Thursday, September 07, 2006

On Beer, dualism, and Hivemaker

I think Hivemaker's point is that whatever the "soul" might be, it hsa to be something that has a close relationship to the physical system we call the brain, so that what happens in the physical world is closely related to what happens in the nonphysical mind. This is something that dualist philosophers such as Hasker and Taliaferro agree on. It is necessary to tell something like the story HM refers to in accounting for how beer works.

At the same time, in asking how beer works, part of what we want accounted for is the slightly tipsy feeling we get if the beer we drink actually does work, and that introduces what Chalmers calls the "hard problem" of consciousness which is a persistent difficulty that bedevils physicalism. Simply calling a conscious state a brain state does not resolve the issue of physicalism. The question is how something that is physical can also have conscoius properties. Can something that we describe in third-person terms have first-person characteristics? How beer causes tipsy behavior is one thing, how it causes the inner state of tipsiness is another

Sometimes these points are used as quick and easy "refutations" of dualism, and I consider such quick and easy refutations to be fallacious. Some of us who have responded to all of this have thought that this is what you were up to. Apparently not, however.

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