Eccles' book is shockingly short on argumentation; we imagine that Eccles himself would confess that argumentation (at least of the rigorous variety) isn't intended to be the book's strong suit. However, a charitable reading (an extremely charitable reading) yields three arguments that can be reconstructed from the text. They are:
Are these arguments any good? A1, or at least sophisticated versions thereof, is an argument that one of us (Bringsjord) has written a bit about elsewhere (cf. , ); the same goes for A2 (). (Perhaps the most interesting instantiation of A2 (where X is set to `cognitive faculties that search for and find true or at least verisimilitudinous propositions') is given by Alvin Plantinga .) A3 would seem to be a variation on the Argument from Design. For example, presumably the most startling scene when one ``looks down" is that at turn after turn in the story of evolution, a fertile route rather than a barren one is taken because of the particular value of some tiny variable. As such, A3 probably stands or falls with the modernized Argument from Design articulated by Leslie .
But for Eccles (at least on a generous reading), A3 is more than a thought-experimental version of the Argument from Design: standing alone, the argument in declarative form is indeed supposed to deliver the conclusion that evolution is God's grand design; but -- and here is the more interesting strand -- the mere fact that we can articulate the argument is supposed to be proof that lying beyond the physical world is the world of mind. The notion behind this argument is that in order to articulate A3 one has to use what Eccles calls ``creative imagination;" one has to ``look down." Einstein, as much as anyone, employed this type of thinking; as is well-known, he sought to ``become" (e.g.) objects traveling at great speed. Eccles holds that the sort of cognition involved here is beyond the physical realm: it's an activity of pure mind, not an activity to be identified with any brain process. Since (as is the norm in this volume) no argument is given for this view, readers are left to ponder whether there is anything to recommend it. And that's pretty much the upshot overall: an interesting book, yes, but one that leaves the reader with a choice: since there are no arguments to speak of, do I bother to consider whether the views advocated herein can be established, or at least defended? Or do I place it in some recess never to be retrieved, a tired, pontifical recasting of Descartes' spooky theory of mind?