Wednesday, March 21, 2007

DI2 post on Hasker on intentionality

Does functionalism solve the problem of intentionality, even though it may have trouble with qualia? William Hasker says no.


stunney said...

If I'm reading him right, Hasker is basically arguing that functionalism is dishonest.

I.e., you have to have either eliminative materialism or the non-naturalizability of intentionality.

Victor Reppert said...

I wouldn't characterize Hasker as charging the eliminativist with dishonesty. What he is saying is that functionalism is eliminativism in effect, in that it eliminates some salient features of propositional attitudes.

stunney said...

Victor, I think you misread me.

I didn't the eliminitavist was dishonest. I said the functionalist is.

So Hasker is forcing materialists to be eliminitavists.

Victor Reppert said...

No, that was a typo. I meant the functionalist. It's one thing to take an incoherent position. It's another to be dishonest.

stunney said...

I meant that the functionalists are dishonest in a rather metaphorical sense of 'dishonest'.

An atheist might say I'm dishonest because as a Christian I don't own up to the severe ethical problem of reconciling certain Biblical injunctions with the notion that God is all-good and all-loving. So yes, incoherence comess into it. But it's not just incoherence in one's position. There's more.

What the atheist is claiming is not that I am literally dishonest, but that I fear or suspect that there is a serious problem there, and I don't do enough to examine it more closely.

There's also a loose sense of this metaphor which we can see in statements like:

"The only genuine,honest materialism is eliminative materialism, and for that reason I admire the Churchlands' intellectual honesty."

See what I'm saying?

It's a minor point, but it gets to the heart of Hasker's critique of functionalism:

"Look guys, I'm erecting the horns (if you'll pardon the expression) of a dilemma. Choose your poison--eliminativism or non-natural intentionality.