Saturday, May 24, 2008

Richard Carrier has an update of his paper

But the updates are about ancient science. He told me once that he would try to deal with my objection that his analysis of intentionality uses intentional concepts. He doesn't do that here.


Edward T. Babinski said...


I don't see how the use of intentional concepts proves or disproves one view over another, or even why you see so sure that merely bringing it up constitutes some sort of difficulty for people with brain-mind theories different from your own. I'm sure you can find Christian philosophers of mind and Christian brain physiologists and neurologists who would agree with Carrier in this respect as well, and maybe you ought to attempt presenting your views to more Christians of that sort to see how your AFR fairs in their eyes. I'd like to see more Christian philosopher interaction. Try Andrew Bailey, J.D Walters, or Nancy Pearcy (spelling?).

Any human level of perspective and discourse would involve intentional concepts, and even some vague words, concepts and generalities thrown in as well. Neither materialists nor spiritualists (if I may call your view) know everything that's going on beyond that shared level of human discourse. For instance the materialist doesn't know all the material factors and feedback loops and emergent properties and Bayesian changing probabilities lying behind each thought. And the spiritualist doesn't know how or why his spirit even needs a body that gathers in sensory data and transfers that data from the material world to the spirit, or how the spirit "decides" and "intends" things all by itself, or how that spirit then dives into the physical world and changes the brain such that those decisions and intentions also show up there.

Moreover, animals seem to have intentions too, as they fly about deciding where to land or find food, or mates. And it isn't an individual atom that makes such decisions in the animal but the sum total of atoms, and not just the sum total of atoms but the sum total of atoms working in the unique form of unique molecules, and not just the sum total of molecules but the sum total of all those molecules forming great reaction chains which also are unique to those molecules, and so forth on up to tissues, organs, organ systems, and entire bodies of each animal and animals interacting with one another in a whole fashion and with their environment. So in the end the atoms in each animal's body are being carried round by that animal's intentions as an individual animal but also as a member of a social group and the whole group may exhibit a new intention that guides its individual members as well -- like when they choose a new nesting site or starting eating or hunting some new food source and sharing it amongst themselves. Thus atoms become part of larger and larger domains of operations leading up to the macroscale, even the social scales of behavior and so intentions DO exist even for social groups as a whole.

Richard Carrier said...

Oh dear. I have forgotten about where we were in that debate after the original publication of my critique. Is there an article/blog entry you have online that will remind me as to what I haven't responded to? I may have made an update years ago already. It was so long ago, even things you had up that I read and responded to by email, etc., I have already forgotten about. So I have to beg for a reminder.

I won't have time to work on this now, but if you leave me with something to put on my calendar as needing a reply, I may be able to get to it before the close of 2008.