Monday, February 06, 2006

A note from Darek Barefoot

I find the discussion of Methodological Naturalism to be intriguing,
although I just have not had time to pursue the various links.  It
prompts the question, Is there a bright dividing line between science
and philosophy?  Science is notoriously difficult to define, and
scientific inquiry always takes place against the backdrop of
philosophical presuppositions--such as the assumption of the
uniformity, or more properly, intelligibility, of nature.

The obvious place to uncover the paradox of MD is in cognitive
science.  Cogsci is beyond rational doubt a purposive enterprise, yet
by restricting its inquiry to physical phenomena in the brain--as
methodologically it must do--it necessarily will observe nothing but
nonpurposive processes at work there.  Which is more ridiculous,
expecting beliefs and purposes to show up on EEGs and
neurotransmitter scans or doubting their existence because they fail
to show up there?  (We won't pose that question to the
Churchlands.)  The paradox may be unresolvable, but is it really
outside the purview of science to acknowledge that the paradox

Darek Barefoot

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