorphic necessitation and supervenience ; 10. Explanation and lower-level determination ; 11. Physicalism and other mind-body theories ; 12. Williams' worry: Is hylomorphism just a form of physicalism? ; 13. Hylomorphism and mind-body problems ; 14. Why hylomorphism? ; References ; Endnotes

About the Author

William Jaworski is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University. He is the author of Philosophy of Mind: A Comprehensive Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell) and a range of papers dealing with topics in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion.


Outstanding rigorous scholarship, linking an old theme (hylomorphism, going back to Aristotle and Aquinas) to contemporary philosophy of mind issues. It builds a new creative approach to hylomorphism. It is a most impressive work in systematic (not historical) metaphysics and philosophy of mind. It will have significant impact in contemporary philosophy of mind (which is really philosophy of person), and in the philosophical (and ethical) issues raised by neuroscience. * Judge quote from 2017 Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award * William Jaworski's book is a splendid addition to this revival of hylomorphism, notable for its clarity, thoroughness of presentation and depth of analysis ... His book will richly repay study by anyone interested in the mind-body problem and metaphysics in general. * William Seager, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Online *

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