Emergent dualism is a view where consciousness is a substance that arises due to a certain arrangement of matter.

So, can this explain that consciousness as a fundamental substance, can be given to creatures without invoking a divinity directly giving it to them?

  • My answer would depend on a wrinkle: one might not need to invoke a deity for a theory of emergence (dualist or otherwise), but one might need to make assumptions that would ruin the counter-arguments to an ontological proof of God's existence. — (To put it in really stupid terms: your theory of emergence might take no stance on whether emergence involves divine action or not, yet still ruin an argument that says "The God you describe doesn't do anything" because now the theist can point to emergence as a possible example of activity.)
    – guest1806
    Oct 17 '18 at 21:43
  • Why not? "Thinking substance" emerging at some level of complexity in the organization of matter can just be one of matter's properties, a law of nature. Although it seems more natural with property dualism.
    – Conifold
    Oct 17 '18 at 21:44

The simple answer is "yes". A process by which this plausibly happened was outline by Karl Popper in "The Self and Its Brain". Karl advocated for a "3 Worlds" ontology -- where matter and ideas existed, but were not interactive with each other. Life -- through evolutionary happenstance -- accidentally created an emergent consciousness which could interact with the world of ideas. As this provided an evolutionary advantage, consciousness then was tuned by evolution, and now forms "world 2" of the 3 world model.

His 3 worlds are outlined in an accessible online summary in his Tanner Lecture, https://tannerlectures.utah.edu/_documents/a-to-z/p/popper80.pdf and here is a summary of the evolution of consciousness: http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/philosophers/popper/natural_selection_and_the_emergence_of_mind.html

None of this involves a deity.

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