Thursday, November 17, 2005

An Internet Infidels discussion I started on intentionality.

I put a link to my response to Carrier on intentionality. I started the discussion and chose the topic, but somehow I'm guilty of the red herring fallacy. I didn't know that was possible.


Anonymous said...

Wow, there is a lot of hate on that message board!

I personally can't believe that the naturalists on the board aren't aware that there are plenty of other naturalists who think mental reductionism is problematic. Searle himself is a materialist, even if he thinks subjectivity isn't reducible. Or take Davidson if one doesn't like Searle. Or, if analytic folks can keep their minds open for just a little bit, leave Anglo-American philosophy for a sec and investigate some continental figures. Geesh!

Edwardtbabinski said...

Just as problematic, but for dualists is the alternative of where consciousness goes when you sleep; or how damage to a portion of the brain can affect one's entire demeanor and personality; or how many "consciousnesses" and "free wills" there are in split-brain patients (one or two?); or the imperfections and inherent imprecisions and errors of language and reasoning (and how hard won--sometimes taking centuries--each victory of understanding is); and lastly, why such a mind in dualistic tune with a supernatural realm can only attain the level of a grunting animal if it is raised only by and only with other non-human animals throughout its life?

See also:

Don Jr. said...

I'm not sure if the issues you briefly cited, Mr. Babinski, are just as problematic (or even problematic at all). When we sleep we are still conscious (I think), as we do dream, which requires a certain amount of consciousness; I just think we're not self-conscious. (Of course you may correct me on that if I am wrong. Although, if you do correct me, I would appreciate it if you explained, at least briefly, why I am wrong on this point, rather than simply asserting it.) The mind might be related to the brain in such a way that our self-awareness becomes dormant when we sleep. After all, it would be fairly difficult to actually sleep while we're still awake (i.e., self-conscious). Although I do admit that in the past I have become self-conscious while I was "sleeping"—if we could still call it sleeping in that case. (So I guess I'm not certain on the definition of "sleeping.") Moving on, the dualist maintains that the mind and body do interact, so the damaging of the brain affecting the personality (by affecting the mind) doesn't seem to be problematic for the dualist. Off the top of my head, I freely admit that I do not have a response to the schizophrenia dilemma. I'm not sure, though, why your next issue, namely, imperfect reasoning, is a problem for the dualist. Your last concern asked, "[W]hy [can] such a mind in dualistic tune with a supernatural realm . . . only attain the level of a grunting animal if it is raised only by and only with other non-human animals throughout its life?" To be honest, I'm not sure what this objection is getting at. If you could try to clear this up for me I would appreciate it.

Forgetting, for the moment, all the (attempted) explanations given above, it still seems that naturalism maintains the brunt of the problem. Let's assume that dualists cannot explain the above issues you raised. Very well. We can still see that dualism doesn't rule these scenarios out. Naturalism, on the other hand, is guilty (or at least claimed to be guilty) of ruling out crucial aspects of our existence (consciousness, intentionality, reasoning, etc.). The crucial concern isn't that naturalism can't explain consciousness, although that is a concern; rather, the crucial concern is that naturalism rules out consciousness (as well as intentionality, reasoning, etc.) Furthermore, assuming that dualism can't explain the issues you proposed, I'd rather adopt a view that contains a few peripheral paradoxes rather than a view that can't explain, and seems to rule out, crucial and fundamental aspects of our existence.

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