Sunday, January 07, 2007

Reply to Ed Babinski

Ed: The naturalist has no explanation? In general they have one, that the brain is a unique organ, and they are willing to continue to study it, including studying various components of consciousness and different types and levels of consciousness, because "consciousness" is not all simply one thing simply because a single word is used to describe it. Even linguistic philosophers recognize that words are not equivalent to things, and maps are not equivalent to territories.

VR: Wow. Is that all it takes to be a naturalist? To believe that the brain is a unique organ, to be willing to study it, and to accept the idea that there are different components and types and levels of consciousness?? That's it? I accept all of those things, so I must be a naturalist. I thought that naturalists had to accept a mechanistic (non-purposive) substructure to the world, that that system is causally closed, and that whatever else is real supervenes on that.

To insist too strongly on the uniqueness of the brain is something a naturalist can't push too far. If there is a type of causation that goes on in the brain that does not go on in the rest of nature, then we end up denying a central element of what a typical naturalist is committed to. Blue Devil Knight is right to insist that people not call themselves naturalists if they deny the fundmentals of naturalism.

2 Comments:

At 1/12/2007 08:53:00 PM , Blogger Edward T. Babinski said...

I originally wrote more than the section you cited. My point was that naturalists and substance dualists both believe the brain/mind is unique. Each has their own philosophical explanations for that uniqueness. So what does philosophy prove?

As you pointed out there's Christian monists and Christian dualists, and on the naturalist side there's "dualists" of a sort too, though not usually substance dualists. The varieties of philosophical explanations are limited seemingly only by philosophers' imaginations, and competing philosophical systems can be coherent, yet incapable of disproving other equally coherent systems, i.e., when it comes to such questions as the one at hand.

It's true that words are all we have to go on so far as communication is concerned, but the variety of ways one can explain the big questions in philosophy might make a person a bit more critical, perhaps even cynical, concerning what words of philosophy are capable of proving.

 
At 12/02/2008 11:10:00 AM , Blogger kh123 said...

"..but the variety of ways one can explain the big questions in philosophy might make a person a bit more critical, perhaps even cynical, concerning what words of philosophy are capable of proving...So what does philosophy prove?"

And yet here's Ed, trying to prove his point (both here and on many other places on the net), with his own philosophical diatribes. "What can philosophy prove?" is just another way of using philosophy to analyze philosophy.

...Unless of course Babinski wants to qualify his rants as merely diatribes, without the philosophy. Which I think would be pretty accurate.

 

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