Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A new infidels discussion on naturalism: the conceptualist argument

Perhaps this might bear following. It looks to be a version of the conceptualist argument.

11 comments:

White Goodman said...

*Sigh*. Same old blundering conflation of naturalism with physicalism, right there in premise 1. Frege, Russell, and Quine would stop right there and have a field day.

Victor Reppert said...

Well, the critical step is to make sure that one is talking about metaphysical naturalism rather than some other kind, like methodological or epistemological. But I think metaphysical naturalism pretty much leads to physicalism, or at least has much the same problems.

White Goodman said...

Why?

Victor Reppert said...

Because any world-view that is naturalistic has to have a causally closed basic level of reality that is non-intentional and non-purposive. So even if you accept the existence of abstract entities, how could those entities have anything to do with what goes on in anyone's brain, since brain-states are determined by other concrete physical states, not by abstract entities.

White Goodman said...

"Because any world-view that is naturalistic has to have a causally closed basic level of reality that is non-intentional and non-purposive."

That's flat-out false. It entails that Spinoza and Chalmers aren't naturalists, for example.

Victor Reppert said...

So it does. Chalmers, though, does believe in causal closure.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious: why is naturalism (i.e., the denial of the supernatural) committed to the causal closure of the physical? Or is it?

Second, are *theists* committed to the causal closure of the most basic level of reality?

Finally, if abstract objects exist, then they are arguably a part of "the basic level of reality". If so, then wouldn't that mean that there's no violation of causal closure even if abstract objects and the physical interact? If you don't like causal-talk here (perhaps it's rejected that abstracta and concreta can't causally interact, although they must be related in *some* way), then replace such talk with "influence".

Anonymous said...

Nothing of much substance in the thread. I am really hoping to see a solid discussion of this argument take place.

As I argue in my sketch of the conceptualist argument, even if naturalism doesn't entail strict physicalism the existence of abstracta is still hard to account for.

Anonymous said...

This topic has been re-hashed ad nauseum at this blog, with the end result that the conceptualist argument is seen to be a failure. If you could respond to Matt Davidson's "A Demonstration Against Theistic Activism", and Bergmann and Brower's arguments, then *that* would be an advance.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it would be an advance for theistic activism, but the defender of the conceptualist argument need not be committed to theistic activism. One could adopt something like theistic conceptual realism, wheich Greg Welty defends. At any rate, what you seem to be questioning is the conceptualist argument's conclusion, namely, just how it is that abstracta are dependent on God. Far from being discussed ad nauseum, this issue has only recently begun to get substantial attention by few philosophers (Plantinga, Leftow, Morris & Menzel, et. al.). There is much more to be said on this quarter.

IlĂ­on said...

Doesn't "this has been discussed ad nauseam" frequently mean: "I have no defense against this and that nauseates me?"