A Refutation of J.P Morelands article "Does the Argument from Mind Provide Evidence for God"

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A Refutation of J.P Morelands article "Does the Argument from Mind Provide Evidence for God"

First, all of my quotations will be taken directly from this article:  http://boundless.org/features/a0000901.html

 

I want to preface the refutation by saying simply that the argument is so bad, not to mention so ill-thought out, that it shocks me that the argument was written by someone who is a professor of anything.  It will be shown that not only does J.P Moreland not know what he is talking about, but also that he commits very basic fallacies...fallacies that a 1st year philosophy student wouldn't write in an intro course.  But enough of the attack on poor Moreland.  Lets turn to his paper that mascarades itself as an argument:

J.P Moreland wrote:
Mental states may be caused by physical states, and physical states may be caused by mental states. A feeling of pain (mental state) may be caused by being stuck with a pin (physical state), and one’s arm going up (physical state) may be caused by an intention to vote (mental state). But just because A causes B, that does not mean that A is the same thing as B! Fire causes smoke, but fire is not smoke itself. Being stuck by a pin causes pain, but being stuck by a pin is not pain itself. A desire to vote causes one’s arm to go up, but that desire is different than the arm’s going up. The fact that a state of one’s mind can affect physical states and the fact that physical states can affect the state of one’s mind do not mean that corresponding mental and physical states are identical to each other. In fact, they are fundamentally different.

While the analogy is lucid, it cannot apply to the relation between the mind and body.  Your analogy exclusively deals with various diatic causal relations between physical objects.  Now, you extrapolate this to the human mind, which you claim is an immaterial substance.  The first thing that needs to be asked is, what on earth are you talking about?  Explain how it is coherent to talk about causation devoid of any expenditure of energy? 

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
First, there is a raw qualitative feel — a “what it is like to have it” — to a mental state. For example, pain hurts. A physical state may cause pain, but the physical state itself can be completely described in the vocabulary of physics and chemistry, or in the commonsense vocabulary of the physical world. Being hurtful, however, is not describable in the vocabulary of any of these.

This is just a naked assertion.  Moreover, it begs the question against a physicalist and is an argument from ignorance.  You're just asserting that "what it is like" cannot be physical, presumably because you fall into what Dennett calls the Philosophers Error:  Mistaking a failure of imagination as an insight into necessity.  You can't possibly imagine how this phenomena can be physical, so you conclude it isn't.  But this proves only that you have a lack of imagination.  You also interpret a potential problem for physicallism as evidence for dualism...this is just an argument from ignorance...similiar to God of the gaps arguments.

Already, we have discovered three fallacies you fall into.  Not elusive fallacies...but fallacies that any critical thinking student can spot. 

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
Second, many mental states have intentionality — “ofness” or “aboutness” — which is directed towards an object. A thought, for instance, is about the moon. But no physical state is about anything. The brain is a physical object, but a brain state cannot be about the moon any more than a rock or a cloud can be about the moon. Only a state of mind can be about the moon.

Naked assertion, again...

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
Third, mental states are internal, private and immediately accessible to the subject having them. A scientist can know more about my brain than I do. But I have direct knowledge of my mind which is not available to anyone else.

Naked assertion, again.  You are also making a huge leap.  What your implying is that since mental states are currently internal and private, they will always be.  Do you see the unjustified inference?  This is like saying "my car is in the garage...therefore, my car will always be in the garage."  hence, you infer from contingency to necessity.

moreover, you assert the thesis of luminosity.  Basically, you claim that if my mind has some property P, then I can know that P upon introspection.  This is called strong transparency.  Almost no educated philosopher subscribes to this nonsense.  I suggest you look up change blindness.  If strong transparency is true, why do we "feel" that we are conscious of alot more than we are?  I mean, it seems like when I look at a jet I am conscious of the whole thing.  However, I am not.  People were shown a picture of a jet both with and without an engine and it took them about 10 seconds to spot it.  Moreover, here is a property you mind has, IF interactionist dualism is true:  what is the nature of the interaction between my mind and my brain?  Is the connection physical or immaterial?  This is a property you mind MUST have if dualism is true, but you cannot know if in virtue of strong transparency.

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
Fourth, mental states fail to have crucial features that characterize physical states. Unlike physical states, they have no spatial extension (it doesn’t make sense to ask how tall or wide someone’s thoughts are) and they have no location either (which is why it doesn’t make sense to ask where someone’s thoughts are).

*sigh*

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
In general, mental states cannot be described using physical language.

And right now, in saying this, you are using physical language to say the mind cannot be described using physical language...but in doing this, you are describing the mind using physical language!  

The snake of fallacies is getting bigger and bigger...

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
The inability of evolutionary theory to explain the existence of mind
Given that mental states (states of mind) are immaterial and not physical, there are at least two reasons why evolutionary theory cannot explain their existence.

You havn't even argued for this in a coherent manner.  Up to this point, your whole paper has been nothing but outdated ideas not researched.  In fact, unless you consider naked assertions arguments, you havn't argued literally anything!  

 

J.P Moreland wrote:

The inability of evolutionary theory to explain the existence of mind
Given that mental states (states of mind) are immaterial and not physical, there are at least two reasons why evolutionary theory cannot explain their existence.

Something from nothing: According to evolutionary theory, before consciousness appeared, the universe contained nothing but matter and energy. The naturalistic story of the cosmos’ evolution involves the rearrangement of the atomic parts of this matter into increasingly more complex structures according to natural law. Matter is brute mechanical, physical stuff. Consciousness, however, is immaterial and nonphysical. Physical reactions do not seem capable of generating consciousness. Some say the physical reactions that occur in the brain are capable of producing consciousness, yet brains seem too similar to other parts of the body (both brains and bodies are collections of cells totally describable in physical terms). How can like causes produce radically different effects? Though evolutionary theory can handle the appearance of the physical brain, the appearance of the nonphysical mind is utterly unpredictable and inexplicable. Thus the emergence of minds and consciousness seems to be a case of getting something from nothing.

The inadequacy of evolutionary explanations: Naturalists claim that evolutionary explanations can be offered for the appearance of all organisms and their parts. In principle, an evolutionary account could be given for increasingly complex physical structures that constitute different organisms. One of the driving forces behind Charles Darwin’s exposition of evolution was the belief that all mental phenomena could be explained as features of physical objects. However, if minds and consciousness exist, they would be beyond the explanatory scope of evolutionary theory, and this would threaten the theory’s plausibility.

there is nothing here to respond to.  It is gibberish.

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
Of course, theists think that minds and consciousness do, in fact, exist. But because naturalistic forms of evolution have proven incapable of explaining minds and consciousness, their existence has been rejected by naturalists.

Wow, how can this be true?  Oh wait, it isn't.  Naturalist don't deny that minds exist you moron.  We just have a different ontology of the mind.  If you define the mind as immaterial, you beg the question.

 

J.P Moreland wrote:

The naturalist’s question begging rejection of mind
According to naturalist Paul Churchland:

 

The important point about the standard evolutionary story is that the human species and all of its features are the wholly physical outcome of a purely physical process. … If this is the correct account of our origins, then there seems neither need, nor room, to fit any nonphysical substances or properties [such as minds and mental states] into our theoretical account of ourselves. We are creatures of matter. And we should learn to live with that fact.3

Here, Churchland claims that, since we are merely the result of an entirely physical process (that of evolutionary theory), which works on wholly physical materials, we are wholly physical beings. But if, by saying “there seems neither need, nor room, to fit any nonphysical substances or properties into our theoretical account of ourselves,” Churchland is saying that naturalistic evolutionary theory can adequately explain the nature of man, his argument clearly begs the question.

this is very strange.  I am wholly perplexed by this.  Now, why does Moreland think this?  Well, he breaks it down into a formal argument:

(1) If we are merely the result of naturalistic, evolutionary processes, we are wholly physical beings.
        (2) We are merely the result of naturalistic, evolutionary processes.
        (3) Therefore, we are wholly physical beings.

 

this is obviously modus ponens.  Could Moreland possibly believe that an argument of this form begs the question?  It appears that Moreland is either a quack, or has never studied logic.

Ok, here is how he justifies this nonsense: 

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
Naturalists like Churchland accept premise (2). But why should we accept it? Those who think consciousness and mind are real do not.

Paul Churchland believes the mind exists.  Please, stop lieing.

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
Naturalists argue for (3) on the basis of (2)

Some might, but this is irrelevant.  You don't NEED to believe 3 to believe 2.

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
Put another way, nobody will not think that (2) is true unless they already think that (3) is true

LOL!

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
The naturalistic explanation of the nature of man, however, begs the question by simply assuming that we are wholly physical beings.

Wrong, again.  Arguments are given for why the mind is material.  It is not merely "assumed"  I am sure you know this, so stop lieing.

-----------------------------------

there you go folks.  I will not waste anymore of my time on this hack.  Everyone here ought to see what a crackpot he is. 

 

 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


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Chaoslord2004 wrote: I

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

I want to preface the refutation by saying simply that the argument is so bad, not to mention so ill-thought out, that it shocks me that the argument was written by someone who is a professor of anything. It will be shown that not only does J.P Moreland not know what he is talking about, but also that he commits very basic fallacies...fallacies that a 1st year philosophy student wouldn't write in an intro course.


Yep. A familiar feeling.

I remember when I read his contribution to Strobel's Case for a Creator. I hadn't studied philosophy of mind but I could smell the sophistry. Sure enough, once I'd studied and had been formally introduced to the arguments he was referring to, he was using arguments that emergentists used against reductive physicalism to try and refute ontological physicalism.
And he was interestingly silent on the more or less fatal problems for substance dualism on mind-body causation.


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I believe Moreland was

I believe Moreland was writing this article with a leaning towards strong emergantism, with the view that consciousness cannot be broken down into it’s physical constituents. It is directly opposed to physicalism in this way: physicalism, briefly put is the view that everything is physical in nature, thus consciousness can be “explained away” by appealing to the physical constituents that the brain is made out of. Unfortunately I did not find your “refutation” of J.P. Moreland that philosophically satisfying, here are my reasons why.

You stated: “While the analogy is lucid, it cannot apply to the relation between the mind and body. Your analogy exclusively deals with various diatic causal relations between physical objects. Now, you extrapolate this to the human mind, which you claim is an immaterial substance. The first thing that needs to be asked is, what on earth are you talking about? Explain how it is coherent to talk about causation devoid of any expenditure of energy?”

Possible response: Your response is that Moreland deals with diatic causal relations between “physical objects”. But the point of Moreland’s analogy doesn’t assume that these are relations between physical objects at all, there are two non-physical states at work in the analogy: 1) feeling pain 2) intentions of persons. Now one might say “there are sections of the mind that light up, or neurons that fire off when one has intentions and feels pain” thus one asserts that feeling pain and intentions of persons are physical in nature. But why assume this, me feeling pain and the neurons firing off in my brain are qualitatively different. Simply saying there is no explanatory gap doesn’t make it so. Further I don’t see the argument here, just because something isn’t clear to you doesn’t make something false, it just means it has to be clarified.

Moreland wrote: “First, there is a raw qualitative feel — a “what it is like to have it” — to a mental state. For example, pain hurts. A physical state may cause pain, but the physical state itself can be completely described in the vocabulary of physics and chemistry, or in the commonsense vocabulary of the physical world. Being hurtful, however, is not describable in the vocabulary of any of these.”

You wrote: “This is just a naked assertion.”

Response: how so? Moreland is asserting the vocabulary between how science describes physical states (ie neurons firing off in a certain section of my brain), and how I describe the pain feel is qualitatively different. Again Moreland is simply arguing that there are qualitative differences in intentionality of the mental, and what science says is happening within my brain. Here’s the argument, and it’s formally valid

1. If there is differences between the description of actually feeling something and what science describes is going on inside my brain, then there is a qualitative difference in the mental state.

2. There is a difference between the description of actually feeling something and what science describes is going on inside my brain.

3. Thus, there is a qualitative difference in the mental state.

Now your job if you want to refute this argument is to argue against one of the premises.

You also wrote: “Moreover, it begs the question against a physicalist and is an argument from ignorance. You're just asserting that "what it is like" cannot be physical, presumably because you fall into what Dennett calls the Philosophers Error: Mistaking a failure of imagination as an insight into necessity. You can't possibly imagine how this phenomena can be physical, so you conclude it isn't. But this proves only that you have a lack of imagination. You also interpret a potential problem for physicalism as evidence for dualism...this is just an argument from ignorance...similiar to God of the gaps arguments.

Already, we have discovered three fallacies you fall into. Not elusive fallacies...but fallacies that any critical thinking student can spot. “

Response: What Dennett calls a “philosophers error” is not actually a fallacy at all, further I suspect it can be used to defend naked assertions, which you claim are littered throughout Morland’s work. Let me explain what I mean. You argue, “naked assertion” meaning there is an assertion being made that is not being defended with reasons. One argues against you by claiming you are making a philosophers error, mistaking a failure of imagination as an insight into necessity. You can’t possibly imagine any reasons can be presented for mental causation thus you assume there isn’t any reasons for mental causation. Dennett’s “philosophers error” seems incredibly dubious to me since it can be used to defend some very implausible positions. Further this isn’t the only reason Moreland states for thinking physicalism is false there are several others he points out. Every reason Moreland states you argue Naked assertion but that’s just too simple, you showed no interest in following Moreland’s points, or even tried to make sense of them; you didn’t even try to understand the arguments he presented for the points, so I will go through each point you claimed was a naked assertion, and present the arguments Moreland presents; this is the real philosophical work, and I’m surprised you didn’t even bother with it.

Moreland wrote: “Second, many mental states have intentionality — “ofness” or “aboutness” — which is directed towards an object. A thought, for instance, is about the moon. But no physical state is about anything. The brain is a physical object, but a brain state cannot be about the moon any more than a rock or a cloud can be about the moon. Only a state of mind can be about the moon.”

The argument you failed to present in your “refutation”:

1) A thought is about an object.

2) A physical state is not about anything.

3) If (1) & (2), then physical states differ qualitatively than mental states.

4) Thus, (1) & (2). (1, 2 conjunction)

5. Thus, physical states differ qualitatively than mental states. (3, 4 Modus Ponens)

6) The brain is a physical object.

7) If (5) & (6), then the brain differs qualitatively from the mind.

8. Thus, (5) & (6).(5,6 conjunction)

9) Thus the brain differs qualitatively from the mind. (7, 8 Modus Ponens)

Now it’s your job as refuter to deny one of the premises with reasons for that denial, like any good refutation does. You can deny (1), (2), (3), (6) or (7).

Moreland says: “Third, mental states are internal, private and immediately accessible to the subject having them. A scientist can know more about my brain than I do. But I have direct knowledge of my mind which is not available to anyone else. “

You have two objections both unsatisfactory, the first:

“Naked assertion, again. You are also making a huge leap. What your implying is that since mental states are currently internal and private, they will always be. Do you see the unjustified inference? This is like saying "my car is in the garage...therefore, my car will always be in the garage." hence, you infer from contingency to necessity.”

Response: No, that is not what Moreland states, there is no talk about mental states being absolutely internal. The idea is that mental states (thoughts, intentions, desires, epistemic reasons) are first internal, private, and accessible to the subject having them. The argument is simple:

1) Scientists know more about my brain than I do.

2) I have direct knowledge of the contents of my own mind which MAY not be accessible to scientists.

3) if (1) & (2), then mental states differ qualitatively than the physical.

4) Thus, (1) & (2).

5) Thus, mental states differs qualitatively from the physical.

6) If mental states differs qualitatively than the physical then the brain differs from the mind.

7) Thus, the brain differs from the mind.

Second objection:

“moreover, you assert the thesis of luminosity. Basically, you claim that if my mind has some property P, then I can know that P upon introspection. This is called strong transparency. Almost no educated philosopher subscribes to this nonsense. I suggest you look up change blindness. If strong transparency is true, why do we "feel" that we are conscious of alot more than we are? I mean, it seems like when I look at a jet I am conscious of the whole thing. However, I am not. People were shown a picture of a jet both with and without an engine and it took them about 10 seconds to spot it. Moreover, here is a property you mind has, IF interactionist dualism is true: what is the nature of the interaction between my mind and my brain? Is the connection physical or immaterial? This is a property you mind MUST have if dualism is true, but you cannot know if in virtue of strong transparency.”

Reply: Moreland seems to be implying something else; a similar thesis to “I know my own mind”; here We do not simply claim that I am aware of my thoughts, feelings and desires, but in context I am asserting my autonomy against some intruding paternalistic individual. There was no transparency thesis here.

Moreland states: Fourth, mental states fail to have crucial features that characterize physical states. Unlike physical states, they have no spatial extension (it doesn’t make sense to ask how tall or wide someone’s thoughts are) and they have no location either (which is why it doesn’t make sense to ask where someone’s thoughts are). In general, mental states cannot be described using physical language.

You: *sigh*

Response: this is not a response nor is this a refutation! Moreland’s argument is as follows, again I wish you would have done the philosophical work in reading Moreland without bias:

1) physical states have spatial extension & locations.

2) thoughts and mental content does not have extension and location.

3) If (1) & (2) then mental content cannot be reduced to the physical.

4) (1) & (2).

5) Thus mental content cannot be reduced to it’s physical constituents.

The argument is simple, we do not use the same language to describe mental content and the physical sciences so why assume that the two are the same?

Your reply: And right now, in saying this, you are using physical language to say the mind cannot be described using physical language...but in doing this, you are describing the mind using physical language!

The snake of fallacies is getting bigger and bigger...

Response: How so? What is a physical language? Moreland seems to be using physical language in a different way than you are, Moreland seems to be implying that “physical language” is the language used by scientists; “mental language” is the language used to describe our mental content. I don’t really see what you mean when you say “but in doing this, you are describing the mind using physical language”.

You Say: You haven't even argued for this in a coherent manner. Up to this point, your whole paper has been nothing but outdated ideas not researched. In fact, unless you consider naked assertions arguments, you haven't argued literally anything!

Response: Really you haven’t argued anything, you’ve just stated the opposite and made accusations of fallacies, there wasn’t really any good objections nor was there any decent arguments made on your behalf.

You say: “there is nothing here to respond to. It is gibberish”

Response: I don’t see the argument here.

You Say: “Wow, how can this be true? Oh wait, it isn't. Naturalist don't deny that minds exist you moron. We just have a different ontology of the mind. If you define the mind as immaterial, you beg the question.”

Response: It was good that you called Moreland out on this point, it was a bad conjecture on his part.

About Moreland’s accusation of circularity:

Unfortunately this was lost on you. Moreland’s point seems to be that you can’t argue in this way and I agree with him.

1)Since we are merely the results of naturalistic evolutionary processes we are wholly physical beings.

2) we are merely the result of naturalistic, evolutionary processes

3) Therefore, we are wholly physical beings.

Moreland then asks why (2)?

One’s reply which becomes a circle, and thus fallacious is as follows:

4) Since we are wholly physical beings, we are merely the results of naturalistic evolutionary processes.

5) We are wholly physical beings.

6) Thus we are the results of naturalistic evolutionary processes.

But why (5)?

Go back to 1-3.

Etc etc.

You see the circle. Now your response is that you don’t need (3) to believe (2), thus I think you deny (4), I agree with you if that’s the case. But if that’s the case then you don’t actually have to be a metaphysical naturalist to believe that we are the result of naturalistic evolutionary processes, since metaphysical naturalism entails that we are wholly physical beings. So one can believe that we are the result of naturalistic evolutionary processes and that we are not wholly physical beings. One can believe in evolution and not be a physicalist, thus one can be an emergantist and believe in evolution. I think you see his point though, I hope; a lot of naturalists do argue in the circle that I have just articulated, his point is that you ought not do it, because it’s circular.

Anyways that’s my reply, further you had said that arguments are made for why the mind is material, it would have been nice if you would have made one, it certainly would have strengthened your refutation.

To conclude your refutation could have paid closer attention to the actual arguments Moreland made instead of simply assuming he was making naked assertions. I do agree with you on a few areas that you called Moreland out on. But your refutation could have been better and less of an attack on him. There were points where you sighed, and “LOL”ed which wasn’t really needed. Stick to the arguments, and make objections, it makes for a better refutation.


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Chaoslord2004

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

First, all of my quotations will be taken directly from this article: http://boundless.org/features/a0000901.html

I want to preface the refutation by saying simply that the argument is so bad, not to mention so ill-thought out, that it shocks me that the argument was written by someone who is a professor of anything. It will be shown that not only does J.P Moreland not know what he is talking about, but also that he commits very basic fallacies...fallacies that a 1st year philosophy student wouldn't write in an intro course.

I've been saying this about various theologians for years - Moreland, Craig, Bahnsen, etc.

I just don't know why people hold that theology or philosophy doctorate actually means anything other than to denote a person's ability to gain access to such places. 

You dont need to be an expert in mathematics or logic or science or any legitimate hard science (i.e. one that requires real brainpower) to enter into these fields (and yes this includes my own field of psychology)

I constantly get the kneejerk reaction from both atheists and theists, when I rip into these fraudulent assholes, that they are 'good thinkers' or that I shouldn't just disregard them. But I can only call this 'docorate worship', because otherwise, I can't fathom how anyone would take any of these assclowns seriously.

 So how do they make it through the world? Easy: there are literally billions of people in the world who are not bright enough to know the difference between a good argument and a pile of shit, and all they need to see is a doctorate after a name to take you seriously.

 

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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Chaoslord2004 wrote: J.P

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

J.P Moreland wrote:
Mental states may be caused by physical states, and physical states may be caused by mental states. A feeling of pain (mental state) may be caused by being stuck with a pin (physical state), and one’s arm going up (physical state) may be caused by an intention to vote (mental state). But just because A causes B, that does not mean that A is the same thing as B! Fire causes smoke, but fire is not smoke itself. Being stuck by a pin causes pain, but being stuck by a pin is not pain itself. A desire to vote causes one’s arm to go up, but that desire is different than the arm’s going up. The fact that a state of one’s mind can affect physical states and the fact that physical states can affect the state of one’s mind do not mean that corresponding mental and physical states are identical to each other. In fact, they are fundamentally different.

While the analogy is lucid, it cannot apply to the relation between the mind and body. Your analogy exclusively deals with various diatic causal relations between physical objects. Now, you extrapolate this to the human mind, which you claim is an immaterial substance. The first thing that needs to be asked is, what on earth are you talking about? Explain how it is coherent to talk about causation devoid of any expenditure of energy?

Precisely. All he presents us with is a false analogy, in that his analogy relies on physical entites.

In addition, what you've cited here does not demonstrate that a sensory neuron is in fact not a part of the 'mind'. (Or that the desire to hold up one's arm is not 'moving one's arm). Yet he never justifies that this is a true distinction. It is a common error to suppose that physicalists hold that the 'mind' is merley the brain, when in reality we hold that the entire Central nervous system would encapsulate the 'mind', ergo his analogy is doubly flawed in that he is drawing upon a strawman.

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
First, there is a raw qualitative feel — a “what it is like to have it” — to a mental state. For example, pain hurts. A physical state may cause pain, but the physical state itself can be completely described in the vocabulary of physics and chemistry, or in the commonsense vocabulary of the physical world. Being hurtful, however, is not describable in the vocabulary of any of these.

This is just a naked assertion. Moreover, it begs the question against a physicalist and is an argument from ignorance. You're just asserting that "what it is like" cannot be physical, presumably because you fall into what Dennett calls the Philosophers Error: Mistaking a failure of imagination as an insight into necessity.

Yes, I'd just call it an argument from personal incredulity and be down with it. 

J.P Moreland wrote:
Second, many mental states have intentionality — “ofness” or “aboutness” — which is directed towards an object. A thought, for instance, is about the moon. But no physical state is about anything. The brain is a physical object, but a brain state cannot be about the moon any more than a rock or a cloud can be about the moon. Only a state of mind can be about the moon.

Quote:
 

Naked assertion, again...

Yes. I dont' see where he demonstrates that there must be a distinction.  

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
Third, mental states are internal, private and immediately accessible to the subject having them. A scientist can know more about my brain than I do. But I have direct knowledge of my mind which is not available to anyone else.

Quote:
 

Naked assertion, again. You are also making a huge leap. What your implying is that since mental states are currently internal and private, they will always be. Do you see the unjustified inference?

I'd just say that there is an ontological difference between first person and third person ontology, and that... so what?

 

J.P Moreland wrote:
Fourth, mental states fail to have crucial features that characterize physical states. Unlike physical states, they have no spatial extension (it doesn’t make sense to ask how tall or wide someone’s thoughts are) and they have no location either (which is why it doesn’t make sense to ask where someone’s thoughts are).

Quote:
 

*sigh*

Depending upon your view, you can call this argument a category error, or an outright falsehood.

Thoughts exist, therefore, they must exist as something. They must have identity, they must have characteristics. As far as we know, they exist neurochemically, which is to say, they are the product of neurons.

Neurons have spatial dimensions. They have length, or 'tallness' if you will. They exist in a place: our brains. While it is true that no idea exists in one specific 'shelf' in our brains, we can easily localize types of ideas in certain parts of the brain!

Furthermore, the content of any thought ,if it is to be actualized in some way, must also have spatial extention. To comtemplate a number, we must have a set of neurons that exist spatially to produce it, and an image which has dimensions in our mind's eye.

I'd love to hear how anyone could imagine anything that has no spatial dimensions! To those who say "green", tell me, how do you imagine green without seeing green? Or the word green symbolizing it?

To those who try for an abstraction like 'reification', or 'freedom', again, to conceive of these concepts you must either conceive a symbol with imagined spatial dimension or a physical example (a person running free)

So Moreland's claim that we can imagine things without spatial dimensions is nonsense to my eyes. 

  Just one more:

J.P Moreland wrote:
The inability of evolutionary theory to explain the existence of mind Given that mental states (states of mind) are immaterial and not physical, there are at least two reasons why evolutionary theory cannot explain their existence.

argument from ignorance.

 

The rest is just a bore, a bad post even for the theists on this site, let alone a revered theologian. 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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drummermonkey wrote:

drummermonkey wrote:

I believe Moreland was writing this article with a leaning towards strong emergantism, with the view that consciousness cannot be broken down into it’s physical constituents. It is directly opposed to physicalism in this way: physicalism, briefly put is the view that everything is physical in nature, thus consciousness can be “explained away” by appealing to the physical constituents that the brain is made out of.

Hi, I thought I'd comment on a few of the points you made.

 First, reductionism does not preclude emergentism, yet this seems to be implied here. If it did, reductionism couldn't ever deal with the fact that water is wet. Wetness can't be explained by hydrogen and oxygen alone. Where does wetness come from?! Hydrogen ain't wet!

So I think this argument is a strawman of reductionism.

Furthermore, compared to any other possible view, physicalism gives us the least least amount of problems explaining consciousness... Why? Because it has the benefit of not violating basic ontology. It doesn't have to steal the concept or argue from ignorance or rely on false analogies like immaterial arguments must in order to survive.

Quote:

Possible response: Your response is that Moreland deals with diatic causal relations between “physical objects”. But the point of Moreland’s analogy doesn’t assume that these are relations between physical objects at all

Of course not, but he can't provide an ontology for non physical entities, so he must steal from physicalism to make this analogy. The very fact that he's making an analogy at all is a sign of the difficulty of his position. He simply can't talk about immateriality becuase it has no ontology, so he is reduced to arguments from ignorance and false analogies.

Quote:

Moreland wrote: “First, there is a raw qualitative feel — a “what it is like to have it” — to a mental state. For example, pain hurts. A physical state may cause pain, but the physical state itself can be completely described in the vocabulary of physics and chemistry, or in the commonsense vocabulary of the physical world. Being hurtful, however, is not describable in the vocabulary of any of these.”

You wrote: “This is just a naked assertion.”

Response: how so? Moreland is asserting the vocabulary between how science describes physical states (ie neurons firing off in a certain section of my brain), and how I describe the pain feel is qualitatively different.

Really? How does he know what a physical feeling and a non physical feeling ought to feel like?

And just what is a non physical feeling anyway? Stealing the concept anyone?!

See how ridiculous his presumptions are? People constantly complain 'but my mind doesn't feel physical' but they never, ever explain the following:

How should a physical brain feel?

How shouldn't it feel?

How should a non physical brain feel?

Can you also provide an ontology for non physicality, so that we can identify it and recognize it consistently?

Quote:

Here’s the argument, and it’s formally valid

1. If there is differences between the description of actually feeling something and what science describes is going on inside my brain, then there is a qualitative difference in the mental state.

See my points above.

 

Quote:

Response: What Dennett calls a “philosophers error” is not actually a fallacy at all,

It is a fallacy of presumption. See my points above.

I'll let chaos deal with the argument forms you presented.

Quote:

Moreland’s argument is as follows, again I wish you would have done the philosophical work in reading Moreland without bias:

1) physical states have spatial extension & locations.

2) thoughts and mental content does not have extension and location.

I disagree as explained above. Even as his argument stands, it is not a positive argument for his case, instead, it is an argument from personal ignorance.

In fact, a careful examination of his claim will show that it is an argument from ignorance that never even attempts to provide an ontology for immateriality.

So I must ask you: what exactly does his 'argument' offer? What do we end up with if we accept it?

 

 

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"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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Philosophy is not my forte,

Philosophy is not my forte, but, drummermonkey, you're just obfuscating Moreland's naked assertions in your formal logic.

drummermonkey wrote:
You wrote: “This is just a naked assertion.”

Response: how so? Moreland is asserting the vocabulary between how science describes physical states (ie neurons firing off in a certain section of my brain), and how I describe the pain feel is qualitatively different. Again Moreland is simply arguing that there are qualitative differences in intentionality of the mental, and what science says is happening within my brain. Here’s the argument, and it’s formally valid

1. If there is differences between the description of actually feeling something and what science describes is going on inside my brain, then there is a qualitative difference in the mental state.

2. There is a difference between the description of actually feeling something and what science describes is going on inside my brain.

3. Thus, there is a qualitative difference in the mental state.

Now your job if you want to refute this argument is to argue against one of the premises.

This is just some fancy footwork around the issue. You can arrange any proposition to be the conclusion of a formally valid argument. It is a truism to state that to refute an argument, one has to argue against a premise. Because you presented a deductive argument, #3 is not new information. #3 is contained inside of #1 and #2. If #1 or #2 are naked assertions, #3 is too for all intents and purposes.

And #1 is a big fat naked assertion.

drummermonkey wrote:
The argument you failed to present in your “refutation”:

1) A thought is about an object.

2) A physical state is not about anything.

3) If (1) & (2), then physical states differ qualitatively than mental states.

4) Thus, (1) & (2). (1, 2 conjunction)

5. Thus, physical states differ qualitatively than mental states. (3, 4 Modus Ponens)

6) The brain is a physical object.

7) If (5) & (6), then the brain differs qualitatively from the mind.

8. Thus, (5) & (6).(5,6 conjunction)

9) Thus the brain differs qualitatively from the mind. (7, 8 Modus Ponens)

Now it’s your job as refuter to deny one of the premises with reasons for that denial, like any good refutation does. You can deny (1), (2), (3), (6) or (7).

What Chaoslord2004 called a naked assertion was (I assume) #2. It's true that Chaoslord2004 didn't refute it, but Moreland just seems to be asserting it. Since this whole thing rests on #2, #2 needs to be backed up with good reasons. So, Moreland is not any better off than Chaoslord2004. Dressing this up in a formal argument doesn't win any points for Moreland.

Regardless, I don't buy #2 because the human vision system has physical states. These states are about something, namely they're a model of the environment one is in.

drummermonkey wrote:
Moreland says: “Third, mental states are internal, private and immediately accessible to the subject having them. A scientist can know more about my brain than I do. But I have direct knowledge of my mind which is not available to anyone else. “

You have two objections both unsatisfactory, the first:

“Naked assertion, again. You are also making a huge leap. What your implying is that since mental states are currently internal and private, they will always be. Do you see the unjustified inference? This is like saying "my car is in the garage...therefore, my car will always be in the garage." hence, you infer from contingency to necessity.”

Response: No, that is not what Moreland states, there is no talk about mental states being absolutely internal. The idea is that mental states (thoughts, intentions, desires, epistemic reasons) are first internal, private, and accessible to the subject having them. The argument is simple:

1) Scientists know more about my brain than I do.

2) I have direct knowledge of the contents of my own mind which MAY not be accessible to scientists.

3) if (1) & (2), then mental states differ qualitatively than the physical.

4) Thus, (1) & (2).

5) Thus, mental states differs qualitatively from the physical.

6) If mental states differs qualitatively than the physical then the brain differs from the mind.

7) Thus, the brain differs from the mind.

Where do you find #2's "MAY not" in Moreland's statement? He said, "But I have direct knowledge of my mind which is not available to anyone else." (Emphasis is mine.) If it's possible that an outside observer can have knowledge of one's mind, then #3 fails to hold too.

You'd have to change #2 to, "I have direct knowledge of the contents of my own mind which is not accessible to scientists." to make this argument line up with what Moreland wrote, and to avoid trouble with #3. The new #2 is, once again, the main point of the argument, and is another naked assertion by Moreland. Really the whole argument is the new #2 dressed up in fancy language.

drummermonkey wrote:
You: *sigh*

Response: this is not a response nor is this a refutation! Moreland’s argument is as follows, again I wish you would have done the philosophical work in reading Moreland without bias:

1) physical states have spatial extension & locations.

2) thoughts and mental content does not have extension and location.

3) If (1) & (2) then mental content cannot be reduced to the physical.

4) (1) & (2).

5) Thus mental content cannot be reduced to it’s physical constituents.

Of course the sigh wasn't a refutation! Chaoslord2004 probably sighed because he was tired of writing "naked assertion." This formal argument has the same problems as the rest, but I won't sigh. Again, the whole premise is wrapped up in #2. #2 basically says thoughts are not physical, the rest is just fancy language. It's a naked assertion.


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 I will address your post

 I will address your post in several posts simply because I will need a break.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
I believe Moreland was writing this article with a leaning towards strong emergantism, with the view that consciousness cannot be broken down into it’s physical constituents.

Now what exactly do you mean by this?  Surley you're not saying that some physicalists think that an individual neuron possesses consciousness.  Not even the Churchlands would go this far.  The physicalists simply asserts that the mind simply is the brain in some regard.  Now, as Dennett explains, a mind is a virtual machine running on a Von Neumann Turing Machine.  He makes the analogy of a computer can carry out various algorithms without any additional software.  It has its own structure.  Now, when we add Window's, we are running, in essence, a machine over another machine.  This is analogous to the relationship between the mind and brain.  The mind is a machine (like Windows) running on another machine (the brain).  Are they distinct?  Not really, the mind is a part of the brain.  As Dennett eluded to, someday it will be possible to copy your mind onto a hard-drive and run your mind on another brain.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
physicalism, briefly put is the view that everything is physical in nature, thus consciousness can be “explained away” by appealing to the physical constituents that the brain is made out of.

It is time that dualist stop accusing us physicalists of the following three things:  That we claim consciousness doesn't exist, that minds don't exist, or that the mind and consciousness can be explained away.

Nothing is being explained away...it is being explained.  Does explaining life in purely mechanistic terms, as opposed to a life force, in anyway explain away life?  Sure, some of the magic has been removed...sure the "spell has been broken."  But so what?  Does explaining religion in terms of natural phenomena make them any less interesting?  Any less valuable than if they were left shrouded in mystery?  The same applies to the mind.

drummermonkey wrote:
Possible response: Your response is that Moreland deals with diatic causal relations between “physical objects”. But the point of Moreland’s analogy doesn’t assume that these are relations between physical objects at all

But his analogy fails because causation between two or more physical objects is well understood.  What does it even mean for an immaterial object (whatever that mind be) to cause or be caused by anything else?   An analogy is not a substitute for a good argument.  Now, am I claiming that analogies arn't useful?  Nope.  Analogies are useful for illustrating something.  Or, to help the mind understand a difficult concept.  

Moreland's analogy is insufficient to illustrate his idea for the same reason this analogy used by Kent Hovind fails:

 "Ford and Toyota are similiar, but we wouldn't say that a Ford evolved from the Toyota."

What Hovind misses something very critical about evolutionary theory.  That is, if Evolution is to be applicable to any system, biological or not, the orgamisms must be able to reproduce.  Obviously, cars cannot reproduce.  I hope this is self-evident.  Kent Hovind, like most creationists, missed an essential part of evolutionary theory.  The same is true for Moreland.  Causation happens between physical objects...it has never been shown to happen between immaterial objects (whatever that means).  Think of it this way:  Assume the number 2 is immaterial.  Can you enter into a causal relation with the number 2?  Can you break it?  Heat it up?  No.  Why?

 

drummermonkey wrote:
Now one might say “there are sections of the mind that light up, or neurons that fire off when one has intentions and feels pain” thus one asserts that feeling pain and intentions of persons are physical in nature. But why assume this

This isn't assumed.  We can take MRI's of brains in pain, and locate the exact location of where the pain is felt.  It is the dualist, who asserts something OVER AND ABOVE this to provide evidence for this.  Until he can do this, there is no reason to think a pain is anything more that the lighting up of a part of the neural network.  Now, don't give me intuition pumps...don't say "well, it just seems..."  Sorry, that doesn't cut it.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
me feeling pain and the neurons firing off in my brain are qualitatively different.

Why?  Prove it.  And don't use intuition pumps.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
Further I don’t see the argument here, just because something isn’t clear to you doesn’t make something false, it just means it has to be clarified.

It isn't clear to anyone, because the dualist is dealing with incoherent notions.  Immateriality is a meaningless concept.  it is devoid of any ontological status.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
Response: how so?

He gives no argument, just intuition pumps.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
Again Moreland is simply arguing that there are qualitative differences in intentionality of the mental, and what science says is happening within my brain.

The argument is valid, but the premises are not supported.

 

drummermonkey wrote:

1. If there is differences between the description of actually feeling something and what science describes is going on inside my brain, then there is a qualitative difference in the mental state.

2. There is a difference between the description of actually feeling something and what science describes is going on inside my brain.

3. Thus, there is a qualitative difference in the mental state.

Now your job if you want to refute this argument is to argue against one of the premises.

Give me good reason to believe 2.

 

drummermonkey wrote:

1) Scientists know more about my brain than I do.

2) I have direct knowledge of the contents of my own mind which MAY not be accessible to scientists.

3) if (1) & (2), then mental states differ qualitatively than the physical.

4) Thus, (1) & (2).

5) Thus, mental states differs qualitatively from the physical.

6) If mental states differs qualitatively than the physical then the brain differs from the mind.

7) Thus, the brain differs from the mind.

3 is false.  For reductio, assume the mind was distinct from the brain.  How does it follow that it is immaterial?  The tea cup on my desk is distinct from the desk.  Therefore, the tea cup is immaterial.  See the error? 

 3 is also a non sequitor.  Just because my mental states MAY not be accessible to a scientist, doesn't mean the mind is qualitatively different from the brain.

 ---------------------

I will deal with the rest later. 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


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Chaoslord2004 wrote: It is

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

It is time that dualist stop accusing us physicalists of the following three things: That we claim consciousness doesn't exist, that minds don't exist, or that the mind and consciousness can be explained away.

Nothing is being explained away...it is being explained.

That's a nice turn of a phrase...

 

drummermonkey wrote:
Possible response: Your response is that Moreland deals with diatic causal relations between “physical objects”. But the point of Moreland’s analogy doesn’t assume that these are relations between physical objects at all

Quote:

But his analogy fails because causation between two or more physical objects is well understood.

I'd also say that causation itself requires materialism to make it coherent. I believe you're about to say the same thing.

Quote:

What does it even mean for an immaterial object (whatever that mind be) to cause or be caused by anything else? An analogy is not a substitute for a good argument.

Agreed.

Quote:

Now, am I claiming that analogies arn't useful? Nope. Analogies are useful for illustrating something. Or, to help the mind understand a difficult concept.

Agreed. They never demonstrate anything, since they merely assume their own conclusion.

Quote:

Causation happens between physical objects...it has never been shown to happen between immaterial objects (whatever that means). Think of it this way: Assume the number 2 is immaterial. Can you enter into a causal relation with the number 2? Can you break it? Heat it up? No. Why?

Well said.

drummermonkey wrote:
Now one might say “there are sections of the mind that light up, or neurons that fire off when one has intentions and feels pain” thus one asserts that feeling pain and intentions of persons are physical in nature. But why assume this

Quote:

This isn't assumed. We can take MRI's of brains in pain, and locate the exact location of where the pain is felt.

Yes, I alluded to the same point above.

Quote:

It is the dualist, who asserts something OVER AND ABOVE this to provide evidence for this. Until he can do this, there is no reason to think a pain is anything more that the lighting up of a part of the neural network. Now, don't give me intuition pumps...don't say "well, it just seems..." Sorry, that doesn't cut it.

Bingo. I am glad that you don't tolerate this nonsense either.


drummermonkey wrote:

1. If there is differences between the description of actually feeling something and what science describes is going on inside my brain, then there is a qualitative difference in the mental state.

2. There is a difference between the description of actually feeling something and what science describes is going on inside my brain.

3. Thus, there is a qualitative difference in the mental state.

Now your job if you want to refute this argument is to argue against one of the premises.

Quote:

Give me good reason to believe 2.

I already not above how this is simply assumed by dualists, and clung to through an appeal to incredulity or wonder. They never explain how a material sensation 'ought' to feel.

drummermonkey wrote:

1) Scientists know more about my brain than I do.

2) I have direct knowledge of the contents of my own mind which MAY not be accessible to scientists.

3) if (1) & (2), then mental states differ qualitatively than the physical.

4) Thus, (1) & (2).

5) Thus, mental states differs qualitatively from the physical.

6) If mental states differs qualitatively than the physical then the brain differs from the mind.

7) Thus, the brain differs from the mind.

Quote:

3 is false. For reductio, assume the mind was distinct from the brain. How does it follow that it is immaterial? The tea cup on my desk is distinct from the desk. Therefore, the tea cup is immaterial. See the error?

3 is also a non sequitor. Just because my mental states MAY not be accessible to a scientist, doesn't mean the mind is qualitatively different from the brain.

Good points.

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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todangst wrote: I already

todangst wrote:
I already not above how this is simply assumed by dualists, and clung to through an appeal to incredulity or wonder. They never explain how a material sensation 'ought' to feel.

Indeed.  Even more so, they never explain how an immaterial substance can "feel."  What on earth can that mean?  I presented a paper at a conference and afterwords this guy said he was a dualist.  I argued against him, and his main reply was "how can material think?"  Implying, of course, that his position was more reasonable.  So I go, how can something not located in space or time think?  He had no reply.

 

todangst wrote:
Good points.

Thanks. 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


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Chaoslord2004

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

todangst wrote:
I already not above how this is simply assumed by dualists, and clung to through an appeal to incredulity or wonder. They never explain how a material sensation 'ought' to feel.

Indeed. Even more so, they never explain how an immaterial substance can "feel." What on earth can that mean?

As you've already stated, the only way to make the statement meaningful is to steal from materialism! One would think that an immaterialist would tred lightly around the word "feel"!

Quote:

I presented a paper at a conference and afterwords this guy said he was a dualist. I argued against him, and his main reply was "how can material think?" Implying, of course, that his position was more reasonable. So I go, how can something not located in space or time think? He had no reply.

I find that fitting actually... seeing as his position amounts to nothing, saying nothing proves the point.

Kevin the pragmatist, from the old Infidelguy site, used to use the same arguments.. he used that old line about how he could understand how one could think of the concept of water, but not how we could know 'wetness', etc.

But he never even attempted to reply to my counter point: how should matter feel?

Immaterialists and theists are in the same boat... both of them come out of the gate assuming a problem with materialism, yet neither of them can work out that their own assumptions - immateriality, supernaturalism, are actually incoherent. Find a million problems with the materialist account, it still is coherent.

And in this case, that's the difference between zero and infinity.


By the way, thanks again for your spinoza paper! I am going to upload it to a NEW site... I've already redone my logic site:

http://editthis.info/logic/Main_Page

I like the wiki format... 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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I should say I personally

.


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I should say I personally

I should say I personally don't subscribe to Moreland's ideas, but part of philosophy is understanding and presenting one's opponents ideas fairly. A good refutation as I've said, shows that one understands the arguments, perhaps presenting it with a formal stucture, and denies a premise; perhaps even all of them. It's very easy to point out fallacies, it's harder to present objections in an argument against a premise. I didn't really want to defend Moreland's arguments from the beginning, but Chaoslord certainly could have done a better job at refuting Moreland. The refutation he presented was just filled with accusations of naked assertations, "philosophers' error", and sighs. This is not a good refutation. Why? because it shows the philosopher didn't consider take the arguments seriously, and if you don't take the arguments seriously why even bother refuting it? Also, why even bother reading a refutation if that refutation didn't take the arguments seriously.

MrRage wrote:
This is just some fancy footwork around the issue. You can arrange any proposition to be the conclusion of a formally valid argument. It is a truism to state that to refute an argument, one has to argue against a premise. Because you presented a deductive argument, #3 is not new information. #3 is contained inside of #1 and #2. If #1 or #2 are naked assertions, #3 is too for all intents and purposes. And #1 is a big fat naked assertion.

I was presenting the argument in a formal argument because it's what you do in philosophy when considering an argument. Even if you don't agree with the conclusion.

Now what you could do, easily might I add, is deny (1), and argue that while there may be a difference in describing actually feeling something and what science describes is going on inside my brain, that still doesn't mean there is a necessarily qualitative difference in the mental state. So (1) is false! See that's a refutation! 

MrRage wrote:
drummermonkey wrote:
The argument you failed to present in your “refutation”: 1) A thought is about an object. 2) A physical state is not about anything. 3) If (1) & (2), then physical states differ qualitatively than mental states. 4) Thus, (1) & (2). (1, 2 conjunction) 5. Thus, physical states differ qualitatively than mental states. (3, 4 Modus Ponens) 6) The brain is a physical object. 7) If (5) & (6), then the brain differs qualitatively from the mind. 8. Thus, (5) & (6).(5,6 conjunction) 9) Thus the brain differs qualitatively from the mind. (7, 8 Modus Ponens) Now it’s your job as refuter to deny one of the premises with reasons for that denial, like any good refutation does. You can deny (1), (2), (3), (6) or (7).
 What Chaoslord2004 called a naked assertion was (I assume) #2. It's true that Chaoslord2004 didn't refute it, but Moreland just seems to be asserting it. Since this whole thing rests on #2, #2 needs to be backed up with good reasons. So, Moreland is not any better off than Chaoslord2004. Dressing this up in a formal argument doesn't win any points for Moreland. Regardless, I don't buy #2 because the human vision system has physical states. These states are about something, namely they're a model of the environment one is in.

The argument presented turns on 1, 2, 3, and 6. If I were to refute Moreland I would probably not make the accusation of Naked Assertion, bluntly and unclearly, there is no direction with what is being asserted nakedly. Is it the conclusion? is it one of the premises? 2 seems plausible to me if you think about it, a phone is a physical object with no intentionality, conciouseness does have intentionality. To read more about the intentionality arguments "against physicalism" read kripke's "naming and necessity"; he articulates it far better than Moreland does.

MrRage wrote:
drummermonkey wrote:
Moreland says: “Third, mental states are internal, private and immediately accessible to the subject having them. A scientist can know more about my brain than I do. But I have direct knowledge of my mind which is not available to anyone else. “ You have two objections both unsatisfactory, the first: “Naked assertion, again. You are also making a huge leap. What your implying is that since mental states are currently internal and private, they will always be. Do you see the unjustified inference? This is like saying "my car is in the garage...therefore, my car will always be in the garage." hence, you infer from contingency to necessity.” Response: No, that is not what Moreland states, there is no talk about mental states being absolutely internal. The idea is that mental states (thoughts, intentions, desires, epistemic reasons) are first internal, private, and accessible to the subject having them. The argument is simple: 1) Scientists know more about my brain than I do. 2) I have direct knowledge of the contents of my own mind which MAY not be accessible to scientists. 3) if (1) & (2), then mental states differ qualitatively than the physical. 4) Thus, (1) & (2). 5) Thus, mental states differs qualitatively from the physical. 6) If mental states differs qualitatively than the physical then the brain differs from the mind. 7) Thus, the brain differs from the mind.
Where do you find #2's "MAY not" in Moreland's statement? He said, "But I have direct knowledge of my mind which is not available to anyone else." (Emphasis is mine.) If it's possible that an outside observer can have knowledge of one's mind, then #3 fails to hold too. You'd have to change #2 to, "I have direct knowledge of the contents of my own mind which is not accessible to scientists." to make this argument line up with what Moreland wrote, and to avoid trouble with #3. The new #2 is, once again, the main point of the argument, and is another naked assertion by Moreland. Really the whole argument is the new #2 dressed up in fancy language.
drummermonkey wrote:
You: *sigh* Response: this is not a response nor is this a refutation! Moreland’s argument is as follows, again I wish you would have done the philosophical work in reading Moreland without bias: 1) physical states have spatial extension & locations. 2) thoughts and mental content does not have extension and location. 3) If (1) & (2) then mental content cannot be reduced to the physical. 4) (1) & (2). 5) Thus mental content cannot be reduced to it’s physical constituents.
Of course the sigh wasn't a refutation! Chaoslord2004 probably sighed because he was tired of writing "naked assertion." This formal argument has the same problems as the rest, but I won't sigh. Again, the whole premise is wrapped up in #2. #2 basically says thoughts are not physical, the rest is just fancy language. It's a naked assertion.

The point of my post was to tease out a descent refutation for J.P. Moreland's article, the very thing Chaoslords' post was claiming to do in the first place. I thank you for your response, after I laid out the arguments in with a formal structure you did show attention to a number of the premises; this is what your supposed to do when you argue against someone! You don't just make the claim of a fallacy and leave it at that, you think about how the individual might respond, and respond to that response. Don't be lazy when you read someone just because you don't agree with them, call them names or laugh at them; this is ridiculing an individual, rationality doesn't entail one do this in one's refutation, nor does it make your arguments more appealing. I'll respond to more later, in particular I'll pay closer attention to Chaoslord's response, and Toangst's response, I'm currently developing a thesis about physicalism and emergentism so I really do value this dialogue...anyways more later. 


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drummermonkey

drummermonkey wrote:
Response: this is not a response nor is this a refutation! Moreland’s argument is as follows, again I wish you would have done the philosophical work in reading Moreland without bias

Because he was committing the same error over and over again.  It was obvious that he was merely asserting, rather than arguing.  Furthermore, it is irrelevant if I read Moreland's argument with a bias.  Who cares?  What matters, is my response, not my intentions.

 

drummermonkey wrote:

1) physical states have spatial extension & locations.

2) thoughts and mental content does not have extension and location.

3) If (1) & (2) then mental content cannot be reduced to the physical.

4) (1) & (2).

5) Thus mental content cannot be reduced to it’s physical constituents.

No argument is offered in favor of 2.  Once again, 2 is a naked assertion.  There is no epistemic warrant for accepting it.  Moreland gives no argument for 2...he merely asserts it.  All you've done, is dress the argument up in nicer clothes.  In essence, all you've done is put the argument in a formal argument form.  Sadly, this doesn't accomplish anything, for my critique still stands.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
The argument is simple, we do not use the same language to describe mental content and the physical sciences so why assume that the two are the same?

So ontology MUST conform to our language?  Is this really what you're saying?  If so, I hope you can see why this is false.  In addition, you fail to make the sense/referent distinction.  When I talk about my mind, does it differ from when I talk about my brain?  Sure, in the same way these two sentences are different:  "The morning star exists" and "the evening star exists."  The sense is different...the mode of presentation is different.  However, the object these sentences designate are one and the same.  The same applies to the mind and brain.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
Response: How so?

Obviously Moreland is contradicting himself.  Let ~L = "The mind cannot be described in physical language"  Let L = "the mind can be described in physical language."  Moreland asserts ~L.  However, in asserting L, he is using physical language (english).  He is talking about what the mind cannot have.  Thus, he implicitly asserts L.  Thus, he asserts L and ~L.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
What is a physical language?

Any natural language, such as english, french, latin, etc...  Moreover, any formal language, such as the languages of logic and mathematics.  These are all physical languages, residing in the brain of sentient beings.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
Moreland seems to be using physical language in a different way than you are, Moreland seems to be implying that “physical language” is the language used by scientists; “mental language” is the language used to describe our mental content. I don’t really see what you mean when you say “but in doing this, you are describing the mind using physical language”.

What are you talking about?  If I scientist says "mind" or a layman says "mind" both are physical objects residing in the brain.  I fail to see why it matters who utters a given phrase.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
Response: Really you haven’t argued anything,

Than you don't know what an argument is.  I pointed out fallacies within his paper.  How is this not arguing?

 

drummermonkey wrote:
you’ve just stated the opposite

Wrong.  I also gave reasons for the opposite.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
and made accusations of fallacies

That are true, for which reasons were givin for their truth.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
there wasn’t really any good objections nor was there any decent arguments made on your behalf.

Go study logic, please.  You can refute an argument in one of two ways, attack the structure, thus showing it to be invalid.  Or, by refuting on of the premises.  The arguments are valid, but the premises are either false or suffer from an informal fallacy.  The only ways to refute an argument if it is valid is to show a key premise is false, or cast epistemic doubt on it.  Epistemic doubt is cast upon a premise if it suffers from a fallacy.

Go study logic.  Hopefully then, we don't have to go down this path again.

 

drummermonkey wrote:

1)Since we are merely the results of naturalistic evolutionary processes we are wholly physical beings.

2) we are merely the result of naturalistic, evolutionary processes

3) Therefore, we are wholly physical beings.

Moreland then asks why (2)?

One’s reply which becomes a circle, and thus fallacious is as follows:

4) Since we are wholly physical beings, we are merely the results of naturalistic evolutionary processes.

5) We are wholly physical beings.

6) Thus we are the results of naturalistic evolutionary processes.

But why (5)?

Go back to 1-3.

Etc etc.

Name me one naturalist who argues this way.  Moreland is just being disingenous with this nonsense argument.  My point was, yeah, the argument is circular...but no naturalist argues this way.  At least none that I have heard.  The reason I believe the mind is physical is wholly different from the reason I believe in evolutionary theory. 

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drummermonkey wrote: but

drummermonkey wrote:
but part of philosophy is understanding and presenting one's opponents ideas fairly.

I quoted him directly.  How could I have presented it more fairly?  Moreover, stop patrinizing me like I am a first year philosophy student.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
A good refutation as I've said, shows that one understands the arguments, perhaps presenting it with a formal stucture, and denies a premise; perhaps even all of them.

A formal structure helps, but isn't necessary.  We have alot of lay people here.  A formal structure might scare them off.

 

drummermonkey wrote:
It's very easy to point out fallacies, it's harder to present objections in an argument against a premise.

So it is perfectly ok to present an argument with fallacious premises?  Do you really believe this?

 

drummermonkey wrote:
This is not a good refutation.

Thats because you are ignorant of basic logic and argumentation.  It isn't my fault that your ignorant of these things. 

drummermonkey wrote:
Why? because it shows the philosopher didn't consider take the arguments seriously, and if you don't take the arguments seriously why even bother refuting it? Also, why even bother reading a refutation if that refutation didn't take the arguments seriously.

Done with your diatribe? 

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drummermonkey wrote:
Anyways that’s my reply, further you had said that arguments are made for why the mind is material, it would have been nice if you would have made one, it certainly would have strengthened your refutation.

The arguments for the mind being material are irrelevant as of now.  However, I will present some reasons.

1.  We know matter exists.  Unless we give into Berkelian Idealism or believe we are a brain-in-a-vat, matter exists.  Any other ontological category over and above the physical world has not been demonstrated, nor has it been demonstrated to be coherent.

2.  immaterialism is an incoherent concept.  

3.  Neuroscientists can located which parts of the brain do what.  They can make you hallucinate, feel pleasure, pain, hate, sorrow, and so on, just by stimulating parts of the brain.  neurolinguists can point our specific parts of the brain where nouns are stored, where the syntactic rules are stored, and so on.  Givin all this, there is no reason to think there is anything over and above the brain.  This is like saying a "life-force" exists over and above the machine like processes in the cell of an organism.

4.  All dualistic arguments reduce to "it just seems that..." No argument is actually presented.  Merely intuition pumps.

5.  The problem of causation between the mind and the brain.  How can the immaterial mind enter into causal relations with the brain?  if the immaterial mind is by definition matterless, how can it cause anything, given that causation requires expenditure of energy?

6.  Let's take a look at the modern dualistic position.  Shockingly, this position is actually held by people.  It's called "Epiphenominalism (EP for short)."  EP states that the brain causes immaterial mental states, but the mind does not cause physical states.  Now, one of the obvious problems is that this position cannot, by logical necessity, be motivated.  How could you motivate this position, given that the mind doesn't cause any physical events?  You could not detect the immaterial mind, because this would require causation between the mind and brain.

 

I will leave it at this... 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


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todangst wrote: By the way,

todangst wrote:
By the way, thanks again for your spinoza paper! I am going to upload it to a NEW site

Sweet.  Let me know when it's uploaded. 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


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Chaoslord2004

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

 

drummermonkey wrote:
The argument is simple, we do not use the same language to describe mental content and the physical sciences so why assume that the two are the same?

So ontology MUST conform to our language? Is this really what you're saying? If so, I hope you can see why this is false. In addition, you fail to make the sense/referent distinction. When I talk about my mind, does it differ from when I talk about my brain? Sure, in the same way these two sentences are different: "The morning star exists" and "the evening star exists." The sense is different...the mode of presentation is different. However, the object these sentences designate are one and the same. The same applies to the mind and brain.

I'm always amazed at how much theists simply accepts without any further thought. Our language is heavily influenced by dualistic concepts because dualism dominated prehistoric and midieval thought. But what matters is whether they had a good grounds for these thoughts, not that they held to them through history. On it's own, this claim is nothing more than the appeal to tradition or antiquity! A logical fallacy.

I find it laughable that anyone would hold this as a grounds to accept that dualism is true! By the same logic, we should overturn Copernicus, after all, we speak of the sun rising and setting, and how can this be true if Copernicus is right?

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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Chaoslord2004 wrote:

 

The arguments for the mind being material are irrelevant as of now.

I agree, in that, a physicalist account is the only account we can give, and theists are forced to steal from physicalism. Whether we can  have any other account is the very point under debate.

 But I'm glad you gave it a go anyway... 

Quote:
 

1. We know matter exists. Unless we give into Berkelian Idealism or believe we are a brain-in-a-vat, matter exists. Any other ontological category over and above the physical world has not been demonstrated, nor has it been demonstrated to be coherent.

2. immaterialism is an incoherent concept.

3. Neuroscientists can locate which parts of the brain do what. They can make you hallucinate, feel pleasure, pain, hate, sorrow, and so on, just by stimulating parts of the brain. neurolinguists can point our specific parts of the brain where nouns are stored, where the syntactic rules are stored, and so on. Given all this, there is no reason to think there is anything over and above the brain. This is like saying a "life-force" exists over and above the machine like processes in the cell of an organism.

 

Here's just one interesting factoid to add. We can actually locate a cause for a very specific psychological disorder: the "shooting spree" type of mental breakdowns we have seen recently in the news: temporal lobe epilepsy... In fact, we know that tumors near the amygdala, (or temporal lobe seizures in that area) lead to 1) violent, impulsive aggression (often following months of planning) and 2) religious delusions.

Isn't it interesting that we can actually trigger a set of religious beliefs by activating a region of the brain? 

Quote:
 

 4. All dualistic arguments reduce to "it just seems that..." No argument is actually presented. Merely intuition pumps.

Bingo. They begin with an unquestioned assertion, and they proceed to argue from ignorance.

Quote:
 

5. The problem of causation between the mind and the brain. How can the immaterial mind enter into causal relations with the brain? if the immaterial mind is by definition matterless, how can it cause anything, given that causation requires expenditure of energy?

6. Let's take a look at the modern dualistic position. Shockingly, this position is actually held by people. It's called "Epiphenominalism (EP for short)." EP states that the brain causes immaterial mental states, but the mind does not cause physical states. Now, one of the obvious problems is that this position cannot, by logical necessity, be motivated. How could you motivate this position, given that the mind doesn't cause any physical events? You could not detect the immaterial mind, because this would require causation between the mind and brain.

 

I will leave it at this...

That's already enough to put the argument in the morgue. 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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todangst wrote: Here's

todangst wrote:

Here's just one interesting factoid to add. We can actually locate a cause for a very specific psychological disorder: the "shooting spree" type of mental breakdowns we have seen recently in the news: temporal lobe epilepsy... In fact, we know that tumors near the amygdala, (or temporal lobe seizures in that area) lead to 1) violent, impulsive aggression (often following months of planning) and 2) religious delusions.

Isn't it interesting that we can actually trigger a set of religious beliefs by activating a region of the brain?

Its also fun trying to get the dualist to explain the following phenomena:

personality change due to brain damage.  If the mind is immaterial, how can a personality change take place on a perminate level?  How can the "person" change?

The seperate consciousness' than result from cutting the corpus collosum.

As the psycholinguist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker said:  "so it appears that Descartes was wrong.  The mind is divisible." 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


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Chaoslord2004 wrote: As

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

As the psycholinguist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker said: "so it appears that Descartes was wrong. The mind is divisible."

Precisely.  

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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I only just finished this

I only just finished this article after starting it a while ago. But I haven't had much time. Smiling

I enjoyed this read. I really enjoy seeing real logic used to dissect stuff. I see all too often in the media or just in conversations with theists the same mistakes made by J.P. Moronland. I'm only just a beginner at real logic, and I really appreciate articles like this to help me with my debates. Please keep up the good work.

"Jesus -- the other white Moses" - Me.


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WolfgangSenff wrote: I

WolfgangSenff wrote:

I only just finished this article after starting it a while ago. But I haven't had much time. Smiling

I enjoyed this read. I really enjoy seeing real logic used to dissect stuff. I see all too often in the media or just in conversations with theists the same mistakes made by J.P. Moronland. I'm only just a beginner at real logic, and I really appreciate articles like this to help me with my debates. Please keep up the good work.

Glad to be of assistance. 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


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One thing I noticed about

One thing I noticed about Moreland is that he used the anti-reductionist argument of property dualists and then attempted to use them against ontological physicalism. (property dualism being a form of ontological physicalism)

As far as I was aware, substance dualism was more or less dead and the remaining serious dualists are ontologically physicalist, like emergentists - but even they struggle with causal arguments. Personally, I subscribe to anomalous monism, where intentional states (e.g. desires and beliefs) are projected ideals rather than empirical object. So rather than 'desiring' being something that happens inside of us to cause our action, desiring it the projected concept we use to make sense of our action in our behavioural/psychological language game.

I'm still fairly fresh to the position, but I think it has many nice benefits to it. It avoids the 'explanatory gap' difficulties that reductive forms of physicalism take, it gives a good psychological explanation for our dualistic intuitions (as our mental concepts are projections rather than empirical/physical objects) and also gives a psychological explanation onto why it comes so naturally for us to project mentality elsewhere as well.