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A Daoist Critique Of Searle On Mind And Action

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Chapter Summary

The author argues that the Daoist formulation of the relationship between wu-wei and 'naturalness', as found in the Dao-De-Jing, offers a holistic, world-engaged model of bodily intentionality that challenges John Searle's mentalistic theory of intentionality. More precisely, the author contends that Searle's overly-cognitivist model of intentionality - and particularly his claim that all intentionality invokes representational mentality - lacks the ability to account for the predominantly noncognitive bodily activities that constitute the bulk of our embodied life and situated action. Moreover, the author argues that the formulation of wu-wei, or 'effortless action', in fact can explicate this noncognitive bodily dimension and thus is superior in this regard to Searle's account. Next, the author considers how Searle might respond to this charge. The author concludes by developing the ethical significance of wu-wei. The author suggests that Searle's insightful analysis of mind and action might be enriched by following Daoism's lead on this point.

Keywords: Dao-De-Jing; Daoist critique; insightful analysis of mind and action; John Searle; mentalistic theory of intentionality; wu-wei



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