Thursday, August 24, 2017

What are the targets for the argument from reason?

The mental need not be supernatural if nature is inherently mental. But as I indicated earlier, a view of the world that places the mental at the basic level from the beginning, such as Absolute Idealism, is not an Argument from Reason target. Panpsychism, I take it, would also not be an Argument from Reason target. However, if reason is a byproduct of a universe that is, at bottom, nonmental, then it is an Argument from Reason target.  

2 comments:

Hal said...

I take it that the mental is not a thing or kind of thing.
Humans have a mental capacity - that is, they can think and reason and act on those reasons. The physical acts that humans perform are partly constitutive of the meanings of many of our mental (psychological) concepts. Because of that behavior we have well established criteria for identifying the psychological attributes humans have.

What criteria do you have that could establish that the mental exists at the basic level of our universe?

If reductionism is a false metaphysical position, then it is simply not necessary that the mental exists at that basic level.

Hugo Pelland said...

"However, if reason is a byproduct of a universe that is, at bottom, nonmental, then it is an Argument from Reason target."

Yes, that's a great way to put it.

So let's put the nonmetal at the bottom. What's nonmental? Well, what's mental? As for something to be 'not' something, we need to know what 'thing' we're talking about.

So what's mental? Is there any objectively correct definition?

It seems to me that mental is what humans do when they conceptualize their surroundings, their physical world.

So yes, at bottom, the universe is physical. From it, biological systems evolved more and more complex abstract thought processes, combining more and more concepts.

The Argument from Reason does indeed attempt to disprove this theory. But it fails, in my opinion, because of the assumed primacy of consciousness: the mental is the base existence.