Sunday, September 28, 2014

A review of Adam Barkmans "C. S. Lewis and Philosophy as a Way of Life"

C. S. Lewis’s work is certainly varied, from children’s fantasy fiction, to science fiction, to scholarly writings in English literature, to Christian apologetics, and of course this is only the beginning. Most of this work has philosophical relevance to a greater or lesser extent. While some attention has been paid to Lewis as a philosopher in recent years, in general I would have to say that, for the most part, Lewis has been neglected even by Christian philosophers.
Some of Lewis’s critics would attribute this to the fact that while Lewis was capable of powerful rhetoric, the philosophical thinking underlying his writings is shallow, superficial, and prone to fallacy. Such is the verdict of John Beversluis’s C. S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion. Now, Beversluis apparently considers the Christian theism that Lewis defends to be in error. But other philosophers who indeed embrace Lewis’s overall philosophical perspective often find him difficult to bring into contemporary philosophical debate. This is partly because Lewis’s writings are not typically written for an audience of philosophers, and also because philosophical style and terminology is subject to change. A professional philosophical culture has developed in the Anglo-American world that was not present when Lewis was getting his philosophical training, and Lewis didn’t consider it has calling to address that culture. This makes Lewis something of a misfit from the point of view of present-day philosophy. He is, I believe, closer to what we today would call analytic philosophy than he is to Continental philosophy, and yet his work doesn’t fit the framework of contemporary analytic philosophy either.
People who want to make use of Lewis’s work in the context of contemporary philosophy have to do a certain amount of translating. Lewis’s argument from reason, for example, today meets with objections based on cognitive science, or supervenience theory, or functionalism, or eliminativism, all concepts that Lewis would not have known about in his time. Hence, in my work defending the argument, Lewis provides the basic idea and the starting point, but I have to develop the argument to make it responsive to current philosophical developments.
Some critical readers of Lewis’s apologetics focus on certain sharply-worded passages which seem to make Christian apologetics look easy, indeed easier than it really is. Yet an acquaintance with Lewis’s overall work leaves us firmly convinced that his convictions were reached at the end of a long, hard process. That process seems indeed to have been a process of long philosophical reflection. While philosophers such as myself have concentrated on bringing Lewis’s arguments into play in contemporary philosophy, Adam Barkman has taken a different path, and that path primarily involves tracing out Lewis’s philosophical journey, and trying to understand the philosophical positions he takes through the lens of that journey.
The first step in that process is to replace a narrowly professional conception of philosophy with the idea of philosophy as a way of life. It is this concept of philosophy that Plato would have understood, as opposed to the idea that a philosopher is someone who has a job with a philosophy department and delivers papers to APA meetings on a regular basis.
Barkman’s second step is to trace out Lewis’s philosophical journey leading up to his conversion to Christianity, a conversion he frequently described as an almost purely philosophical conversion. We now have access to a comprehensive set of Lewis letters, and other biographical material that Lewis scholars of previous generations could only dream about, and Barkman makes good use of them to reconstruct this story. Barkman claims that Lewis’s own account of his conversion story in Surprised by Joy actually downplays the philosophical content of his conversion for the sake of his audience. (I should note that, in spite of this, you can see Lewis’s philosophical wheels turning even in that book. For example, in Lewis’s account of his rejection of what he there calls Realism we see the biographical basis of his Argument from Reason). The starting point for Barkman’s study is from an account of Lewis’s own development found in his preface to Pilgrim’s Regress, he offers an account of the philosophical content of the stages of his conversion:
'On the intellectual side my own progress had been from 'popular realism' to Philosophical Idealism; from Idealism to Pantheism; from Pantheism to Theism; and from Theism to Christianity.1

However, Barkman finds this summary somewhat incomplete. “Popular realism” has to be identified as a metaphysical materialism. Barkman also identifies a “metaphysical dualist” phase in 1918 which is left out of this account. Third, a distinction has to be drawn between Lucretian materialism and Stoical materialism. When Lewis became an idealist, he oscillated between subjective idealism and absolute idealism, identifying only absolute idealism with pantheism. In fact, he thinks there were seven stages on Lewis’s way: Lucretian Materialism, Pseudo-Manichean Dualism, Stoical Materialism, Subjective Idealism, Absolute Idealism, Theism, and Neoplatonic Christianity.
At this point it pays to pause and consider how different the philosophical climate is today than it was in this time. Many debates in philosophy or religion are conducted between people who accept some version of materialism and those who accept some kind of theism, and idealisms of whatever sort are not currently on the map. When Lewis rejected materialism, he became, not a theist, but an idealist, and then after that found reasons for becoming a theist.
Once the template of these various positions is laid out, he proceeds to use them to trace Lewis’s development as it concerns various ideas, such as heavenly desire, myth, culture, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics. The insights he provides from a chronological perspective are worthwhile certainly. Sometimes, he defends Lewis’s central claims, such as when he defends the argument from desire. And sometimes, he is critical, as when he discusses the so-called “trilemma” argument, where he takes the view that the argument is at best very incomplete, since it merely assumes that Jesus made claims to his own divinity.
The book is long, (611 pages) and it takes work to get something out of it. But it will reward those who study it carefully.

1 C. S. Lewis, the preface to the third edition of The Pilgrim’s Regress, in C. S. Lewis: Selected Books (Short Edition) (1933 reprint; London, Harper Collins, 2002), 5.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why Lewis Wouldn't Buy the Computer Argument From Peter S. Williams' "Why Naturalists Should Mind about Physicalism, and Vice Versa

A redated post.

C. S. Lewis lived before computers became the major force that they are now. I think he would not be impressed by the argument that
1) We know that computers are purely material systems.
2) We know that computers reason.
3) Therefore we know that material systems are capable of reasoning.

The reason he would not be impressed is that while computers do the "ratio" part of rational inference very well, the "intellectus" aspect is not to be found in the computer system itself, but is rather a "put in" by human programmers and builders.

I presented Lewis description of the reasoning process in another post, about what he presents in "Why I am Not a Pacifist." It puzzles me somewhat that Lewis didn't spell out exactly what he thought was involved in a rational inference when we was using rational inference to attack naturalism.

The following is from Peter Williams' essay presenting an argument from mind against materialism. See the Lewis quote, which connects to footnote 35 below.

Being Rational

A computer can mimic certain aspects of what scholastic philosophy dubbed "the third act of the mind" [29] ; that is "reasoning, calculating." [30] This "third act" is the whole of what people today tend to mean by "reason", and this corresponds to the old French "Raisoner", meaning "to think connectedly or logically". [31] We can define "the third act of the mind", reason in the French sense, as:

‘The manipulation in thought of beliefs and premises according to the principles of logic, by virtue of which they may be seen in their logical connections, and conclusions may be reached.’

Raisoner is subsumed under the broader Latin definition of "reason" (from the Latin ‘ratio, - on’, meaning "reckoning, judgement, understanding. . ." [32] ), which corresponds to the scholastic taxonomy of three "acts of the mind":

a) "simple apprehension",

b) judgement, and

c) reasoning [i.e. raisoner]. [33]

It is the first act of the mind that constitutes intellectus: "intellect (intelligere) is the simple (i.e. indivisible, uncompounded) grasp of an intelligible truth, whereas reasoning (ratiocinari) is the progression towards an intelligible truth by going from one understood (intellecto) point to another." [34] Thus:

"We are enjoying intellectus when we ‘just see’ a self-evident [basic] truth; we are exercising ratio when we proceed step by step to prove a truth which is not self-evident. A cognitive life in which all truth can be simply ‘seen’ would be the life of an intelligentia, an angel. A life of unmitigated ratio where nothing was simply ‘seen’ and all had to be proved, would presumably be impossible; for nothing can be proved if nothing is self-evident. Man’s mental life is spent labouriously connecting those frequent, but momentary, flashes of intelligentia which constitute intelluctus." [35]

The first act of the mind, simple apprehension or understanding, contains a subset that has been termed the sapiential sense:

"It is our ability to know these indemonstrable but indisputable truths that, for want of a "cleaner" phrase, we call sapiential sense. Sapiential sense is the mind’s ability to "see" the truths that constitute reality, grasp things as they are in themselves. The "seeing" of these truths transcends the scope of the scientific method (which is limited to the data of the senses) and of logic (which is limited to "unpacking" the conclusions already contained in premises). "Knowledge," writes Illtyd Trethowan, "is basically a matter of seeing things. . . arguments, reasoning processes, are of secondary importance and this not only because without direct awareness or apprehension no process of thought could get underway at all, but also because the point of these processes is to promote further apprehensions."’ [36]

Each act of the mind builds upon and includes the one before. For, "Knowledge supposes a judgement, explicit or implicit." [37] Judgement involves the "simple apprehension" [38] of understanding; and reasoning requires judgement, and thus understanding, which includes "apprehension, intellectual intuition, understanding, "seeing", insight, contemplation." [39] Rational beings are therefore beings capable of employing all three acts of the mind, for "What we cannot understand we cannot believe; and what we cannot believe we cannot know." [40] I therefore define reason, in its widest, Latin sense, as:

‘The discerning apprehension of truths which may be manipulated according to the principles of logic, by virtue of which they may be seen in their logical connections, and conclusions may be reached.’

Reason is thus: ‘the combined operation of understanding, judgement, and raisoner in search of truth.’ It is my claim that all three acts of the mind are immaterial and that the human mind is therefore more than material.

While a computer manipulates propositions according to the principles of logic, it does not, I suggest, do this "in thought", as is necessary to the possession of the third act of the mind as defined above. Nor does it posses either the first act, "understanding", or the second act, "judgement". In other words, while computers undoubtedly posses part of the abilities of mind, it is my belief that they do not have mind. Thus I do not think a computer can have beliefs, or, consequently, knowledge. In this I agree with John Polkinghorne who writes that, "The human mind is indeed a computer. . . but it is much more than that - we can also "see", or understand.", and thus that, "The exercise of reason is the activity of persons and it cannot be delegated to computers, however cleverly programmed." [41] This means that it is impossible to view the human mind as nothing but a biological computer.

As Aristotle argued, "Seeing is an act of the eye, but understanding is not an act of our brain. It is an act of our mind – an immaterial element in our makeup that may be related to, but is distinct from, the brain as a material organ." [42]

Determinism, Free Will and Moral Responsibility

Physicalism implies determinism, in that the mind is seen as being identical with the brain, which is a natural, physical system running according to the laws of nature. As C.S.Lewis wrote:

"If Naturalism is true, every finite thing or event must be (in principle) explicable in terms of the Total System. . . If any one thing should be such that we see in advance the impossibility of ever giving it that kind of explanation, then Naturalism would be in ruins. . . For by Naturalism we mean the doctrine that only Nature – the whole interlocking system – exists. And if that were true, every thing and event would, if we knew enough, be explicable without remainder. . . as a necessary product of the system." [43]

Reasons to doubt the truth of determinism are therefore also reasons to doubt the truth of naturalism and physicalism.

One reason to doubt determinism (and thus physicalism) is that it causes severe problems for our concepts of morality. It is not up to the stone whether or not it falls to earth if I throw it into the air. Given certain conditions (being thrown into the air, gravity, etc.) the stone will fall back to earth. The stone has no freedom to do anything other than what it is caused to do; its activity is determined by causes over which it has no control. If humans lack free will, then our actions fall into exactly the same category as the action of a falling stone. We would have no freedom to do otherwise than we are caused to do by causes outside of our control (indeed, we would have no ‘control’ at all). If we are thus determined, does it make any sense to retain belief in moral obligation? A moral obligation is something you ought to do, something you should do; but what use is there for concepts like ‘he ought to do this’ and ‘she should do that’ in a world where every human action is a ‘has to do’? [44]

We face a choice: either to accept determinism and dump moral obligation, or to retain belief in moral obligation and dump determinism. If we dump determinism, then we must also dump naturalism and physicalism, because naturalism and physicalism entail determinism: "It is safe to say that physicalism requires a radical revision of our common-sense notions of freedom, moral obligation, responsibility, and punishment. On the other hand, if these common-sense notions are true, physicalism is false." [45]

[29] Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995).

[30] ibid.

[31] T.F.Hoad, Dictionary of Etymology. "When ratio is. . . distinguished from intellectus, it is, I take it, very much what we mean by ‘reason’ today; that is, as Johnson defines it, ‘The power by which man deduces one proposition from another, or proceeds from premises to consequences’." – C.S.Lewis, The Discarded Image, (Cambridge), p157-158.

[32] ibid.

[33] Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, op cit.

[34] Thomas Aquinas, quoted by C.S.Lewis, The Discarded Image, p157.

[35] C.S.Lewis, The Discarded Image, p157.

[36] Roy Abraham Varghese, Great Thinkers On Great Questions, (OneWorld), Introduction, p5-6.

[37] ‘Knowledge’, The Catholic Encyclopaedia @

[38] Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, op cit.

[39] ibid: "We just "see" (in a nonvisual sense of the term) that certain things are true, or that one thing follows from another." (Everitt & Fisher, Modern Epistemology, p4)

[40] Robert Audi, Epistemology – a contemporary introduction, (Routledge), p183.

[41] John Polkinghorne, Reason and Reality, (SPCK), p10.

[42] Mortimer J. Adler, Aristotle for Everybody, (Simon & Schuster, 1997), p183-184.

[43] C.S.Lewis, Miracles, (Fount), p16, my italics.

[44] The existence of objective moral obligations forms one premise of the moral argument for the existence of God as the only possible source of such obligations, a conclusion that contradicts naturalism.

[45] Habermas & Moreland, op cit, p60.
This is the passage from "Why I am Not a Pacifist"

C. S. Lewis's Description of Rational Inference
VR: Although C. S. Lewis criticized naturalism by arguing that it is inconsistent with the possibility of rational inference, he didn't give the kind of full description of rational inference that he gives in an essay entitled "Why I am Not a Pacifist," which contains no argument against naturalism at all. It is found in The Weight of Glory, p. 34.

"Now any concrete train of reasoning involves three elements: Firstly, there is the reception of facts to reason about. These facts are received either from our own senses, or from the report of other minds; that is, either experience or authority supplies us with our material. But each man’s experience is so limited that the second source is the more usual; of every hundred facts upon which to reason, ninety-nine depend on authority. Secondly, there is the direct, simple act of the mind perceiving self-evident truth, as when we see that if A and B both equal C, then they equal each other. This act I call intuition. Thirdly, there is an art or skill of arranging the facts so as to yield a series of such intuitions, which linked together produce, a proof of the truth of the propositions we are considering. This in a geometrical proof each step is seen by intuition, and to fail to see it is to be not a bad geometrician but an idiot. The skill comes in arranging the material into a series of intuitable “steps”. Failure to do this does not mean idiocy, but only lack of ingenuity or invention. Failure to follow it need not mean idiocy, but either inattention or a defect of memory which forbids us to hold all the intuitions together.”

The power of intuition, the second step, seems to be the most difficult to account for in naturalistic terms.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The inventor of the Courtier's Reply Cancels his Dawkins Fan Club Membership


The humanist delusion: denying the cat

People often maintain that atheists are necessarily going to be humanists. Atheist Luke Muehlhauser disagrees, but his complaint seems to be about the implied speciesism. 

I have a different kind of issue. I think that, historically, when people cease to believe in God, they often come to accept a kind of unjustified confidence in humans and human nature. The best example I can think of is Marx. Marx somehow thought that, in a godless world, the"dialectic of matter" would lead naturally, without divine interference, to the human race evolving a perfect classless and stateless society. It was like a replacement for the Christian Kingdom of God, but with no God to bring it in. 

Or let's look at Humanist Manifesto II, which supposedly was the chastened replacement for the original Humanist Manifesto, after Hitler and Stalin had wreaked enormous damage on the world. But in that Manifesto they wrote: 

TWELFTH: We deplore the division of humankind on nationalistic grounds. We have reached a turning point in human history where the best option is to transcend the limits of national sovereignty and to move toward the building of a world community in which all sectors of the human family can participate. Thus we look to the development of a system of world law and a world order based upon transnational federal government.  (Italics mine) This would appreciate cultural pluralism and diversity. It would not exclude pride in national origins and accomplishments nor the handling of regional problems on a regional basis. Human progress, however, can no longer be achieved by focusing on one section of the world, Western or Eastern, developed or underdeveloped. For the first time in human history, no part of humankind can be isolated from any other. Each person's future is in some way linked to all. We thus reaffirm a commitment to the building of world community, at the same time recognizing that this commits us to some hard choices.

And that would mean the advent to TRS, the Transnational Revenue Service, to fund the transnational federal government? Good luck with that!

This kind of humanistic gullibility deserves the Strait answer: 

I got some ocean front property in Arizona.
From my front porch you can see the sea.
I got some ocean front property in Arizona.
If you'll buy that, I'll throw the golden gate in free.

If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat.
-- G.K Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Which Laws Govern?

t is not enough that one mental event cause another mental event in virtue of its propositional content. Someone who engages in rational inference must recognize the correctness of the principle of sound reasoning, which one applies to one's inference. Modus Ponens works, affirming the consequent does not. Our inferences are supposed to be governed by the rules of reasoning we recognize to be correct. However, can these rules of inference ever really govern our reasoning process? According to physicalism, all of our reasoning processes are the inevitable result of a physical substrate that is not governed by reasons. ¶ So we might ask this question: "Which laws govern the activity we call rational inference?" We might stipulate, for the purposes of this discussion, the idea that laws of physics are accounts of the powers and liabilities of the objects in question. If the materialist claims that laws other than the laws of physics apply to the assemblage of particles we call human beings, then those particles are not what (mechanistic) physics says they are, and we have admitted a fundamental explanatory dualism. If however, the laws are the laws of physics, then there are no powers and liabilities that cannot be predicted from the physical level. If this is so there can be a sort of emergence, in that the basic laws governing a sleeping pill will not mention that the pills tend to put you to sleep. Nevertheless, the pill's soporific effectiveness can be fully and completely analyzed in terms of its physical powers and liabilities. If this is so, then we will be rational if and only if the physical configurations of matter guarantee that we are physical, and in the last analysis, the laws of logic do not govern our intellectual conduct.


redated from 2011. 

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Repent of your religious beliefs, or you are going straight to......the kid's table

Well, atheists don't say that our eternal destiny hangs on our decision, but I do hear atheists say that everything depends on our abandoning religious beliefs. See the late Victor Stenger:
"When belief in ancient myths joins with other negative forces in our society, they hinder the world from advancing scientifically, economically, and socially at a time when a rapid advancement in these areas is absolutely essential for the survival of humanity. We now may be only about a generation or two away from the catastrophic problems predicted to result from global warming, pollution, and overpopulation. Our children and grandchildren could be faced with flooded coastal areas, severe climatic changes, epidemics caused by overcrowding, and increased starvation for much of humanity. Such disasters would generate worldwide conflict on a scale that is likely to exceed that of the great twentieth-century wars, possibly with nuclear weapons in the hands of unstable nations and terrorist groups."
So, unless faith ends, the WORLD IS COMING TO AN END. Why should someone who believes this refrain from using force to end religion?
Religion matters to people, and so the "devil" can tempt us to use force to support it. But the devil can tempt unbelievers to use force to the end of religious belief by any means necessary. Atheists tend to get upset when atheism is called a religion. But it is a position concerning the great issues, and it profoundly affects how we live our lives. Atheists may not consign you to hell for not agreeing with them, but they will consign you to the kid's table, and for some people that is an even worse fate.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Parsons on irrationality charges

To accuse people of irrationality is the charge them with a moral as well as an intellectual failure. This is, of course, what makes the charge of irrationality so inflammatory. To accuse someone of irrationality is tantamount to charging that he has sacrificed intellectual integrity. It is a way of saying that someone has formed a belief irresponsibly or dishonestly—through self-deception, say, or perhaps by ignoring easily available contrary evidence. To call someone irrational is to say that he has settled for a belief that he knows, deep down inside, not to be the most reasonable one.

God and the Burden of Proof, (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1989) p.32. 

Reply to Parsons on Religion and Violence

  • Parsons' comments are  here

  • I think you misunderstood my point. People can be tempted to kill for what they think is really important. If you are religious, this might be really important, though with Christianity you do have an argument against supporting religion with violence, originally made by Lactantius:
    "Religion being a matter of the will, it cannot be forced on anyone; in this matter it is better to employ words than blows [verbis melius quam verberibus res agenda est]. Of what use is cruelty? What has the rack to do with piety? Surely there is no connection between truth and violence, between justice and cruelty . . . . It is true that nothing is so important as religion, and one must defend it at any cost [summa vi] . . . It is true that it must be protected, but by dying for it, not by killing others; by long-suffering, not by violence; by faith, not by crime. If you attempt to defend religion with bloodshed and torture, what you do is not defense, but desecration and insult. For nothing is so intrinsically a matter of free will as religion. (Divine Institutes V:20)"
    Surely there has been plenty of religiously motivated violence, and Christians have, sadly, not always followed Lactantius' excellent advice. But you need something more than religion to justify violence. You need to accept the claim that force can and should be used to advance one's religion. It might lead you to violence if you think somehow you can promote religion by the use of political power. As I have argued, it's a lot harder for Muslims to reject this premise than for Christians, since Islam was founded through the use of political power.
    But what about atheism? Could people really convinced that our society, if it to advance, needs to embrace atheism, be tempted to use political power, and ultimately violence, to achieve that goal? If you buy in on all the "mind virus" and "delusion" rhetoric that the New Atheists are fond of using, if you are convinced that raising a child as a Christian or a Jew is to abuse that child, etc. etc. etc., wouldn't there be a temptation to "use the ring" and force people to abandon their faith? Why not? Dawkins has already supported using the fear of ridicule to peer-pressure people out of their beliefs. Ever hear of the League of the Militant Godless in the former Soviet Union? Ever hear of the Cult of Reason during the French Revolution.
    What I object to is the idea that somehow abandoning religious belief is going to eliminate violence, and that atheism somehow is going to leave us all with, as John Lennon put it, "nothing to kill or die for." As I see it, THAT view is delusional, and you have to smoke a lot of pot and drop a lot of acid believe that. My answer to Lennon comes for George Strait, as follows:
    If we consider something important, then we can be tempted to decide that the end justifies the means. And that includes the end of faith.

      Against property dualism

      A redated post

      What if you accept irreducibility arguments that defend the claim that mental states are ineliminable and irreducible to physical states. Many philosophers buy these arguments without denying an overall philosophical naturalism. What they accept, instead, is dualism of properties but a monism of substances. At least when I was in graduate school, it seemed to me as if the mainstream position amongst secular philosophers was a non-reductive materialism based on the supervenience of mental states on physical states. There were numerous opposing views about what kind of supervenience relationship had to obtain between mental and physical states.
      William Hasker, in his response to me in Philosophia Christi, entitled “What about a Sensible Naturalism,” is talking about just this kind of naturalistic position. He describes a sensible naturalism as “a naturalism that makes a serious effort to accommodate, or at least makes sense of, our ordinary convictions about the mind and its operations—the things we think we all “know” about the mind, when we are not doing philosophy.”
      The difficulty here is that the mental and the physical are defined in such a way as to exclude one another. So reductionist accounts of the mental have a tendency to be either fully or partly eliminativist. We have to back off from what we thought were out common-sense conceptions of what the mental is in order to accept a reduction to the physical. To accept reductionist accounts of the mental, for Hasker, is not to be a sensible naturalist.
      There is, it seems to me, a paradoxical difficulty for naturalistic philosophies of mind. If you can reduce the mental to the physical, then the issue of mental causation, I think, becomes easier for the naturalist. If the naturalist is inclined in a reductionist/eliminativist direction, then the argument from propositional content becomes the main focus. However, many naturalist philosophers do not think reductionism is plausible. But if the naturalist buys a nonreductive materialism, which means that we accept a dualism of properties, then the argument from mental causation becomes the key argument.
      Edward Feser presents the case against the non-reductivist view on mental causation as follows:
      …Property dualism seems if anything to have a worse problem with epiphenomenalism than does Cartesian dualism. Recall that the Cartesian dualist who opts for epiphenomenalism seems to be committed to the absurd consequence that we cannot so much as talk about out mental states, because if epiphenomenalism is true, those mental states have no effect at all on our bodies, including our larynxes, tongues and lips. But as Daniel Dennett has pointed out, the property dualist seems committed to something even more absurd: the conclusion that we cannot even think about our mental states, or at least about our qualia! For if your beliefs—including your belief that you have qualia—are physical states of your brain, and qualia can have no effects on anything physical, then whether you have qualia has nothing to do with whether you believe that you have them. The experience of pain you have in your back has absolutely no connection to your belief that you have an experience of pain in your back; for, being incapable of having any causal influence on the physical world, it cannot be what caused you to have beliefs about it.