Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ed Feser and the arguments for dualism

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At 2/02/2009 05:42:00 PM , Blogger Bert Power said...


Do you consider the 12 step approach to the AfR on Wikipedia legitimate? Or do you take issues with how it proceeds to its conclusion?

Wikipedia so closely associates you with the AfR, I'm interested to know if you endorse the approach seen there.


At 2/08/2009 07:39:00 AM , Blogger Gordon Knight said...

""Intentionality” is what you get when you insist that the material world is devoid of anything like final causality, when you go on accordingly to relocate all meaning and purpose within the mind, and when you also go on in turn to characterize mental states as internal “representations” of an external reality. I have said a little bit about all of this in earlier posts, and it is a theme I explore in great detail."

This is mostly wrong. Intentionality refers to fact that consciousness is intrinsically referntial. Ask what I am thinking about, and i will refer to something outside of the thought itself. It has nothing to do with purpose( that is a different sense of "intentionality". Of course this notion of intentionailty was first clearly characterized by Brentano, who was steeped in the Aristotelian tradition.

It is true that some conceptions of intentionality use the notion of mental reference, but not all. Sartre (and also G E Moore) held that consciousness was directly aware of its object (remember "consciousness is a wind blowing towards objects). Husserl's view is more complex, but noemata are hardly representations.

At 3/02/2009 07:34:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Feser writes:
“Now the thought you are having about triangularity when you grasp it must be as determinate or exact as triangularity itself, otherwise it just wouldn’t be a thought about triangularity in the first place, but only a thought about some approximation of triangularity.”

And it would seem to follow that the thought one has about water must be as wet as water itself or it woudn’t be a thought about water.

I can’t believe people can take such crappy philosophy seriously. Are they really that hard up for a defense of God?

At 3/03/2009 10:53:00 AM , Blogger Victor Reppert said...

Are you going to actually give me an argument for why this is the case. You can't get away with making statements like that without providing some argumentation.

And no, we are not hard up for theistic arguments. This is only one.

At 3/04/2009 06:24:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did give an argument. Thinking of a perfect triangle no more makes the thought perfect than thinking of the wetness of water makes the thought wet.
What more do you want?

Do you actually agree with the nonsense posted on the page you have linked to? If so, then I’d like to see you provide an argument that can support it.

At 4/03/2010 04:15:00 PM , Blogger David said...

The case for water is different than the case for triangularity. To the point, of course one can think of water, which itself is wet, without the thought being wet because water is understood to be something with an objective existence outside the thought of it. By contrast, there is no objective "triangle" (i.e. ion the spatio-temporal realm) outside of the concept of triangle (though the question of whether there might be one in some extra-mental realm, such as that of plato's Forms, would still need to be considered). In any case, by definition, a triangle IS that with precise conceptual characteristics--thus, a thought which is not a thought of these precise characteristics is not a thought of a triangle. Thus, Feser's point seems to stand.

Your water analogy would seem to be saying this: Just as one can have a thought of water without the thought having the characteristic of being wet, one
can have a thought of triangle without the thought itself having three sides, equalling 180 degrees, etc. To this I would say--no--as a concept, the concept mus tin fact have three sides, 180 degrees, etc. This is NOT the same as saying the thought must be a physical reality having three physical sides, etc.--something Feser has not claimed. But certianly, conceptually speaking, the thought as a concept of triangle must certainly have three conceptual sides, etc.

Indeed, I would further contend, in favor of feser, that the very fact that we can make this distinction between the thought of triangle, and a physical triangle, is already suggestive of a conceptual realm which cannot be reduced to a purely physical realm. That is, precisely because there can be a thought of that with three sides, equalling exactly 180 degrees, etc. without the thought itself being such a physical object, suggests a distinction between conceptual and physical reality.


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