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

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 28 Mar 2010 01:58:31 -0000

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

> --- On Fri, 3/26/10, SWM <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> >> 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"?

> By "non-physical", I mean something like "not constituted of matter or energy 
> as mainstream scientists would understood those terms."
> If you/Dennett want me to believe that Searle's CRA requires acceptance of 
> dualism then you need to convince me that it requires acceptance of something 
> non-physical.
> -gts

I'm sure, at this point, that neither I nor Dennett could ever convince you. 
However, note that the claim is NOT that Searle is an explicit dualist in which 
case he would be obliged to acknowledge subscribing to all the tenets of 
dualism. Since he doesn't acknowledge subscribing to any, there is nothing to 
show you that he subscribes to any particular formulation, such as that there 
are mental properties that are "non-physical" meaning "not constituted of 
matter or energy as mainstream scientists would understand those terms."

However, if his CRA depends for its conclusion on a presumption that 
understanding is a process level property rather than a system level one, he is 
basically saying understanding can't be caused by these physical processes 
because none of them, in themselves, are conscious.

Now if understanding is not reducible to non-conscious constituents made up of 
physical events in the world, then whether he calls them "non-physical" or not 
in your sense is irrelevant because what matters is what he is assuming not 
what he is saying he holds. That's what makes him implicitly a dualist.

Note again that it DOESN'T matter that he says of brains that they are physical 
and can cause consciousness because: 1) he doesn't explicate what he means in 
this regard (it's just verbiage without further elaboration!); and 2) he 
contradicts this when he presents the CRA.


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