This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Materialism and Hyper-Freudianism
I think there may be some limits on what questions can reasonably be considered to be empirical questions. Let’s take the Freudian view of religious belief as an example. According to Freudians, (and many other atheists as well) even those who think they believe in religious beliefs for reasons are really believing them for emotional reasons, and the “arguments” they provide are merely rationalizations. But why stop with religious beliefs? Isn’t it possible that we don’t believe any of our beliefs for reasons, but rather, we believe them for other reasons. If we looked at how we actually form beliefs, couldn’t we discover that, in fact, we never believe anything for the reasons we think we do? Is the statement “No one ever believes anything for a reason” at least possible? I like to refer to this position as hyper-Freudianism.
Unfortunately, such a position involves what Lynne Rudder Baker calls cognitive suicide. If a hyper-Freudian is asked why she believes in hyper-Freudianism, and she offers evidence for her belief, then by offering such evidence she falsifies hyper-Freudianism.
Now, I actually think that if categories are not fudged, and the material is defined, as it often is, in terms of the absence of the mental, then materialist theories of mind actually entail hyper-
Freudianism. It results in a proof that there are no proofs, which has to be nonsense.
It follows that no account of the universe can be true I unless that account leaves it possible for our thinking to be a real insight. A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have been reached by thinking,  and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved that no argument was sound–a proof that there are no such things as proofs–which is nonsense.-C. S. Lewis: Miracles, chapter 3.