Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reply to some questions from J on the AFR

Why can't matter...think, or possess intentionality of some type, to varying degrees ? (widely varying).

The problem is that something can count as material only if, at the basic level, there is no intentionality, no purpose, no normativity, and no subjectivity. If you want to tamper with that definition of matter, be my guest, but that seems to be built into the very idea. Remember Dennett's "no skyhooks" rule? Yet, somehow the truths about thinking have to follow necessarily from truths about what by definition MUST be nonmental. Such entailments, in my view, are bound to break down logically. We can hide the breakdown in pages and pages of neuroscientific analysis, but at the end of the day there is no entailment, no metaphysical glue that binds the mental and the physical together. Whatever glue we come up with, if we analyze it closely enough, has to come from a mind of some sort, and materialism fails.

In comparison to say, ants, rats seem nearly conscious.

Which of the four relevant properties do they have, or do they lack them all?

Does a rose bush think? It does know when to bloom... At least a rose follows a routine (even if genetically determined).

Does the thermostat in my house know how hot or cold it is?

either way the mere fact of intentional processes--or consciousness-- does not suffice as proof of monotheism...

Monotheism is one of a few options left over once naturalism is eliminated. As Lewis recognized, it is not the only one.

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