Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
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04-09-2015, 09:35 AM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(02-09-2015 06:12 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  The difference is not in interest. The difference between emergent and eliminative, is a belief in an imaginary line that separates the macro from the micro. It's functionally the same as property dualism.

No, it's not.

Emergent materialism deals with the fact that emergent properties exist - that is, there are behaviors of certain entirely materialistic systems which, due to their specific properties, are best described through the use of sciences other than pure physics.

This is not to say that the system as a whole cannot ultimately be reduced to pure physics, however; you could reduce a computer to the basic laws of physics and electromagnetism if you like. It simply wouldn't be very useful to do so. It's a matter of practical applicability.

Fluid dynamics is reducible to basic physics, but fluid dynamics is a hell of a lot easier and more useful in the areas in which it applies. It is in no way magical or non-material. It is simply emergent.

The mind is the same.

You really ought to stop making assumptions about what these terms mean. It's quite obvious at this point that you do not understand them.

(02-09-2015 06:12 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  If I'm going to reject non-cartesian substance dualism, I'm not going to settle for emergence, I'm gonna push past that line, follow it to it's logical ends, which is elimantivism. And that would requires me to see a variety of things like morality, free-will, etc.. as illusions, even though it seems you have trouble with that as well.

There is nothing wrong with eliminative materialism, in principle. It isn't even necessarily in direct conflict with emergent materialism, as emergent materialism is the position that certain phenomena are best described through certain specialized means despite their physical nature, and eliminative materialism is simply the claim that certain commonly-accepted mental phenomena do not exist, which is almost certainly true (souls, for example).

Where it often goes off the rails is in practice. Its proponents often attempt to claim things like "pain does not exist", or "subjective experience does not exist", which is plainly wrong.

But, as I said, they aren't necessarily in conflict. Eliminative materialists can freely believe that what mental properties do exist are emergent.

Again, you really ought to be more clear about the definitions of these things before you try to make use of the terms. What you probably meant to say was reductive materialism, which is the position that all mental phenomena are reducible to their corresponding physical processes in the brain.

Which is true. It just isn't the most useful position to take, because, again, emergent phenomena like mental activity are much easier to understand via specialized sciences, in the same way that the principles of fluid dynamics are emergent from physics.

The distinction between emergent and reductive materialism is largely a semantic one, and often one that misses the point of the other position entirely; reductive materialists say "but there's nothing special about mental phenomena!", to which emergent materialists might answer "we know, it's just easier to understand this way".

Neither is at all associated with substance dualism, no matter how hard you try to equivocate between them.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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04-09-2015, 09:43 AM (This post was last modified: 04-09-2015 09:47 AM by epronovost.)
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
@Tomasia

I have written a small paragraph on emergent vs eliminative materialism, but I think unbeliever explained it much better than I did. I would also point out the following. I don't believe in «free will» as it’s frequently defined. I also don't believe in morality in its traditional definition (I am a utilitarian Universalist when it comes to that specific subject and linked itself just fine with my specific position when it comes to emergent materialism).

But if atheists such as yourself are reluctant to accept what I see as the only viable alternative here, than I don't see a reason why I should be any less reluctant to believe what they find unbelievable.

To answer that, I would make this comparison. Imagine our belief in matter/souls was like standing at Grand Canyon. Harder from of physicalism would be like standing 100 feet away from the drop. It's very secure but a bit distant to have a nice view. Emergent materialism would be like standing 2 feet away from the drop. It's not very safe, but you are still standing on solid ground. You just need to be careful about strong wind for not falling. Property dualism is like holding to branch while your two feet are in the air hoping that it won't break. Your still alive, but let say you’re in very deep trouble. Substance dualism is like being in a free fall 50 feet away from the edge plummeting to your death. The view is awesome, but not worth it. You are free falling. You like the view and I can understand why. It's just not worth avoiding the fact that it's not a good way to observe the Grand Canyon. You say you don't want to stand to the edge because it seems stupid. Fine by me, go stand 100 feet away from the edge. You can still look at the view over there.

And so we return to your argument of page 13. You believe in a soul because you want it to be real. Not because it make more sense. It may sound sanctimonious, and I am sorry if you feel it that way, but you might want to take KingChosen line of defence in the future. You believe in soul and in your religion on faith alone. All your philosophical background turn out to be appeal on faith alone. It makes for shorter thread, but then you can ask interesting question afterward. Unlike several theists on this forum you are a rather pleasant person to talk too (I bit anxious maybe, but that’s me talking out of my ass).
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05-09-2015, 08:40 AM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(04-09-2015 09:35 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  Emergent materialism deals with the fact that emergent properties exist - that is, there are behaviors of certain entirely materialistic systems which, due to their specific properties, are best described through the use of sciences other than pure physics.

This is not to say that the system as a whole cannot ultimately be reduced to pure physics, however; you could reduce a computer to the basic laws of physics and electromagnetism if you like

You're mistaken.

If you thought even in theory that it's reducible to pure physics, that's eliminativism. In emergence the mind is irreducible, something noted in the basic definition provided by wikipedia and everywhere else:

"In the philosophy of mind, emergent (or emergentist) materialism is a theory which asserts that the mind is an irreducible existent in some sense, albeit not in the sense of being an ontological simple, and that the study of mental phenomena is independent of other sciences."

The independence of the mind is a product of irreducibility, an irreducibility that came about though it's "emergence". Hence the title.

Elimantivism is the position that it can be reduced, this is not to say we should only have one subject that encompasses everything, but that if it can't be reduced in theory to physics, than certain conclusions of other sciences are likely wrong.

Quote:Fluid dynamics is reducible to basic physics, but fluid dynamics is a hell of a lot easier and more useful in the areas in which it applies. It is in no way magical or non-material. It is simply emergent.

No, if it can be reducible to physics that's eliminativism. Just because it more functionally appropriate for it have it's is own category doesn't change that. Eliminativism is not about taxonomy, just reducibility. It's not a political stance.

Quote:You really ought to stop making assumptions about what these terms mean. It's quite obvious at this point that you do not understand them.

The irony.

Quote:The distinction between emergent and reductive materialism is largely a semantic one, and often one that misses the point of the other position entirely; reductive materialists say "but there's nothing special about mental phenomena!", to which emergent materialists might answer "we know, it's just easier to understand this way".

The difference between the two is not semantic. The fact that you believe it is, just reveals your inability to recognize the distinction.

You're describing an eliminativist position. The real difference your describing is like the one debated by eliminativist like Dennett vs eliminativist like Rosenberg, and not between emergent and eliminativism.

But I'll further the distinction with another source:

"Still another departure from the paradigm is the theory that holds that everything is composed of material particles (or physical entities generally) but also holds that there are special laws applying to complexes of physical entities, such as living cells or brains, that are not reducible to the laws that apply to the fundamental physical entities. (To avoid inconsistency, such a theory may have to allow that the ordinary laws of physics do not wholly apply within such complex entities.) Such a theory, which could be called “emergent materialism."

http://www.britannica.com/topic/materialism-philosophy

The question is not whether they should be reduced, but of whether if they are able to be reduced.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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05-09-2015, 09:13 AM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(04-09-2015 09:43 AM)epronovost Wrote:  @Tomasia

I have written a small paragraph on emergent vs eliminative materialism, but I think unbeliever explained it much better than I did. I would also point out the following. I don't believe in «free will» as it’s frequently defined. I also don't believe in morality in its traditional definition (I am a utilitarian Universalist when it comes to that specific subject and linked itself just fine with my specific position when it comes to emergent materialism).

But if atheists such as yourself are reluctant to accept what I see as the only viable alternative here, than I don't see a reason why I should be any less reluctant to believe what they find unbelievable.

To answer that, I would make this comparison. Imagine our belief in matter/souls was like standing at Grand Canyon. Harder from of physicalism would be like standing 100 feet away from the drop. It's very secure but a bit distant to have a nice view. Emergent materialism would be like standing 2 feet away from the drop. It's not very safe, but you are still standing on solid ground. You just need to be careful about strong wind for not falling. Property dualism is like holding to branch while your two feet are in the air hoping that it won't break. Your still alive, but let say you’re in very deep trouble. Substance dualism is like being in a free fall 50 feet away from the edge plummeting to your death. The view is awesome, but not worth it. You are free falling. You like the view and I can understand why. It's just not worth avoiding the fact that it's not a good way to observe the Grand Canyon. You say you don't want to stand to the edge because it seems stupid. Fine by me, go stand 100 feet away from the edge. You can still look at the view over there.

And so we return to your argument of page 13. You believe in a soul because you want it to be real. Not because it make more sense. It may sound sanctimonious, and I am sorry if you feel it that way, but you might want to take KingChosen line of defence in the future. You believe in soul and in your religion on faith alone. All your philosophical background turn out to be appeal on faith alone. It makes for shorter thread, but then you can ask interesting question afterward. Unlike several theists on this forum you are a rather pleasant person to talk too (I bit anxious maybe, but that’s me talking out of my ass).

Quote:And so we return to your argument of page 13. You believe in a soul because you want it to be real. Not because it make more sense.

I don’t believe in a soul because I want it to be real. Because the soul is a term that encapsulates a real something about a person, including myself. Like if one where to say his character, or his heart is the right place. We can understand what all these things mean, what they refer to, without knowing what they are reducible to in regards to the chemistry of the brain. Now this is not say it can’t be. If someone later recognizes that thing being referred to as a “soul” here, corresponds to some neurochemical reaction in the brain. That doesn’t change anything for me.

The difference between my position, and a elimantivist position, is that i’m not dependent on a belief that everything can be reduced to physics. I have no need to reconcile my views with physics, even in theory. For the obvious fact that I’m christian. For the same reason no Christian has to wonder about how do reconcile the resurrection with the laws of physics.

I also think you're still in a mindset of conflating a christian perspective, articulated by Aquinas with Cartesian Dualism. The Catholic, and many protestant prospective have far more of affinity to materialism than you imagine, primary with it’s emphasis on the body, that the revealed god is all man, and all god. And in many cases trying to draw a distinction between the flesh and the spirit borders on heresy, like the rejection of Gnostic beliefs.

And if you are to say that my ontological position here is a matter of faith, than I don’t disagree with you. But I’d say all ontological beliefs require a leap of faith. There’s a gap between the a methodological observation, and a ontological belief, than you have to jump across. Now you can avoid jumping off, but that’s where you get the hesitant type, the sort that defines themselves as a lacking a belief. They might think that if they did jump, they’d land safely on one particular side, but yet remain hesitant and unwilling to do so themselves.

“If a precious jewel, which all desired, lay out on a frozen lake, where the ice was perilously thin, where death threatened one who went out too far while the ice near the shore was safe, in a passionate age the crowds would cheer the courage of the man who went out on the ice; they would fear for him and with him in his resolute action; they would sorrow over him if he went under; they would consider him divine if he returned with the jewel.

In this passionless, reflective age, things would be different. People would think themselves very intelligent in figuring out the foolishness and worthlessness of going out on the ice, indeed, that it would be incomprehensible and laughable; and thereby they would transform passionate daring into a display of skill . . . . The people would go and watch from safety and the connoisseurs with their discerning tastes would carefully judge the skilled skater, who would go almost to the edge (that is, as far as the ice was safe, and would not go beyond this point) and then swing back. The most skilled skaters would go out the furthest and venture most dangerously, in order to make the crowds gasp and say: "Gods! He is insane, he will kill himself!" But you will see that his skill is so perfected that he will at the right moment swing around while the ice is still safe and his life is not endangered. . . .” - Kierkegaard

He seems to describe you’re cliff analogy quite well.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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05-09-2015, 09:40 AM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
@Tomasia

I have a little problem. I can,t read your post it's all scramble. Is it the same for you?
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05-09-2015, 09:55 AM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(05-09-2015 09:40 AM)epronovost Wrote:  @Tomasia

I have a little problem. I can,t read your post it's all scramble. Is it the same for you?

No it seems fine to me.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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05-09-2015, 09:58 AM (This post was last modified: 05-09-2015 10:26 AM by Unbeliever.)
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(05-09-2015 08:40 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  If you thought even in theory that it's reducible to pure physics, that's eliminativism. In emergence the mind is irreducible, something noted in the basic definition provided by wikipedia and everywhere else:

Well, no. Not everywhere else, in fact, because Wikipedia is often wrong.

Again, you don't understand what the words you are trying to use mean. "Emergent" is a practical consideration, not a theoretical one; take, for example, economics. Nothing in economics is non-physical, but describing economics purely via the laws of physics is unreasonably difficult, silly, and useless.

And, in order to forestall the obvious incoming objection, I will urge you to note the use of the phrase "for conceptual reasons" in the above link. Emergence does not require that there be some magical, conceptually-irreducible force that binds the smaller parts together and gives them their emergent properties. You may also be interested in reading up on reductionism, particularly noting the following:

"However, it is also considered "reductionist" to consider specifying the positions of atoms of a biological organism a specification of the organism. Some consider this reductionist because it is difficult to obtain macroscopically relevant information from this approach, or because this approach is not practical, others because of the notion of strong emergence, that there is more to a system than the specification of parts and their relationships."

There is a distinction between reduction being impossible and reduction being impractical. Emergent materialism does not necessarily ascribe to the notion that emergent properties are impossible to reduce, just that they are impractical - and reductive materialism does not disagree with this form of emergence.

So, again, the line between emergent and reductivist materialism is thin and largely semantic. This is not complicated.

(05-09-2015 08:40 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  The independence of the mind is a product of irreducibility, an irreducibility that came about though it's "emergence".

Nowhere does your quote claim that the mind is "independent". The idea is nonsensical.

And all of this is extremely silly and pointless regardless. Playing semantic games with an extremely narrow definition of emergent materialism hardly offers an answer to the question of whether or not there is a case to be made for substance dualism. Whether or not you accept the broader definition as "true" emergent materialism, it is abundantly clear that no one here is arguing that the mind cannot be reduced to the laws of physics, just that it's rather impractical to do so. The gotcha-game is going nowhere.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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05-09-2015, 10:30 AM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
@Tomasia

I have a little problem. I can’t read your post its all scrambled. Is it the same for you? [Seems to have solved itself after a restarting my computer]

Your entire reply is a big pile of word and nice rhetoric for very little content worth talking about. You don't want to admit that souls don't exist even though it’s evident that it's a useless concept. The soul explains nothing, represent accurately nothing and interact with nothing. You fail to admit it only because you are Christian and need to believe in a soul to stay one. At least that's what I get from your explanations. You also seem to admit that you don't want or need to demonstrate that what you believe in is true or hold any use outside of your theology. I think you are in mindset that prevent you from correcting any misconception.

Aquinas perception of substance dualism is just has demonstrably false has Descartes one and for the exact same reason. Aquinas definition of soul is so vague, it can't be properly demonstrated. It does exactly nothing that can or could ever be observed. It just smuggle an extra layer of existence in reality that cannot be experimented, demonstrated or explore. It is false because from the very beginning because of the argument from simplicity the rest was just layer after layer of proofs against it.

Either my cliff analogy was really poorly written or you are a very poor reader. My cliff analogy was basically saying that your entire worldview is based on nothing else but itself with no way to use it outside of your theology to allow any progress on the understanding of the mind and the world and no way to even confirm its foundation. It's a construct based on thin air. Your analogy praises those who believes in the solidity of a thin air portraying them has skilled and adventurous intellectual instead of lunatics.
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05-09-2015, 11:08 AM
RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(02-09-2015 06:12 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Aquinas perception of substance dualism is just has demonstrably false has Descartes one and for the exact same reason. Aquinas definition of soul is so vague, it can't be properly demonstrated. It does exactly nothing that can or could ever be observed. It just smuggle an extra layer of existence in reality that cannot be experimented, demonstrated or explore. It is false because from the very beginning because of the argument from simplicity the rest was just layer after layer of proofs against it.

Another garage dragon. They do seem to turn up a lot around here.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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05-09-2015, 03:32 PM
Shocked RE: Substance dualism, why is it still a thing?
(05-09-2015 11:08 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(02-09-2015 06:12 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Aquinas perception of substance dualism is just has demonstrably false has Descartes one and for the exact same reason. Aquinas definition of soul is so vague, it can't be properly demonstrated. It does exactly nothing that can or could ever be observed. It just smuggle an extra layer of existence in reality that cannot be experimented, demonstrated or explore. It is false because from the very beginning because of the argument from simplicity the rest was just layer after layer of proofs against it.

Another garage dragon. They do seem to turn up a lot around here.




#sigh
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