Friday, March 13, 2009

A Bayesian AFR

It seems to me that a version of the argument from reason confirms Bayesian-confirms theism even if a naturalistic explanation of the mind is perfectly possible.
P(EF)P(F) over
P(EF)P(F) + P(EF')P(F')
E= Creaturely minds exist.
F= The fundamental causes of the universe are mental in nature.
F'= The fundamental causes of the universe are not mental in nature.
Since we are trying to determine whether the argument confirms theism, we have to assume a subject that is on the fence between F and F'. In other words we have to assume that that F = .5.

Now, how likely is it that minds should exist on the assumption that the basic causes are mental. Pretty likely, it seems to me. If theism is true, then from what we know of ourselves as rational creatures, we should expect that a rational being in charge of everything would create rational beings with whom He or She could communicate. But what if God does not exist, and the basic causes were non-mental. How there can be minds is at best difficult and at most impossible to explain. A lot of things had to happen just right in the development of the human brain in order for reason to be possible, if it is even possible at all. It looks, therefore, like the existence of creaturely minds confirms theism even if we cannot show that, for example, dualism is true. The existence of creaturely reason, therefore, confirms the mental character of the universe.



At 3/14/2009 06:13:00 AM , Blogger Mike Almeida said...

We have the Bayesian formula,

Pr(F/E) = Pr(F).Pr(E/F)/Pr(E)

Suppose we concede that Pr(F) is .5 and try to determine whether E confirms F. The way it is set up E confirms F, just if Pr(E/F) > Pr(E/~F), since, as you (rightly) assume,

Pr(E) =
Pr(E/F).Pr(F) + Pr(E/~F).Pr(~F)

But, to my mind, the case has not been made for the claim it is more likely that minds should exist given a mind cause than given a non-mind cause. That is, the case has not been made for this unless you're assuming an (interactionist) dualist picture of the mind. But suppose the mind is epiphenomenal. Or suppose mental events just are physical events. I see no reason to believe that such things are any more likely on a mind cause than on natural cause.

At 3/23/2009 09:05:00 AM , Anonymous Robert Becker said...

... all those debates over the nature of the divine ...

This is oddly(?) similar to Buddhist's debate between the Yogacara ("reality" is the creation of the mind), and Madhyamaka ("reality" has roughly the same validity as moon's reflexion on water).

After Descartes, it was thought that Mind and body are separate entities (I think, therefore, I am), while modern doctors (like old medicine men) would agree you'd have to take body and mind as a whole.

In recent times, until quantum physics, it was thought that matter was solid, while most of it is in fact empty.

So, if you cannot prove that your body actually exist (where are the atom-sized limits of 'you' ?), how could you even attempt to prove that you actually think independently ?

"I" write words, but those are inspired by "my" past readings, conversations, experiences, biology, genetics, physiology, ... in all these things, "I" ultimately find interaction with "others" (not even talking about the mystic side of the argument).

If history shows us ONE thing, it is that ideas regularly seem to spring uncoordinatedly at the same time in unrelated places of the Earth.

At 3/29/2009 06:16:00 PM , Blogger Kraxpelax said...

Personal announcement!

My Art:

My Poetry:

My Philosophy:

My photographies from Stockholm:

- Peter Ingestad, Sweden

At 3/29/2009 06:38:00 PM , Blogger Kraxpelax said...

Crucial here seems to me impossibility of comprehension how Mind could emerge from Matter. A possible solution could be a meta-hysical, somewhat occamite, principle of simplicity. First, let's assume Matter as necessary condition for existence of Mind. Secondly, let's assume the Universe could be exhaustively described in a finite sentence (a sequence of terms ordered by a grammar). Now, the Universe we know actually contains a mental mode of being. I assume this to be isomorphically related to the material dimension (in a 1-to mirroring function), and then that the description sentence could be considerably reduced in size through semantical compression without loss of consequential information. Accepting a correspondence theory for Truth (like in Wittgenstein's Tractatus), this sentence could then be transposed to a new, material Universe, essentially congruent to the first one, though far simpler. By Simplicity Principle, this Universe will be the one likely to exist, not the first one. From this consideration I tentatively conclude a dual Mind-Matter Universe is simpler than an all Matter one. So, by something like an Ocham's Razor, Mind occurs, NOT due to material causes, but indeed do meta-physical preconditions. You might call these God. I will elaborate this idea on my blog Window Mirror.

- Peter Ingestad, Sweden

At 4/04/2009 09:39:00 PM , Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

This seems to be an argument for panpsychism, not theism.

At 6/14/2009 11:50:00 AM , Blogger Joshua said...

@Robert Becker - The Church has always maintained that soul and body are inseparable, and in fact has put down as heresy any assertions to the contrary.

I always find it remarkable when people insinuate that mind-body independence is an innovation of the only organization that has held the banner of bodily resurrection for 2,000 years. The philosophy of mind-body split predated Descartes by a long shot, going back at least to the Greeks.


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