Friday, February 15, 2008

Condolences to NIU

I spent a year teaching four Contemporary Moral Issues classes at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL (famous, and famous only, for the university and the flying ears of corn signs I have even seen in Arizona). So I was shocked to hear that a school shooting took place at that school. I am praying for all the wounded and for that university's community as well.

1 comment:

solip said...

I have a question unrelated to the topic above but I'll just post it here anyway:

You are arguing that rationality/reason is the only logical pathway (so to speak) for reason and rationality to arise. You cannot get reason/rationality out of matter.

But before my question, I'll lay out first what I believe with regard to the nature of matter:

I for one accept that matter has weird properties as stated by QM (such as it needs to be observed first before it takes any properties). But I also believe that matter no matter how absurd its properties are exists independently of the observer. The Copenhagen interpretation to me is wrong because quantum particles do exist (that is independent of me) -- only that they are probabilistic in nature rather than deterministic.

So far I hope that we agree on two things: 1. That there are observers and 2. There are things to be observed.

Here are my questions:

1. You are arguing that matter (things to be observed) cannot have resulted or created the observers (people who observes). On what grounds do you say this? Is it because matter lacks causal power to create minds? But on what grounds can you say that matter lacks the causal power to create minds?

2. The same problem can be asked of God. How is it possible to create another mind intentionally? You are saying that God is the supreme rational necessary being. You are saying that God created other minds. But what exactly is the logical pathway (I mean even in principle) to create another mind? What I mean is, just as it's hard for me to think of mind arising from matter, it is also just as hard for me to think of mind arising from another mind. Perhaps, matter is inferior an explanation since it may lack the causal power/will to create other minds. Minds on the other hand obviously has an irreducible causal power to think, create and imagine things. But my main problem is: I have a mind but I cannot create another mind. I can create thoughts, ideas and materialize them by using matter but all of these takes place inside my subjective experience.

My main contention is: Mind seems to lack the capacity to create another mind "even in principle" just as matter seems to lack the capacity to create mind "even in principle." The self is inescapable and even God cannot escape this logical boundary. But how does he know that he has created another mind if he himself cannot escape his selfhood? How can God even distribute consciousness if consciousness is immaterial hence has no property of being divided? What if there is actually just One Conscious Solipsistic Mind and all of us are merely his imagined personalities just so to escape the loneliness of being alone?