[Wittrs] Re: Dualism Cooties: Dennett Explicitly Accuses Searle of Implicit Cartesianism

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2010 06:14:17 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Joseph Polanik <jPolanik@...> wrote:

  >>Stuart: [Recall my point that Searle's CRA hinges on an implicit case
>  >>of substance dualism.]
>  >>first it's implicit; but, now it's explicit?
>  >I don't believe I said it was implicit
> read the quoted material. I'm quoting you!

Yes, quite right. I said "implicit" in that text and I didn't re-read it when I 
replied to you. See below for the context.

>  >... but if I did then all I meant was that it's implied in the sense
>  >that it follows from the logic of his claim, not that it is there but
>  >unstated. (Note the two meanings of "implicit" in ordinary language.)
> implicit means not explicit. it does not have the same logical
> connotations as implies

As noted, that use (which I didn't re-read) is to speak of logical implication. 
What is implied is implicit though another use of "implicit" is to say 
something without stating it. That is the everyday use of "implied". Moreover, 
note that I said:

"Recall my point that Searle's CRA hinges on an implicit case of substance 

Where do you see me saying that Dennett implies that? I said, quite clearly, 
that Dennett states it in that text I cited on this list which makes it 
"explicit", also as noted.

I have made my own arguments vis a vis Searle's CRA that do not depend on 
Dennett, though, of course, I have explained his position as being consistent 
with mine and, more, I have acknowledged that he came to it first.

Now I have certainly said that implicit in Searle's CRA (meaning it's an 
unstated premise) is the presumption of dualism and I went on to say that this 
was consistent with Dennett's view whereupon you challenged me to show where 
Dennett made such a claim vis a vis the CRA. And I did, adding that he did so 
explicitly in the text I cited.

So here we have a case of two uses of "implicit" and two assignments of the 
term. So I will reiterate for you:

1) I claimed that Searle's CRA is implicitly dualist in a Cartesian way;

2) I claimed that Dennett says this as well in the text I cited; and

3) I claimed that Dennett says it explicitly (which is backed up by my post).

> for example. Dennett is saying that Cartesianism implies that one
> believes that there is no understanding in the chinese room. but that
> claim is hardly implicit.

Notice that I didn't say Dennett's claim was "implicit". I said it was 
"explicit". You confused my statement about the way Dennett makes his claim 
with MY claim about what underlies Searle's argument and then seized on that 
switched reference to pump a little confusion into the mix.

>  >>where?
>  >>the only reference to Cartesian dualism in the passage from
>  >>_Consciousness Explained_ is in the last sentence from the quoted
>  >>passage; and, it's irrelevant unless you're trying to justify a
>  >>logical fallacy.


>  >As to your claim of "justifying a logical fallacy" note that it is you
>  >who have claimed there is a logical fallacy in Dennett's argument
> no. I did not. I said a fallacious argument could be constructed from
> Dennett's premise --- and that you are apparently reveling in that
> fallacy.

And I have pointed out to you that the argument you construct and impute to 
Dennett and call "fallacious" is not Dennett's argument.

>  >Now let's go back to your original claim, i.e., that Dennett did not
>  >claim that the CRA was based on a Cartesian Dualist presumption.
> my claim (first stated back in January in msg #4130 in the yahoo
> archives) is that Dennett does not accuse Searle of substance dualism;
> but, only accuses Searle of being wrong in claiming that the Chinese
> room lacks understanding of chinese.

Read the text I transcribed from Dennett's Consciousness Explained and posted 
here. Although Dennett is verbose and not direct, the text is clear enough. If 
you doubt my transcription go read the pages for yourself and see if you can 
find anything that contradicts or otherwise subverts what I wrote.

> now you're talking about a dualist presumption rather than a dualistic
> conclusion?

You can go back and read my arguments about the CRA (they're all over these 
lists). I have always maintained that there is a PRESUMPTION of ontological 
basicness for consciousness (i.e., dualism) implicit in the CRA or Searle could 
not draw the conclusion he draws from it. When Dennett says it takes a 
"Cartesian dualist" to credit the CRA's conclusion as Searle presents it, he is 
saying the same thing!

>okay, then which presumption are you referring to and where
> does Dennett say that such a presumption is only made by Cartesian
> dualists?

Read what I've already written, Joe. How many times do you expect me to say the 
same thing here?

In my corrected post nearby, by the way, I gave the argument I see in Dennett 
which happens to correspond with the one I have been making on this and earlier 
lists, i.e., that the only reason to conclude that the constituents of the CR 
can't produce consciousness in any other R (e.g., a more robustly specked CR) 
is if one thinks that consciousness is such that it cannot be reduced to 
elements more basic than itself which aren't, themselves, conscious.

On Analytic I laid this out half a dozen times in great detail and you were 
(and are) a member of that list and post there so I don't see how you could 
have missed it.

Of course, if Searle does hold that (which he does) then he is in 
self-contradiction since he also claims to hold that consciousness is caused by 
brains. If it is caused by brains AND is reducible to non-conscious 
constituents, then there is no argument, in principle, against it being caused 
by other non-conscious constituents insofar as they can accomplish the same 
tasks and thus no reason to think computational processes running on computers 
can't do what brain processes running in brains do. On the other hand, if he 
thinks consciousness is caused by brains but ontologically distinct once it is 
brought into existence, then his claim is dualist.

So he must be relying on dualist conception of consciousness to deny that the 
constituents of the CR have the power to produce consciousness merely because 
they are not, themselves, conscious in their isolated states.

>  >P.S. And do get rid of that "cooties" business in the header as it is a
>  >silly locution which says nothing about an assertion of dualism since
>  >dualism is a thesis about how things are while cooties are little
>  >creatures of suspect and bothersome provenance that may infect our
>  >scalps and other hairy regions. The analogy makes no sense.
> accusing each other of latent/blatent dualistic tendencies is how
> philosophers play the Cootie Game. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooties
> Joe

Some philosophers are sharper than others.


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