GSTF Journal of General Philosophy (JPhilo)

, 1:2

First online:

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The Incipient Mind Argument

The Persistence of Absolutist Thinking in Biological Philosophy of Mind
  • Javier Y Álvarez-VázquezAffiliated withRuprecht-Karls-UniversitätArlbert-Ludwigs-Universität


The incipient mind argument is the central argument of Evan Thompson’s solution to the so-called mind-body problem. This paper challenges Evan Thompson’s (and Francisco Varela’s) assumption of a pristine form of subjectivity, as well as of interiority in unicellular life forms. I claim that this assumption makes sense only as a useful strategy for an absolutist account of mind. In this paper, I argue that Thompson’s thesis is erroneous at the object-level, as well as at the meta-level of his argumentation. By paying greater attention to the meta-level of his exposition, I show that Thompson’s assumption of an “incipient mind” obeys an absolutist, two- sided pattern of thinking and, therefore, that his argumentation fails to give an accurate account of the systemic generation and development of mind. After demonstrating this, I suggest an innovative action-based approach to mind in order to accurately give an account of its real-constructive development.


enarrativity historico-genetic theory emergence of mind process philosophy processual form of thinking evolution of thought