Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reply to some questions from J on the AFR

Why can't matter...think, or possess intentionality of some type, to varying degrees ? (widely varying).




The problem is that something can count as material only if, at the basic level, there is no intentionality, no purpose, no normativity, and no subjectivity. If you want to tamper with that definition of matter, be my guest, but that seems to be built into the very idea. Remember Dennett's "no skyhooks" rule? Yet, somehow the truths about thinking have to follow necessarily from truths about what by definition MUST be nonmental. Such entailments, in my view, are bound to break down logically. We can hide the breakdown in pages and pages of neuroscientific analysis, but at the end of the day there is no entailment, no metaphysical glue that binds the mental and the physical together. Whatever glue we come up with, if we analyze it closely enough, has to come from a mind of some sort, and materialism fails.





In comparison to say, ants, rats seem nearly conscious.



Which of the four relevant properties do they have, or do they lack them all?



Does a rose bush think? It does know when to bloom... At least a rose follows a routine (even if genetically determined).



Does the thermostat in my house know how hot or cold it is?



either way the mere fact of intentional processes--or consciousness-- does not suffice as proof of monotheism...



Monotheism is one of a few options left over once naturalism is eliminated. As Lewis recognized, it is not the only one.

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3 Comments:

At 8/06/2011 06:53:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"what by definition MUST be nonmental"

the qeustion begging is in the meaning of nonmental.

if you can get the mental from the matter then it stil is nonmental , while not contradicting a nonmentalable kind of matter.

you can say that mind is by definition MUST be nonmaterial , which can mean that it supervene on it..

the baconian method of bee behavior is best.
from the sources that we make all matter and mind definition and know of their interaction , we will gather a list of all properties and featurs with no lables of what and which.

the being that emerge will settle what is which.

 
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At 9/10/2017 01:03:00 PM , Blogger Timothy McCabe said...

Dr. Reppert,

You said...

"Monotheism is one of a few options left over once naturalism is eliminated. As Lewis recognized, it is not the only one."

Certainly no disagreement with the statement as quoted, but could not the argument from reason be developed to eliminate all possibilities other than monotheism? Let me lay out my own two syllogisms to demonstrate. Defining "god" as "a rational or reasoning creator of the universe, a personal uncaused first cause, an ultimate authority", here is my arrangement of the argument:

P1. Any belief ultimately formed by non-reasoning causes is ultimately believed without reason.

P2. If there is no god, every belief is ultimately formed by non-reasoning causes.

C1. Therefore, if there is no god, every belief is ultimately believed without reason.

The result is that there must be more than zero gods or there is ultimately no reason for any human belief. Then we look at the possibility of multiple gods ("god" as defined above).

Imagine that we have 2 gods creating the universe. Both are uncaused. Both are personal. Neither is therefore sovereign over the other in an ontological sense. This means that neither can guarantee the behavior of the other with any authority. This means that neither will necessarily behave in the way the other wants or expects. This means that they may contradict one another. This means, for us humans, that noncontradiction is no longer a viable test of truth. With the presupposition of noncontradiction thus rationally unjustified, this means rational thought cannot exist for humans.

So a syllogism ultimately demonstrating that there are not multiple gods could perhaps go something like this:

P3. If anyone is not the author of every aspect of creation, then his authority is insufficient to rationally guarantee the behavior of creation.

P4. Under polytheism, no one is the author of every aspect of creation.

C2. Therefore, under polytheism, no one has the authority to rationally guarantee the behavior of creation.

Further, If I am not completely loony, I think it could be applied to deism and open theism as well.

Defining "deism" as "any philosophy or worldview which claims that there is a supreme creator of the universe who has no ongoing involvement with what is created apart from the initial act of creation itself," we can see that the deistic god is within time rather than the creator of time. This means that time has been created by someone or something else, something not subject to the author of our "rational thought", the deistic god. Otherwise, time is eternally uncreated, and the exact same problem applies. If he has no authority over time, he cannot guarantee that the present will not behave in a way that contradicts the principles he has programmed us with, like universal, invariant noncontradiction. Again, noncontradiction ceases to be a viable test of truth. Again, rational thought cannot exist for humans.

The same could be said for the god of open theism. He exists within time and does not have a clear view of what the future holds. Thus, he cannot guarantee invariant noncontradiction.

P5. If the ultimate rational authority behind our thoughts is not the ultimate rational authority behind time, then our thoughts about time are not ultimately rational.

P6. Under deism and open theism, there is no ultimate rational authority behind time.

C3. Therefore, under deism and open theism, our thoughts about time are not ultimately rational.

Do you think these arguments hold up? If not, why not? I would love your thoughts! Feel free to contact me, if you would like a more in-depth conversation on this topic, here:
https://presuppositions.org/contact

You can also see several other syllogisms, notably one against unitarianism, here:
https://presuppositions.org/philosophy

 

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