[Wittrs] Re: Dancing Dualisms: Searlean Moves and Cartesian Moves

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2010 20:42:56 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Gordon Swobe <wittrsamr@...> wrote:

> --- On Fri, 3/26/10, SWM <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> >> I want to know if Dennett believes the CRA makes sense
> >> only if one considers mental phenomena as evidence of
> >> NON-physical substances of properties. Does he?
> >
> >
> > My view is yes, based on his text though, again, he does
> > not lay out a formal argument as I have done.

> You have not so far as I can tell argued that one must in order to accept the 
> CRA have a conception of mental phenomena as *non-physical*, nor have you 
> explained any assumed argument that Dennett has to that effect.

> I feel inclined to defend Searle against charges of explicit or implicit 
> dualism, whether they come from you or from Dennett, but again I do not take 
> seriously any definition of dualism that does not entail non-physical 
> properties or substances.

What do you mean by "non-physical"?

> As Searle noted somewhere in one of his books, one can hold his views while 
> remaining a thorough-going materialist. I agree, and I see no reason to think 
> his views on the CRA count as an exception to that rule.

The CRA relies on treating understanding as an irreducible, an ontological 
basic (in causal terms). Once you see that understanding could as easily be 
described as a system property (something done by a given system), the idea 
that any constituent of the system in question must have the same property the 
system itself does just becomes untenable.

> At most, Searle might meet Dennett's definition of a so-called "Cartesian 
> materialist".

I still don't know what he means by that. Haven't had a chance to read the link 
you placed here.

> But I suspect Dennett, as an eliminative materialist, mainly uses the 
> Cartesian materialist label to describe non-eliminative materialists like 
> Searle who affirm the reality of conscious intentionality.
> -gts

What does it mean to "affirm the reality of conscious intentionality"? After 
all, Dennett thinks he has intentionality, too, i.e., that he thinks about 
things. He just describes what it is to have it differently, i.e., as a complex 
of behavioral and mental dispositions. If you or Searle want to assert there is 
a thing in the brain called "intentionality" where and what is it? Do we even 
have to think of it in that way to consider that we have it?


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