Reasons for Joy; In Gentleness, and Respect.

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Choose Your Own Topic / Re: A QuestionW
« on: September 21, 2013, 09:59:33 pm »
How could a resurrection happen if no one died?

The human part of Jesus did die, but the divine was resurrected.
Does this not answer your question well?

Sounds heretical to me.

Could you expound, please?
Lion IRC is correct that this is bordering on heresy, depending on your meaning.  Jesus was one person and he was raised as a man, not just as God.  You cannot divide Jesus up like this and say that just the human part did this or just the divine part did that.  I was sitting through a seminar today during which we discussed this very idea.  When Jesus ate fish, he did so as a man.  When Jesus raised Lazerus from the dead, he also did so as a man.  When he died on the cross, he did so as a man.  When he rose from the dead, he did so as a man.  See Thomas Weinandy's Does God Suffer? for more on this idea. 

It is not theologically correct to separate Jesus and say that him human part was crucified and died while his divine part was raised.  Jesus is one person with two inseparable natures.  See also the statement from the Council of Chalcedon. 


Moral Argument / Re: Whats wrong with morality being based upon pain?
« on: August 20, 2013, 05:08:34 pm »
If morality was based upon pain, my dentist would be the most evil person I know, but he is actually a very nice person.  Pain can have good effects, which means that you would need an external standard to distinguish "good" or "beneficial" pain from "evil" or "destructive" pain.


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Christian Worldview and Economics
« on: June 30, 2013, 04:16:19 pm »
There are some online talks by Ronald Nash.  He also co-authored a book entitled: A Biblical Economics Manifesto: Economics and the Christian World View.


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Teleological Argument Against Naturalism
« on: June 06, 2013, 10:23:47 pm »
Isn't there a name for such a position? If no, I would like to be called " protosubstance dualist" ;D

I'm sure at some point someone else has taken this view, but I'm not aware of it.  I think you should coin the term and write a paper or blog post about it so that you have the claim to fame  8).


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Teleological Argument Against Naturalism
« on: June 06, 2013, 09:33:15 pm »
I just saw this tonight and thought it was appropriate to our discussion in many respects.


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Teleological Argument Against Naturalism
« on: June 06, 2013, 09:28:09 pm »
1.- I don't believe the mind have a downward causality.
2.- I believe the mind can only exist if it's attached to a brain. When not in a brain is just a substance that can potentialy become a mind.

I guess I'm a property dualist, then? :o

You've got the makings of a property dualist, except for the fact that you call mind a substance and not a property.  You are a hybrid  ;D


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Teleological Argument Against Naturalism
« on: June 05, 2013, 09:48:19 pm »
I believe the "pre-mind" to be some kind of fundamental property of the Universe, that doesn't emerge from the brain.

I'm curious as to whether you see mind as a property then that supervenes on the brain.  If that is the case, then, you would hold to a type of property dualism.  Chalmers does not break out property dualism into a distinct type in his paper.  Another question is whether you believe mind has downward causal effects or not.  If no, then property dualism would make more sense.  If yes, then maybe type-F, but that is a monist view, not a dualist view as you have indicated earlier.


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Teleological Argument Against Naturalism
« on: June 04, 2013, 09:25:55 pm »
Sorry I missed this post before. Interesting, I was very fond of one of Paul Ehrlich's books. I forget the title now, but I remember his making a distinction between authoritarian and humanistic religion that I think is important. I consider myself a humanist. I think God, if such a being exists, can take care of himself, so my main concern is with human beings before it is with God. It's just that I can't dispel the notion of teleology, and purpose implies a being whose purpose is being served. Of course, it has crossed my mind that the purpose that I see is only analogous to human purpose and that perhaps it is even just a projection of human purpose, and blah, blah eventually leading me to the idea that God may transcend even the duality of being and non being, which actually gets very close to the idea of the Tao, which I've always had some attraction to anyway.

Nevertheless, I see some sense in the notion of a Creator (although Ground of Being might be a more accurate model) and in the notion that creation (the universe that we know of) is a part of the Creator. Perhaps it is presumptuous to think that the purpose of creation is anything like human purpose, but until someone can actually show me a more fitting candidate for the "crown of creation" than humans, I'll stick with this notion. Given these suppositions, then I think it flows logically that God's will is for the greatest good of His creatures, especially human beings. And although I am a skeptic when it comes to the supernatural aspect of the gospels, I feel the ethics of Jesus' teaching is very fitting with my panendeistic humanism. And that was pretty much what Paul Ehrlich said in that book. He said, grossly paraphrasing, that the in his opinion the gospels "read aright" were sort of a manifesto of religious humanism.

As for evolution I am not at all skeptical of Darwinism (or the most current version of it) as far as it goes. I just don't think it is anything like the whole story. I'm not at all for tossing methodological naturalism under the bus because some people (myself included) think that there may be some merit to the ID arguments. However, I don't think that methodological naturalism has to be accepted as metaphysical truth also. To my mind metaphysics is speculative and I think there is still room to speculate on ID (theism/deism?) as well as metaphysically naturalistic hypotheses. If at some time someone can come up with a way to make these things falsifiable and testable maybe we will be able to definitively decide between them or I'm actually kind of thinking what we will arrive at is a kind of synthesis of the two. My speculations tend in that direction anyway.

Bruce, I would recommend reading C.S. Lewis' Abolition of Man.  It was the next book that our group read after reading Human Natures.  Lewis addresses the idea of the Tao, morality, truth, and other issues.  I think you would enjoy it.  It is a short read, only about 100 pages, but very powerful.  In fact, after reading the first two of the three chapters, my friend who has dealing with the question of telos said he could wait to read the third chapter (we were reading a chapter per week) and hoped that Lewis didn't blow the argument.  He was really impressed with the book.  I would be interested in hearing your reflections.  Follow the link I provided.


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Teleological Argument Against Naturalism
« on: June 04, 2013, 08:56:57 pm »
Did you read that Chalmers article linked to by...was it LNC? Anyway, I wouldn't call what you are speculating to be epiphenomenalism. If I understand it right, under what Chalmers refers to as E the mind is actually caused by the brain. What you are describing sounds close to Chalmers option F, which he calls panprotopsychism. It's similar if not the same as what you are saying, proto to is like pre and psyche means soul or mind.

I actually think this is close to the view of the mystical sects of most religions, and especially eastern religions. According to that view God or the Tao or Buddha Nature, the void, gives rise to everything and is also the core consciousness of everything. Sometimes it s referred to as the witness, because it doesn't directly think the thoughts it just experiences them.

The idea actually accords well with science not being able to identify any self. It doesn't necessarily mean there is no self. If this view is true, then the self is immaterial or perhaps protomaterial?. It differs from the Christian idea of soul, because the witness has no personality. In some eastern religions there is something like the idea of the soul, but the soul is composed of a subtle form of material.

Type F is monism.  If Bruce believes that mind and brain are ontologically different or distinct, then he is a form of dualist.  This is why I would say he is some sort of property dualist.


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Teleological Argument Against Naturalism
« on: June 04, 2013, 08:52:52 pm »
Perhaps you guys can help me over here. After reading LNC posts, I became aware that I don't follow his version of dualism and after some research I'm not even sure if I'm a dualist. I'll state my view, and I would like to see if you guys can help me classify myself  ;D:

So, I believe that the mind and the brain are ontologically diferent things, however I don't think the mind can actually exists without a brain. I don't claim they are identical, merely that the mind need the brain to exist as a mind. The brain, on the other hand, can exist without the substance that makes possible the mind, but will be devoided of qualia. In my view, the "pre-mind" ( a substance that don't have thoughts, feeling or anything. His only property is that is can potentially be a mind ) interacts with the physically closed brain ( hence my epiphenomenalism ) and once the two exist, there is a mind.

under this view, Alzheimer is explainable in a sense. That illness change the structure of the brain, so when it's working, the "pre-mind" will interact in a diferent way, and given the damage, the qualia of some memories will be distorded. Note that without the "pre-mind" we would see the same, however the person will be devoided of any sort of memory or thoughts. The "pre-mind" doesn't store anything, it merely provides qualia interacting with neural paths.

I've noted that this view is falsifiable in a ironical way in the same form as physicalism. If NDE are shown to be actual, that means the mind can exist without a brain, and hence I'm rong. :o

So.. ¿what am I?


In many respects, you sound like an emergentist or epiphenomenalist.  The question I would ask is, do you believe that the mind has downward causality or is everything upward from the brain?  That will give further clarification.


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Teleological Argument Against Naturalism
« on: June 04, 2013, 08:48:28 pm »
I am not sure if you are aware of this, I think you at least vaguely are, but you could get into a whole long debate about what it means to say 'reducible' to brain states. And there are different types of reductivism. But what I think is important to point out is that reductivism is not the only type of physicalism. And ever since Donald Davidson published some papers on it back in the 70's non-reductive physicalism is actually the most popular theory in the philosophy of mind. The is accomplished by saying that the mind supervenes on the physical.

I personally don't have my foot on either side of the line. I'm a physicalist, but haven't made up my mind to what kind, I'm even open to mysterian explanations.

I'm very familiar with non-reductive physicalism, however, it only attempts to explain an aspect of the phenomenal experiences that we have, the qualitative experiences.  It doesn't seem to address the issue of intentionality.  Intentionality does not seem to be the kind of experience that can supervene on physical states. There are other critiques of the various non-reductive models, however, I believe this is the most difficult for physicalism to overcome and the issue on which I've done much of my studies and writing.


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Teleological Argument Against Naturalism
« on: June 03, 2013, 10:11:13 pm »
See this is what I'm talking about. You start the sentence with 'this is not hard to explain' and then go on to give an explanation that if heard by anyone in the field I work in (which is with people who have cognitive disabilities, some similar to Alzheimer's) they would immediately give a look as if you had just told them you were the reincarnation of Elvis Presley.

I feel like I'm attacking you personally, which I don't like to do. There is nothing that is going to get you see the truth (my goal here is to explain and teach what I know for the good of others) by insulting. In fact you will just build up more ego defenses, get emotional and not want to see my point.

But I would respect you a lot more if you said things like "'s a possibility..what do you think?" Instead of "This is easy.." and then say something completely off the wall.
If you feel like you have to offend to make a point, then your point is not very sound.  I find that when people resort to offending, they have run out of sound arguments.  I hope you will refrain from this tact, but if you feel you must, then you do what you feel you have to do.  I’ll stick with the arguments and try to refrain from insults.

So dismantle this. So your claim is something to the effect that a person with Alzheimer's mind is working just fine, but they are just unable to communicate this ? How does this even make sense? Communicate to whom? to others? As in your scenario of a person who is paralyzed and just cant speak? It is your contention that the mind of someone with Alzheimer's is just fine, but there is a communication problem?

A person with alzheimer's can look at the face of his wife who he has known for 45 years and have no idea who he is looking at.  This has nothing to do with a communication problem, it happens because the part of the brain that forms memories is damaged and now the conscious experience of remembering of being able to recognize a face of being able to recall past images and history is gone..

It is not that a person with alzheimer's has just a perfectly normal conscious experience, but just can't communicate that to others, it's that they DO NOT have normal conscious experience. Part of their conscious experience is MISSING.  Eventually you lose abilities like being able to recognize what a number is. How to dress yourself, or how to read and write. These people's minds and their conscious experience is NOT FINE. It is not working properly.

Or let's take someone with anhedonia. We know that in the brain our experience of pleasure is regulated by the globus pallidus, when this section of the brain is damaged in can shut off the reward system and people no longer experience pleasure.

It is not that these people's minds are working just fine, that they are experience pleasure and just can't communicate's that these people don't experience pleasure. That aspect of their conscious experience is gone.

What is your definition of 'mind' other than one's conscious experience? Isn't that just what your definition is? So these people's conscious experience AKA their minds are not working properly. There is no aspect of your conscious experience (your mind) that I cannot shut off by damaging the brain area responsible for that experience. Be it if your visual memories, your sense of pain, pleasure, ability to reason, ability to monitor your social behavior, ability to love ..anything..

Now how is that possible under substance dualism? How can whole parts of your immaterial mind just vanish?
What I’m saying is that we don’t necessarily know that the person’s mind with Alzheimer's is defective, we only know that the brain is causing problems.  We use terms like, “the person is losing his mind,” which only confuses brain with mind.  Without begging the question and conflating mind and brain, how do you know that the person’s mind is affected and not just his brain?  The fact is that neither you nor I know that, we can only really say that the brain is affected. 

You seem to be assuming that the mind and brain are the same thing. Yes, I say assuming since you’ve given no evidence that they are and cannot prove that they are the same.  It is an assumption then that when a person is afflicted with Alzheimer’s that their mind is affected simply because their brain is affected.  I don’t know that that is necessarily the case and, to be frank, neither do you.  You see the effects of the brain being impacted by the disease and you assume that the mind is affected.

Are you familiar with Thomistic substance dualism?  It is not the same as Cartesian dualism.  It holds that there is a close interaction between the mind and the brain, so yes, the brain can affect the mind (though it is not necessary that it does).

You ask, what is the mind and mistakenly conflate it with what it produces or allows us to experience.  The mind isn’t the conscious experience, but what allows us to have conscious experiences.  However, the mind also interacts with the brain and when the brain is damaged there is one part in that interaction that is affected, however, it does not mean that both are affected.  If the brain is damaged, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the mind is damaged.  Again, to say this is the case is to beg the question for a type of reductionism.  However, reductionism has not been verified to be true and does not address issues like qualia and intentionality, nor does it address the enduring self.

As for NDE I've done quite a bit of reading on it, and I will take the stance that most take. It's nonsense.
Can you give some reasons why you think it is nonsense?  Shall we all just take stances because some majority thinks that stance is true?  I don’t make decisions on truth based upon what the majority thinks, the majority has often been proven to be wrong.

I know. This is what I was explaining to you. Read what I wrote again carefully. Your whole paragraph is basically reciting what I wrote to you.
However, you seem to be ascribing to me a view to me that was not mine.  That is what I am pointing out to you.


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Teleological Argument Against Naturalism
« on: June 03, 2013, 12:46:00 pm »
I understand the argument. But I really still don't buy that any kind of conceivability can imply metaphysical possibility. I've explained why and this argument does nothing to answer my objections. Just look at the way it invokes God in the last few lines. But what if such a God as can create such "conceivable" worlds doesn't exist. That would mean that our conception was mistaken and there really is no metaphysically possible world in p-zombies could exist. It simply begs the question.

Bruce, the fact that Chalmers, who is not a theist as far as I know, invokes God should be a clue to us.  It should cause us to ask, "why would he be invoking God if he doesn't necessarily hold that God exists?"  I think it is the same reason that he invokes zombies when he has said that he is not convinced that zombies could exist in our world.  He still sees that both God and zombies could exist in some possible world.  In other words, he finds no convincing argument to suggest that the existence of either is impossible.  If their existence is not impossible, then it means that their existence is possible.  This doesn't mean feasible or probable, just possible.  However, I think it is time to move on from this thread of the discussion.


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Teleological Argument Against Naturalism
« on: June 03, 2013, 12:39:39 pm »
You know it seems to me that the nature of experience/qualia/consciousness,whatever you want to call this thing or these things, is not really relevant to whether or not they are indicative of teleology, unless they are non existent, which to my mind is to deny the most fundamental of intuitions; i.e., "I think (more like experience); therefore, I am."

The question I ask myself is why does subjectivity exist at all. It seems very obviously to have a purpose (or maybe they are the purpose); i.e., to bring qualia into existence. Without qualia there are no qualities. Without qualities there is no value. Without value there is no meaning. This to me seems to be the telos of nature. Either nature exists to bring consciousness into existence or if consciousness is fundamental then nature is what gives life to it; i.e., gives it something of which to be conscious.

Could it be  that my perception of telos in all of this is a kind of delusion? I suppose, but I don't think so, and I'd just as soon remain deluded if I am wrong because, if I am, it will not matter in the long run.

Is this teleology an argument against naturalism? I am not sure. It may be an argument against naturalism as currently conceived. I'm probably closest to believing in option F from the Chalmers paper. I am not attracted to the label panprotopsychism, but I like the term psychophysical that he used elsewhere in the paper. I'm leaning towards a kind of dual aspect psychophysical monism. Maybe it would be panprotopsychophysicalism... yuck. I'll just call it panendeism.

I am leaning towards panendeism over panentheism now because my views is more like deism than orthodox theism, and that is an important distinction, though I'm still agnostic on a lot of this stuff.

Bruce, those are good thoughts.  In fact, one of guys that got me started down this road many years ago still is asking how we have telos in this world.  It started as we read the book, Human Natures, by Paul Ehrlich in a book discussion group.  My friend, who is completing his MA-Phil and who was at the time a committed evolutionist (and probably still holds that view), explained one day that he was troubled by the implications of evolution in that he wondered, if it is true, how we come out with any purpose or telos.  When we finished reading the book he said it was the first time that he read anything related to evolution that shook his faith in the theory.  Now, the book itself didn't have anything directly to do with his concerns, it was just that his thinking about purpose and meaning happened to correlate with our reading of this book.

We then began reading Dennett,  Searle, Chalmers, and others and it was my introduction into the discussion of philosophy of mind.  I was really caught by the subject and I've been reading and writing in the field ever since.  Actually, you landed in the same place that Chalmers did.  If I didn't have some of the reasons that I do for being a substance dualist, I would have landed there as well.


Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Teleological Argument Against Naturalism
« on: June 03, 2013, 12:20:43 pm »
Just an FYI, I have a graduate degree in Brain and Behavior Research and my current job involves working on the brains of those who with cognitive impairments. I'm not just googling this shit.

When I say something like there are very few EP anymore it's because in my graduate and professional career I have met hundreds of people in the field and reads thousands of journal articles and well...I can't really think of more than a few instances where EP was even mentioned.

You have to admit that there is a difference between those in the field of science and those in the field of philosophy.  It is unfortunate, but it is a growing fact of our time that the division between the two fields is growing.  Most of my work is on the philosophical side of the issue, although I try to keep up on what is happening on the science side.  Yet, much of our discussion has been on the philosophical side.   I'm not surprised that you don't know of many epiphenomenalist in your field as you are examining the physical side of the issue and not the philosophical side.


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