Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What the argument from reason criticizes

The viewpoints that the argument from reason criticizes are variously called naturalism, materialism, and physicalism. The idea is that nature, or matter, or physics, is all there is. Behind all of this is the attempt to exclude the supernatural, such entities as God, angels, or the soul. But in order to know what supernatural is, you need to know what natural is, so that supernatural can be “super” that. But what is naturalism more precisely? After all, I could attempt to qualify as a naturalist, or even a materialist or a physicalist. I could say to my materialist friend that we are both materialists, only I believe in some different kinds of material entities than he does. I believe in psychons, which used to be called souls, angelons, which used to be called angels, and one triune theon, who used to be called God. I suspect that any materialist worth his salt is going to point out that I am misusing words here, and that whatever we mean by material has to exclude God, angels, and souls. Bu this means that we need a principled analysis of these concepts in order to get them to work, and we need to keep them from sliding around when it is convenient for them to do a little sliding. 

5 comments:

John Moore said...

In terms of "principled analysis," we have the standard model of particle physics. We have relativity and quantum physics. We have the laws of thermodynamics. It's not a complete theory of everything, but it's pretty good so far.

If you can fit your theory of psychons into this physical model, that would be great. Your Nobel Prize is guaranteed.

Victor Reppert said...

Maybe, can you define the physical in terms of present physics, or future physics. If present physics, it is almost certainly false, if future physics, how do we know what that will be?

John Moore said...

Not false - just incomplete or imprecise. It's steadily being revised and refocused and expanded, but not falsified.

You'll never get an ultimately real definition of cosmic reality, simply because that's not how these symbolic things work. One thing has to mean another, but if you're talking about the whole of ultimate reality, there is no other, by definition. God just is that which he is.

Stardusty Psyche said...

" I could say to my materialist friend that we are both materialists, only I believe in some different kinds of material entities than he does. I believe in psychons, which used to be called souls, angelons, which used to be called angels, and one triune theon, who used to be called God. "
--Sure, you can propose that hypothesis, but if you cannot also propose specific physical mechanisms by which these entities influence matter/energy then you are engaging in mere idle speculation.

"I suspect that any materialist worth his salt is going to point out that I am misusing words here, and that whatever we mean by material has to exclude God, "
--I guess a bag of salt is worth more than me then. If there is a god it will have to be material. God has to be made of something, else god is absolutely nothing at all, and does not exist.

One can speculate about all manner of strange creatures, distant objects, far off places, and fantasies of all sorts, like god for example.

Russel's teapot would still be made of porcelain.


Hugo Pelland said...

Whatever we mean by material does NOT have to exclude God, angels, and souls. These silly words actually make more sense than talking about purely immaterial stuff...