Indeed so. But what we would not be warranted in doing is jumping to the conclusion that, because we "can't be sure" of that, we can be sure that there is no such third "functionality," or that consciousness does not actually exist except as an element of the merely physical. We would have to admit that we did not know what was causing consciousness, or whether or not consciousness was an entity beyond the physical.Justintruth wrote: ↑Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:56 pmIn order to establish that you would have to know whether it is impossible to remove the consciousness and retain the breathing. Since we don’t know the details of what causes consciousness, we can’t be sure that there is not some functionality, in addition to that that produces consciousness, that is also interrupted by the anesthesia.
Not quite. As Michael Polanyi and others have argued, the discipline we call "science" dictates what will be allowed to count as evidence; it does not establish that no other things, and no other kind of evidence exist...just that we won't count them.Science does establish what we do have evidence for and also the fact that we don’t have evidence for the rest.
So, for example, if something is unique and unreproducible in a person's experience, it is not allowed to count as evidence in a scientific explanation. That, of course, does not mean that people do not have unique and unreproducible experiences -- in fact, one could argue that ALL personal experiences are, in some measure, unique and unreproducible -- but science determines to know nothing about these, and concentrate strictly on the reproducible elements of them, or not at all.
In the context of our conversation, you were saying we don’t know what happens after death, and so there may be basically a ghost occurring,
No, no ghosts. The Biblical account is of re-embodied entities, not of "spirits." The vexed question is really whether there is an afterlife. But this life is not described as disembodied.
There is no reduction once the idea that matter can experience is accepted.
Yet there is no reason to accept it, and good reasons not to. For one thing, we can't find "experience" in most kinds of matter. And the sort of "experience" humans have, that is, self-conscious experience, is certainly of unique quality in us. For another thing, there is no plausible progressivist or evolutionary account of how consciousness can "evolve." Even evolutionary philosophers of mind prefer to speak of "emergent properties," since the mechanics of progressive development of it look impossible. So the "matter can experience" hypothesis commits us to show something we just can't, and can't even think of how to show.
That's an epistemological issue, not an ontological one. There's a world of difference between "We don't know X for sure," and "We can therefore be sure X does not exist." If God is good, and good is a reality, it does not matter if some (or many) people do not know that fact; it would be true anyway.There is a problem with aesthetics that is different from the other cases. The nature of good may be necessary or not. Basically, the relationship between ontology and the good (that God is good, in the old religious terms) is uncertain.
Actually, the opposite is often demonstrably true. Many "moral" behaviours endanger the individual's survival. It is this problem that has led some speculators to posit "selfish gene" type explanations, in which the failures of the individual to act towards survival are explained away with reference to some supposed impersonal imperative toward genetic perpetuation.“Being is good” translates to a desire to survive
(Ironically, such explanations suggest anthropomorphized "genes" are more intelligent and important, and more in control of their destiny, than are "conscious persons"; how bizarre is that? But people will go to great lengths to try to patch up a bad theory, and that would be one such case.)
Small? Surely not.The reason science is having trouble is not predominately the small philosophical issue we are describing.The problem remains this: that there are realms of experience, like consciousness, morality, mind, meaning, aesthetic judgment, and so on, that everybody but hard-headed Materialists believes to exist, and in fact, upon which every human being acts every day of their lives, but about which science itself is having a great deal of trouble speaking. And that's not a reason for rejecting science, but rather a reason to question whether our science is capable of dealing with everything that really exists.
Since Polanyi, Feyerabend and Kuhn, it's pretty much generally acknowledged that this isn't true. Science is susceptible to ideological misdirection, just like any human enterprise.Science has be remarkably un-impeded by scientism.
They can be used to deny that science has any basis for ruling out such an entity...particularly one so generally phenomenologically and existentially recognized.The limitations of science cannot be used to establish the need for the posit of a separate entity.
You seem to be much taken with the idea that simpler is always better, when it comes to explanations. I've suggested good reasons why this is obviously not so...so I'm surprised to see you repeating that supposition. "Adequacy" is the primary virtue of a good explanation: and materialism its manifestly not adequate to the phenomena it is trying to describe....to justify the need for the second posit you advocate.
You've misread Occam, I'm afraid.It is William Occam you need.
His "rule" is only a probabilistic one, is ceteris paribus only, and contingent upon one having enough posits in a theory to account for the phenomena in question. It's certainly no reason to think Materialism is a sufficient explanation for all things. Not much rests on Occam.
Yes.Look, basically if you want to understand God you have to understand metaphysics. You have to understand the ontological possibilities of the human being. Now that means you must understand more than nature. Not just more than natural science, but more than nature itself.
Heh. No, I'm not saying that.Ok, if you think there is a question of whether there is a God, and that that question can be resolved by a contingent fact, like this. ”It’s possible there is a God and possible there is not. But If, in fact there is a God, blah, blah, blah…” If you think like that, you will never understand God.IF (and let us just say this as a theory for the moment, not as a fact claim) there is a God, can He (in theory) reveal something to us that science cannot discover?
Note the capital "IF." I was asking you to consider the logical consequences of the hypothesis that God exists, not using that to argue that God exists.
That was all I was asking.Sure, all of it is possible if the right sense is maintained.Could He, for example, reveal His own existence? Could He tell us what happens after death? Could He tell us what objective morality is? Could He explain the meaning of life?
"Contingent?" That's not at issue, of course. Created beings are, by definition, contingent (not necessary) beings. But "material"...that's only partly true. We are, indeed, material beings in some senses also not in question: like that we have bodies. But it that ALL we are? That's the real question. And the answers is that there are elements to the things we call "me" that are not material, and yet essential...like consciousness....if the religious view is true it does not mean that we are not contingent material beings. Our union with God is metaphysical and does not decide the contingent physical facts of our neurology and what it is capable of. Nor can it decide whether we can predicate it onto the physics without requiring some second, also contingent reality, you are calling a mind.
Philosophically, you are correct. An ultimate "Necessary Being" would, by definition, have to exist in all possible worlds, including this one. But that point will be a bit too advanced for what I'm suggesting. I'm merely having us think theoretically about the differences between this world with a God, and this world without.There can be no possible universe without God as that possibility would still have to “be”.… it raises the question of how a universe without a God would be quite different from one with a God –
But again, these kinds of discussions do not decide the natural fact, that it appears that our brains are what is experiencing.
It doesn't, though. Our brains are capable of being kept viable with no "experiencing" demonstrated. The "brain dead" have their brains, and their brains operate as called upon to do by mechanics; but the bearer of the brain is dead. Consciousness, identity, the essence of the person is gone, though the physiology remains in place and can be operated.
But my point was much simpler: in a universe in which God exists, there is no sense to assuming "science" is the totality of truth, the totality of knowledge. And for that matter, it wouldn't even make sense to suppose it in a world without a God, because from whence would come our certitude that when we did this humanly-invented thing called "science" we were being promised access to all truth? There'd be no such promise written into the indifferent universe, for sure.
Quite so! Why not? In fact, if there was no way for us to explain consciousness without reference to three or four, then that's what we'd need.Why not three then? Or ten? Why not have a slew of them?
What would not make sense (and this is what I'm arguing against) is if we said, "Well, one thing is one posit; and those loonies who think there ought to be more want at least two posits, so they must be wrong.”
I did. He says I'm right. He wrote: "pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate," or “plurality should not be posited without necessity.” But when it is necessary, it should be. Sometimes, it genuinely is necessary.See Occam.
….a human entity is plausibly comprised of two co-ordinated entities, both body and soul. It just may be, as the Bible insists it is, that "body" is not only one thing.
Oh I think many Rabbis would disagree with you on that. Can you show me where the bible says – no not just “says”, “insists”? The authors of the bible were not even aware of this question as far as I can tell.
Modern Rabbis have a different opinion about this from ancient ones. But Job, the oldest book in the Bible, is quite clear on this point (Job 19:26). Also, the Pharisees (ancient Rabbis) held tenaciously that the soul exists; and Christ Himself pointed out that no tenable Judaism would ever make God only "the God of the Dead." (Mark 12:27)
Fine rhetoric. Those damn materialists!….we're trying to ….(whether) "materials" are the totality of all that is real. And that's the basic theory I'm disputing. I'm saying that Materialism is narrow and dogmatic, not inclusive of all phenomena and not grounded in reason. It's a faith position only, and in the worst sense of that word.
Not at all. Materialism is a creed. That's all.
Who doesn't? The Materialist, the Dualist and whatever, are equals in the level of knowledge they have of the workings of the body, because they only concern the workings of the body. But in explaining the consciousness, the identity, meaning or morals, the Materialist is decidedly at a disadvantage, because the resources to which he limits his own access are not capable of yielding credible explanations.But here is the interesting part. You don’t know why you are interested in doing it. You don’t realize how your body works and why.
You said it yourself: he needs to start believing wild things, like "materials experience," over and against the plain observation of materials that obviously don't.
Oh. Dan Dennet. Yes, I know of him.Again, I refer you to Dan Dennet of design and evolution.This claim …creates an "emergent" problem. How does "mind" spring from that which has no mind? That needs a very precise sort of explanation, if we are to accept it as a theory. And we have none. But it also just assumes that things "assemble" themselves, without even trying to describe what power or intelligence "assembles" these things. That's awfully close to magical thinking, and it's certainly bad explaining
He is not a good philosopher in my opinion but has this right.
Right first time, wrong the second, I would say.
Well, then, I'd be grateful if you'd explain the mechanics of that, please, because Dennet's explanations are, in my estimation, pretty bad. I would assume you have a better one?No designer is necessary, nor is magic. Its random mutation and natural selection. Evolution.
It's not a problem one has to address if one is not an "emergentist," and I'm not, of course.In terms of emergence, remember that you have the problem there too. How does physics emerge? The hard problem of consciousness championed by Chalmers has a twin, the hard problem of existence. Why is there any physics at all? And if there are conscious entities which are not physical, then how did they emerge.
I do not. I don't think it evolved at all.If you think that you can ever use the existing physics to show how consciousness evolved
Example?…things that are genuinely random do not "design" themselves.
Sorry, but they do. This has been demonstrated both in simulations and utilizing things in the lab.
No, it predicts "the state of entropy of the entire universe, as an isolated system, will always increase over time." Another way of putting this is to say that the universe is "running down," or "tending from a state of higher order to disorder," or simply, "order decays." The Sun itself, the thing upon which your response depended, is a feature of the universe that demonstrates this decay process.Actually, that law predicts that matter cannot evolve without some energy input from outside of the system.…It's (emergence of designed entities) a demonstration of the second law of thermodynamics, essentially.
Swimming upstream, against the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics all the while?The design evolved.So now we've got two problems: one, how did design appear, and secondly, how did the designed thing become conscious?
It's not a dogmatic statement...it's a scientific observation. The base elements of which the brain is composed can all be isolated, and none of them "experiences."Now who was it that was dogmatic?… "brain" is limited to the materials. Materials don't experience.
We can think so; but if we do, we will have to abandon Materialism as it is currently understood too. And to say that our answer relies on a physics that, at present, we just don't have, is to rely on a faith statement far wilder than most religions will ever venture.There is no dismissal if by “materials” we are not limited to the current physics.
You could prove that if you could create some such "assembly" -- without involving your own consciousness, of course, because otherwise you'd be contaminating the quantity you were trying to produce by adding in your own -- and then from this spontaneous assemblage witness consciousness spring spontaneously...for that is the process you seem to be positing at present.Not if consciousness always occurs with certain types of assemblies and never without them. It is then just another property of matter.… "assembly" is only complexity, not consciousness
Evolution, that unguided process, accidentally assembled multiple complexities, assemblages of matter from which self-consciousness suddenly and inexplicably sprang.