Friday, August 11, 2017

It doesn't add up: A Reply to Keith Parsons

KP: Thanks for your patience. You have been over this territory many times before, I am sure, but something basic is dividing us, and, with your help, I want to see exactly what it is. So, please do bear with me. I doubt that we will agree, having been disagreeing for forty years now, but at least I, for one, hope to finally see EXACTLY where we disagree.
No, I do not think that the physical includes the mental at the "basic" level. At the basic level it is just quarks and leptons doing what they do without any teleology or guidance. However we know that some ensembles of quarks and leptons can run fade routes, sing arias, and dance Swan Lake. Fade routes, arias, and choreography are not physical things. They are abstract patterns of movement or sound that can have innumerable distinct physical realizations. The physics of quarks and leptons makes no reference to football, music, or dance, and nothing in that physics entails such an ability, and no one would expect that it would. However, we know it as a plain and non-mysterious fact, that various functional capacities only emerge with certain types of structural organization. There is no enigmatic "woo woo" emergence involved. It is simply a matter of (physical) form enabling function.
Innumerable examples abound. Merely having a protein with the chemical sequence of amino acid of an enzyme does not make that molecule an enzyme. It is only when it has folded into a particular functional three-dimensional shape that it is able to do the job of catalysis. At the basic level of quarks and leptons, there are no enzymes. At the far more complex level of folded proteins there are enzymes. Similarly, digestion is a function of the digestive system and the circulation of the blood is a function of the circulatory system. Digestive systems and circulatory systems are physical systems made of quarks and leptons that, at the basic level, cannot digest food or circulate the blood, but most definitely can when incomprehensibly great numbers of them are organized in very complex ways.
Therefore you must admit as a plain, commonplace, and undeniable fact that as things are organized they can acquire functions and capabilities of an entirely different sort than those evinced by their fundamental constituents. Again, quarks cannot do ballroom dance but Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers most definitely could. I guess then, what I need to know is why mental performances, in principle, cannot be among the capacities that vast ensembles of quarks and leptons can acquire when they are organized into brains. You need to tell me plainly why not. My cat can think. She can even do modus ponens. She often knows that if she does A I will do B, so she does A to get me to do B. Dammit, that is as good as my freshmen can often do! Are you saying that my cat's brain is not up to it? Sorry, I do not mean to sound flippant, but if you admit that a brain (a cat's or a human's) is up to modus ponens, then everything else follows. Using my brain to understand, say, the Axiom of Choice is just around the corner.

VR: Well, this is the fallacy of composition objection, that says that organization makes it possible for things which are not x by themselves are x in combination. But if it's ensembles of quarks, et al, then the governing laws are the laws governing quarks. Are you prepared to say a higher level of organization introduces new laws into physics?
It is true that if none of the bricks in a wall are six feet in height, the wall can be nonetheless. But in this case, it adds up. The brick-facts add up to close the question of the height of the wall. Going from the physical to the mental, the physical facts don't add up to mental-state facts. The underdetermine the mental. That is what Quine was getting at with the indeterminacy of translation, what Davidson was getting at when the attacked psychophysical laws, what is going on in Kripke with plus and quus.
There are four things that don't add up from the physical to the mental.
One of them is a first person perspective. If something has a first person perspective it affects what it does. If Trump doesn't know who he is, he might watch the news and think the President should be impeached. If he knows who he is, this will happen when hell freezes over. Yet how would science describe what Trump comes to know. "I am Donald Trump" is false for you and me (thank you Jesus!), "Donald Trump is Donald Trump" is a tautology that couldn't possible change anyone's behavior, so what is this truth, exactly?
The second is purpose. If the base level is purposeless, how do you get purpose at another level. You might get something that serves the purposes of a mind, but how can it have a purpose its parts don't have, especially if the laws governing the purposeless parts determine motions without purpose. (And quantum randomness is, well, quantum randomness).
The third is intentionality. How does that work? How the state of a set of particles be about an eternal object, or a nonexistent object. What you have is a set of particles in space, time, and causal connection. Add up the nonintentional facts all day, and you won't see an intentional fact. Given the physical, a person's thought could be about a rabbit, about undetatched rabbit parts, or about nothing at all, since the "person" could actually be a zombie without real mental states. Nothing follows logically from the state of the physical.
The fourth thing that is necessarily missing at the bottom level is normativity. Nothing happens at that level because it ought to happen. We were discussing earlier in this thread the idea that it seems pretty critical to an ethical theory that people are capable of doing some things because it's their duty. But, in that last analysis, everything that happens in the world happens, according to materialism, because of what happens at the basic level. Therefore, in the last analysis, no one ever does anything because it's their duty. They do it because of the state of the physical world.
And on materialism, the "thinghood" of the brain is questionable. Consciousness has a unity to it, but while we attribute a unity to the brain, in reality the "brain" is just a bunch of parts we CALL a brain. The real entities are the basic particles, the brain is just a bunch.
If a brain is literally what a brain is supposed to be on physicalism, a bunch of particles, then it is NOT up to modus ponens. Different parts do different steps, so what makes it modus ponens? If something provides a perspective, then, sure, even a computer can do modus ponens. But only considered as an extension of the mental states of its programmers, and only as a product of intelligent design.

57 comments:

Stardusty Psyche said...

OP "The second is purpose. If the base level is purposeless, how do you get purpose at another level. "
--Purpose is an abstraction, an evolved brain process that allows us to imagine the future and take actions in the present for perceived benefits. No problem for naturalism.

"The third is intentionality. How does that work? "
--Like purpose. It is just a brain processing aspect. We form an internal model of past, present,and future, then take actions while imagining some outcome. No problem for naturalism.


" Therefore, in the last analysis, no one ever does anything because it's their duty. They do it because of the state of the physical world."
--Ok. Now you are starting to sound like a good naturalist :-)


"And on materialism, the "thinghood" of the brain is questionable. "
--By all means, be skeptical.

"Consciousness has a unity to it, but while we attribute a unity to the brain, in reality the "brain" is just a bunch of parts we CALL a brain. The real entities are the basic particles, the brain is just a bunch."
--Indeed. Very good!

Joe Hinman said...

OP "The second is purpose. If the base level is purposeless, how do you get purpose at another level. "
--Purpose is an abstraction, an evolved brain process that allows us to imagine the future and take actions in the present for perceived benefits. No problem for naturalism.

No purpose is purposeful and that requires something you have not explained, actual consciousness with will.
Like true reductionist you seek to explain it away by reducing it something other than it is, "abstraction."


"The third is intentionality. How does that work? "
--Like purpose. It is just a brain processing aspect. We form an internal model of past, present,and future, then take actions while imagining some outcome. No problem for naturalism.

Inter nationality is at the heart of consciousness it cant be explained away without losing the pheromone.
Both of these are standard Tricks of reduction. Here you repeat reduction to lose phenomena,



" Therefore, in the last analysis, no one ever does anything because it's their duty. They do it because of the state of the physical world."
--Ok. Now you are starting to sound like a good naturalist :-)

Phenomena lost

Hal said...

Victor,
I've yet to see you demonstrate that following the laws of physics is incompatible with following the laws of logic.

When you move a chess piece in a game of cheese you are following the laws of physics as well as the laws of logic.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe Hinman said..
August 12, 2017 1:50 AM

" No purpose is purposeful"
--Tautology. Not a meaningful statement.

" Inter nationality is at the heart of consciousness it cant be explained away without losing the pheromone."
--Your statement is too vague to be meaningful.


OP " Therefore, in the last analysis, no one ever does anything because it's their duty. They do it because of the state of the physical world."
--Ok. Now you are starting to sound like a good naturalist :-)

" Phenomena lost"
--What got lost? Complicated systems are composed of many smaller and less complicated parts.

Sunshine is a phenomenon. How does the sun shine? The sun is composed of some 10^57 particles. Each particle acts relatively simply under its local conditions. Some of them fuse an thus release a great deal of energy. That energy is transferred in a long series of events to the surface. The surface radiates energy, which travels across space, through our atmosphere, and lands on your skin where it is absorbed. That triggers nerves in your skin to send a signal to your brain. The brain is a distributed network of processing elements that combines many such nerve signals and issues an internal report that is broadcast to other parts of the brain, which our consciousness processing elements detects as "warm sunshine".

No, it isn't a sun god.
No, it isn't angels or demons or the soul.
No, all your god superstitions are pointless and foolish.
Yes, it is a complex process acting on the subatomic scale.

Nothing is lost in this analysis except the hopelessly simplistic and primitive notions of theism.

Joe Hinman said...

Victor,
I've yet to see you demonstrate that following the laws of physics is incompatible with following the laws of logic.

When you move a chess piece in a game of cheese you are following the laws of physics as well as the laws of logic.

Logic assumes taught it assumes reason it assumes a dialectical process involving consciousnesses. It is not an arithmetic force like electricity,

Joe Hinman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Hinman said...



" No purpose is purposeful"
--Tautology. Not a meaningful statement.

Joe>>>>if you din't get the importance of that you are not intellectually equipped to take part in this discussion. It is obviously a way to say that purpose,by definition, assumes consciousness and deliberation.

" Inter nationality is at the heart of consciousness it cant be explained away without losing the pheromone."



Dusty------Your statement is too vague to be meaningful.

Joe>>>>That's because it's supposed to say "conventionality," but auto correct scrued me again


Dusty------OP " Therefore, in the last analysis, no one ever does anything because it's their duty. They do it because of the state of the physical world."

Dusty--------Ok. Now you are starting to sound like a good naturalist :-)

" Phenomena lost"

Dusty--------What got lost? Complicated systems are composed of many smaller and less complicated parts.

Joe>>>>:you just avoided dealing with the thinks I said about reductionism because you have no answer. You know what you are doing,you are reducing away the counter data,losing the phenomena


Dusty------Sunshine is a phenomenon. How does the sun shine? The sun is composed of some 10^57 particles. Each particle acts relatively simply under its local conditions. Some of them fuse an thus release a great deal of energy. That energy is transferred in a long series of events to the surface. The surface radiates energy, which travels across space, through our atmosphere, and lands on your skin where it is absorbed. That triggers nerves in your skin to send a signal to your brain. The brain is a distributed network of processing elements that combines many such nerve signals and issues an internal report that is broadcast to other parts of the brain, which our consciousness processing elements detects as "warm sunshine".

Joe>>>>gee you know some science facts you must be right? never mind your facts are irrelevant and don't answer my argument, you are arguing from analogy,the priesthood of knowledge says you are worthy because you have science in your head,even though nothing to do with what Isaid,

Dusty------No, it isn't a sun god.
No, it isn't angels or demons or the soul.
No, all your god superstitions are pointless and foolish.
Yes, it is a complex process acting on the subatomic scale.

Joe>>>>:My argument had noting to with causal process of photon emission, you logic goes like this:

(1)some physical process don't involve direct action by the divine

(2)you believe in the divine

(3) therefore every tying you say is wrong"

who can show me what we call this kind of argunet?(yes, "stupid" is one thing but I was thinking of "invalid",)your logical conclusion is lost because the leap from 2 to 3 is totally unwarranted,

look at what you left out my analysis of your reductionist trick of losing the phenomena which pretty much disproves your argument,

August 12, 2017 9:36 AM Delete

August 12, 2017 9:42 AM Delete

Hal said...

"Logic assumes taught it assumes reason it assumes a dialectical process involving consciousnesses. It is not an arithmetic force like electricity,"

So? Substances have different properties. Human beings have mental properties that are not found in lightning.
Why would that entail that because substances such as ourselves obey the rules of physics that we can't also obey the laws of logic?

Victor Reppert said...

Let us consider a person, call him Donald, who always does what is in their self-interest, of whom psychological egoism is true. Donald, sometimes, maybe quite often, acts in accordance with his moral duty, when circumstances line up his self-interest with morality. But, Donald does perform moral acts sometimes. But nevertheless his behavior is governed by self-interest, even though it accords with morality quite often.

In the universe, the laws of physics always hold. But people violate the principles of sound reasoning all the time. But sometimes they follow them. But if physicalism is true, they reason soundly when reason requires them to, and they reason unsoundly when physics configures them into a fallacious mental state. So, the laws of logic, or more precisely, the principles of sound reasoning, are inoperative in the human mind.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Victor Reppert said...

" Let us consider a person, call him Donald, "
--Has Donald replaced Bob?-) If so, thought experiments are now doomed to become no better than irrational bluster.


" In the universe, the laws of physics always hold. But people violate the principles of sound reasoning all the time. But sometimes they follow them."
--Ok, the brain always acts by physics, but brain processes do not always follow academic standards of sound argumentation. No problem for naturalism.

" But if physicalism is true, they reason soundly when reason requires them to, and they reason unsoundly when physics configures them into a fallacious mental state."
--On physicalism the brain always acts physically, whether the brain process follows a process of generally accepted logically sound argumentation or not.

" So, the laws of logic, or more precisely, the principles of sound reasoning, are inoperative in the human mind."
--Non-sequitur. Some brain processes adhere to consensus principles of sound reasoning and some do not. The fact that sometimes ~X happens does not require that ~X always happens.

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't :-)

August 12, 2017 11:09 AM

Hal said...

If it is true that the laws of physics always hold in the world we live in then it follows that whether or not Donald follows the rules of logic he is also following the the laws of physics. That would seem to be the case whether or not physicalism is true. One need not be a physicalist to believe that the laws of physics are uniform throughout the universe.

I could very well be misunderstanding you here. Do you hold the view that the laws of physics have to be abrogated or nullified or disobeyed in order for a person to think rationally?

Seems to me that the laws of physics are in place irregardless of whether or not a person is thinking rationally. That is why they (the laws of physics) are irrelevant when we are determining whether or not a person is thinking rationally.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe Hinman said...August 12, 2017 9:47 AM


" Joe>>>>:you just avoided dealing with the thinks I said about reductionism because you have no answer. "
--Answer to what? I can't identify in your words a specific argument about reducitonism. You just made some short quip about a supposed loss of phenomena.

"You know what you are doing"
--Yes.

",you are reducing away the counter data,"
--What counter data, or argument?

"losing the phenomena"
--More nonsense. The phenomena are not lost, they are accounted for.


Dusty------Sunshine is a phenomenon. How does the sun shine? The sun is composed of some 10^57 particles. Each particle acts relatively simply under its local conditions. Some of them fuse an thus release a great deal of energy. That energy is transferred in a long series of events to the surface. The surface radiates energy, which travels across space, through our atmosphere, and lands on your skin where it is absorbed. That triggers nerves in your skin to send a signal to your brain. The brain is a distributed network of processing elements that combines many such nerve signals and issues an internal report that is broadcast to other parts of the brain, which our consciousness processing elements detects as "warm sunshine".

" Joe>>>>gee you know some science facts you must be right? "
--Your words, not mine.


"never mind your facts are irrelevant and don't answer my argument,"
--You didn't make an argument.

" you are arguing from analogy,"
--An example of a phenomenon, not an analogy.

"the priesthood of knowledge says you are worthy because you have science in your head,"
--Stupid statement. Try making an argument instead of bellowing strawmen and idiocies.



Joe>>>>:My argument had noting to with causal process of photon emission, you logic goes like this:

(1)some physical process don't involve direct action by the divine

(2)you believe in the divine

(3) therefore every tying you say is wrong"
--Your words not mine. What sort of satisfaction do you get with these inane strawmen?


" who can show me what we call this kind of argunet?(yes, "stupid" is one thing but I was thinking of "invalid",)your logical conclusion is lost because the leap from 2 to 3 is totally unwarranted,"
--You pulled a fake argument out of your ass, attributed it to me, and then knocked it down. So what?


" look at what you left out my analysis"
--You didn't make an analysis outside of your imagination.

Legion of Logic said...

I hope the left realizes that their inability to refrain from gratuitous attacks on Trump at every possible opportunity makes them look like...like people who do not follow the rules of logic.

Does Trump deserve criticism? Yup. Do we need to have that idiot brought into unrelated conversations and thereby make ourselves look foolish? Nope.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said...August 12, 2017 6:59 PM

" I hope the left realizes"
--What is the left's phone number? I want to pass this along...

" that their inability to refrain from gratuitous attacks on Trump at every possible opportunity makes them look like...like people who do not follow the rules of logic."
--Au contrair, mon ami, it is sound strategy for an out of power majority. I intend to mock, degrade, and disrespect every Trumptard I encounter at every opportunity.

Right after the inauguration Chuck Schumer was asked if he had a strategy, to which he answered "yes, but I am not going to tell you what it is".

It quickly became obvious that the strategy was to attack, block, hound, criticize, belittle, and delay in every way possible. And it has worked to a very large extent. The resistance is largely blocking Trump.

I have no intention of being respectful to a bunch of red state morons who voted like idiots because they are idiots. The last thing we need to do is let them think what they did was anything other than incredibly stupid. I started right after the election. The Trumptards I attacked at that time were very full of themselves. I have found they no longer have that confidence and it shows in Trump's eroding numbers in his base.

People don't like to have the entire world consider them to be ignoramuses who installed a destructive incompetent liar who isn't even getting the things done he said he would do.

" Does Trump deserve criticism? Yup. Do we need to have that idiot brought into unrelated conversations and thereby make ourselves look foolish? Nope."
--I don't feel the slightest bit foolish for attacking Trump and the minority of morons who voted for him and I intend to do so until we hound him from office.

Victor Reppert said...

Trump has angered the Left, but he is busy betraying the Right. Libearls may want to get rid of Trump, but conservatives need to. Otherwise Democrats will have a huge soft target to run against in 2018 and 2020.

Victor Reppert said...

But physics, including the laws but also the facts, determine everything, insofar as they are determined. The laws and facts are what is relevant, the principles of sound reasoning cannot result in one person's reasoning correctly instead of incorrectly.

Legion of Logic said...

You won't "hound him from office". He will either be defeated in 2020, or he won't. Unless you are advocating for assassination, of course.

I didn't vote in the general election because both candidates far exceeded the criteria for being unacceptable. I also think people who put full stock in either candidate were not thinking rationally. But yes, Trump Derangement Syndrome is a thing, and introducing him into unrelated topics does make someone look bad...but not Trump. Or only Trump, anyway.

If I could clap my hands and remove Trump peacefully and legally, I would do so. But I sure as hell wouldn't replace him with a candidate as awful as Hillary Clinton.

Victor Reppert said...

It would be Mike Pence, of course, a real conservative.

David Brightly said...

These are all good questions for the materialist that deserve decent argued replies. Number 4, on normativity, is maybe more tractable than the others. Victor says, "according to materialism...no one ever does anything because it's their duty. They do it because of the state of the physical world." Well, couldn't having a duty amount to having some neural structure that causally contributes to behaviour, as Victor seems to require? When we say we have a duty we seem to be referring to something inside ourselves, do we not? And we appreciate that instilling duties into ourselves requires a lengthy moral education when we are children. Would an adult say something like, "I'm going to do X. I have no feelings about X either way, but I'm told I have a duty to do X, so I shall?"

Hal said...

Victor:"But physics, including the laws but also the facts, determine everything, insofar as they are determined. The laws and facts are what is relevant, the principles of sound reasoning cannot result in one person's reasoning correctly instead of incorrectly."

Relevant to what? Not to the criteria we use to determine what is correct reasoning.

You appear to think that the laws of physics somehow prevent one from determining how to think rationally. I see no reason in principle to accept that claim. And there is plenty of empirical evidence to reject it.

Hal said...

David:"These are all good questions for the materialist that deserve decent argued replies."

I don't think materialists can provide a good response to Victor's questions. Leastways if it is a reductive form of materialism. There is simply no way to reduce the mental to the physical.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said.. August 12, 2017 11:42 PM.

" You won't "hound him from office". He will either be defeated in 2020, or he won't."
--Maybe, maybe not. 2 presidents have been impeached and tried but not convicted. 1 president resigned because conviction was certain. We also have the 25th amendment.

Not voting because you don't like both candidates is a sign of immaturity about how the world works. You don't get who you want, we choose the lesser of evils.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Hal said... August 13, 2017 8:32 AM

David:"These are all good questions for the materialist that deserve decent argued replies."

" I don't think materialists can provide a good response to Victor's questions."
--Already done. Is there some specific question you consider unanswered?

" Leastways if it is a reductive form of materialism. There is simply no way to reduce the mental to the physical."
--There is no such thing as the mental as separate from the physical. The mental is simply a process of the physical.

The opposite of your statement is the case. There is no way to identify anything mental that is separate from the physical.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Victor Reppert said...August 12, 2017 11:09 AM
So, the laws of logic, or more precisely, the principles of sound reasoning, are inoperative in the human mind.

Victor Reppert said...August 12, 2017 11:05 PM
But physics, including the laws but also the facts, determine everything, insofar as they are determined. The laws and facts are what is relevant, the principles of sound reasoning cannot result in one person's reasoning correctly instead of incorrectly.

--The principles of sound reasoning are postulates accepted broadly by consensus. Their influence on human thought is like other shared knowledge. Each of us learns or deduces principles such as non-contradicion and they become operative insofar as they are employed in our reasoning.

To say they are wholly inoperative is to ignore the reference utility of them. Learning logic influences a brain to think logically.

So yes, learning the principles of sound reasoning can result in one person's reasoning correctly instead of incorrectly. Else, learning has no effect on thought or behavior.

David Brightly said...

You seem to be doing a pretty good job so far, Hal. The irreducibility of the mental needs to be argued for and I'm not sure the arguments are all good. It's by making and discussing arguments that we get to refine what we understand by the physical and the mental. You and I seem to be agreed that if the ability to form logical arguments---to follow the laws of logic---is an aspect of the mental, then it's not an aspect that is incompatible with the physical as we now conceive it. We've both tried to put forward arguments for this. I'm now suggesting that another aspect, that of having a duty, is also compatible. If having a duty cannot be understood as a physical property then I must have misrepresented it in some way, surely? What way is that?

Victor Reppert said...

The big question here is what happens to our concept of the physical when we make it compatible with the mental. You want to go for nonreductive materialism, which is by far your best option if you are a materialist.

Andrew Melynk, who wrote a the physicalist manifesto, and has written another essay called "Keeping the physical in physicalism," has written, as I noted earlier:

“Naturalism claims that nothing has a fundamentally purposeful explanation…Naturalism says that whenever an occurrence has a purposeful explanation, it has that explanation in virtue of certain nonpurposeful (e.g. merely causal) facts.”

David and Hal, do you think Melnyk is right about this, or do you think this plank of physicalism has to be altered? Or do you want to give up on the causal closure of the physical? Because if you stick with a causally closed physical order in which the mental is defined out of the basic level, then it is impossible, I think, to get a genuinely causally effective mental level.

But if you reject those basic doctrines, and redefine the physical so that the mental can be basic to it, then the watchmaker isn't so blind after all, and you are in the same boat as Thomas Nagel, who doesn't think we have to go religious and include God, but thinks that mind is basic to reality in a way that typical naturalists think it isn't.

That's a reasonable position, but Nagel is getting a lot of grief for taking it.

Joe Hinman said...

Hal said...
"Logic assumes taught it assumes reason it assumes a dialectical process involving consciousnesses. It is not an arithmetic force like electricity,"

So? Substances have different properties. Human beings have mental properties that are not found in lightning.
Why would that entail that because substances such as ourselves obey the rules of physics that we can't also obey the laws of logic?

you are purposely avoiding the conscious element,(irony of ironies!) this is why you can't solve the hard problem, you can;t come to terms with purposeful nature, We don'to obey laws of logic like a striking match obeys friction,we deliberate the meaning of the laws of logic,

Joe Hinman said...

Stardusty Psyche said...
Joe Hinman said...August 12, 2017 9:47 AM


" Joe>>>>:you just avoided dealing with the thinks I said about reductionism because you have no answer. "

--Answer to what? I can't identify in your words a specific argument about reducitonism. You just made some short quip about a supposed loss of phenomena.

The big about losing the phenomena. That's why i said it was a ploy of reductionist Ernestine,

"You know what you are doing"
--Yes.

no you dom't Marconi you lost the argument, you can't even understand what the argument is,

",you are reducing away the counter data,"

--What counter data, or argument?

GeeeeeSUS what were we talking aboiut go read it again, you are not going to waste my time making m e look up all the answer anything I said,

"losing the phenomena"
--More nonsense. The phenomena are not lost, they are accounted for.

you are trying to deny the purposeful potentiality of consciousnesses,that is reducing consciousness to less thanit is, you are losing the phoneme of intentionality


then you interjected this nonsense about sunshine which has nothing to do with anything,

here is where you did your phenomena losingbit whenyosaid,:



"Purpose is an abstraction, an evolved brain process that allows us to imagine the future and take actions in the present for perceived benefits. No problem for naturalism."

"The third is intentionality. How does that work? "
--Like purpose. It is just a brain processing aspect. We form an internal model of past, present,and future, then take actions while imagining some outcome. No problem for naturalism."

Joe Hinman said...

Losing the phenomena is a standard argument against reductionist in Philosophy of science.I*first learned it from Dr David Chanell history of ideas UT Dallas PhD seminar.

Victor Reppert said...

Give materialism, the laws of physics, and the prior facts, determine future "reasoning" insofar as it is determined. (Pure quantum chance, if you add that in, isn't going to help). The principles of sound reasoning play no role in determining the laws of physics. They play no role in determining the prior facts, which existed before any reasoning took place. Therefore, they play no role in the actual occurrence of reasoning as a psychological event.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe Hinman said.. August 13, 2017 12:37 PM.

" GeeeeeSUS what were we talking aboiut go read it again, you are not going to waste my time making m e look up all the answer anything I said,"
--You didn't make an argument, just some short unsupported nonsensical quip about supposedly losing a phenomenon.


" you are trying to deny the purposeful potentiality of consciousnesses,that is reducing consciousness to less thanit is, you are losing the phoneme of intentionality"
--Intention is just a brain process, nothing lost. Taking your Lord's name in vain is not an argument either.


" then you interjected this nonsense about sunshine which has nothing to do with anything,"
--You are just too clueless to grasp the connection.


" here is where you did your phenomena losingbit whenyosaid,:"
SP "Purpose is an abstraction, an evolved brain process that allows us to imagine the future and take actions in the present for perceived benefits. No problem for naturalism."
--Well said indeed :-)

The brain is a physical structure with an observed phenomenon of intentionality. Reducing that intentionality to subatomic actions does nothing to eliminate the observed phenomenon, quite the contrary, the reduction accounts for the phenomenon, just as the reduction of sunshine to subatomic actions accounts for the observed phenomenon of sunshine.

If you spent less time cursing the Lord and more time learning how to think and argue rationally you could potentially make some educational progress in your life.

David Brightly said...

Thanks Victor. Melnyk's book is way too expensive but I will read his paper on JSTOR.

Victor Reppert said...

https://infidels.org/library/modern/andrew_melnyk/physicalism.html

Stardusty Psyche said...

Victor Reppert said..August 13, 2017 1:17 PM.

" The principles of sound reasoning play no role in determining the laws of physics."
--The fundamental principles of logic are descriptions of our common physical observations, for example that a thing is not both X and ~X simultaneously. Logic is a human construct derived from physical observations.

" They play no role in determining the prior facts, which existed before any reasoning took place. "
--Ok


"Therefore, they play no role in the actual occurrence of reasoning as a psychological event."
--You passed over the nature of the psychological event. How does a psychological event occur? A psychological event is a brain process, which is dependent upon brain structure, which is altered by learning. Given an observed fact set X the brain will output Y prior to learning principles of sound reasoning and will output Z after learning principles of sound reasoning.

So, learning plays a role in psychological events by altering brain structure used to process those psychological events.

On naturalism it all reduces to subatomic actions. So called non-reductive materialism is just muddled thinking.

Joe Hinman said...



Everyone I know still talks about how unbelievable it all is,Not just Evangelicals going for and becoming completely sold out to a a man who embodies the antithesis of all that they stand for, not only the election to the Presidency of a totally unqualified clown, not only that he fundies vest this man with an anointing that makes him seem almost divine in their minds, but also the decline of Western civilization, the resurgence of racism and the seeming collapse of ordinary civilizing norms. But we need not be puzzled. it's all explained by going back to my old sociology days.There is a sociological theory, which I will discuss, that accounts for this change, That is explained by a theory in sociology of religion, the theory of "the Mazeways" by Anthony F.C. Wallace.

Maseways

Joe Hinman said...

Stardusty Psyche said...
Victor Reppert said..August 13, 2017 1:17 PM.

" The principles of sound reasoning play no role in determining the laws of physics."

--The fundamental principles of logic are descriptions of our common physical observations, for example that a thing is not both X and ~X simultaneously. Logic is a human construct derived from physical observations.

that works with that one no do the law of excluded middle? how do we see the fallacy of composition and know it as a fallacy? n fact how do we have a concept of fallacy?

-You passed over the nature of the psychological event. How does a psychological event occur? A psychological event is a brain process, which is dependent upon brain structure, which is altered by learning. Given an observed fact set X the brain will output Y prior to learning principles of sound reasoning and will output Z after learning principles of sound reasoning.

you are assuming there can only be one kind of mental event

Joe Hinman said...

tardusty Psyche said...
Joe Hinman said.. August 13, 2017 12:37 PM.

" GeeeeeSUS what were we talking aboiut go read it again, you are not going to waste my time making m e look up all the answer anything I said,"

--You didn't make an argument, just some short unsupported nonsensical quip about supposedly losing a phenomenon.

it's called analysis, you don't need an argument to identify losing the phenomena,if you finad a dead body you don't need to argue tht its dead,


" you are trying to deny the purposeful potentiality of consciousnesses,that is reducing consciousness to less thanit is, you are losing the phoneme of intentionality"

--Intention is just a brain process, nothing lost. Taking your Lord's name in vain is not an argument either.


self evident studio,I know I'm choosing things now, U din't need an argument,


" then you interjected this nonsense about sunshine which has nothing to do with anything,"

--You are just too clueless to grasp the connection.

I almost looks like you meant to answer me the but I know that can't be true because it would be nationality that's just a mental process so it be unconscious

" here is where you did your phenomena losing bit when you said,:"

SP "Purpose is an abstraction, an evolved brain process that allows us to imagine the future and take actions in the present for perceived benefits. No problem for naturalism."
--Well said indeed :-)

so you actually did mean to say that? why would you mean it when that would require thinning thinking is just another mental process we know you fon't mean to say anything


The brain is a physical structure with an observed phenomenon of intentionality. Reducing that intentionality to subatomic actions does nothing to eliminate the observed phenomenon, quite the contrary, the reduction accounts for the phenomenon, just as the reduction of sunshine to subatomic actions accounts for the observed phenomenon of sunshine.

you do not observe intentional, no way to observe it, you haven't answers hard problem you do not know what conciseness is, you are asserting that it's brain function to do that you have reduced it so you lose the phenomena, you are not dealing with conscientious but with brain function,

If you spent less time cursing the Lord and more time learning how to think and argue rationally you could potentially make some educational progress in your life.


thinking is just a mental process why do you have to learn to do it? It's not like it;s intentional,

August 13, 2017 1:28 PM

Hal said...

Victor:"The big question here is what happens to our concept of the physical when we make it compatible with the mental. You want to go for nonreductive materialism, which is by far your best option if you are a materialist."

I'm a materialist in only the sense that the only substance that exist is matter. But that substance is not the only thing that exists. For example, we can all agree that subatomic particles exist, but they are not substances. Stories, concepts, laws also exist but they too are not substances. And I am not a reductionist.

Also, I think we have quite different concepts of the mind. In my view the mind is not a substance or a thing. The mind is not an agent - it can't causally interact with material substances. Nor is it to be identified with consciousness. There are many conscious beings that inhabit this word who do not have minds.
My concept is more in the tradition of Aristotle-Aquinas-Wittgenstein.

Given that perspective, I hope you can understand why I see no conflict with the laws of physics and laws of logic. That is why I keep asking you to show why the laws of physics should somehow prohibit or prevent substances such as ourselves from having the capacity to think and act rationally.

Joe Hinman said...

Laws of logic are total products of mind, they are not real they reality they do not correspond to anything in reality, they coincide in a few places such as law of identity but that's it. Laws of psychs are also mental creations but they are at least refer to physical realities.

what is mind if it is not a repository of mental product? how does it differ from consciousnesses,?

Hal said...

Joe,
To have a mind is to display an array of mental powers such as memory, language use, reasoning, thought, etc. There are many types of sentient creatures on this planet. Only humans can be said to have a mind.

I see little reason to assume that the mind is some kind of entity or agent. We are not minds. To say one has a mind is to say that one has the mental powers I mentioned above.

Hal said...

Victor:" Because if you stick with a causally closed physical order in which the mental is defined out of the basic level, then it is impossible, I think, to get a genuinely causally effective mental level. "

I don't believe in mental causation. Humans cause thing to happen or not happen because they have minds. But minds are not causal agents.

Victor Reppert said...

But humans having mental states causes things to happen in the physical world. Thus, my mental state of understanding what you have just written is, at least in part, causally responsible for the comments I am now writing. Or, at least, it had better be. That is what I mean by mental causation. If my understanding of what you have written has nothing to do with what mental states I enter into, we are in trouble.

Victor Reppert said...

SP: -You passed over the nature of the psychological event. How does a psychological event occur? A psychological event is a brain process, which is dependent upon brain structure, which is altered by learning. Given an observed fact set X the brain will output Y prior to learning principles of sound reasoning and will output Z after learning principles of sound reasoning.

VR: I am afraid not. If physicalism is true, then the physical state of the world is determined by the prior physical state of the world, which contains nothing about learning (or by quantum chance, which provides nothing rational). And, given the weakest form of physicalism, the supervenience-determination thesis, the mental state is fully and completely determined by the physical state. The complete explanation for the mental state is fully given without referenced to anything like learning or any other form of mental causation.

Chad Handley said...

But yes, Trump Derangement Syndrome is a thing

I couldn't disagree more. Trump's own generals think he's capable of announcing a war with a nuclear power over twitter, which is what some of them said they thought he was doing after the first of his transsexual ban tweets. I think many of his actions (like that Boy Scout speech) indicate with high probability that he has actual, serious mental issues. Yet he just happens to be the only person on the plant who is constantly in reach of a button which, if pushed, will end all life on Earth. It's not deranged to be constantly worried about an existential threat to civilization; it's deranged not to be.

Hal said...

Victor:"But humans having mental states causes things to happen in the physical world. "

If by that you mean the fact that humans can act based on what they are thinking, then we are in agreement. That does not entail mental causation. The agent acting is the human, not the mind.

I reject the Cartesian view that the mind interacts with the human body.

It appears to me that you and the materialist are in agreement that the mind has causal powers. The materialist identifies that mind with the brain. You appear to be identifying it with something else that exists inside of a human. I seem to recall that in the past you denied that the mind was a substance so I would need clarification on what you think that something is that can cause physical changes in the body.

I happen to disagree with both positions because I'm working from a different conception of the mind. I gran that it is a minority view among philosophers, but I am not merely pulling it out of my arse. :-) .



Joe Hinman said...

Joe,
To have a mind is to display an array of mental powers such as memory, language use, reasoning, thought, etc. There are many types of sentient creatures on this planet. Only humans can be said to have a mind.

I see little reason to assume that the mind is some kind of entity or agent. We are not minds. To say one has a mind is to say that one has the mental powers I mentioned above.

Obviously wrong. we are agents,no question,mind is essential to agency, even if it is not sufficient for agency alone,

Joe Hinman said...

you can say mind is not the same as consciousness that's really a semantic issue,just depends upon how you want to divvy things up,

Hal said...

"Obviously wrong. we are agents,no question,mind is essential to agency,"

Even non-sentient objects can be agents. A rock breaking a glass is acting as an agent
Not sure I understand why you think a mind is necessary.

Hal said...

"you can say mind is not the same as consciousness that's really a semantic issue,just depends upon how you want to divvy things up,"

Only conscious beings have minds. It is a conceptual issue. If you are a cartesian then you would conceive of the mind as being capable of interacting with the body. A cartesian thinks the mind is an agent. I reject that concept.

Joe Hinman said...

Even non-sentient objects can be agents. A rock breaking a glass is acting as an agent
Not sure I understand why you think a mind is necessary.

No it's not. What you are saying misses the way the term "act" is used,agents act om behalf of others.

In physics the language of Aristotle physical forces were spoken of as though they had consciousness, "objects flee to the earth because she is their mother and they love her." or bodies "seek the earth." Heat "seeks" cold.


Think of an agent like danger man or 007, in that sense an agent is a spy. An inanimate object cant spy. That would be like saying Napoleon Solo is an agent and so is his gun. So Napoleon can stay home and the gun will go on the mission.

Joe Hinman said...

Only conscious beings have minds. It is a conceptual issue. If you are a cartesian then you would conceive of the mind as being capable of interacting with the body. A cartesian thinks the mind is an agent. I reject that concept.

a dead body cannot be an agent, the point of agency is independent action. So the question is what is it that wills and thinks and is capable of taking action?We could its intentionality which really means to be aware of our mental state, but taking action entails being aware of that. Or we could say it is consciousness; intentionality is part of consciousness, but both of these things are part of the mind.

The mimed is the overall mental dimension separate from the brain and consciousness is like an active awareness that emanates from the mind.Intenionality is a function of consciousness a d all of these things, mind, consciousness, intentionality, are necessary for agency.

David Brightly said...

Victor, in reply to yours of August 13, 2017 11:56 AM, I couldn't find that quote about naturalism in Melnyk's How to keep the 'physical' in physicalism, but I'm generally sympathetic to what he says. Nor do I want to give up the causal closure of the physical. I'd rather avoid talk of a genuinely causally effective or genuinely purposeful 'mental level'. I think we have concepts and vocabulary that apply to the physical appearances (bricks and windows) and another set of concepts and vocabulary that apply to the mental appearances (beliefs, purposes, duties, etc), and we have acceptable explanations within both these systems. I assume that underlying both is what I can only term the 'physical' because it's through the discipline of physics that we make contact with it, but it's a long way from the 'folk physical' and even from the 'classical physical'. There may be room here for something that sustains the appearances but my guess is that it is equally a long way from the 'folk mental' as it is from the 'folk physical'.

Hal said...

Joe,
I am using the word "agent" in the following way:

a person or thing that takes an active role or produces a specified effect.
"universities are usually liberal communities that often view themselves as agents of social change"

a substance that brings about a chemical or physical effect or causes a chemical reaction.
"there is an urgent need for new antimicrobial agents to combat infections"


An agent does not require a mind to act upon something else.

Hal said...

Joe:"a dead body cannot be an agent, the point of agency is independent action. So the question is what is it that wills and thinks and is capable of taking action?"

Actually a dead body could be an agent since as it decomposes it could effect changes on the surrounding environment.

I think the answer to your question is that it is a person that will and thinks and is capable of taking action. Persons have minds and bodies. Because they have a mind that can act rationally. Because they have a body they can act as agents in this world.


Hal said...

Joe:"Think of an agent like danger man or 007, in that sense an agent is a spy. An inanimate object cant spy. That would be like saying Napoleon Solo is an agent and so is his gun. So Napoleon can stay home and the gun will go on the mission."

I kind of like that analogy because I think it illustrates why I don't share your concept of the mind. Napoleon Solo is a spy. He has the capacity to act as a spy because he has a mind. But the mind can't act as an agent. That would be like saying Napoleon can stay home and his mind will go on the mission. :-)

Stardusty Psyche said...

Victor Reppert said...August 14, 2017 11:42 AM


" VR: I am afraid not. If physicalism is true, then the physical state of the world is determined by the prior physical state of the world, "
--As well as the transfer function from the prior state to the present state.

"which contains nothing about learning"
--Learning is a process by which that physical state of the brain is changed which in also affects the transfer function that will be applied to future perceptions.

" the mental state is fully and completely determined by the physical state. The complete explanation for the mental state"
--If one includes the characteristic processes or transfer functions associated with those physical states, yes.

" is fully given without referenced to anything like learning or any other form of mental causation."
--Learning is a physical process by which the brain state is altered.

William said...

It seems to me that one man's liberality about what can be a physical process is pretty much equivalent to another man's non-physicalism, except for the labels.

I've seen this variability in the definitions of what is physical before. A broad enough physicalism is compatible with most religions.