• Pie
    1k
    Materialists think minds are material things and immaterialists and dualists think they are immaterial things. That's what the debate is over.Bartricks

    The debate is over whether this is what the debate is over. The deeper issue is your fixation on an obsolete dichotomy. How much phlogiston's in an angel's fart ?
  • Pie
    1k
    Digestion is an activity. Something does it.
    Thinking is an activity. Something does it. And the thing that does thinking is called 'a mind'.
    Bartricks

    We might say that a person thinks with their mind. But whatever we decide, we should (again) be wary of whether we are just teaching some useless idiolect of English to one another.

    In other words, is your claim synthetic or analytic? It's all too easy to make grand 'discoveries' that end up about as informative as 'bachelors are unmarried males.'
  • Janus
    13k
    I'm ambivalent about the 'lords and masters' idea. I think we want access to nutritious food, effective medicine, protection from storms, etc., but we end up with side-effects like polution, global warming, the possibility of a panopticonic dystopia, etc.Pie

    The way I see it it is the rise of capitalism-enabling technology which has brought us to this culmination of the largely Christian notion of humanity as masters of nature, which is beginning to look like an ironic caricature and now we find ourselves in a situation wherein we will be shown just how delusional that notion is.

    I think "nutritious food, effective medicine, protection from storms" and other "goods" are possible without capitalist driven technocracy, but not on the population scales we have now. So, we have ignorantly dug a hole I don't believe we will be able to "science" our way out of, a situation which there doesn't seem to be any other way out of now, either, other than catastrophe and collapse. Time will tell how long it will take for that to come to fruition. .

    Indeed. And that reminds me that Fichte and Kant were quite concerned with this.Pie

    :up:
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    2.2k
    the largely Christian notion of humanity as masters of natureJanus

    That is not what I see with Christian culture, with all its anti-science shit. If any demographic views itself as master of nature, it would be atheistic-leftist types with all their science shit. Maybe you can elaborate.
  • Pie
    1k
    The way I see it it is the rise of capitalism-enabling technology which has brought us to this culmination of the largely Christian notion of humanity as masters of nature, which is beginning to look like an ironic caricature and now we find ourselves in a situation wherein we will be shown just how delusional that notion is.Janus

    This reminds me of Feuerbach's interpretation. God is above and distinct from nature, hence the prohibition of (nature-referencing) images of the divine. While a demiurge might shape what's already there, the God of the Christians creates from nothing, revealing the essence of nature as nothingness. As Stirner put it, who linked such nature-denying Christians to a type of sceptic, "all things are nothing to me."
  • Pie
    1k
    That is not what I see with Christian culture, with all its anti-science shit. If any demographic views itself as master of nature, it would be atheistic-leftist types with all their science shit. Maybe you can elaborate.Merkwurdichliebe

    Perhaps we should distinguish between a sense of human entitlement (lords and masters, gifted this garden by god) from the adoption of norms governing claims (we ought to be rational).

    Conservatives are (in my experience) less likely to care about the treatment of pigs and chickens. That's anecdotal, and I'm willing to adjust my prejudice. I connect this more generally to a conservative reluctance to see the human species as continuous with the rest of the animal kingdom. In practical terms, this might manifest as a resentment of protections of an endangered species, if they interfere with profit.
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    This is too simplistic, since it is obvious that mind is not a material things in the sense of being an object of the senses, which is the common definition of a material thing.Janus

    It is not simplistic at all, for they exhaust the alternatives. And that's not the definition of a material thing. An immaterialist does not deny the objects of the senses, yet they deny materialism.

    Materialism is the view that there exist extra-mental extended things.

    And any and all of those who think conscious states are states of the brain are holders of the view that the mind is the brain or some part of it (or whtaever they take the mental states to be supervening on or whatever ghastly term they employ). I've explained why and it is tedious to have to keep repeating things.
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    We might say that a person thinks with their mind. But whatever we decide, we should (again) be wary of whether we are just teaching some useless idiolect of English to one another.Pie

    All you're saying is "we should be wary of making mistakes". Er, yes. So? Clearly the implication is that you think I've made one. Well, locate it and defend your claim that it is a mistake. At the moment you're trying to have your cake and eat it. You're making very general claims - such as that we should be wary of making mistakes - without actually locating any mistake. So you're implying I'm making mistakes, but you're not saying what mistake I am making. I can't attack fog.
  • Pie
    1k
    Our reason tells us that our minds are immaterial things (that's what a 'soul' is - an immaterial mind).Bartricks

    It's not 'our reason' but merely a piece of the philosophical tradition (centered on Descartes) that tells you (not us) that souls are immaterial minds. As mentioned above, this questionable assumption was probably motivated by a fear of Newtonian physics swallowing the domain of religion and threatening the idea of free will, the supernatural, etc.

    It's simply not necessary to take any position on issues that now seem dated and pointless. Nor must we adopt dichotomies like mental/material as profound laws of the cosmos or human cognition. In other words :

    It is worth bearing in mind…the general rule that we must not expect to find simple labels for complicated cases…however well-equipped our language, it can never be forearmed against all possible cases that may arise and call for description: fact is richer than diction.
    ...
    We say, for example, that a certain statement is exaggerated or vague or bold, a description somewhat rough or misleading or not very good, an account rather general or too concise. In cases like these it is pointless to insist on deciding in simple terms whether the statement is “true or false”. Is it true or false that Belfast is north of London? That the galaxy is the shape of a fried egg? That Beethoven was a drunkard? That Wellington won the battle of Waterloo? There are various degrees and dimensions of success in making statements: the statements fit the facts always more or less loosely, in different ways on different occasions for different intents and purposes.
    ...
    First, words are our tools, and, as a minimum, we should use clean tools: we should know what we mean and what we do not, and we must forearm ourselves against the traps that language sets us. Secondly, words are not (except in their own little corner) facts or things: we need therefore to prise them off the world, to hold them apart from and against it, so that we can realize their inadequacies and arbitrariness, and can re-look at the world without blinkers. Thirdly, and more hopefully, our common stock of words embodies all the distinctions men have found worth drawing, and the connexions they have found worth making, in the lifetimes of many generations: these surely are likely to be more sound, since they have stood up to the long test of the survival of the fittest, and more subtle, at least in all ordinary and reasonably practical matters, than any that you or I are likely to think up in our arm-chairs of an afternoon—the most favoured alternative method.
    — Austin
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/austin-jl/#LangTrut

    For instance, 'material' and 'mental' work well enough in practical contexts, but wringing them metaphysically for eternal knowledge juice might not get us anywhere.
  • Janus
    13k
    It is not simplistic at all, for they exhaust the alternatives. And that's not the definition of a material thing. An immaterialist does not deny the objects of the senses, yet they deny materialism.Bartricks

    All material things are objects of the senses. From the materialists' idea that material things are objects of the senses it does not follow that anyone who believe there are objects of the senses must beleive they are material; so if it is a fact that immaterialists deny materialism, that constitutes no problem for the common notion of materialism.

    And any and all of those who think conscious states are states of the brain are holders of the view that the mind is the brain or some part of it (or whtaever they take the mental states to be supervening on or whatever ghastly term they employ).Bartricks

    This is not true; functionalists think there is a coherent distinction between mind and brain. The mind is not part of the brain but the function, understood from a phenomenological, not an objectivist, standpoint, of the whole brain. As far back as Spinoza mind and brain, and more generally mind and matter, or cogitans and extensa have been understood to be the one thing understood from different perspectives.

    Spinoza admired and was influenced by Descartes, but he was smart enough to see through Descartes' reificational delusions that mind and matter are two different substances.
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    All material things are objects of the senses.Janus

    You're just contradicting what I just said. LIke I say, you clealy think the fact I have said something is sufficient for it to be mistaken. I'm published on this stuff, for christ's sake!

    Now, once again: an immaterialist believes in the objects of the senses. So, if you define a materailst as someone who believes in the objects of the senses, then an immaterialist turns out to be a materialist.

    Do you see why that's not the correct definition?

    A materialist is not an immaterialist. That's what the 'im' means. They're opposites.

    Yet both believe in the objects of the senses. They disagree about what they're made of.

    Materialism is the view that there exists an extended mind-external realm: the material realm.

    Immaterialism is the view that there is no such place and that all that exists are minds and their contents. The sensible world is made of the sensational activity of another mind. The sensible world exists as surely as it does on materialism, but it exists 'as' sensations as opposed to extended mind-exterrnal things that our sensations - some of them, some of the time - are capable of giving us some awareness of.

    And some philosophers believe minds are made of extended stuff - such as our brains - and others (myself included) believe they are made of immaterial stuff.
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    It's not 'our reason' but merely a piece of the philosophical tradition (centered on Descartes) that tells you (not us) that souls are immaterial minds.Pie

    The tradition in question is the tradition of listening to reason. All you're doing is talking about views in a dismissive tone. That's not how you refute a view.

    Plato, Descartes, Berkeley - christ, shit loads of philosophers - have all employed what is called 'the indivisiblity' argument for the soul.

    They were not part of a cult. They didn't know each other. They often profoundly disagreed with other aspects of the worldviews they came independently to defend. Yet they all got the rational impression that our minds are invidisible.

    And virtually everyone does, in fact, for virtually everyone can acknowledge that the idea of half a mind makes no sense whatsoever.

    That's very good evidence that our minds are indivisible. Our reason - the reason of humans possessed of reason throughout the history of careful thought on the matter - represents our minds to be indivisible.

    Stop the cod history and try and do some actual philosophy. It's called 'the genetic fallacy' - thinking you can dismiss a view simply by describing the history of how it has come to be held.

    Our reason represents our minds to be indivisible things.

    That's prima facie evidence that's precisely what they are.

    That means it is defeasible evidence. That's fancy for 'it could be false'.

    But it means the burden of proof is on the person who thinks minds are divisible to undercut those rational intuitions.

    You don't undercut a rational intuition by simply noting that it is possible for it to be false. Possibilities are not evidence. And you don't undercut them by inviting others to associate anyone who follows such evidence with people who believe in angels and phlogiston.

    So, you are doing nothing in terms of addressing the case I have made for the indivisibility of the mind. You're just not engaging with it at all. It's all filler, no killer.
  • Janus
    13k
    You're just contradicting what I just said. LIke I say, you clealy think the fact I have said something is sufficient for it to be mistaken. I'm published on this stuff, for christ's sake!

    Now, once again: an immaterialist believes in the objects of the senses. So, if you define a materailst as someone who believes in the objects of the senses, then an immaterialist turns out to be a materialist.

    Do you see why that's not the correct definition?
    Bartricks

    Are you willfully misunderstanding what I wrote? I didn't define a materialist as someone who believes in the objects of the senses, but as someone who defines them as being material. So. I am not contradicting your claim that an immaterialist may believe in the objects of the senses.

    If you really are published on this, then tell us the title of your book or article; otherwise why should you be believed, and in any case, so what; there is a mountain of drivel that has been published.; being published is no guarantee of rigor or quality of thought.

    But it means the burden of proof is on the person who thinks minds are divisible to undercut those rational intuitionsBartricks

    What you call "rational intuitions" I think are imaginative intuitions arrived at by imagining an analogy between how we understand material substance and how we should understand a purported immaterial substance. 'Substance' is a very ambiguous term though.

    Material substances in the sense of things like wood, metal, stone and so on are thought to be divisible because we can actually divide them. But only up to point; the fundamental particles of which they are thought to consist are not understood to be divisible. In any case, if we imagine an immaterial substance, there is no way to imagine how it could be divided.

    The mistake lies in imagining an immaterial substance in the first place, because we have no clear idea of what such a thing could be. When you think about it the same goes for the more philosophical notions of material substance.

    Aristotle thought all individual entities were substances in their own right; he saw substance in this sense as a kind of essence or identity, and of course that could not be divided either. To think in terms of dividing and identity, which is a concept, is simply a category error; and to reify what is merely a concept, and to imagine that it has some kind of substantive existence is also a category error; it is to commit the "fallacy of misplaced concreteness".
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    I don't think you really know what views you hold and so you just change your views post to post. Here's what you said:

    since it is obvious that mind is not a material things in the sense of being an object of the senses, which is the common definition of a material thing.Janus

    That's not the definition of a material thing. You said it was. It isn't. A material thing is what I said it is: a mind-external extended thing. But that means it is false, yes? Bartricks said it. Therefore it is false.
  • Pie
    1k
    All you're doing is talking about views in a dismissive tone. That's not how you refute a view.Bartricks

    Some views are not even wrong, or embedded in frameworks of assumptions so rickety that they are not even worth refuting. I don't want to charge at windmills with you, affirming the background assumptions responsible for the confusion as I challenge its mere symptom, this thesis that the mind is a simple or undivided thing. So far you've not assimilated or even really acknowledged any of my criticism of your views. At this point, I don't expect much, but I persist out of curiosity.
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    Like I say, all filler no killer.

    Lots of views are this. Lots of views are that. Lots of views are mistaken. So what? What's your point?

    You're implying my views are mistaken, yes? That's what you're trying to do - you want to say 'Bartick's views are wrong', but without actually having to go to the trouble of locating a mistake and making a proper criticism.
  • Pie
    1k
    .
    What's your point?Bartricks

    My point is that "the mind is indivisible" is (approximately) not even wrong. It's mostly useless hot air, probably religiously motivated.

    The square root of Tuesday is tuna fish sandwiches ! Prove me wrong if you dare.
  • Janus
    13k
    A material thing is what I said it is: a mind-external extended thing.Bartricks

    You keep jumping all over the place instead of addressing what I say. "A mind-external extended thing" just is an object of the senses; how else would we know it exists if not via the senses?

    So far you've not assimilated or even really acknowledged any of my criticism of your views.Pie

    Bartricks constantly fails to do this with his interlocutors. I'm not sure if he's desperately trying to divert others' attention in order to protect views he's wedded to, or is simply a troll trying to get attention. His is at least a very unusual case, and I suppose that has to count for something.
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    No, you do. You don't seem able to understand very basic points.

    An immaterialist - the opposite of a materialist - believes there are objects of the senses. So it is no part of the definition of a materialist that they believe in objects of the senses, for that would generate a contradiction.

    You seem unable to distinguish between the defintiion of materialism - which is what I said it is - and the additional claim (and not part of the definition) that our senses give us some awareness of material objects.

    Anyway, you're now committed to thinking that's wrong, aren't you? Bartricks said it.

    You defined materialism incorrectly. Suck it up. Learn your mistake and move on.

    Materialism is the view that there exist extra-mental extended objects.

    It's not a view about how we're aware of them. It 's a view about what exists. That is, it is an 'ontological' view (you can drop that into conversation now) not an 'epistemological' view.
    It is typically accompanied by the view that our senses give us some awareness of material objects.

    But virtually no materialists think that all material things are available to the senses - atoms and so on are material, yet we cannot sensibly detect them.

    And it is entirely consistent with being a materialist that one might believe that no objects of the senses are material objects, for it is entirely consistent with the thesis that one might believe we are brains in vats being artificially stimulated.

    But again, because I'm saying all of this it must be wrong, right?
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    My point is that "the mind is indivisible" is (approximately) not even wrong. It's mostly useless hot air, probably religiously motivated.

    The square root of Tuesday is tuna fish sandwiches ! Prove me wrong if you dare.
    Pie

    How are you addressing anything I said? Why am I writing posts explaining my argument again and again and again, when you don't seem to be able to address it? It's very foolish of me. I am going to stop now, because you have nothing of any philosophical content to contribute.
  • Isaac
    9k
    If you really are published on this, then tell us the title of your book or articleJanus

    It's alright. I think I've found it...

    https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4419-7859-2_1
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    2.2k
    Perhaps we should distinguish between a sense of human entitlement (lords and masters, gifted this garden by god) from the adoption of norms governing claims (we ought to be rational).Pie

    Im claiming that you are overrgeneralizing a popular interpretion of christiantiy, as well as @Janus. Im arguing that there are many christians that interpret the words as "man was left as caretaker, not master". It is evident in the common subordinate attitude of many Christians, which Nietzsche was appalled by.

    Conservatives are (in my experience) less likely to care about the treatment of pigs and chickens. That's anecdotal, and I'm willing to adjust my prejudice. I connect this more generally to a conservative reluctance to see the human species as continuous with the rest of the animal kingdom. In practical terms, this might manifest as a resentment of protections of an endangered species, if they interfere with profit.Pie

    I'm not arguing a political position here, so let's not get off course with my next question: but how is the christian positition concerning the issue of prochoice abortion (slaughtering a fetus) any different than the secular notion of cruelty towards animals ( viz: slaughtering pigs for food)? The opponents both master nature.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    2.2k
    ok, go back to terrorizing the externalist non-materialists, more power to you
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    2.2k
    If you really are published on this, then tell us the title of your book or articleJanus

    Being published makes nobody an authority in anything. Fuck em. This is TPF, I say: say what you have to say here, there is nothing stopping you other than your own bullshit that will never fly.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    2.2k
    How are you addressing anything I said? Why am I writing posts explaining my argument again and again and again, when you don't seem to be able to address it?Bartricks

    Maybe you are a stoopid poopu dummy head. That is not a reason to stop posting your genius philosophies.
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    Maybe you are a stoopid poopu dummy head. That is not a reason to stop posting your genius philosophies.Merkwurdichliebe

    One does not need to be a genius to see that this argument is sound:

    1. If my mind is a material thing, then it is divisible
    2. My mind is not divisible
    3. Therefore, my mind is not a material thing

    Premise 1 is clearly true, for a material thing is, by definition, extended in space and any region of space can be divided.

    And premise 2 is also manifest to reason, as half a mind makes no sense.

    The conclusion follows as a matter of logic.

    Sorry if the conclusion is inconvenient, but there you go - the truth sometimes is.
  • Pie
    1k
    Im arguing that there are many christians that interpret the words as "man was left as caretaker, not master".Merkwurdichliebe

    I don't dispute that. It's a big tent.

    The opponents both master nature.Merkwurdichliebe

    To me we'd look not at the common desire to play lord and master but rather to whether or not human beings are understood to be continuous with or radically distinct from the rest of nature. To my knowledge, few conservatives are concerned with the factory farming of pigs, even if we have reason to believe that pigs are more sentient than fetuses. ( One can imagine an intelligent extraterrestrial species making tough decisions so that suffering is minimized, aided by a detailed science of the nervous systems involved. This thought-experiment gives us, I hope, a little distance from a bias toward the human form. )
  • Isaac
    9k
    any region of space can be divided.Bartricks

    According to whom?

    half a mind makes no sense.Bartricks

    According to whom?
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    2.2k


    Firstly. I admire your fealessness. It is a relief from all the question dodgers that dominate TPF. Keep it up. There is no quicker way to work out your arguments.

    The conclusion follows as a matter of logic.

    Sorry if the conclusion is inconvenient, but there you go - the truth sometimes is.
    Bartricks

    I only disagree with your reasoning. Not your conclusion. :cool:
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.