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The Grand Design: The Elimination of Mind

Science, Religion and Culture

The Grand Design: The Elimination of Mind

Keith Ward


Heythrop College, Department of Theology, OX2 9QN, United Kingdom




In his book, ‘The Grand Design’ (with Leonard Mlodinow, Bantam Books, London, 2010), Stephen Hawking agrees that we should attempt to answer the questions ‘Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist?’ and ‘Why this particular set of laws and not some other?’ (p. 19). In his book he proposes to answer those questions, from a purely scientific point of view (‘Philosophy is dead’, he announces on p. 13, even though the whole book is an exercise in scientifically informed philosophy). But there is something very odd about this. Nowhere in the book does he mention consciousness, value, or thought. In fact he finally gives the game away on p. 228 by saying, ‘we human beings ...are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles’. That is a philosophical view if ever there was one! It is precisely what is usually called eliminative reductionism, and I regard it as a non-starter, if you want to give a complete explanation of the universe.



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Science, Religion and Culture


Vol. 5, Sp. Iss. 1 Pages 1-82


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