Wednesday, August 23, 2017

An Inquiry from the Secular Outpost

Yair Rezekl: Victor, can you clarify why "you have to account for this at least by positing emergent laws"? If I say that the valve opened because of high pressure built up (an emergent phenomena), do you mean by this that I posited an emergent law? The analogy here is that the underlying neurology of understanding the propositional content precisely is one microscopic realization of "understanding the propositional content", just like the molecules hitting the valve are a microscopic realization of "high pressure buildup". Why can we have a meaningful talk about how pressure caused the valve to open (which we clearly do), but not how the macroscopic property we call "understanding the propositional content" caused us to agree that God did not exist?

VR: Because in the valve opening case the emergence adds up from the bottom. Sure, what you postulate of the valve isn't mentioned in the physics, but it follows necessarily from the physics. In the case of about-ness, normativity, first-person perspective, and purpose, the content of the physical level doesn't add up to these, because it can't. Besides, logical relationships have to be relevant to how we think. But in a causally determined universe, all the causes are in space and time. But logical relationships are not in space and time, therefore they cannot be relevant to anything we think, if physicalism is true. You need something like Plato's doctrine of recollection to explain this, or Augustine's doctrine of divine illumination.

4 comments:

Edward T. Babinski said...

Vic, Strictly philosophically speaking I get what Lewis was saying with his references to "divine illumination" being an explanation. But then, when DOESN'T an all-powerful all-wise Being provide an explanation for literally everything?

But also keep in mind how non-theistic emergentists view the question within their own worldview. The human brain-mind involves the most complex arrangement of atoms, molecules cells known in the cosmos, a hundred billion or more with a trillion electro-chemical connections constantly processing even during dreamless sleep, and it is an extremely difficult task to understand exactly what all that processing has to do in exact relation to specific thoughts in people's brain-minds.

Perhaps you will some day at least admit to emergentists that their philosophical worldview is coherent within itself: Consciousness and logical recognitions within special arrangements of matter-energy, a consciousness that develops not only via sensory input but socially focused sensory input over time from other thinking beings, trial and error also being part of learning.

Emergentist views might not be true, but I don't see them as incoherent. And I also view the "Divine illumination" explanation as raising plenty of questions of its own as to how exactly it "works."

Did you read my critique of Lewis? C. S. Lewis and the Cardinal Difficulty of Naturalism https://etb-agnosticism.blogspot.com/2012/03/c-s-lewis-and-cardinal-difficulty-of.html

There is also Prior Prejudices and the Argument from Reason https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2011/01/prior-prejudices-and-argument-from.html

And lastly, C. S. Lewisʼs “Argument From Reason,” vs. Christians Who Reject Mind-Body Dualism and Accept the Possibility of Artificial Intelligence, Even “Born Again” Machines! https://etb-history-theology.blogspot.com/2012/04/mind-body-dualism-and-possibility-of.html

Victor Reppert said...

Ed: I always got frustrated in our discussions of the AFR because I couldn't get you to agree on the kind of naturalism that the argument is attacking.


How does illumination work? How does an omnipotent being figure out how to illuminate our minds. Hint: He doesn't have to practice.

Joe Hinman said...

Perhaps you will some day at least admit to emergentists that their philosophical worldview is coherent within itself: Consciousness and logical recognitions within special arrangements of matter-energy, a consciousness that develops not only via sensory input but socially focused sensory input over time from other thinking beings, trial and error also being part of learning.

It is no big trick for reductionist to make their world view coherent within itself, they do that buy leaving out whatever is not coherent, that means their coherence doesn't mean that much.

Joe Hinman said...

And lastly, C. S. Lewisʼs “Argument From Reason,” vs. Christians Who Reject Mind-Body Dualism...

If one takes mind as spirit one can be a property dualist, avoid the "sin"
of dualism and go for after life.




and Accept the Possibility of Artificial Intelligence,


maybe

Even “Born Again” Machines! https://etb-history-theology.blogspot.com/2012/04/mind-body-dualism-and-possibility-of.html

no, because consciousness is necessary but not sufficient for salvation so there is more involved,