Thursday, August 10, 2006

Vallicella on the argument from indexicals

Vallicella argues, as I was arguing earlier, that indexicality presents a serious problem for materialism. Geoffrey Madell's book is, in my estimation, a densely written but outstanding critique of materialism.

I have been wondering lately if I should be presenting the Argument from reason as one symptom among several of a general problem with materialism.

3 comments:

JD Walters said...

Vic,

That is exactly what the AFR should be doing. It should be part of a cumulative case against materialism, together with arguments from consciousness, religious experience, morality, free will, etc. Materialism is just too straight-jacketed to account for the richness of human experience.

It simply amazes me that some skeptics accuse Christians of believing in a tyrannical God and do their best to discredit theism, and instead enthusiastically embrace genetic determinism, the epiphenomenalism of the mental, a purposeless Universe and no prospects for a better life beyond death. It's like locking yourself in a tiny little prison of your own making to avoid enjoying a mansion all around you, but with a Landlord you'd rather not have.

Is there any skeptic or atheist so sadistic as to want materialism to be true?

HiveMaker said...

I don't want materialism to be true. Even after I abandoned theism, I fought a long struggle to retain some sort of metamathematical Platonism... but nominalism won. What am I supposed to do about it? Cry?

Unfortunately, the universe is under no obligation to conform itself to what I find to be consoling. Religionism is essentially Emotional Geocentrism. It is the demand that the universe revolve around what makes the religious believer have warm fuzzy feelings.

I simply don't believe you mean what you say when you claim to be "amazed" that skeptics dislike the concept of some mad genocidal god. Is revulsion at totalitarianism really such a foreign concept? Here's The Hitch:

"Being religious is like living in North Korea. You have endless opportunities to praise The Leader, to thank Him for giving you everything, to thank Him for looking after you, to thank Him for all his boundless gifts, to thank Him for all His tireless efforts on your behalf. A Celestial North Korea is what the religious believer wants, but there are two differences: you *can* defect from North Korea, and you can die and just cease to exist. But if you're a religious believer, The Leader goes on persecuting you after you're dead -- you have to go on praising Him forever, and thanking Him for being born. This is servility squared."

JD Walters said...

Hivemaker,

You are right that the Universe is under no obligation to be what we want it to be. In fact the Christian religion is all about facing up to the 'wildness' of the Universe and its Creator. There is nothing warm or fuzzy about Christianity. But you completely misunderstood my point about a tyrannical God. My question was not, how can skeptics object to a tyrannical God, but how they can accuse Christians of worshipping a tyrannical God while all at the same time almost religiously embracing a stifling materialism that is more 'tyrannical' than anything the Christian God would impose on us.

Very often it seems that materialism is a way to make the world safe from God, rather than the philosophy which is supposed to correspond most closely with the findings of science.

And if Christianity is so akin to the political condition in North Korea, how come Christians are being martyred for their faith there?