[Wittrs] Re: . . . Classifying Searle

  • From: "jrstern" <jrstern@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2010 18:11:07 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:
> Joe notes that to be a non-reductive physicalist is distinct from being a 
> Cartesian dualist and thereby undermines my premise that 'to think that 
> consciousness cannot be broken down to constituents that are not, themselves, 
> conscious is to be a Cartesian dualist'.

Piffle.  What could that mean, "non-reductive physicalist"?  To me, it just 
means, "rationalist".  Could a physicist be a non-reductive physicalist?  What 
would that mean?

(yes, it would mean - Roger Penrose)

OTOH, Chomsky loves to go on about how "Newton disproved physicalism" - meaning 
the direct-contact physicalism of Descartes and for that matter of the 
Scholastics for a thousand years.

Others like to say that quantum mechanics disproves physicalism, or at least 
deterministic physicalism.  There is of course some small degree of validity to 
that, but determinism isn't all it's cracked up to be in any case, look at 
deterministic chaos, but it is not a license for voodoo.

(yet, it would mean - Roger Penrose)

If it's not operationalist and disconfirmable, it ain't science.  Rationalism 
and non-reductive whatever may have their values, but they aren't science.  
Take some psychological experiment, with people listening to words and pressing 
buttons and the like, and the speculative theories that may follow from the 
evidence.  These are what Searle and others like to pretend to be doing from 
their Gendankenexperiments, but I think as the CR shows, Gendankenexperiments 
are much harder to get right.  Reality rules.


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