Sunday, November 10, 2013

Notes on some more comments by Parsons on the AFR

KP: Further, human beings would be most unfortunate if in fact a theory as important as PRM (the physical realization of the mental-VR) were true and could not be rationally believed. Goetz and Taliafero appear to concede that PRM could be true, but they hold that the truth of PRM would preclude rationally believing it by our standards of rational belief. However, if our standards of rational belief are such that they can preclude us from rationally believing an important theory that (we are assuming) is in fact true, then perhaps our standards of rational belief are deficient. Standards of rational belief are supposed to permit, not preclude, rational belief in true theories. If PRM is true—and, again, Goetz and Taliafero apparently concede that it could be—then this is a very important truth and there needs to be some way that we can rationally believe that it is true.

VR: Interestingly, if it is problematic that certain things of significance my be true, and yet we are unable to rationally believe them, then this poses some problems for a number of interesting positions in philosophy, which many religious skeptics endorse. A good example would be Hume's essay on miracles. If we take Humeanism about miracles far enough, the God could be sitting up in heaven performing miracle after miracle, and the best we could, as human reasoners, could say about it would be that we don't have a naturalistic explanation for it yet. Water into wine? We'll understand it better by and by. Someone rises from the dead? It's GOT to be a hallucination. I'm being appeared to hellishly? Got to be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.

Are there features of the world and human minds that are necessary in order for there to be, for example, any scientists in the world? Suppose reality were nothing but a turnip with a bit of whipped cream on top. If this were the case, this would be a significant truth, but given the nature of knowledge, neither the turnip nor the whipped cream would know this. Turnips and bits of whipped cream don't do science. Is this a problem? 

47 comments:

John Moore said...

Why does there need to be some way that we can rationally believe it?

Every philosophical system must start with an a priori basis that is not justified within the system. No philosophical system is self-justifying, so maybe we can't rationally believe in any philosophical system.

Rational ways are like reasons, or causes, with one thing leading to the next in a long chain. It can't go on forever in an infinite regression, can it?

Theists may say God is the first cause that anchors the chain of rationality, but atheists can say it all just appeared from nothing. Why assume there must be a God?

im-skeptical said...

You can't get a theist, even one with a PhD, to admit that the grounding basis of his philosophy is his a priori belief in god.

So they use arguments like AFR, with its premise that rationality cannot com from a natural, (or non-rational) source, to prove the existence of god. It's really a circular argument. I have asked repeatedly how they justify such a premise, and I never get an answer. The premise is based on belief in god.

Crude said...

Why assume there must be a God?

It's not assumed, it's argued for and concluded.

Why is this so hard for some people to accept? Why is it when people mention that they have arguments, evidence, reasons for believing in God - and even provide them - the response is 'No, no, no. You have to be assuming God exists. It has to be an a priori belief.'

Are you that terrified that people may reason and come to conclusions you disagree with?

Better yet, 'Appeared from nothing' IS 'assumed'. There's no argument for it. There's just 'the alternatives that require arguments bother me - I like this one better.'

So they use arguments like AFR, with its premise that rationality cannot com from a natural, (or non-rational) source, to prove the existence of god.

Uh...

I have asked repeatedly how they justify such a premise, and I never get an answer.

You've had this explained to you repeatedly. What you mean is 'I've never heard an answer you like, or possibly that you understand.'

This is a little like the creationists who say 'I've asked repeatedly why there are still monkeys if we evolved from monkeys. I never have gotten a response to this.' No, they have gotten responses. They were just easily confused, or didn't like the responses. But it's dishonest for them to say they haven't received a response.

im-skeptical said...

Still no answer.

Crude said...

Still no answer.

Answered repeatedly in the past. You'd like it again? I'm more than happy to do so.

'Rationality cannot come from a natural (or non-rational) source.'

You accept "material" as natural, yes? Mindless, arational particles with no intrinsic meaning?

Crude said...

And by the way, straight from the wiki - some simplified examples:

To give a simplistic example: when a child concludes that the day is warm because he wants ice cream, it is not a rational inference. When his parent concludes the day is cold because of what the thermometer says, this is a rational inference.


To give a slightly more complex example: if the parent concludes that the day is cold because the chemistry of his brain gives him no other choice (and not through any rational process of deduction from the thermometer) then it is not a rational inference.

im-skeptical said...

Still no answer.

"You accept "material" as natural, yes? Mindless, arational particles with no intrinsic meaning?" is not a justification for the claim. Perhaps there is someone else who is actually capable of providing a cogent response?

Crude said...

"You accept "material" as natural, yes? Mindless, arational particles with no intrinsic meaning?" is not a justification for the claim.

Duh. It's a question.

Will you be answering it? The whole point was to, you know, walk you through the answer with definitions you accept.

Perhaps there is someone else who is actually
capable of providing a cogent response?


I also followed up with an example, straight from the wiki:

"To give a slightly more complex example: if the parent concludes that the day is cold because the chemistry of his brain gives him no other choice (and not through any rational process of deduction from the thermometer) then it is not a rational inference."

I take it you disagree with this? Or wait, are you going to refuse to answer any questions to nail down and clarify what you're rejecting, and instead keep saying 'not an answer' while avoiding explaining where the replies, definitions or arguments fail? ;)

Crude said...

Your problem here, Skep, is that you're deathly afraid of defending the claim that rationality can come from non-rational sources. Examples have been given that illustrate the problem of getting the rational from the arational, and if you say that this is false, then the onus is on you to argue for why the rational could come from the non-rational.

It's a little like saying how a wall completely composed of black bricks and nothing else can nevertheless (and not by shining a light on it, etc) be wholly red in appearance. You're demanding to know why the wall couldn't be red. When examples are given illustrating the problem, when the differences are explained, you just dig in your heels and say 'I see no answer.'

But the answer is there, even if you pretend otherwise. If you disagree, just explain how rationality can come from the non-rational. I mean, the AFR is wrong, so that should be easy - right? ;)

im-skeptical said...

The only thing I'm rejecting is the notion that you have given a cogent answer. The question isn't about what I think, it's about what you think. I already know what a rational inference is. What I'd like to have explained is why it can't come from a purely material (or so-called non-rational) object.

im-skeptical said...

"you're deathly afraid of defending the claim that rationality can come from non-rational sources"

And now you're trying to shift the burden to me. Why would I expect anything different?

Crude said...

The only thing I'm rejecting is the notion that you have given a cogent answer. The question isn't about what I think, it's about what you think.

Actually, it is about what you think. Because your claim here is that the statements made, the examples given, are insufficient or flawed.

Now, that's fine - go ahead and reject the examples and explanations. But A) don't pretend you haven't had them given to you, and B) don't pretend that 'I reject that', period is a sufficient reply.

If you tell me that science has disproven God's existence, you have a burden. If you give me your evidence, and I reject it, the burden is now on me to explain why I reject it.

And now you're trying to shift the burden to me. Why would I expect anything different?

If you are terrified of making claims and ever having a burden, I have news for you: claiming such and such argument or claim doesn't work, is invalid, is insufficient, etc, is off the table for you. Because that involves making a claim, and must be supported.

You've asked for evidence, arguments and explanations. You've received them. If you want to say they do not work, congratulations - you now have the burden of explaining why. If you can't, that will be pointed out.

What a surprise: the burden of supporting your claims is something you avoid like the plague. Power of science and reason, right? ;)

grodrigues said...

@Crude:

You are in it for the fun aren't you?

im-skeptical said...

I asked a simple question: How do you justify the assertion that rationality can't come from material objects? If you think there was an answer in what you said, I sure couldn't find it. So why don't you state it clearly, right now, in plain language?

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

I along with Grodrigues hope that you're just having fun here, because you're never going to make the least headway against Skep. Over on a thread 3 below this one, He asked me "What do you do when your belief is contradicted by evidence?" I answered "fair enough. Now show me some evidence that contradicts my beliefs, and I'll tell what I'd do" (or words to that effect). Well... despite dodging and squirming for 15 subsequent postings, he never did get around to supplying any such "evidence".

I hope you're not expecting to get a straight answer from him to your question!

And as for Skep supposedly never getting an answer to his fake question (fake, because he really isn't interested in an answer), hell, entire BOOKS have been written on the subject, starting with C.S. Lewis and even including our very own Victor Reppert! Skep, if you're genuinely interested in an answer, I suggest you read either Lewis's Miracles or Victor's Lewis's Dangerous Idea. If you do not, then you are exposed as a PHONEY!!!

Crude said...

grod & Bob,

You are in it for the fun aren't you?

Oh, I know progress won't be made here. At least not with Skep. I think it's funny to reply to 'I've never seen this explained' with an explanation, and then get a 'nope that doesn't count, don't ask me to explain why, I avoid burdens of proof at all costs!' as a reply.

But people can take a good look at Cult of Gnu arguments and realize, wow, they really have nothing going on except some pack mentality and indignation.

Skep got supplied with examples and answers. He's afraid of even criticizing them directly, or explaining his case. The Gnu allergic reaction to every having to defend their claims is enough to damn their particular brand of atheism.

im-skeptical said...

So, Bob, you didn't like the VOLUMES of evidence that I linked you to? All you have to do is read some if it.

And, yes, I'm aware of the standard non-explanatory, unjustified assertion from theistic philosophers: "No belief is rationally inferred if it can be fully explained in terms of nonrational causes." This is not a conclusion, but a premise to their arguments. My question is WHY? How do you justify that? I have NEVER heard any justification for it, and all your squirming and fidgeting and burden-shifting doesn't provide an answer, except perhaps that you don't have one.

B. Prokop said...

"you didn't like the VOLUMES of evidence that I linked you to?"

It's not a matter of my liking or not liking any of it. The problem is that none of it is evidence that contradicts my beliefs. Mental states and the study of them deal with physical properties and activities of physical constructs. It's all a big "So What?" What the physical brain does is no threat to my beliefs. You asked me quite specifically "What do you do when your belief is contradicted by evidence?" You have yet to provide an example of evidence that contradicts my beliefs. What you linked me to was evidence that is irrelevant to my beliefs.

(Apparently it contradicts some strawman belief that you don't believe in. Well guess what? I don't believe in your strawman either!)

B. Prokop said...

"He's afraid of even criticizing them directly"

I'd like to see him try! I doubt he's ever even read either Victor's or Lewis's books on the subject. If he hasn't, he has no business criticizing the AfR.

im-skeptical said...

Still no answer to my simple question.

Samwell Barnes said...

Other than entertainment, is there any reason why you folks repeatedly initiate conversations with these idiotic atheists? They clearly don't care about the pursuit of truth, much less about arguing in good faith.

Crude said...

Bob,

I'd like to see him try! I doubt he's ever even read either Victor's or Lewis's books on the subject. If he hasn't, he has no business criticizing the AfR.

He doesn't understand it either. Which is why he's petrified here, and keeps saying 'No answer to my question' even though it's been answered, and the ball is in his court.

Barnes,

No, just entertainment for these two. There are other worthwhile atheists and agnostics around to talk with, but Skep and Linton are pretty well known for being anything but intellectually worthwhile.

im-skeptical said...

One simple question. How about a simple, straightforward answer? How about you, Samwell? Anything in there?

B. Prokop said...

"Other than entertainment, is there any reason why you folks repeatedly initiate conversations with these idiotic atheists?"

Simple answer: No. And even then, I have to be really, really bored.

B. Prokop said...

"One simple question. How about a simple, straightforward answer?"

I've forgotten, what was the question? Oh, yeah! I remember now. It was something like, "Now show me some evidence that contradicts my beliefs, and I'll tell what I'd do."

Still waiting...

im-skeptical said...

No, Bob. The question was philosophical. How do you justify one of the chief premises you make to a major argument for the existence of god? I just want to know how you justify this belief, because I've never heard the justification. And despite all crude's assertions, he hasn't answered the question. Nobody has. I'm not the one playing stupid little games. You are.

As for your question (from the other thread), I showed you evidence. Lots of it. I can't help it if you refuse to read it. I think there's plenty there that would in fact refute what you believe.

Still waiting...

B. Prokop said...

"I showed you evidence. Lots of it."

You showed me lots of evidence that was irrelevant to the issue. I asked for evidence that contradicted my beliefs. So far, you haven't done so.

Hint: NOTHING concerning the physical operations of the brain contradicts anything I believe, so stop running down that rabbit hole. If that's all you got, then I'll answer your original question right now.

Q: "What do you do when your belief is contradicted by evidence?"

A: "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. To date, I've never encountered any evidence that contradicts the Catholic Faith."

(So I'll excuse you from answering the question, seeing as you don't have an answer.)

Crude said...

And despite all crude's assertions, he hasn't answered the question.

Sure I have, and you don't know how to respond. Which is exactly why you only stamp your feet and say 'Question not answered!'. You don't argue or show where the reply's logic failed, where the examples failed, etc.

Because you are absolutely petrified of having to defend any claim, and you got into this argument thinking you could make claims about the cogency of an argument and no one would notice you WERE making claims. But that move has been nullified, and now you don't know what to do. And everyone knows it.

But you know that if you actually try to argue and support your criticisms, you'll be torn apart. So what we get is a bit of play acting on your part.

Behold, IM-Skeptical: the self-described skeptic who doesn't have the guts or the capability to BE a skeptic. ;)

im-skeptical said...

So what's the answer?

Crude said...

So what's the answer?

Already supplied. Feel free to make claims about what's wrong with the answer.

Oops, you won't. The prospect of making a claim terrifies you. So I guess you can't claim there's anything wrong with the answer.

Prove me wrong. ;)

im-skeptical said...

"Already supplied. Feel free to make claims about what's wrong with the answer."

Let's start with this: you haven't answered my question. What is your justification for your claim that a purely material object can't be rational?

Now, I know exactly why you refuse to answer. Because you have no answer. You have no justification for that claim. You just assume it's true. Prove me wrong.

frances said...

It's a little like saying how a wall completely composed of black bricks and nothing else can nevertheless (and not by shining a light on it, etc) be wholly red in appearance. You're demanding to know why the wall couldn't be red. When examples are given illustrating the problem, when the differences are explained, you just dig in your heels and say 'I see no answer.'

Crude,
It's more like saying how a wall constructed entirely of small light bricks can be large and heavy. How could large and heavy come from small and light?

im-skeptical said...

Lets examine crude's "examples" (straight from the wiki page on AFR):

1. To give a simplistic example: when a child concludes that the day is warm because he wants ice cream, it is not a rational inference. When his parent concludes the day is cold because of what the thermometer says, this is a rational inference.

- This example shows the difference between rational thinking and irrational thinking. It is about rational justification for what you believe, not about whether rationality derives from your god. It does more to make my point than crude's.


2. To give a slightly more complex example: if the parent concludes that the day is cold because the chemistry of his brain gives him no other choice (and not through any rational process of deduction from the thermometer) then it is not a rational inference.

- This is, I'm sure what crude latched on to as his justification for the immaterial nature of rationality. But he misses the key principle of rationality: It is about whether you have reason to believe what you do, not about what kind of engine does the logical reasoning. So if a brain is simply a machine that spits out thoughts without going through any logical process of inference, then it would indeed be irrational. But that's certainly not the case. Our brains are powerful engines for making logical inference.

This is from the wiki page on rationality: "An action, belief, or desire is rational if we ought to choose it. Rationality is a normative concept that refers to the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons to believe, or of one's actions with one's reasons for action." Notice, this about having reason to believe something, not about whether the process of arriving at those beliefs was mechanical. So once again, crude's example fails.

On the other hand, if he makes the assumption, as theists do, that the brain can't make logical inferences of its own accord without the guiding hand of some immaterial "rational being", then he is using his a priori belief in god as justification for the claim. THERE IS NO OTHER JUSTIFICATION. This is what he refuses to say, because he realizes that it makes the whole AFR a circular argument.

Crude said...

Frances,

It's more like saying

Wonderful claim!

Now all you have to do is show how you can build up arational thoughts and come to rationality. At what point are conclusions no longer arrived at via the mechanical operations of arational causes, and instead the rational causes are the ones that take over?

Or will you be redefining irrationality?

Skep,

This example shows the difference between rational thinking and irrational thinking. It is about rational justification for what you believe, not about whether rationality derives from your god. It does more to make my point than crude's.

What 'point', Skep? You've been frantically avoiding making any claims, and thus taking on any burden, this entire thread. ;)

What it does is show an example of how to come to a conclusion irrationally.

This is, I'm sure what crude latched on to as his justification for the immaterial nature of rationality. But he misses the key principle of rationality: It is about whether you have reason to believe what you do, not about what kind of engine does the logical reasoning.

Actually, it is about 'what kind of engine does the logical reasoning', precisely because some 'engines' are completely incapable of having or operating off of 'reasons'.

Now, you just agreed - thank you - that if you come to conclusion X as a result of arational influences... if you conclude that 100 is higher than 50 because sunsets on a rainy day look pretty - then you haven't engaged in rational thought. Even if your conclusion is true!

So what you need to do here is the following:

Maintain materialism. ('All that exists are arational, blind, mechanistic forces at work.')

and

Maintain rationality. ('I come to conclusions as a result of rational reasoning and reasons.')

Let's see you do that. But before you do...

On the other hand, if he makes the assumption, as theists do, that the brain can't make logical inferences of its own accord without the guiding hand of some immaterial "rational being", then he is using his a priori belief in god as justification for the claim. THERE IS NO OTHER JUSTIFICATION. This is what he refuses to say, because he realizes that it makes the whole AFR a circular argument.

Little boy, let me quote you something:

Thus it is better not be thought of as a proof of God's existence, but as an attempt to disprove naturalistic materialism. Naturalistic materialism is the worldview held by most atheists (though atheism does not necessitate this view), and, therefore, the argument often is referenced as a proof of God's existence.

See the above, Skep? This is what you'd have seen if you actually bothered to at least read the *wikipedia entry for the AFR*.

Oh, wait, let me quote Victor Reppert himself:

The argument from reason, if successful, gives us a good reason to suppose that one of the mentalistic world-views must be true and that naturalism is false. It is designed to enhance the likelihood that theism is true by eliminating some alternatives, alternatives that are in fact the most popular non-theistic world-views.

So much for 'THERE IS NO OTHER JUSTIFICATION'. You haven't even been able to correctly grasp the summary and ramifications of the argument. And I, you will notice, have nowhere argued 'The AFR shows God exists'.

Do you try to make this easy for me, Skep? I mean, seriously. Do you sit there and think 'God, I want to make myself look absolutely pig-ignorant, and I want Crude to be able to do this in five minutes. How oh how do I pull this off...?'? ;)

Crude said...

Oh, one last thing.

So if a brain is simply a machine that spits out thoughts without going through any logical process of inference, then it would indeed be irrational. But that's certainly not the case. Our brains are powerful engines for making logical inference.

Again, what a wonderful claim!

Please answer me this question: are the logical inferences the brain makes intrinsic, or derived?

I will be holding your feet to the fire on this one, and we will not continue until you answer it. Unless I can make another comment that's pretty funny and smacks you around intellectually a bit. ;)

frances said...

Now all you have to do is show how you can build up arational thoughts and come to rationality. At what point are conclusions no longer arrived at via the mechanical operations of arational causes, and instead the rational causes are the ones that take over?

I don't have to do that, Crude. I just have to illustrate that the argument "you can't get x from ~x" is not necessarily true.

Crude said...

Frances,

I don't have to do that, Crude. I just have to illustrate that the argument "you can't get x from ~x" is not necessarily true.

You do, Frances, if you want to argue that 'you can get X from ~X' is true in this particular case.

But if you want to completely abandon that claim as well? Feel free. It helps establish the theme of this thread: atheists and naturalists are absolutely petrified of burdens of proof, because they know they have little defense for their claims. But the cost of avoiding all burdens of proof is sacrificing claims - including claims about the truth of naturalism and atheism.

I welcome that move.

Karl Grant said...

I don't have to do that, Crude. I just have to illustrate that the argument "you can't get x from ~x" is not necessarily true.

Really? You haven't done that. Your example:

It's more like saying how a wall constructed entirely of small light bricks can be large and heavy. How could large and heavy come from small and light?

comes nowhere close to doing that as small, light bricks still have mass and weight. The only thing you are saying here is adding a bunch of items with the same properties creates more of the same.

im-skeptical said...

"What 'point', Skep? You've been frantically avoiding making any claims, and thus taking on any burden, this entire thread."

The point I've been making has been that same all along: the theists' claim that rationality can't come from the purely physical is unjustified.

"What it does is show an example of how to come to a conclusion irrationally."

No. It shows nothing about how any conclusion was arrived at.

"precisely because some 'engines' are completely incapable of having or operating off of 'reasons'"

Physical brains can and do have reasons for the logical conclusions they make. Even a thermostat has a reason for turning on the heat. There's no magic involved.

"This is what you'd have seen if you actually bothered to at least read the *wikipedia entry for the AFR*."

Oh, I did. And here's what is says: "The argument from reason is an argument for the existence of God (at least as a supernatural instantiator of human reason) largely developed by C.S. Lewis." The AFR is a circular argument that depends on a priori belief in god as the source of reason to prove that god must be the source of reason.

"So much for 'THERE IS NO OTHER JUSTIFICATION'."

You still haven't justified it. Nor has anyone else. And I can predict confidently that you never will.

Crude said...

The point I've been making has been that same all along: the theists' claim that rationality can't come from the purely physical is unjustified.

So you have been making a claim. Wonderful - pity you haven't supported it.

Also, I notice you keep saying 'theist' here, despite the relation of the AFR to theism being provided. You're a slow learner.

No. It shows nothing about how any conclusion was arrived at.

"when a child concludes that the day is warm because he wants ice cream, it is not a rational inference."

'Because he wants ice cream.' There's what led to his conclusion.

Really, are you even reading this stuff?

Physical brains can and do have reasons for the logical conclusions they make. Even a thermostat has a reason for turning on the heat. There's no magic involved.

Oh really? Intrinsic or derived reasons?

Waiting for your answer, boyo.

Oh, I did. And here's what is says: "The argument from reason is an argument for the existence of God (at least as a supernatural instantiator of human reason) largely developed by C.S. Lewis."

And yet I quoted both Victor Reppert and the same wiki clarifying that same claim. And nowhere have I argued from the AFR to God's existence in this thread.

You didn't even read the damn wiki entry, you fired off a shot, and you blew your foot off. Classic Skep. ;)

You still haven't justified it.

Uh, what? The AFR conclusion of God's existence that I just pointed out was an uniformed rendition on your part?

Or do you mean the inability of the wholly material to add up to the mental? I've already provided your answer. You won't point out the flaws in the reasoning except to yell 'Brains have reasons!'

Okay: Intrinsic, or derived?

Waiting on you, Skep m'boy. ;)

B. Prokop said...

"Even a thermostat has a reason for turning on the heat. There's no magic involved."

Skep had better be ve-e-e-e-ry careful in using such an argument. There may indeed be no "magic" involved, but there is most certainly design. I'm not sure he really wants to head down that road!

Martin said...

Guys,

In a thread a long time ago, it took me 150 replies to im-skeptical to try to understand what I meant by the term "meaning", as in "in a computer, an electron means '1' and the lack of an electron means '2'", or "in a computer, the symbol 'dog' means canine." He kept thinking that by "meaning" I meant "meaning in a larger context", like, "the book my grandma left me has meaning to me."

150.

150 replies.

And at the end, he still didn't even understand the very simple, very basic point I was making. Regardless of whether my argument was even any good or not. He couldn't even understand it.

It's pointless conversing with him. Utterly pointless. Don't waste time.

im-skeptical said...

"Skep had better be ve-e-e-e-ry careful in using such an argument. There may indeed be no "magic" involved, but there is most certainly design. I'm not sure he really wants to head down that road!"

I'll be happy to head down that road. Some things are designed to function as they do. Others evolve to function as they do.

frances said...

You do, Frances, if you want to argue that 'you can get X from ~X' is true in this particular case.

Crude,
But I don't want to argue that. Your argument is (if I understand it correctly, and please tell me if I have not understood it correctly): Getting x from ~x is impossible. Therefore if we see x seeming to come from ~x it can only be explained by God having intervened. If you want to sustain this argument then it is up to YOU to support it. If there is a contrary example that is valid, then your proposition cannot stand as a universal rule, so the burden is on YOU to say why it applies "in this particular instance".

I am not afraid of the burden of proof. But I do understand where it lies. For instance I will fully acknowledge that if I want to make the argument from evil, then the burden is on me. And I can't abandon a claim I never made.

im-skeptical said...

Martin,

Don't flatter yourself. I recall that conversation. I was trying to get you to understand nuance in the word 'meaning'. You didn't get it then, and you still don't.

Syllabus said...

It's more like saying how a wall constructed entirely of small light bricks can be large and heavy. How could large and heavy come from small and light?

I don't have to do that, Crude. I just have to illustrate that the argument "you can't get x from ~x" is not necessarily true.


The relationship between light/heavy is not one of x vs ¬x, but one of hx >> lx. In other words, the properties of the large and heavy wall are present in all the constituent bricks, only in lesser quantities. Now for the analogy to hold up under that analogy, it would have to be the case that all the properties of rational entities (or consciousnesses, or minds, or whatever synonym you prefer) are present in the ir/non-rational entities of which they are composed, only in significantly smaller quantity.

The argument concerning heavy/light is not one of emergent properties (which seems to be where you were going, but the wall analogy isn't helpful to you there). "Heavy" isn't an emergent property of multiple instances of "light", it's simply an aggregate property, so it doesn't seem to me that the analogy works well.

Syllabus said...

Egh. Excuse the redundancies in the last post.