Saturday, June 28, 2014

Carrier and I agree on something!

A redated post.

Hence, I propose a general rule that covers all and thus distinguishes naturalism from supernaturalism: If naturalism is true, everything mental is caused by the nonmental, whereas if supernaturalism is true, at least one thing is not.

30 comments:

B. Prokop said...

The following statement also has merit:

"[The] tendency to "define away" all supernatural claims as untestable ... renders naturalism meaningless. Naturalism then becomes "whatever is empirically known" no matter what that turns out to be, which ... renders it devoid of identifiable content from the start."

Crude said...

If naturalism is true, everything mental is caused by the nonmental, whereas if supernaturalism is true, at least one thing is not.

So the God of the mormons, Zeus, many instances of hypothetical Intelligent Design, and more are part of naturalism. Anyone who believes mind is irreducible, and arguably neutral monists, are part of supernaturalism.

parbouj said...

I don't like that so many naturalists follow Searle and talk about the brain "causing" the mind. Talk of supervenience seems more inclusive and precise, would shore up Carrier's post. Or at leat the quoted part. Getting obsessed with definitions is boring, whether you're naturalists or non-naturalists.

Jake Elwood XVI said...

"Getting obsessed with definitions is boring, whether you're naturalists or non-naturalists."

What is a naturalist?

William said...

....At least just one thing is not?

Does that include at least one thing which is not definable?

Two words:

Tarski's undefinability.

parbouj said...

Jake: a naturalist is someone who is not a non-naturalist. ;o

Victor has defined it nicely, but w.o taking 100 pages.

I'd rather just be specific and put forth theories of specific phenomena. If u want to call it naturalistic or not doesn't influence the theory itself. I do not think conscious experience supervenes (logically) on brain states. Does that make me a non-naturalist? By many people's definitions. But I don't care--let's argue about the specifics about brains and consciousness, not whether "naturalism" is true in some general topic independent sense.

Some get off on that. I get off on not doing that.

Anonymous said...

Alzheimers proves that the Nonmental is King. It vindicates naturalism.

B. Prokop said...

Anonymous writes: "Alzheimers proves that the Nonmental is King. It vindicates naturalism."

How is that? Have you lived with someone with Alzheimers? I have, so I know whereof I speak.

It does nothing of the sort. No more than does sleep.

Papalinton said...

"It [alzheimers] does nothing of the sort. No more than does sleep."

I disagree. Sleep is an evolutionary adaptive necessity for us terrestrial beings. Alzheimers is not. Indeed all forms of dementia are a clear signal of the very tenuous nature of mind and thought as soul-y [solely, pardon the pun] products of a functioning or malfunctioning brain. Any malfunction and god knows [pardon the pun] what you might think [or not, as the case may be].

The word 'supernaturalism' is simply a convenient grab-bag in which to place the whole jumble of thoughts, emotions, ideation, imagination, projection, channeling, prophesying, foretelling, creativeness; vision, inspiration, inventiveness, revelation and transcendence [I think you get the gist]. It is claimed as if these are indicators of the 'metaphysical' presence of supernaturalism, all derived from or driven by inexplicable forces not of our choosing.

Until you come across a kid with autism, or a person with alzheimers and all that goes out the window.

William said...

Things like sleep are a good reason to deny panpsychism though.

B. Prokop said...

Sorry, Papalinton, but I know very well more than one child with autism, and my own father has extreme alzheimers, and I'm here to tell you that none of "that" went out the window. You're only speaking for yourself there. (But we're used to that.)

I'm always amazed that the materialist will use the existence of physical objects and activities to somehow disprove the existence of the mind. It's as though I were to argue that, since my eye is obviously so constructed as to be a receptor for light, then there must be no such thing as light! (If the brain is so constructed so as to be a conduit for the mind, then there must be no such thing as the mind.)

And just as my eye can be blinded, and I can no longer process the light that strikes it, so can the brain be "blinded", so as to be unable to process the activities of the mind.

Ilíon said...

"So the God of the mormons, Zeus, many instances of hypothetical Intelligent Design, and more are part of naturalism."

Haven't I been saying that, all along?

"Theism" is an all-but-meaningless -- or, perhaps, worse that meaningless -- category, for it lumps together Christianity and classical paganism, when, in fact, classical paganism (and most paganisms) actually cluster with materialism/atheism. 'Monotheism' and 'polytheism' are not opposite ends of a spectrum; thet are on totally different axes.

Papalinton said...

People with autism, generally have no need nor feel any pull of the need for superstitious explanations of the those things that go bump in the night and attribute them to a god or other omni-max entity. End of story.

Matteo said...

"Alzheimers proves that the Nonmental is King. It vindicates naturalism."

The vastly more preponderant and directly experienced fact that one's arm moves when one wills it to proves that the mental is King. It vindicates supernaturalism.

Matteo said...

"People with autism, generally have no need nor feel any pull of the need for superstitious explanations of the those things that go bump in the night and attribute them to a god or other omni-max entity. End of story."

Papalington, people with autism (allegedly) generally have no need nor feel any pull of the need for personalistic explanations of the people right in front of them looking into their eyes. If they can't even figure out people, then how is their (alleged) inability to infer God pertinent?

BenYachov said...

>People with autism, generally have no need nor feel any pull of the need for superstitious explanations of the those things that go bump in the night and attribute them to a god or other omni-max entity. End of story.

How do you know the subjective dispositions of autistic people?

I am the Father of Three autistic children. My son is high functioning and he believes in God. As for my daughters I find from experience they know far more then I give them credit for.

Which begs the question how do you know what autistic people know?

Science? or Faith Alone?

Well it can't be science as Nagel once argued so it must come from somewhere else with you Paps.

I don't think you ever gave up mindless faith Paps. You just direct it elsewhere.

OTOH if you are trying to make hay from the cognitive defects of Autistic people preventing them from understanding Reality in general then your are saying something really silly.

something like this:

http://funnyatheists.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/atheist-logic-102/

Anonymous said...

Ben, would you believe in God if you didn't have three autistic children?

Papalinton said...

Yes, autism in my family, too. Have read much on research into belief structures of autistic kids.

Papalinton said...

Below is a short but rather detailed research project regarding autism and belief in god. It makes for very interesting reading including the diagrams at back.

http://research.chicagobooth.edu/cdr/workshop/aranorenzayant.pdf

Cheers

Ilíon said...

Matteo, are you trying to reason with the Rabid Dingo? You must be new here ;)

shiningwhiffle said...

Crude:

Anyone who believes mind is irreducible, and arguably neutral monists, are part of supernaturalism.

That's a really good point. By Carrier's definition, Donald Davidson's anomalous monism is arguably a form of supernaturalism.

I've always kind of liked Richard Rorty's definition of naturalism as "the claim that (a) there is no occupant of space-time that is not linked in a single web of causal relations to all other occupants and (b) that any explanation of the behavior of any such spatiotemporal object must consist in placing that object within that single web."

It's an extrapolation of anomalous monism to everything. It's also very similar to the way C.S. Lewis defines naturalism in Miracles.

BenYachov said...

>http://research.chicagobooth.edu/cdr/workshop/aranorenzayant.pdf


"Human beings that are not making use of reason and logic are automatically atheists and that is a good argument for atheism."

So persons with cognitive defects that inhibit them from believing in reality have less belief in God then persons with all of their faculties?

This is a good argument for Atheism? Seriously?

>Yes, autism in my family, too.

One of my first cousins also has an autistic daughter. Having it in the family is not the same as having it with your own kids since you see it day by day.

Anon wrote:
>Ben, would you believe in God if you didn't have three autistic children?

That is a curious thing to ask? It seems to me the more natural question is how can I believe in God with this tragedy in my life multiplied by three?

Well if it where not forDivine Providence leading me to Classic Theism, Brian Davies' & Aquinas' view on God being supremely good but not a moral agent I might be tempted to unbelief.

It is a great comfort knowing God doesn't owe me anything & thus I don't have to feel cheated when I don't get what I am not owed in the first place. If I do get good things coming my way then that is gratis and I can enjoy being grateful for it.

BTW after glancing threw Paps' study I can see Autistic kids are ripe for learning about Classic Theism over Theistic Personalist nonsense.

My wife tells me that one message boards she reads Autistic Kids seem to go atheist except when they learn Thomism.

That makes sense & I know what to teaching little Jimmy.

Bobcat said...

If something like Hasker's emergent dualism is true -- basically, this is the claim that the mind is a distinct substance from the brain, but dependent on the brain -- then one can be a dualist and still make sense of things like Alzheimer's. Basically, the idea is that insofar as parts of a person's brain deteriorate, so too do parts of a person's soul.

Gregory said...

Why should we accept the "nature/supernature" distinction? Is this distinction just another permutation of the brain, or brain-states, of which those who accept or reject it cannot help but accept or reject it?

We must be "supernaturalists" if our intuitions tell us that "distinctions" are truth-functional because they aren't--strictly speaking--"determined" but are, instead, rationally perceived, believed and chosen.

parbouj said...

Previous three comments show how low the IQs are here. This place is awful. It's been a fun month. I'm out of here bitches.

Ilíon said...

^
I ask you, Gentle Reader, did I identify the character of 'Parbouj' some time ago, or did I?

Hugo said...

That's actually a very good point!

Next step: how can we account for the 'objective' mental if all mental is caused by the nonmental, and vice versa; how can the 'objective' mental be objective if its origin is from a mental entity?

BenYachov said...

>Until you come across a kid with autism, or a person with alzheimers and all that goes out the window.

I am the Father of three children with Autism & I second what Bob says.

Legion of Logic said...

I have Autism (Asperger's) and not only do I believe in God, but I find philosophical naturalism to be completely absurd, with zero explanatory power on a macro scale.

So let's not make generalizations, shall we? Particularly about those of us whose brains aren't wired the same way as the "norm".

BenYachov said...

@Logic,

My youngest and only Son is high functioning.

I hope and pray he grows up to be like you.

Cheers.