Monday, April 20, 2015

Vallicella on Dennett's Dilemma



Heuristics said...

Strange. Plato writes about God (capital G, not gods) through all his works in the way that theism in philosophy is done today and he was writing around the same time that the old testament was written. Plato became an important figure in Christianity at an early date.

B. Prokop said...

"Dennett's Dilemma" seems utterly irrelevant to Christianity. God is spirit, and God is incarnate.

"Either your God is nothing but an anthropomorphic projection or it is is so devoid of recognizable attributes as to be meaningless."

Dennett got it 100% backwards. Christ is not an "anthropomorphic projection", but rather Man is the Image of God (so we're a kind of "divine projection"), and then the Incarnation is God's own assumption of our image. So it turns out to be a (by the infinite Mercy of God) to be a "two way street".

"Dennett's view is that the "original monotheists" thought of God as a being one could literally listen to, and literally sit beside."

And once again, totally wide of the mark. It wasn't just the "original monotheists" who could do so. The apostles could also "literally" sit beside Jesus and listen to Him. And per the Catholic Church, such things continue to go on all the time, even after the Ascension - the latest instance being Saint Faustina.

So let the generic "theist" worry about Dennett's Dilemma - it doesn't concern the Christian in the least.

Jezu, ufam tobie!

Son of Ya'Kov said...

This I usually dub the "NO FAIR YOU ARE NOT A fundamentals"!!!!!!

It's typical of Gnus to have no ability to attack any sophisticated conception of religion.

It's either bear knuckle hyper-literal Protestant Fundamentalism and Theistic Personalism(boo! Hiss! TP SUCKS!!!!) or they plead ignorance.

What a bunch of intellectually lazy morons.

im-skeptical said...

Vallicella's argument from consciousness can be summed up as:

1. I don't understand how consciousness can arise from matter.
2. Therefore, naturalism is false and the Judeo-Christian God is true.


Papalinton said...

Vallicella on the Dennett dilemma?
Merely another limp wristed and frayed attempt at putting a theologised gloss with the hope no one notices the God-shaped vacuum he creates. Consciousness is not a thing bestowed by heavenly fiat. Consciousness is a process. The conscious mind is what the brain does.

I just wish these silly superstitious immaterialists would refrain from peddling bunkum.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Vallicella asks: "But why should we accept naturalism and scientism? "

Because they have exponentially greater explanatory power than theism.

Bloody hell, that was easy. Next question?

im-skeptical said...

I think Vallicella misses the boat in understanding what Dennett is saying about this "dilemma". He seems to think that it is the lack of anthropomorphic or physical attributes that results in meaninglessness. But it seems to me that it is really the lack of any kind of humanly understandable definition that makes this "sophisticated" concept of God vacuous.

How is God understood? God is "being itself". But what does that mean? Being is equivalent to existence. Existence is a state of affairs. It is an attribute of some thing - that is to say, a thing has the attribute of existence. How does that apply to the definition of God? If you analyze Classical Theistic definitions of God from a semantic perspective, without first accepting the Thomistic axioms (which would amount to begging the question), you must come to the conclusion that the definition of God is devoid of semantic content.

As a philosopher, Dennett recognizes this problem. Vallicella, on the other hand, fails to see what Dennett is saying. All he sees is Dennett's materialistic philosophy, and he makes no effort to understand it.

B. Prokop said...

"Because [naturalism and scientism] have exponentially greater explanatory power than theism."

Rod Dreher, summarizing Christian Moevs:

The world cannot be made sense of if taken in itself. Without God, the world is an endless string of zeroes: nothing. God adds a "1" to the zeroes, and through this Logos makes everything comprehensible, filled with meaning. All the damned in Hell have refused the divine 1, and have instead made themselves the "1" — thus making their lives into nothing, both in the mortal life and for eternity. In other words, if we refuse God, we are already dwelling in Hell.
(emphasis in original)

Jezu ufam tobie!

Papalinton said...

"God adds a "1" to the zeroes, and through this Logos makes everything comprehensible ...."

All Rod Dreher has to do is furnish the evidence rather than columnise in the Dallas Morning News with a rather misplaced analogy.

Josh said...

Existence ain't a predicate

B. Prokop said...


Is that a picture of G.K. Chesterton?

Josh said...

Indeed it is, Bob

im-skeptical said...


I was wondering if you were planning to say anything substantial about Vallicella's comments on Dennett. I agree that "Existence ain't a predicate" is a true statement. But what point are you trying to make (if any)?