Physicalism Redux

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Friends,

I'm still waiting for that elusive explanation of how a physical universe that has no consciousness can somehow generate our minds.

~~ Sci
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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  • Laird
(2020-11-09, 02:48 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Friends,

I'm still waiting for that elusive explanation of how a physical universe that has no consciousness can somehow generate our minds.

~~ Sci

Sci, did I miss something?  Who/what has us on the hook for this explanation?
(2020-11-09, 02:48 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Friends,

I'm still waiting for that elusive explanation of how a physical universe that has no consciousness can somehow generate our minds.

~~ Sci

There are too many fuzzily defined terms in your plea.
(2020-11-09, 03:52 PM)malf Wrote: There are too many fuzzily defined terms in your plea.

There's a reason for the fuzzy: it makes it easier to believe what you want.
(This post was last modified: 2020-11-09, 04:07 PM by Steve001.)
Come on, Linda, you know you want to (join in). The boys are back in town. (sorry off topic)
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Guys,

No one I've talked to or read has ever provided an explanation that makes [m]e accept Physicalism.

Surely that's enough of an argument?
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2020-11-09, 07:27 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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(2020-11-09, 03:52 PM)malf Wrote: There are too many fuzzily defined terms in your plea.

(2020-11-09, 04:05 PM)Steve001 Wrote: There's a reason for the fuzzy: it makes it easier to believe what you want.

Man now you know how we feel in the free will redux thread x_x

Also, instead of being snarky, it might be a good time to argue for your position?
(This post was last modified: 2020-11-09, 08:24 PM by Smaw.)
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  • Sciborg_S_Patel
(2020-11-09, 07:18 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Guys,

No one I've talked to or read has ever provided an explanation that makes [m]e accept Physicalism.

Surely that's enough of an argument?

As this is a riff on Paul's grand re-appearance thread, I'll bite and add my 2 cents. 

It seems to me that the things we discuss here are the best argument against physicalism. If we accept any one of the multitude of evidential accounts, experiments and anecdotes as being true, or only probably true, then we have to turn our thoughts away from physicalism. For physicalism to be true, none of that evidence presented here and out in the world at large, can be taken seriously. None of the documented and researched accounts of paranormal anomalies, NDEs, deathbed visions, children's reincarnation memories, out-of-body experiences, accurate information from the deceased, Rhine and Radin experiments and others too many to mention ... not a single account has a grain of truth. For physicalism to be true we can't even consider that evidence. For us to accept physicalism we have to ignore all that and dismiss it out of hand. The attitude must be: it can't be true so it isn't. Period.

So, is it surprising that we never see the explanation Sci is asking for? No, because there is no need for such an explanation in the minds of the sceptics (deniers would be a more accurate term). We happen across new evidence from time to time, post it here for discussion and it is immediately and automatically dismissed by sceptics. That is not just the case here on this forum, it is the case throughout the popular media, the academic institutions, the religious authorities and, especially, the medical and scientific community. To suggest that the proponents are on a hiding to nothing is a huge understatement. 

Yet, here's the problem for all of those who espouse the physicalist creed: the majority of the world's population remains in the proponent camp. Why? Because most of us have either direct or close family experiences which cannot be explained away with the standard, dismissive responses of delusion/deception/coincidence. It is a fact that those explanations are often correct - we can't deny that. But we here have enough experience talking to the likes of Malf and Paul to apply some rational discretion to our selection of stories worthy of posting. Or we might say that an account is interesting but beware of the weakness of the evidence. 

There is always going to be some weakness - some point that can be argued about even if the odds against it being decisive are vanishingly small. There is no silver bullet to put an end to physicalism. There is no airtight evidence that will dispel all doubts. That's why most of us still have a degree of doubt. That's why I chose the signature that I use here. But, like Sci, I have yet to see a convincing defence of physicalism.
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
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(2020-11-09, 08:28 PM)Kamarling Wrote: As this is a riff on Paul's grand re-appearance thread, I'll bite and add my 2 cents. 

It seems to me that the things we discuss here are the best argument against physicalism. If we accept any one of the multitude of evidential accounts, experiments and anecdotes as being true, or only probably true, then we have to turn our thoughts away from physicalism. For physicalism to be true, none of that evidence presented here and out in the world at large, can be taken seriously. None of the documented and researched accounts of paranormal anomalies, NDEs, deathbed visions, children's reincarnation memories, out-of-body experiences, accurate information from the deceased, Rhine and Radin experiments and others too many to mention ... not a single account has a grain of truth. For physicalism to be true we can't even consider that evidence. For us to accept physicalism we have to ignore all that and dismiss it out of hand. The attitude must be: it can't be true so it isn't. Period.

This is pretty much highlighting why I became a proponent. The sheer amount of evidence that would need to be rejected with fraud, negligence, questionable research practices is SO much that if you want to come out and say none of it's right, you really are a denier and not a skeptic. Not even taking the convincing nature of any specific arguments and just taking their sheer size.

And to add to what you said about experience, I'm reminded about what I've heard said about eliminative materialism about the mind. It's not a position of scientific of philisophical enquirey, it's upholding a position at all costs regardless of experience or evidence. I certainly think physicalism has done good things, and we'll continue to use its foundations, but just need that shift to happen to a new approach.
(This post was last modified: 2020-11-09, 09:00 PM by Smaw.)
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  • OmniVersalNexus
No one has an answer to Sci's question. I've a better question. Why do some argue the human mind requires special consideration and circumstances for it to exist? To rephrase the question: Why should a not conscious physical universe exclude it from creating the mind in the natural course of its life?

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