Publication Date

Spring 2009

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Vaidya, Anand


This essay is a contrasting of John Searle's biological naturalist view of the mind with Gilbert Ryle's deconstruction of the problem of mind-body interaction. These two positions are most uniquely suited for this purpose since, together they constitute the best positive theory and criticism of the same problem. It will be argued that consciousness - a feature of human experience which proves to be one of the most difficult to account for, from the perspective of the naturalist can be regarded as a dispositional attribute of a complex biological organism. Considered as such, it is what Searle would term a causally-emergent-system-feature. This thesis will focus on a single modification that needs to be made to make John Searle's theory consistent with his own criticism of the traditional mind-body problem and sensitive to the devastating criticism that Ryle formulated in the first half of the twentieth century. The biological naturalist's explanation for the occurrence of conscious states must assume a post-Rylean perspective on the problem of interaction and must be consistent with the notion of "conscious awareness" as a dispositional attribute.