Friday, May 09, 2014

Angus Menuge on the argument from reason

Here.  Wintery Knight has put together some resources.

2 comments:

Dan Gillson said...

I am sympathetic to the AfR, insofar as it has as its target an untenable philosophy of nature, but it leaves us with an unsatisfactory idea about the nature of reason: viz., reason orders our lives from outside of our nature. Anecdotally, l feel as though my mind inhabits my body, not as though my mind governs the actions of my body from an alien realm. Even though the AfR may be logically sound, assuming a certain philosophy of nature, it still lacks probative force.

jdhuey said...

Boy! This Menuge's paper is one dog's breakfast of a argument. If we are not reading unsupported and, to my understanding, false assertions then we are reading a very uniformed description of how brain works.

The topic of Free Will and moral responsibility is a complete red herring. The assertion that "reasoning requires libertarian free will" is complete BS. First off, the concept of 'free will' is such an incoherent muddled mess it would just be a mistake to try to use it as the basis for any argument.

Second, as far as I can see, there is no connection between 'free will', whatever that is, and the ability to perform mental acts of reasoning.

Third, Menuge presumes that there is such a thing as a "mental substance" but displays abysmal ignorance regarding brain processes. His statement that if there is no mental substance then there can be no entity that unites the information (premises of an argument) in one act of thought shows that he has a gross misconception of how the brain works. He is either ignorant of or chose to gloss over the fact that the brain is massively interconnected with feedback loops galore that shares information all around and can place that information in to short term working memory. Those facts obviate his assertion that under naturalism "there is no entity that can plausibly own any metal states...".

Fourth, I agree with the author that John Searle is a de facto dualist and as such, I think it is then wrong to use Searles work as somehow representing the conclusion of a naturalistic viewpoint. I also happen to think that Searle is just plain wrong about WRT consciousness. Basically, you can just cross out the parts of the paper that discusses Searle's positions - which it turns out is the bulk of the paper.

So, if this paper is an honest representation of the ontological argument from reason, then I think it is safe to say that argument is horribly flawed and should be summarily dismissed.