Monday, August 21, 2006

Why the old standard argument against substance dualism begs the question

Bill Vallicella issues a charge of begging the question against the argument that dualistic interactionism can't be true because we cannot see how the soul could interact with the body.

8 comments:

Steven Carr said...

Is it begging the question to rule out my cat having caused the 9/11 destruction through the power of her mind, just because there is no evidence for it, and we can see evidence of planes having caused the destruction?

Assuming the body is made out of material, what evidence does Victor have that the path of an atom can be affected by anything other than a material entity?

Blue Devil Knight said...

Valicella responds to one argument (violation of certain conservation laws), while Sober's claim is about the spatiality of causal relations, not violation of conservation laws.

Valicella seems to have quoted the wrong section of Sober or something.

At any rate, is there any interactionist dualist who would not claim that the laws of physics are violated when the mind interacts with the physical world?

HiveMaker said...

I'm sorry, could some dualist or supernaturalist please explain to me why beer works?

Deacon Jones said...

My pastor told me that beer contains millions of little baby demons (they're disguised as bubbles), and those demons, once ingested into the body, are given the keys to the drinker's soul where they invite themselves to "party". The result is that your soul is destablized (that's why you feel "tipsy" and all that), and if you do this repeatedly, the baby demons can grow into adult demons, and it could take a Holy Ghost-filled exorcist to remove them once and for all. Needless to say, it's a very dangerous habit, drinking.

Anonymous said...

Beer works?

Mike D said...

The beer question is acutally a good one. The questions have centered on how the mind can affects the body. The reverse is also an issue, who the body affects the mind. I would prefer a proposal that emphasizes the interdependency of the mind and the body. We sometimes assume that the mind can more easily survive separate from the body. New Testament ideas like a resurrection body and a temporary "spiritual" body issued while awaiting a ressurection body support a mind/body interdependence.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Is it only the human brain that needs to interact with a supernatural mind?

How do all those other brains in nature function then?

And if all those other brains in nature can function without needing a supernatural mind to direct them, could a human mind also function without an immaterial mind directing it?

Assuming that all human brains are being directed by individual supernatural minds, what about ingrained habits, both physical and mental that seem to take no thought at all?

Where does the supernatural mind goes when you sleep dreamlessly?

What is the supernatural mind doing the moment before you have a conscious thought or right before you think or speak a word?

Assuming that all human brains are channelling a supernatural mind, could some people have lost their supernatural mind and be running on natural automatic brain power alone? Where are their supernatural minds when that happens?

Does a split-brain patient have two supernatural minds, one for each hemisphere of their split-brain? I ask that because experimental evidence has not discovered any evidence that the split-hemispheres of the split-brain patients can communicate with one another. In fact sometimes they are at odds, one hand opening a door, the other slamming it shut, one hand pulling up his trousers to go to work, the other pulling them down. Yet there is plenty of evidence that consciousness exists in both hemispheres. Even the hemisphere that cannot speak can point to objects or photos or pictures in answer to questions. And some split-brain patients have a normally silent hemisphere that can even speak a little, at least one word replies.

HiveMaker said...

"But the fact that these things are predictions of the hypothesis that the mind is the brain, and unlikely given the hypothesis that the mind is distinct from the brain, is just naturalism of the gaps!"

I'm glad that everyone seems to at least be aware of this as a problem. The question of why beer works is basically a synecdoche for all the other questions. Why do lesion studies tell us anything about consciousness at all? Why do twin studies on the heritability of schizophrenia work at all? If divine intervention in evolution is necessary to explain the "ensoulment" of humanity, does this "ensoulment" have to be replicated with each individual specimin of homo sapiens -- and if so, why are so many mental conditions heritable? Why does Yahweh never, on a lark, decide to "ensoul" an apple tree, or a koala bear?

Why does beer work?