Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What are you excluding?

My AFR argument is perfectly clear on the kind of naturalism that it is attacking. It makes a distinction between mentalistic and non-mentalistic world-views, and it maintains that any world-view that is meaningfully naturalistic has to exclude certain things from the basic level of analysis: normativity, intentionality, subjectivity, and purpose. So whether we use the term physicalism or naturalism or materialism doesn't matter. What matters is what has to be excluded from the "natural" level. If you can't come up with anything that makes something meaningfully naturalistic, then I will advance my Christian theism as a liberal form of naturalism. God then becomes an unusual physical particle, which I will call the theon.

8 comments:

Gyan said...

Theon?
Entities in physical theories are formal objects in the sense they are completely defined and can be computed with. For example, lightning as a phenomenon is NOT a formal object in this sense but electric current or an electron is.

Thus, formal objects in a physical theory are postulated entities serve to understand some physical phenomenon. Do you mean to say that theon is such a postulated formal entity to help us understand the existence of the universe?
But can theon be computed with?

John Moore said...

Theon? That idea just "reeks" ;-) #GoT

Chris said...

Mr. Reppert - I have written the following article that you may be interested in: An Argument for CS Lewis' Neglected Theory of Divine Foreknowledge and the Extra-Temporal Existence of the Soul. It's around 8000 words. Would you be interested in reading it? I think I present a case for a type of foreknowledge not found on the market today that avoids some of the problems of Open Theism and Molinism. How, if you are interested, could I pass it along to you?

Douglas Benscoter said...

Hi Victor, I don't like asking you this, since we don't know each other that well, but would you be willing to write me a letter of recommendation? This time it would be a Professor position. If not, that's okay. My email is dougbenscoter@hotmail.com. Best wishes.

Victor Reppert said...

The point about the theon is simply this. You are trying to define naturalism. I maintain that I really have nothing at stake in calling what I believe in natural or supernatural. I know Lewis likes to uses the term "supernaturalism" for his position, and I have no problem with that, but what I do have a problem with is the failure on the part of some to provide some criteria for what is natural. With no principled criteria, I can simply baptize my ontology as naturalistic. If you are trying so say, "You can't being that into science, you IDiot, you can't believe in that, it's supernatural, it's a bunch of woo, etc., then we need some criteria for doing that kind of exclusion. I don't need the criteria, you do.

DougJC said...

"... any world-view that is meaningfully naturalistic has to exclude certain things from the basic level of analysis: normativity, intentionality, subjectivity, and purpose."

Unless those concepts, like mind, can be better defined and then theorized to emerge from simpler phenomena. I think that's a burden of proof for naturalists but I also think it looks quite promising; at least far from a dead end.

DougJC said...

"any world-view that is meaningfully naturalistic has to exclude certain things from the basic level of analysis: normativity, intentionality, subjectivity, and purpose"

Just to follow up with a little more detail. If evolution is fact and indeed unguided by mind (as naturalism proposes), there must be a point at which strictly thermodynamic processes can be naturally combined in such a way that the system becomes a true self-replicating system. Why not refer to a self-replicating system as teleology emerging from non-teleology? It is normative since it is possible to differentiate correct performance from incorrect, and it serves the purpose of self-replication. It is also completely natural having no mind as the originating force behind it. Further, what emerges is nothing more than what went into the system, so there is no need to impart mystical powers to emergence.

It seems more difficult to try to explain a self-replicating system in terms of "illusionary teleology", "illusionary normativity" and an "illusionary purpose", then it is to just accept that what looks like teleology under naturalism, is, no mind required.

jdhuey said...

"it maintains that any world-view that is meaningfully naturalistic has to exclude certain things from the basic level of analysis: normativity, intentionality, subjectivity, and purpose. So whether we use the term physicalism or naturalism or materialism doesn't matter. What matters is what has to be excluded from the "natural" level."

The 'basic' or fundamental level of naturalism does indeed exclude the items listed but naturalism certainly allows for non-basic 'things', so long as they don't violate the basic level.

In chess the basic level of rules describe the board and how the pieces move (among other things); however, there are many things in chess that are not mentioned as part of the basic level. There are pins, forks, skewers, pawn chains, sacrafices, outposts, etc.; none are part of the basic rules but all are consistent with the rules. These are common "pattern" in chess that "emerge" from the rules but are not part of the rules.

The items listed in the OP are patterns that emerge from the rules of naturalism. They are certainly allowed by the rules of naturalism, but are not basic to naturalism.