Friday, March 24, 2006

An inquiry from Pat Parks

Victor: You say in footnote #21 of your article "The Lewis-Anscombe Controversy" that a necessary condition for rationality to exist is that both the ground and consequent and cause and effect relations "must coincide." No doubt, we substance dualist assume this. In Miracles Lewis seems to make the same point when he discuses how it is that we reach a conclusion (via rational inference): "It looks therefore, as if, for a train of thought to have any value, these two systems of connection must apply to the same series of mental acts." And of course, the problem for the naturalist is that these two systems are "wholly distinct." For he has the problem of not being able to explain the logical connections (ground and consequent) that obtain in such mental events. O.K., this seems simple enough. Yet, here's where I'm still a bit perplexed: Why does Lewis in "Bulverism" say that "Either we can know nothing, or thought has reasons only, and no causes."(emphasis mine) I understand the context to be about the justification of our beliefs with respect to rational causes, or rational inference. But, why does he say "thought has reasons only, and no causes"??? Is it simply because he is using "cause" here in the physical sense?

Victor, is it correct that the G/C and C/E distinction is nothingless than the distinction between two kinds of "explanations" for how beliefs are produced? And thus, this is why the AFR is at root an argument for "explanatory dualism." If I'm on target then I can now see why Kim's principle of "Explanatory Exclusion" is germane to all of this.

Please correct any flaws in my thinking on these connections.

Always Thankful,
Pat Parks

Pat: Bulverism is dated 1944. Nudge nudge, say no more. But on if you look up the paragraph, you find that he distinguishes between 1) ordinary causes and 2) a special kind of cause called a reason.


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