Monday, June 18, 2018

Why Materialism is simply Untrue

This is from Dr. Dennis Bonnette on Strange Notions. 


Metaphysical Materialism is Simply Untrue

Only an immaterial cognitive faculty, that is, one not extended in space, can actually apprehend the wholeness of any sensed object. Moreover, in the same act, the sense faculty can apprehend manyindividual wholes at once, as in a flock of birds.
How does an immaterial sense faculty unify the object of perception into a meaningful whole? Knowing how an immaterial entity “works” would require knowing how to make one -- something that exceeds human capabilities. Still, I know a sense faculty can do it, because I actually sense meaningful wholes in sensory experience. That is, in a single act, I see a whole moose or experience hearing a complete melody or am aware that I am touching the total surface of a sphere. No purely physical entity can adequately explain this fact.
Sight’s ability to apprehend its object as a whole is sufficient to show that at least one external sense faculty must be immaterial. Because an animal’s sensitive soul is immaterial – that is, because it is not extended in space, even animals can experience the unified wholeness of sense objects – and many such wholes simultaneously.
Purely materialistic metaphysic’s essential problem is that sense cognition’s immaterial nature is what enables the knower to apprehend the physically extended object as a unified whole. In so doing, immaterial cognition achieves something that mere extended matter cannot do, namely, it can unify in a single simple act what in physical reality is extended in space and multiple in parts.
Some materialists admit that certain cognitive acts cannot be expressed in purely material terms. Yet, they insist that these “epiphenomena” somehow “emerge from” purely physical matter. That is, they are simply a product of physical matter in some way. The problem with this explanation is that the more perfect cannot be explained by the less perfect. Or, to put it another way, that which is inherently unable to explain the unity of the whole (discrete physical parts) cannot be a sufficient reason for apprehending the thing sensed as a unified whole.
Moreover, this immaterial principle must explain how unity is achieved from multiple sense data. Since a material entity can never explain the unity of its discrete elements, what unifies must not only be immaterial, but must be something within the sentient organism that unifies its discrete material organs into a functional whole respecting sense perception. Such an immaterial principle would be the form or soul of even the lowest sentient organisms.
This means that a purely materialistic explanation of all reality is simply false.

5 comments:

Starhopper said...

This reminds me of the scene in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land where the "fair witness" is asked to describe a house on a nearby hill. She replies, "It's white on this side."

Think about that.

John Moore said...

Why do you need a faculty not extended in space in order to comprehend space? It just seems like space should comprehend space, and the immaterial should comprehend the immaterial.

This writer knows a sense faculty can do it, but he only assumes the sense faculty must be immaterial. He admits that true understanding of the immaterial entity exceeds human capabilities. So it's just an argument from ignorance.

The irony is that we already have well understood neurological models that clearly show how our purely material minds comprehend space and groups of things. People who persist in ignorance do so by their own choice.

Hugo Pelland said...

Let's assume that it is the case that
"Only an immaterial cognitive faculty, that is, one not extended in space, can actually apprehend the wholeness of any sensed object."
Why are we all, as human beings, bound by space and time when thinking then?

If we start the other way around and assume that the material is a basic existence, independent of minds, then it follows that if minds can emerge from such world, they would necessarily be limited by that material world. And that's exactly what we get.

David Brightly said...

The camera in my mobile phone can draw boxes around people's faces. Does that count as unifying in a single simple act what in physical reality is extended in space and multiple in parts? I guess not. Bonnette presumably intends by this phrase something more than what is present in the words. In the comments on his original piece he says (fourth comment down),

The problem is that the commenters at the top are trying to imagine sensation as a purely mechanical-molecular entity,, rather than reflecting on their own real experience of the way our sensing unifies the manifold in a manner that no physical object or set of objects can. [my emphasis]

This suggests to me that his real target is not the unification of the manifold---the sensing of the outside world as objects, which can clearly be achieved physically---but rather the sensing of the sensing, which is another matter altogether.

Joe Hinman said...



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