Thursday, August 17, 2017

More dialogue with Keith Parsons

KP: My claim is that the realization (cognitive sense) of, say, the cogency of Draper's argument, is realized (non-cognitive sense) in the physical operation of my brain. Indeed, I am saying that the mental act of recognizing the cogency of the argument IS a physical act executed by my brain. I understand propositional contents with my brain. That is HOW I do it. In this case the physical act IS the mental act, and this is the "is" of identity. IF this is a coherent suggestion, then the physical act is not "blind!" On the contrary, it is the very act of mental seeing! The act is a physical, bodily act just as much as singing or dancing, but what it accomplishes is the mental act of understanding the cogency of an argument. VR: Physics is a blind system, because the processes that existed when it was totally blind are supposed to be exactly the same as those currently in operation. If it is physical , but it has mental properties, and those mental properties are relevant to the conclusion you draw, then you have to account for this at least by positing emergent laws. Emergent properties without emergent laws are epiphenomenal. Why the laws of physics should change for our intellectual convenience is something that, to my mind, cries out for explanation, and intelligent design starts looking plausible. But there was a whole series of British Emergentists, and there was Henri Bergson, earlier in the last century. The meaning of physical needs desperately to be clarified here. Does physical mean, as I take it, nonpurposive at its base, or is spatial location sufficient? If all it needs is a spatial location, then it seems to me that a non-Cartesian soul could be physical in that sense.

The exchange with Keith is here.

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