[Wittrs] Dualism Cooties: How to Diagnose Cartesian Dualism

  • From: Joseph Polanik <jpolanik@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 06:27:35 -0400

SWM wrote:

>Joseph Polanik wrote:

>>SWM wrote:

>>>For the record, the argument which I have made before ... goes rather
>>>like this: 1) If you think consciousness cannot be broken down to
>>>non-conscious constituents, then you are a Cartesian Dualist.

>>... it'll be translated into something like 'Thinking that
>>consciousness is not reducible to non-conscious constituents implies
>>that the thinker is a Cartesian dualist' and symbolized as 'T -> C'.

>based on what I have said in that premise, it's fair to conclude that
>I would say of anyone, no matter how he or she styled him or herself,
>that if they think that consciousness is not reducible (in a causally
>descriptive way) to non-conscious constituents then they would be
>Cartesian dualists. After all, that IS the claim I have made.

logically, showing 'T & -C' refutes 'T -> C'; meaning, if you ever find
someone who is not a Cartesian dualist but who thinks that consciousness
is not reducible to non-conscious constituents, then your premise is

you've already admitted that Searle does not subscribe to the key
element of Cartesian dualism that Dennett pointed out: belief in an
immortal soul that accounts for understanding (or consciousness).

so you're premise is false (unless of course you arbitrarily redefine
'Cartesian Dualist' to suit yourself.

[... wait for it ...]

>That's false, Joe. I don't have to claim Searle subscribes to
>Descartes' complete philosophy to assert that he is wedded to the same
>picture of mind that Descartes was (and which has the name of Cartesian
>dualism in the western philosophical tradition). Nor does Dennett, who
>makes the same point I have been making.

well, then, the question is: how much of Descartes philosophy can
someone reject and still be a Cartesian dualist?

here are the distinctive features of Descartes' actual philosophy
relevant to the points at issue:

* there are two experiencer independent substances that are each
independent of the other but which interact.

* the human is the conjunction of an element of each substance --- ie is
(or has) a body and a soul.

* the soul survives the death of the body with its memories intact.

* three property sets (a person has one set of properties deriving from
the body, another deriving from the soul and the third from the
interaction of body and soul).

since you've classified Searle as a 'Cartesian dualist', I'm wondering
how many of these principles does Searle accept, in your opinion?

more generally, I'm wondering how many of them a philosopher can reject
and still be a 'Cartesian dualist' according to your premise 1 (becaue
they believe that "consciousness cannot be broken down to
non-conscious constituents")?



Nothing Unreal is Self-Aware



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